At 3-9, there’s no denying the Dallas Cowboys are bad. But this season, the Cowboys are so bad, the NFL has made an unprecedented move and done something to the organization once thought unimaginable. The Dallas Cowboys were scheduled to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Sunday night prime-time slot this weekend.
However, due to their on-field performance and resulting lack of appeal, the league has bumped the Cowboys from Sunday night for the first time ever. Adding insult to injury, the Dallas matchup has been replaced with a game featuring the Cowboys’ division rival.
Dallas Cowboys having worst season in years
There are only so many ways you can describe the 2020 season for the Dallas Cowboys, and all of them are bad. At 3-9 with four games remaining, the Cowboys’ futility this season is on pace to match the 2015 team that finished 4-12.
There have been plenty of self-inflicted issues throughout the season, many of which fall under the purview of head coach Mike McCarthy. The 2020 Cowboys defense is one of the worst in franchise history, and is the NFL’s worst this season, allowing a staggering 32.8 points per contest.
While Cowboys fans will remember the 2020 season for the team’s overall poor performance, they also won’t forget the overwhelming number of injuries. It started just minutes into the team’s first padded practice when newly acquired six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy suffered a season-ending quad injury.
McCoy was the first domino to tumble. Many others followed. In October, quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome season-ending fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, which abruptly ended the fifth-year starter’s year that was on a record-setting pace.
NFL flexes out Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football
History has shown that even when the Dallas Cowboys struggle, they could always draw an audience with one of the biggest fanbases in all of sports. Because of that, the NFL and networks regularly feature the Cowboys in one of the prime-time viewing slots.
However, that line of thinking has changed in 2020. After the Cowboys deflating 34-17 defeat on national television Tuesday night, the NFL sent a sobering and insulting message to the Cowboys and their fans this week, opting to flex the team out of its previously scheduled Sunday night meeting with the San Francisco 49ers.
It’s the first time the Cowboys have been taken off Sunday night football since NBC won the rights to the flex-scheduling package back in 2006. The Cowboys organization was understandably disappointed by the first-time move.
“Number one, I think it’s a reflection of where we are right now as a football team,” Mike McCarthy said. “I mean, these are the types of things that I guess happen when you’re not successful. We’re disappointed, make no bones about it.”
NFL replacing Cowboys vs. 49ers with Browns vs. Giants
It’s bad enough for the Dallas Cowboys to be flexed out of the Sunday night game for the first time and moved to the 1 p.m. ET slot. The NFL added insult to injury, replacing Dallas with a matchup featuring the Cowboys’ surging division rival New York Giants against the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns, who are 9-3 this season and led by quarterback Baker Mayfield and first-year coach Kevin Stefanski, appear headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The New York Giants started the 2020 season slowly like the rest of the division, but rebounded in the last month, winning four straight, including an impressive road victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Giants currently sit at 5-7 and atop the NFC East.
It’s undeniable 2020 has been a very strange year on so many levels, including the NFL with hardly any fans, and postponing and rescheduling numerous games as a result of the pandemic. But the Dallas Cowboys falling out of favor with the NFL and the networks and being replaced by the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants is an altogether different kind of weirdness. And so very 2020.