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Dying without their boots on: Cowboy-ettes instead wear booties in bumblin', fumblin', Philly flameout

Let 'er rip. Which the locals certainly did on their late night sports specials after a little burnt toast buttering by game commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, followed by a repulsed Jimmy Johnson on Fox's Sunday post-game show.

Take it from the coach who took the Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins, "This is a sloppy, sloppy football team. How many times do I have to say it? . . . They have a collection of toys. They have a collection of players, but they are not a team."

Aikman, the winning Cowboys QB on three SB champs, also underscored the obvious: "Talented teams don't always win championships." And from the beginning of the 44-6 massacre, "the Eagles had more fire, more want-to," Aikman added.

Buck was even blunter: "The Dallas Cowboys do not seem to have any desire to make tackles the last couple of weeks." As for the Eagles, "this is a team that knows how to finish the season -- as opposed to the Cowboys."

It got dicier late Sunday on Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11, where no one bothered to thank the Cowboys for saving their stations the expense of post-season traveling in tough economic times. Instead one and all called for the head of head coach Wade Phillips despite owner Jerry Jones' post-game assurances that he'd be back for a third season.

NBC5's Newy Scruggs, presiding over a very lively Out of Bounds with ex-Cowboy Drew Pearson and reporter Matt Barrie in Philly, even had Phillips' replacement picked out. The new Cowboys head coach, he said, should be former assistant coach Todd Haley, who's currently the Arizona Cardinals' offensive coordinator. And he should bring fired Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel with him to coach the Cowboys' defense, Scruggs opined.

Pearson played rough, too, after Barrie questioned Romo's mental makeup. The Cowboy's QB reportedly collapsed in the shower after the game after being mauled by the Eagles. And in his post-game interview, Romo said in part, "If this (the season-ending loss) is the worst thing that ever happens to me, then I've lived a pretty good life."

Real Cowboys don't lose that way, said Pearson. "We wanna win. We wanna give it our best effort. And when we do lose, we wanna hurt. We wanna feel bad. We don't just wanna blow it off."

Scruggs said that in fact Romo was hurt -- physically at least. But Pearson piled on: "I think he was afraid someone might sack him in that shower. That's why he fell down."


Fox4's Mike Doocy joined Scruggs in expressing his personal affection for Phillips. But "this season Wade failed in a huge way," he added. "Today no guts, no fire, looks unprepared for this huge game today. And that is on the head coach . . . That all adds up to a coaching change, whether Jerry Jones will admit it or not."

WFAA8's Dale Hansen threw a stiff arm at the opening gun of his Sunday night program, calling the Cowboys' Sunday shutdown "the most disappointing game of the most disappointing season I've ever seen. Any year. Any sport. I don't like the word 'embarrassment' in sports, but it might fit."

Hansen then predicted that Dallas Morning News sports columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor would use the word ridiculous "about eight times" in whatever he wrote. For the record, he only used "ridiculous" once. But he did type in two "gutless" and a "poppycock."

Hansen of course ripped Jones, too, who "continues to bring in the clowns who can't spell team if you spot 'em the 't' and the 'e.' "

On CBS11, in-studio sports anchor Bill Jones cogently asked, "Wow, what the heck was that?" before throwing it to Babe Laufenberg and reporter Steve Dennis in Philly.

"There needs to be a change" in head coaches, said The Babe. "You can't keep having these December collapses. To lose the way they did is embarrassing."

OK, here's my far-fetched but bold initiative for change. Bring back Jimmy Johnson. Yeah, he'll be 66 in July, but still looks vigorous as hell. And Johnson's coaching resume probably isn't quite good enough yet to get him into the NFL Hall of Fame. So there's that incentive, too. Return the Cowboys to a Super Bowl -- there's still ample talent on the roster -- and Johnson would get his enshrinement.

Of course Jerry would have to swallow very hard and probably beg, too. And Jimmy's obviously no yes man. Unlike Phillips, he'd be the unquestioned bossman of next season's Cowboys. Caretaker coaches just don't work for this team, even if Jerry keeps reverting back to the go-along, get-alongs.

Jerry's also got his high-priced palace in Arlington to fill next season. And retaining Phillips won't do that for him. The Cowboys need another whip-cracker. In Johnson, you get both an intimidator and a star player in his own right.

Pearson may have been crude in the shower stall comment he directed at Romo Sunday night on NBC5. But he was dead right when he said, "You need somebody to motivate these guys, somebody to put some fear into them."

Johnson's already been here, done that. How about an encore? Seriously.