Sports has a short menu: Wins and losses.
Normally, that’s all that matters.
Then there’s the Dallas Cowboys.
For sure, their 3-1 record has come as a surprise to most. On Sunday, they beat the Washington Commanders, 25-10, to win their third straight game.
Even more shocking is that they have been able to do it with backup quarterback Cooper Rush winning his third straight start since replacing starting QB Dak Prescott in the season opener after he was injured. Dak broke a bone in his throwing hand.
And after the Cowboys’ embarrassing season-opening loss and then Prescott’s injury, most thought the season was over for Jerry Jones’ team.
But before you pencil in the Cowboys for a trip to the NFC title game, look harder at what has taken place. It ain’t as shiny as you think.
In fact, the Cowboys are frauds.
Despite their record and success thus far, the Cowboys have benefited from NFL welfare, if you will.
They have gotten fat off bad teams.
On Sunday, the Cowboys might as well have beaten the Washington Generals. The Generals and Commanders are basically the same. Washington might be first in war, first in peace, and last in the NFC East.
In the opener, the Cowboys lost a terrible 19-3 decision to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Prescott and the offense looked horrendous. In the next three weeks, they beat Cincinnati barely, the Giants in Jersey and Washington.
The Bengals could have been thought of as a quality win, but they started the season off playing poorly and committing turnovers like they were going out of style. Bengals QB Joe Burrow threw for just 199 yards and one TD against Dallas.
The New York Giants are in the same boat.
You look at Dallas’ gaudy 3-1 record and marvel at it. Its stats and numbers don’t point to a good team. Then you take a closer look and realize it hasn’t beaten anyone, either.
No one is mad at the Cowboys for beating the also-rans. That’s what you’re supposed to do. The problem is taking much stock in those wins.
And the real test comes when the Cowboys have to face some of the better teams in the league, the teams you need to beat when — and if — you make the postseason.
We saw this with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. They started the season 11-0. It was the worst 11-0 team in the NFL’s recorded history.
The Steelers had so many cupcakes on their schedule they had to have a toothache.
That season, they lost four of their final five games. They limped into the postseason with a 12-4 mark and were blown out by a better Cleveland Browns team, 48-37. Don’t let the score fool you. It wasn’t that close.
For sure, the Cowboys have a good defense. We can’t take that away from them.
But the quarterback play hasn’t been great. Rush hasn’t been close to throwing for 300 yards yet, as 235 against the Bengals was his best thus far this season. He’s thrown just four TDs in three and a half games and has no interceptions.
That might all change this Sunday when the Rams host the Cowboys in L.A.
We get it. The Cowboys have been so bad for a generation. They haven’t been to an NFC Championship Game since 1995. It’s been a horrible 26-year drought.
Only Washington (30 years), Detroit (30 years), Cleveland (29 years) and Miami (29) have gone longer without a shot at making it to the Super Bowl with a victory in a championship game.
Yet, Cowboys fans always believe that this year is the year.
They are dancing in the streets again. They have hope from this mirage to start the season.
The fans should enjoy it as much as they can. Coming into the season, most thought they would win the division because it’s best known as the NFC Least. But the Eagles are good and off to a 4-0 start.
Still, no one thought much of these Cowboys in the NFC — even with Prescott healthy.
For sure, some fans think the Cowboys are filet mignon right now. But they honestly look and taste like baloney.