This Journalist Spent Seven Weeks With the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s What He Saw.

“Everything revolved around this idea of, ‘What do we do without Romo?'”

By Hady MawajdehDecember 10, 2015 10:16 am

When the NFL season was set to kick off back in September there were big hopes for America’s Team. Many believed that the Dallas Cowboys would be vying for a spot in the Super Bowl and that they would be able to build upon the success of 2014.

This season has hardly lived up to expectations. The Boys have been plagued with injuries and have had to play the majority of their games without stars Dez Bryant and Tony Romo.

Add to that, the team has been involved in a public relations nightmare with their offseason signing of Greg Hardy, who faced a conviction for domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend in 2014 and has made controversial comments throughout the season.

It all sounds like a telenovela. Tim Keown’s article “Seven Crazy Weeks in Big D” in the new ESPN Magazine gives insight into the drama that has surrounded the once sterling franchise of 90s.

Keown says the story began as an assignment to check in on the Cowboys. “It sort of blossomed into something a little bit bigger,” he says.

It became about Romo’s absence.

“[It] became this cloud, Romo being out,” Keown says. “Trying to figure out how to win a game without him just took on a life of its own. It became a sort of a panic where they were trying to replace Romo.”

The team made it a bigger deal that it was, Keown says.

“Everything revolved around this idea of ‘What do we do without Romo?'”

The story also became about the team’s “unique egos,” as one of Keown’s sources noted, and the general feeling of the team.

“There’s an element of eternal hope with the Cowboys,” Keown says. “It’s always ‘right now’ with the Cowboys, and it’s always Jerry Jones saying ‘This is the year. We’ve got this Superbowl team.'”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.