By Tony Massarotti
Okay, so here’s the question of the week: of the Cowboys and Giants, which team is the first to completely implode?
My money’s on the Giants, at the moment, but you could talk me out of it.
After all, who doesn’t want to see the Cowboys explode into a ball of fire?
Don’t look now, folks, but two of America’s teams are already reeling, and we’re only two weeks into what has thus far been a relatively tumultuous NFL season. The defending Super Bowl champion, New England Patriots — who were also consensus preseason title favorites — got walloped in Week 1, on national television, on their home field. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were stripped naked by a team (Atlanta) that was supposed to be hung over. But nothing compares to the stooging taking place with the Cowboys and Giants, who currently look far more like the Browns and, well, Jets.
Isn’t it grand?
The Cowboys, as usual, are the biggest story, so let’s discuss the Giants before fully investing in The Real Housewives of Dallas County. In two games, the Giants have scored a grand total of 13 points. Quarterback Eli manning already has been sacked eight times. During Monday’s loss to the perennially wretched Detroit Lions, the Giants failed to get a snap off on fourth-and-goal from the Detroit two-yard line, prompting overmatched coach Ben McAdoo to toss his quarterback under the GW Bridge.
“We have a veteran quarterback who has played a lot of football,” McAdoo told reporters. “I expect us to get the ball snapped.”
Fine, so Manning accepted the criticism, at least publicly, during his weekly radio appearance on WFAN in New York. But you’re missing the point. McAdoo is supposed to be quarterback guru, and the Giants last season finished 26th in the NFL in scoring. They were 20th in passer rating. Yes, the Giants made the playoffs last year, but their offense has gone backwards since McAdoo replaced Tom Coughlin, which cannot help but make one wonder if McAdoo is already feeling the heat.
As for the Giants upcoming schedule, they’re on the read this week (Philly) and next (Tampa) before a home game against the Los Angeles Chargers and then another road trip to Denver. That’s three road games in four weeks. If McAdoo is already spiking Eli into the turf as if he were trying to kill clock, what’s he going to do if the Giants are, say, 2-4? Or 1-5?
Which brings us to the Cowboys, their sop-operatic existence and a reality that includes a petulant running back (redundant?) and a megalomaniacal owner.
Admit it: you’re rooting against Dallas. We all are, save for the insufferable Cowboys yahoos who act as if the Dallas won a Super Bowl in the last 20 years. Much of this is the fault of slippery owner Jones, the poster boy for the modern-day, self-important sports owner. Jones thinks he knows football, but he really doesn’t. Meanwhile, he backs the commissioner when it serves him, tries to cut his salary when he doesn’t.
Jones’ latest comical behavior is the result off off-field behavior by start Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has simultaneously made himself a standout talent in knucklehead in just one year in the league. Off the field, Elliott is fighting the league over a suspension resulting from a domestic incident, which is just one questionable happening on a resume rapidly getting spattered with them. On the field, he is now starting to look like a selfish, spoiled quitter, failing to pursue more than one play after quarterback Dak Prescott struggled miserably in Denver on Sunday.
Can the Cowboys recover? Can the Giants? Sure. There is plenty of season left. But there is already blood in the water in both Dallas and New York, and it’s hard — at least for some us — to conceal an admittedly sadistic grin.
Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.