|Dallas owner Jerry Jones with All-Pro domestic abuser Ezekiel Elliott (Photo Credit: ESPN)|
But there are real moral dimensions to Sunday's Seahawk-Cowboy showdown.
Back in 2015, Seattle faced a Dallas team then coddling Greg Hardy, a defensive end whom Carolina had cut for getting caught throttling his girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
Two years later, the Cowboys continue to harbor bad men who hurt women.
Sunday will mark the return of All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott from a six-game suspension for several separate episodes of violence against an ex-girlfriend.
Last summer, Cowboy linebacker Damien Wilson backed his truck into a woman and brandished a rifle at a man in a Dallas stadium parking lot. The Cowboy candidly told arresting officers, "I had road rage."
Dez Bryant--the team's All-Pro wideout--hit his mom and tore her bra and T-shirt back in 2012.
Jerry Jones remains the NFL's vilest owner. That is no mean feat in a league that includes scoundrels like Stan Kroenke (who stole the Rams from St. Louis) and pervy bigot Jerry Richardson, who erected a 13' statue of himself outside Carolina's Charlottesville stadium, but is now selling the Panthers in an effort to forestall investigations for sexual harassment and racial slurs.
What makes the Dallas owner so vile? Jones not only condones domestic violence, but also opposes free speech. Earlier this season, Jones threatened to bench any player who knelt during the national anthem, and cited President Trump as the inspiration for his ultimatum.
The owner's threat has evidently cowed the entire Cowboy roster from exercising their First Amendment rights during the pregame patriotic observance.
Seattle, however, remains the home of free and the land of the brave.
|Center Justin Britt supports left tackle Duane Brown as he kneels & defensive linemen sit during the national anthem last week (Photo Credit: Q13)|
In 2015, Seattle and Dallas met in midseason, each entering the contest under .500. The Seahawks edged the Cowboys, 13-12, and their fates diverged from there. Dallas tanked to 4-12, while Seattle finished 10-6, won a wild card road game before losing to Atlanta in the divisional round.
This Sunday, the two teams meet in penultimate week of the regular season, each with identical 8-6 records and slim playoff hopes. A loss would conclusively doom either team's playoff hopes.
The Cowboys ride in on a three-game winning streak, while Seattle reels from a close loss in Jacksonville followed by a humiliating home blowout by the Rams.
Nothing went right for Seattle last week.
We learned that our run defense crumbles when All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is hobbled by a hamstring injury and unassisted by his Pro Bowl counterpart KJ Wright (out with a concussion). And we learned that our defense will quit when it gets no help from the offense.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell reverted to customary form as a playcaller early in the game. Normally, he gets a feel for the defense and calls better plays in the second half, but last week he innovated by deploying his reverse Midas touch until the game's bitter end.
Seattle fell behind early, abandoned the run prematurely, and threw too much.
After getting shut out against Jacksonville, Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham--instead of stepping up in the clutch--limited his production to one catch for a one-yard loss, plus a 15-yard personal foul penalty for pointlessly pushing a Ram in the back well out of bounds.
|(Credit: #Go Hawks 24/7)|