Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

I admit it. I gave up on this year’s football season about halfway through.

The Cowboys didn’t look like they were going anywhere. They were 3-5 for crying out loud. And my disposition toward losing teams wasn’t improved by the debacle that continues to play out whenever the Blues step onto the ice.

I admit it. Mea culpa. I’ll add the “maxima” if they win today.

There’s just one troubling thought with the Cowboys’ improbable late season run. It came because the team traded for a standout wide receiver. Everyone thought the team, or at least Jerry Jones, had flipped. One player couldn’t make that big a difference, right?

Wrong.

But, see, this is where I get nervous. I’ve seen the Cowboys appear to have the pieces in place for a deep run several times since 1995, the last time they got to the NFC championship. Then the wheels came off. A muffed field goal or getting caught looking too far ahead.

This time the wheels came off early in the season and the team seemed to get them put back on. They looked like a different team the second half, and for once it was because they were better.

Still, it’s weird to think the Cowboys owe Philadelphia (and the uprights at Soldier Field) some thanks. By winning last week, the Eagles get to play in New Orleans and the Cowboys go to L.A. The Rams are good, no question. But they’re not nearly as good as the Saints in the Superdome. This is a winnable game for the Cowboys. Maybe even one they should win.

In the back of my head, though, there’s still that nagging thought. What if the thing that has blocked the Cowboys for so long is rising again? What if their number one nemesis is regaining confidence?

What if Jerry Jones thinks he’s a genius again?

Cowboys fans owe Jones a lot. He made some painful changes when he took over as owner. Firing Tom Landry wasn’t pleasant. It was necessary, though. Trading Herschel Walker didn’t make fans happy. The haul from that trade set up three Super Bowl wins.

And that’s where I get nervous this year. This was another trade, another time Jones pulled a rabbit out of a hat. That’s going to reinforce his belief that he’s the one who really knows what to do, despite all evidence to the contrary over the years.

The evidence says the Cowboys need a general manager. The evidence says Jones goes to the hat and pulls out a half-eaten carrot with a note reading “Sucker!” as often as not.

Even if it turns out that way, I’m glad I’m along for this ride. It’s better than sitting outside the playoffs looking in. I’ve gotten a few more weeks of enjoyment out of this season.

Besides, it’s only a month until pitchers and catchers report. I can make it that long.