As I expected, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the NFL on October 12, so the Ezekiel Elliott suspension is back on… pending further litigation of course.
Most unbiased legal experts were saying Elliott, the players union, and their legal teams had no prayer of reversing the six-game suspension decision. They attempted to retry the matter, which is not what appeals courts are supposed to do. They also made a flimsy attempt at arguing that not every single shred of evidence was heard by the commissioner.
My suspicion all along was that what the Dallas Cowboys were really trying to do was control the timing of the suspension. Fans in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, and the rest, along with Jerry Jones, his lawyers, and his sycophants, all had October 8 circled on their calendars. That’s when they would get sweet revenge on the Green Bay Packers for roughing their boys up in last year’s playoffs. This is the game they wanted badly – badly enough to manipulate things so that Zeke would be in the backfield last Sunday to steamroll the Packers’ defense.
Let me talk directly to all you Cowboys: be careful what you wish for.
You got your wish, but those revenge plans didn’t pan out. By contriving to keep Elliott on the field early in the season, including for the grudge match against the Packers, you’ve now got to confront the consequences of that mistake.
If your burly running back begins serving his suspension now that the Packers game is history, it might not matter in the next two games, at San Francisco and Washington. But then the next three teams you’ll face will be Kansas City, Atlanta and Philadelphia – they have a combined record of 13 wins and two losses. Without Elliott during this stretch, your chances of making the playoffs are between slim and none.
So, what if you manage to delay enacting the penalty for another few games? Then you’re looking at not having Elliott available for playoff games – which assumes a lot, given your current 2-3 record. You also might start out next season without Elliott for a game or two.
I know: this isn’t the way it was supposed to be. In fact, your star runner isn’t even having a real good year, with his 3.7 yards per carry average – versus 5.1 last season. The pundits think that having this penalty endlessly hanging over his head has been a huge distraction for Zeke.
Yeah, Cowboys, you overthought things. You tried to turn the legal process into a farce, and you succeeded at that. But ultimately, the joke’s on you, Jerry, and the rest of Cowboy Nation!