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Fire Coach Mike McCarthy? Would it Fix Dak's 'Groundhog Day' Cowboys?

The Cowboys have a team with talent, but can't seem to get out of the loop of playoff underachievement — when they get there

Imagine it’s been an hour since the Dallas Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card Game. What was at the top of your mind?

It just wasn’t our day?

We’ll get them next year?

Find me the officials?

What was with all the penalties?

Fire Mike McCarthy?

Blow the thing up?

I’m sure there were plenty of Cowboys fans that wanted changes after Sunday. Changes will come, certainly. But let me pose this question?

Does it really matter?

The Cowboys are in the midst of their longest stretch in franchise history without a title — 26 seasons and counting. In that stretch the Cowboys are 220-213, have made 10 playoff appearances and gone 4-11 in the playoffs.

I mean, that’s America’s Team? From an outsider’s point of view, that’s just a master’s thesis in mediocrity.

Exactly what is it that you think owner and general manager Jerry Jones can do that will change things? Aside from, of course, the fan base’s fever dream of Jones either stepping aside or selling the team? The temptation is to be hard on Jones. He’s an easy target. It also isn’t worth anyone’s time.

He’s burned through six head coaches and is on his seventh since Jimmy Johnson. Believe it or not, six of them have taken the Cowboys to the playoffs at least once, the outlier being Dave Campo. Heck, Chan Gailey was in Dallas two seasons, went to the playoffs twice and then Jones fired him.

If THAT’S the standard, shouldn’t Jones be on his 14th coach since Jimmy by now?

The temptation in saying ‘Super Bowl or Bust,’ as some Cowboys said before the game, is that now you have to think about busting it up, that being the team.

But the Cowboys have done that more than enough.

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The ‘Dynasty’ crumbled and the franchise’s talent burned on fumes while Emmitt Smith chased history, which was fun, but even he ultimately bailed out. Bill Parcells rebuilt it, and then it imploded, ultimately, under Wade Phillips. And then, the impressive mediocrity of Jason Garrett, a nice guy that everyone likes who managed to survive a decade with just three playoff berths.

And now? The optimist in me want to look at this team as having a future. Quarterback is set with Dak Prescott. So is wide receiver (whatever this fever dream is of trading or releasing Amari Cooper is just that). The Cowboys have talent at running back, whether you want Ezekiel Elliott back or not. The offensive line is getting older, but the Cowboys have capital to invest. Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs are game-changers on defense. The Cowboys invested heavily in defense in 2021 and should continue to do so.

Plenty to feel good about, right? RIGHT?

So why DON’T I feel good about it?

There’s that moment in ‘Groundhog Day’ where Bill Murray FINALLY gets tired of re-living the same day over and over. The third act begins and Murray searches for the one thing that he does differently that will turn the calendar to Feb. 3. It turns out to be, of course, the love of a good woman.

Believe me, if Jerry Jones thought Andie McDowell was the solution to this problem he would have signed her to some kind of contract years ago.

I thought that ‘Groundhog Day’ moment came when Jones hired Parcells. After all, the Cowboys had three straight 5-11 seasons under Campo.

Then, I thought it came in 2014, when the Cowboys reached the playoffs for the first time under Garrett. Oddly enough, the Cowboys lurched out of three straight 8-8 seasons to win the NFC East, beat the Detroit Lions at home and then, well, ‘Dez Caught It’. You know the rest.

Now? I feel like I know the plot before the movie begins, you know? Not of the game, mind you. But of the season. As much optimism as Cowboys fans funnel into the start of the season, it can’t be fun to see the season end this way. The only thing that changes is the plot twist, you know?

Tony Romo can’t hold an extra point.

Dez Bryant ‘catches’ a ball.

Aaron Rodgers completed a fourth-and-whatever pass to a tight end.

Cowboys run a QB scramble without a time out trying to defy the laws of math and time.

Pitch all of this to a Hollywood producer and you’ll get laughed out of the room. Seasons don’t end like that.

Tell that to Cowboys fans. And then sell them on the idea and things are gonna change next year.

Color me pessimistic.

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You can reach Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.