The Decline and Fall of America's Team

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That sound you heard out of Dallas was the thud of one dynasty falling, and like everything those hard-living Cowboys have ever done, the end came with a bang. Although no one including gamblers who made the 'Boys a six-and-a-half point favorite over Carolina could believe it, the Cowboys really are that bad. In an embarrassing 23-13 loss to the Panthers that was far worse than the final score would indicate, Emmitt went out early with an injury, Michael was outplayed by a second-year guy named Stepfret Williams, and Troy looked like he was doing his best to make sure Barry Switzer wouldn't be back for another year.

Mired in the only three-game losing streak of his long coaching career, it's pretty clear that Switzer won't be on the sidelines next year, leaving who? Jerry Jones? "I hope this isn't the end of an era," Aikman said after the game. Unfortunately for this generation of Cowboys, if not the end, it's at least the beginning of the end.