Michael asked me to do this when the NFL schedule was released, but I thought, you know, it’s way too early. Then I saw that someone at the DMN had done it. So then I figured, OK, sure. Here you go.
Sept. 13 vs. New York Giants
Defiantly addressing questions about the strength of the team’s running game head-on, the Cowboys begin the game in the wishbone formation, running the option. The Giants are so taken aback by the tactic, QB Tony Romo runs for 58 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive. Eventually, Romo tires out, the Giants catch up, and the game ends, oddly, in a TIE.
Sept. 20 at Philadelphia Eagles
An emotional Dez Bryant, still hurt by the defection of Demarco Murray to the Eagles, demands to play defensive end. He tackles Murray from behind for a loss on the first play of the game, causing Jerry Jones to accidentally snap kick a luxury suite attendant. But on the next play, Bryant is blown up by a pulling guard and spends the rest of the game on the sidelines, trying to catch his breath. Still, the Cowboys manage to pull it together and send the game to overtime. Unfortunately, without Bryant, the team isn’t able to scoot past a flat Eagles squad and the game ends in another TIE.
Sept. 27 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Not surprisingly, most of the talk leading up to the Cowboys’ third game centers on the statistical oddity of starting the season with two ties. “Honestly, and you can ask Gene what I said when I was talking about this earlier, and by earlier I mean yesterday morning, that a situation such as this, with two tied football games, what bothers me is that I didn’t put any money on this, as far as betting goes or gambling or what have you,” Jerry Jones says, laughing. But there is no laughter on the sideline as a third game goes to overtime. The situation remains tense until Romo manages to find Terrance Williams down the sideline for the WIN. Curiously, Jones is stone-faced and ashen in his suite.
Oct. 4 at New Orleans Saints
Turns out, Jones — feeling “legless” after two bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue — actually bet on the Cowboys to tie a third straight game. “Had a gut feeling,” he later tells writer Don Van Natta Jr., in another blockbuster profile. The wager has a two-pronged effect: one, it depletes Jones’ cash reserves; because he owns the Cowboys, on paper, he is still a billionaire, but he is essentially broke. Also: once word of the bet is leaked, Jones is suspended from the league indefinitely. With all this happening, the Cowboys suffer a blowout LOSS.
Oct. 11 vs. New England Patriots
Tough week. The league attempts to force Jones to sell the franchise. Jones stays up all night writing a manifesto (title: THINGS WE THINK AND DO NOT SAY) and has copies printed up for all of his players, all of the other teams’ players and front office employees, and all league employees. It is a bombshell, with straight talk about concussions, abusive relationships, steroids, and more. Then he tells commissioner Roger Goodell that he is taking the Cowboys and leaving the NFL, and he is going to start his own league.
Though he expected at least a few more teams to join him (specifically, Bob Kraft’s Patriots), the only person who comes with him is a lowly league secretary named Dorothy Boyd. A dejected Jones decides to leave the league anyway and the Cowboys are awarded a forfeit LOSS.
Oct. 25 at New York Giants
Nov. 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Nov. 8 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Nov. 15 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nov. 22 at Miami Dolphins
Nov. 26 vs. Carolina Panthers
Dec. 7 at Washington Redskins
Dec. 13 at Green Bay Packers
Dec. 19 vs. New York Jets
Dec. 27 at Buffalo Bills
Jan. 3 vs. Washington Redskins
Forfeit LOSS. (Tony Romo debuts as a studio analyst for FOX. He discovers he is a natural and promptly retires. “If my owner going mildly insane and leaving the NFL in shame and more or less killing my career in the process is the worst thing that happens to me, then I’ve had a pretty good life.”)