Defense Wins Championships
From Cowboys to Rangers to Mavericks, where's the D in Dallas?
If you believe a good defense will always best a good offense, then you may not want to follow the Dallas-area sports teams in the foreseeable future. Although all of the major teams have talent, there’s a certain hard-nosed edge missing from three major squads. Essentially, there is no D in Big D.
The Cowboys' pathetic defense is the most obvious culprit. This is a squad that lacks talent, depth and attitude. The result was a disastrous record-setting string of futility that disintegrated any hope for a strong playoff run despite the fact that the NFC East was ripe for the taking.
Dallas sports fans have been lucky to see a basketball title and two World Series appearances in the past five years.
It also put the Cowboys square in the conversation for worst defense in franchise history. Jerry Jones was apparently not too embarrassed with this showing, because he’s barely lifted a finger to change anything, so fans had better hope for an incredibly productive draft or it will be more of the same next season.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks have their own disturbing trend of defensive collapses in the form of multiple blown leads to pull losses out of the jaws of victory. The malefactor once again is a shoddy defense that can’t get stops late in games and therefore ensures no lead will be safe. Call it the curse of Tyson Chandler, because the Mavs' defense has just never been the same since Mark Cuban let the best center in Mavericks history walk after the championship season.
Staying at the American Airlines Center, the Stars have grown from a directionless collection of misplaced parts into a talented core with a bright future. The offense features quick skaters and magnificent team speed, but the defense just can’t keep up.
The Stars have resorted to multiple lineup shuffles in a desperate attempt to find a defensive setup that doesn’t short circuit their chances of winning. For now, the Stars can only hope they can outscore teams and that goalie Kari Lehtonen can continue to play out of his mind to make up for defensive mistakes.
That leaves the Texas Rangers. This is the most sound defensive team of the four and, not coincidentally, the best chance for a title coming to Dallas-Fort Worth in the next few years. Although the Rangers should be favorite contenders for the World Series title, the team fortunes took a major blow recently when starting pitcher Derek Holland took a tumble over his dog to put his 2014 season in jeopardy.
The accident will cost the second pitcher at least half of the upcoming season and put a serious dent in the Rangers’ pitching lineup. Fittingly, the dog’s name is Wrigley, after the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs. After all, what more snakebit franchise is there in baseball these days? Hopefully, the dog doesn’t carry the curse of the Cubs down to Arlington.
Dallas sports fans have been lucky to see a basketball title and two World Series appearances in the past five years. Those moments might have to hold them over for a long time if the D in Dallas isn’t fixed.