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The Cowboys picked the wrong recipe.

By: Paul Grenada | 4/12/2011, 4:34 p.m.

You have a bruising running game, a stout defense, and a decent quarterback. Mix it in a pot, add a competent coach who can push the right mental buttons and you have a Super Bowl contender.

The Dallas Cowboys had all of those things.

* Marion the Barbarian, a running back who broke more tackles than rules of combat are broken in the Middle East.

* A defense that had Demarcus Ware and his 20 sacks, All-Pro cornerback Terrance Newman, and a still serviceable Zach Thomas, and when sober and in shape, Adam Jones can cover most anyone.

* Tony "My girl is cuter than yours, and has WAAY more money" Romo, who is pro bowl caliber when not collapsing in bathrooms.

The Dallas Cowboys had all those factors, the ingredients were ready for the pot, and Wade Phillips jolly good fella that he is, could have pressed the right buttons. Remember he was one Music City Miracle away from a Super Bowl run when he was in Buffalo.

But lo and behold, Jerry Jones wanted some spice, wanted the dish to be more about flavor than substance.

Add a few dashes of Terrell Owens.

That's not to say it's T.O.'s fault for the Cowboys collapses. He doesn't play defense or block for running backs.

But he was the central figure on the team. The person everyone thought they had to follow in order to win games. Their identity. His personality became the face of the franchise.

He became their role model.

Not what you would consider a good idea.

Not because of who T.O. is, he plays through pain and broken ankles, but because of the position he plays.

No football team, no matter how talented, should have 52 players that wishes they were wide receivers.

Wide receivers play an integral role on any good offense. Moving the chains, changing field position, and opening up defenses to allow the running game to flourish.

Thing is, while that is an important role, it's a role that HELPS the other truly important parts. Wideouts make things easier. They don't necessarily WIN big games. Granted Steve Smith down in Carolina has a good argument, but then again so did Randy Moss in New England before his QB went down.

Wideouts don't win championships, they look good on T.V. after the team has won the Super Bowl, but that's because they don't get into the more violent parts of the game. Running backs and linebackers and linemen do all the grunt work. All the banging and bleeding, the work that needs to be done to make a win happen.

Wide receivers by comparison simply run fast and jump high. Which is why the going gets tough, a wideout does the only thing they know how to do.

Run really fast, away from the guy trying to hit him.

If linemen think like that, you get gaps in protection that leave your quarterback open for a big hit, running backs run sideline to sideline instead of goal line to goal line. Defenses allow teams to score on them at will.

Just like in Dallas.