Let us count the ways the Cowboys can hoist the Lombardi once again

Posted 5:56pm on Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013

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Just about every single number, fact, stat, anecdote and historical marker say there is all but no chance.

Las Vegas has the Dallas Cowboys as 35-1 to win the Super Bowl and 17-1 to win the NFC.

Considering that this team is 16-16 the past two seasons, and has gagged on making the playoffs both years by losing the regular-season finale, it feels just about right.

But wait. There is indeed hope that the Cowboys can do this despite what appears to be a preponderance of evidence that the best they should expect is a playoff berth.

There is a road map that leads the Cowboys to the Super Bowl, and reasons to think the team can win its first Lombardi Trophy since 1996.

The Head Coach

Jason Garrett may not be calling the plays anymore, but the one thing is in his favor: his players do play for him. Do not take such trivial realities for granted in the NFL.

What he has done in the Cowboys’ locker room — and in his own staff meetings — is at least maintain some semblance of authority. That has prevented any type of fractures in the roster, or among his coaches.

That’s not easy when you work for Jerry Jones.

The players deserve credit for not bailing on Garrett when it appeared that the owner neutered him.

As long as the Cowboys continue to play for Garrett, they have a chance.

The Quarterback

Tony Romo may not necessarily have deserved the six-year, $108 million extension the team handed him in the off-season, but deserve has nothing to do with giant money. You get what you can get, something Romo has done as well as any QB in this era.

There is no Cowboys player in recent memory as polarizing as Romo. Despite fans’ feelings pro or con, there’s no denying the man can play the most important position in the game.

He is not Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco or Drew Brees, but Romo is one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league.

He has had to overcome so many deficiencies on his offensive line, and other areas, that you figure if he just received a little help up front or from his running game, he could be as good as the Cowboys believe.

Hate him or love him, Romo gives the Cowboys a fighting chance every week, and he is good enough to win a Super Bowl.

There is the matter of doing it.

Health

Every NFL team could say this, but the prolonged injury absences of linebackers Bruce Carter, Sean Lee, Jay Ratliff and Barry Church dramatically affected this team last season.

Lee is the central figure. He is right on the edge of becoming one of the best linebackers in the NFL, provided he is on the field. Carter isn’t too far behind.

Now, add in the likes of running back DeMarco Murray and receiver Miles Austin, and this team looks much better in 2013.

The problem is no NFL team remains injury free. It’s a question of keeping injuries to a few guys, and for a short amount of time.

The Cowboys are banking hard on this, which is tricky, but if you are going to believe they have a Super Bowl run in them you best believe, too.

NFC East

In order to make the Super Bowl, it would really help if the Cowboys made the playoffs; they play in the perfect division to make that happen.

Despite the NFC East being home to some of the biggest power markets in the U.S., New York, Philadelphia and Washington all feature professional football teams with major flaws.

The Giants are the wild card; if they’re interested and executing they are the best team. But they have finished 9-7 in each of the past two seasons, including winning their fourth Super Bowl on Feb. 5, 2012. (And Super Bowl XLVIII will be played in their home stadium, MetLife Stadium, on Feb. 2, 2014.)

The Redskins are praying that second-year QB Robert Griffin III’s injured knee is the same, but you have to wonder how long they will let their meal-ticket passer act like a running back. How will he do if he has to be a conventional passer?

The Eagles are going to be in a transition year, breaking in first-year head coach Chip Kelly.

All three teams have created a genuine opening for the Cowboys to win the NFC East.

Dez Bryant

By all accounts the man-child is acting like a man for the first time since he became a Cowboy in 2010.

He has followed what was a brilliant second half to the 2012 season with a boring off-season, and sounds like a motivated man to not only win but cash in on his enormous natural abilities.

Last season, he caught 92 passes for 1,382 yards with 12 touchdowns. It’s the clearest sign that his QB trusts him, and that he should see even more work this season.

When he’s right, he is simply too strong, physical and fearless for most opposing defensive backs to contain. He is a double team waiting to happen, and the Cowboys’ decision to take the risk to draft him has shown all the signs of paying off.

Law of Averages

For the truly desperate believer, you can always go with this — eventually, the Cowboys are not only going to return to the Super Bowl but win it. Roll enough dice and eventually you’ll hit.

It has been 17 seasons since the Cowboys last won a Super Bowl, by far their biggest gap between titles.

It’s time.

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