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Written by Asher Feltman

Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys had a whole year to correct their embarrassing, unforgivable mistakes that took place in week one last year versus the Washington Redskins. For about forty-five minutes in 2011’s opening game, everything had seemed resolved. New coach, new defensive coordinator, a healthy quarterback and drastically altered expectations surrounded the Cowboys going into their first matchup against the intimidating New York Jets. Starting the season in New York on the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11 is not your typical football game. The boldest predictions guessed that the Cowboys would stay competitive at the Meadowlands, but the masses saw an 0-1 start in the future for Dallas.

For three quarters, we saw signs reminiscent of the 13-3 2007 Dallas Cowboys football team. Turnover-free football and an energetic defense from a young group of players had the Jets on edge. Just seconds into the final quarter, Felix Jones registered his first touchdown of the season and pushed Dallas’ lead to a commanding 24-10 lead. In the grand history of the 5-time Super Bowl Champions, the Cowboys have not lost a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter since 1960. But if there is one team and one captain destined to squander away a sizeable lead to a great team, it is our beloved Cowboys –and it is going to be Antonio Ramiro Romo.

A goal line fumble, a blocked punt and a gift wrapped interception sent to

“Revis Island” ensued in the following fourteen and a half minutes, and just like that it was the same nightmarish football game that we are unfortunately spoiled with from the Cowboys. Senior and avid Cowboys fan Jake Winslett watched helplessly as the team unraveled on national television. 

“Going into the game, I thought they would lose,” Winslett said. “After three quarters, I thought they would win because they had dominated the game in every aspect. I was surprised when they blew the lead.”

But there are 31 other teams in the National Football League, and none of them will break your heart and grind your teeth like the Cowboys. Highlighted by masterful pregame ceremonies before Sunday’s games, and anchored by a very memorable opening game on Thursday night between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints, week one in the NFL certainly was three days of football to remember.

The defending Super Bowl champions stopped former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram on the one yard line to finish off a thrilling 42-34 victory at legendary Lambeau Field. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers combined to complete 59 of 84 passes for 731 yards and seven touchdowns. Unless someone could possibly throw for 500 yards on their own, this was quite an amazing feat.

The other big games of the weekend, according to the “experts,” were Steelers at Ravens and Eagles at Rams, featuring the debut of the “Dream Team” assembled in Philadelphia. The talented, young Lions visited the just as young and talented Buccaneers in Tampa, and the loyal Bears fans packed Soldier Field to host the highly touted Atlanta Falcons.

“Pardon the Interruption’s” Mike Wilbon was salivating over the AFC North rivalry matchup between the Steelers and Ravens. The game was never close (except for kickoff) and the Steelers managed to put up a statistical line resembling Washington Wizards point guard John Wall – seven points and seven turnovers. The Eagles took care of business with a subpar performance and the Rams lost a handful of mediocre starters to injury. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson started the season hot, connecting for two of Stafford’s three touchdown passes. Wilbon’s Bears, led by the one and only Jay Cutler, responded to league-wide criticism and routed the Atlanta Falcons at home, cruising to a 30-12 victory.

All good things must end, and the first slate of games in the 2011 NFL season wrapped up with a Monday Night Football double header on primetime television. The first game is the game everyone wants to see, and then ESPN squeezes in a west coast game to cap off the week. However, Monday night brought us the Patriots at the Dolphins, and the Broncos hosting the Raiders. You could say the network dropped the ball, but Wes Welker caught it. The Dolphins played inspired football but were heavily outmatched by Tom Brady, Tom Brady’s hair, and the New England offense. Brady threw for a career high 517 yards, 160 of those yards going to former Texas Tech Red Raider Welker. Brady and Welker also connected on a 99-yard touchdown pass, tying the NFL record for the longest scoring play on offense.

The night cap started before the conclusion of the first game, as both contests went well beyond their scheduled programming time. Hey, you could have changed the channel. But you would have missed a legitimate battle of mediocrity. After a rather successful season considering what he had to work with, Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable was fired by the ageless owner Al Davis. The Broncos replaced the disastrous efforts of Josh McDaniels with veteran and somehow unemployed John Fox, who the Carolina Panthers cut ties with after a 2-14 season that rewarded them with the exciting Cam Newton from Auburn. Fox lost his debut to fellow debuting Hue Jackson, who guided the Raiders to their first opening game victory in nine years. It can only go downhill from here for Oakland. Like Brady and Welker, Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski joined the record book, tying the NFL record for the longest made field goal with a 63 yarder as the game entered halftime.

One football week down, sixteen to go. Enjoy every moment of your team’s season, because it goes quick.  For Dallas Cowboys’ supporters, hopefully they give me something to write about in early 2012.

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