Arakotaram: Elis: the Cowboys of Conn.

The past few weeks have been a disaster.

My Dallas Cowboys are 5-4 and have become the league’s biggest punch line. From the Pacman Jones disaster to T.O.’s whining, Valley Ranch is starting to look more like “Days of Our Lives” than an NFL team. It’s not a surprise that Dallas has gone from preseason Super Bowl favorites to wild-card long shots.

The Cowboys aren’t the only team to break my heart. After opening the season as co-favorites to win the Ivy League, the Bulldogs somehow forgot how to play offense. Yale has lost as many games in the last six weeks as it did in the past two seasons combined. The worst part is that the Cowboys and the Bulldogs have become mirror images of each other.

And it’s not just the crushed expectations, either.

A history of choking

The Cowboys followed up Romo’s infamous botched hold against the Seahawks with a heartbreaking loss to the Giants in last year’s playoffs. Even though Dallas posted the best regular season record in franchise history, the Cowboys failed to win a playoff game for the twelfth straight year.

On the other side of the Mason-Dixon Line, the Bulldogs keep finding ways to lose to their biggest rivals. Yale was forced to share the Ivy League title in 2006 after blowing a two-touchdown lead to Princeton. Last year, the Bulldogs choked on the chance for their first perfect season since 1960 in a humiliating 37-6 loss to the Crimson.

Coaches on the hot seat

After watching his team stumble out of the gates, Jerry Jones had to publicly state that head coach Wade Phillips’s job was not in jeopardy. Yeah, right. The easiest way to know how close a coach is to being fired is to look at the number of times ownership has to defend their guy. When’s the last time you heard the Patriots saying that Bill Belichick’s job was safe?

The Bulldogs have their own problems with head coach Jack Siedlecki. Although he’s led Yale to two Ivy League titles and consistently recruited top-shelf talent, Siedlecki does not inspire confidence among the Bulldog faithful, to say the least. He added fuel to the fire after the Elis’ loss to the Quakers, admitting that he “had no answers offensively … and did not give our players a chance.” Sounds more like a resignation letter than a press conference.

An injured superstar

Through the first five weeks of the year, NFL experts around the league wondered why Tony Romo was “struggling” so much. Fourteen touchdown passes, only five interceptions and the league’s third-best quarterback rating? If that’s “struggling,” Romo must be God incarnate. Since the Cowboys’ savior went down with a broken pinkie, the team has been in an all-out nosedive. There should be a support group for this stuff. “Hello, I’m a [your team name here] fan, and Brad Johnson is my starting quarterback.”

Romo’s Yale counterpart, Ivy League MVP Mike McLeod ’09, hasn’t missed a game yet, but after suffering a broken toe against Penn, he’s nowhere near the player that rewrote the Bulldog record books. He’s averaging just 3.4 yards per carry this season, the second-worst mark among starting Ivy League running backs. That’s the difference between this year’s 4-3 disappointment and last year’s 7-0 sprint.

Karan Arakotaram is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.

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