Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dallas Cowboys/Indianapolis Colts Superbowl - My Dream Matchup

Around the first of December, each year, I like to make my prediction of which two teams will play in the big Superbowl game in two months. I am proud to announce that I am wrong, most of the time, but this is a fun exercise for me and I hope you enjoy it too. Last year, I predicted that the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks would play in the Superbowl and we all know how wrong I was about that prediction. This year, I am going to stick with one team I thought would play in the Superbowl last year, the Colts, and switch the NFC championship team from the Seattle Seahawks to the Dallas Cowboys.

A few weeks ago, the Indianapolis Colts traveled to Texas Stadium in Irving to play the Dallas Cowboys in a game where few people thought the Cowboys had a chance. However, when the game was over, the Cowboys won and ended the unbeaten season of the Indianapolis Colts. Bill Parcells and the other coaches of the Dallas Cowboys figured out a way to stop the power offense of Payton Manning while at the same time figuring out how to put enough points on the score board to ultimately win the game. Until Dallas stopped the Colts power offense, I was not sure any NFL team could do it, this year.

After that huge Cowboys victory over the Colts they were forced, because of the Thanksgiving holiday, to play again with only four days rest in their traditional Thanksgiving Day game against Tampa Bay. I worried about that Tampa Bay game because either the Cowboys would still be on fire after beating the Colts or they would be flat as a pancake in that short week game against the Buccaneers. The good news is that Dallas played great against Tampa Bay and won the game and also the right to a long rest break before their next game against the New York Giants, today.

I believe it will be a bigger test for the Indianapolis Colts to survive the playoffs and reach the Superbowl this year than it will be for the Dallas Cowboys. The biggest reason is because the Colts have never reached the big Superbowl game since they moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis and experience does play a big part in any teams navigation to victory in their own conference on the road to the Superbowl. However, if the Colts can find a way to finish out their regular season strong, coach Dungy should be able to help his team figure out a way to win games in the playoffs and make their first trip to the Superbowl game for the fans in Indianapolis.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, have not only been to the Superbowl on many occasions over the years as a team, but their head coach, Bill Parcells, has coached in several Superbowl games as the head coach of various different teams. For the Cowboys, the big challenge will be finishing out their season, strong and then resting up and preparing well for each team they will play through the playoff process. After the first four games of this NFL season I didn’t think there was a chance I would be sitting here today and writing about the probability that the Dallas Cowboys would be playing in the Superbowl in early 2007. However, their fortunes have changed and now it is not only a probability the Cowboys will reach the big game, but a distinct possibility.

The reason this prediction game about which teams will eventually play in the Superbowl is so problematic is because on any given Sunday any NFL football team can beat another. While baseball has proven to be a sport where big city teams can buy their way to predictable success each year, the NFL still remains a pure sport where even the worst teams, in any given season, do have the talent to beat the best team in the league if they play their cards right and get extremely lucky. Right now I believe the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts are the two, most likely, teams to end up as the champions of their respective conferences this year.

Today the Dallas Cowboys will be playing their long time conference rivals the New York Giants. Most people predict an easy victory for the Cowboys and that is what bothers me the most as a Cowboys fan. I believe Dallas always plays their best when they are the “underdog” team instead of the predicted favorite in the game. However, the Cowboys have a real secret weapon which is called Bill Parcells who knows how the exceptions game can lead to defeat on game day if a team in not properly trained and motivated before the opening kickoff. I was not a big fan of Jerry Jones hiring Bill Parcells as the Dallas head coach when that announcement was first made. However, I have adjusted my thinking over the years and now think Bill Parcells was just what Dallas needed to get back in the playoff hunt each year.

The one big decision Bill Parcells made this season was to put Tony Romo in as the Cowboy’s starting quarterback and let everyone know that this decision was not just a temporary move, but one which would last the rest of the season. While sitting on the side lines for years, Tony Romo waited patiently for his chance to play as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and during that period of time he learned well how to lead the Dallas Cowboys offense when his chance to start finally happened. For me, Romo has made it fun to watch the Dallas Cowboys play football once again because the way he plays the game creates excitement every time he takes a snap from the center. Rather than either handing the ball off or dropping back to pass, Romo adds the extra excitement of taking the ball himself and running for much need third down conversion.

In a few hours I will switch on the television and watch the Cowboys/Giants game and if Dallas is victorious today and the Colts continue their winning season, I believe the Colts and Cowboys might just end up playing each other in a true “grudge match” in this years big Superbowl game.

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