What if the Cowboys had lost to the Eagles in that meaningless Week 17 game last year? A couple possibilities.

By defeating Eagles' special teamers like Omar Gaither and Colt Anderson Week 17 last year, Stephen McGee may have altered the history of the Cowboys

It was a completely meaningless game.  The Eagles were locked in as the 3 seed, having already wrapped up the NFC East.  They couldn’t catch the Bears at the 2 seed ahead of them, and weren’t going to be caught by whoever won the awful NFC West.  And so they rested the following players (among others that were hurt): Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin (played the first series only), Brent Celek, Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Mike McGlynn, Winston Justice, Trent Cole, Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon, Juqua Parker, Stewart Bradley, Moise Fokou, Asante Samuel, Quintin Mikell, and Kurt Coleman.

Meanwhile, for the Cowboys, the only meaningful aspect of the game was for interim head coach Jason Garrett to collect as many wins as possible to help him remove the “interim” moniker.

I watched that game from the Eagles press box, and there was so little interest in the game that there were actually toddlers in the press box.  That’s not a joke.  Were they Eagles employees’ kids enjoying a nice perk?  A “Future Eagles Bloggers” group?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that they were loud, annoying, and had better seats than me… but I don’t want to get into a whole thing there. Anyway, the Cowboys eeked out a 14-13 win on a long drive capped off by a Jason Witten TD with :55 left in the game, earning them a less depressing plane ride home.

I never advocate losing.  As Herm Edwards says “You play to win the game.”  The Cowboys should have tried to, and did, win that final game.  Also, whenever you go back in time, if you so much as step on a bug, you can alter the entire course of history (I know from experience).  Obviously, any number of things could have gone differently that could mess up this game of “what if.”

With those caveats in place, I thought it would be fun to play the “What if” game.  What if the Cowboys lost that game?  There are actually a couple interesting possibilities.

1) The Cowboys would have drafted 6th overall, not the Browns.

Remember the trade the Falcons made with the Browns on draft day?

Falcons got: Browns got:
6th overall pick (Julio Jones) 27th overall pick
  59th overall pick
  124th overall pick
  2012 1st round pick
  2012 4th round pick

(Cont after the jump)…

Knowing now how the draft panned out, the top rated player on the Cowboys’ board here still probably would have been Tyron Smith, seeing as Julio Jones (the 6th pick), Aldon Smith (the 7th pick), and Jake Locker (the 8th pick) didn’t fit any of the Cowboys’ needs.  Remember – the Cowboys chose Tyron Smith with the 9th overall pick.  Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and Browns GM Tom Heckert had that deal worked out prior to the draft, assuming the Falcons’ guy was still sitting there at 6.  Would Dimitroff have been on the phone with Jerry Jones instead, and could Jones have worked out as good of a deal as Heckert did?

Assuming the same deal were on the table for the Cowboys, would you rather have the 5 picks… or Tyron Smith?  Personally, I think Tyron Smith will be a good pro, but I’d take those 5 picks in half a heartbeat.  Check out the NFL draft tracker and have fun playing “what could have been.”

2) Jason Garrett may not have been named the head coach.

Even though that final game was completely meaningless, it would have looked really bad had the Cowboys lost to the Eagles’ scrubs.  After taking over for Wade Phillips, Garrett posted a 5-3 record as the interim head coach.  On paper, 4-4 looks so much less impressive than 5-3, and going out on a winning note probably did wonders for Jerry Jones’ mental well-being after what must have been an infuriating season for him.  I don’t know if Garrett would have been named the head coach anyway – It’s certainly far from a slam dunk.  I think most Cowboys fans are comfortable with Garrett as the head coach.  Would they be as comfortable with (fill in the blank)?


  1. Dan in Philly says:

    Jimmy, was this a “Simpsons” reference, or a “Sound of Thunder” reference, which was referenced in that Simpsons episode?

    1. A lot of shows have used that premise, with the Simpsons being one of course. Don’t know what Sound of Thunder is.

  2. andiamo708 says:

    not a big fan of “what if” but this was worth it jimbo

  3. Immynimmy says:

    WOW, that would have been awful if the Cowboys got 5 draft picks. Thank god they beat our scrubs with their starters by a grand total of one point!

  4. Imp says:

    “(I know from experience)”
    Jimmy’s a time traveler? :O

  5. CVD says:

    this game helped cement the “kolb is the worst qb of all time” thinking of fans who dont watch eagle football. his stats were horrible. and it sounds like an excuse when you say not to count this game. i was so glad dallas pulled it out in the final seconds. imagin if they got all those picks

  6. Dave says:

    Not to be off topic but…every time I look at this trade (two 1st round picks, one 2nd round pick, and two 4th round picks), I think that Kolb is worth every bit of a 1st and 3rd round pick.

  7. Keep Jim Thorpe in PA!! says:

    I am just glad Jerry Jones didnt have his eyes set on Marty for HC. That would have been the biggest slap in the face to Eagles fans everywhere! How about that for a What if?!!?

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