As Christmas approaches, the legacy of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys is still in flux. If the Cowboys win their two remaining regular-season games and get some help, they'll qualify for the playoffs, completing the resurrection of a season that appeared dead on Thanksgiving. If they miss the playoffs, this year's Cowboys will be one of the biggest disappointments in franchise history, given the offensive talent on the roster and the growth shown by the team's defense.
However the story ends on the field, the 2017 Cowboys won't be quickly forgotten; they gave DFW and their fans around the country one of weirdest campaigns in local sports history. From stolen dogs to footraces in strip-club parking lots, this Cowboys season had as much intrigue and amusement as anyone could've hoped. As the Cowboys, Falcons, Saints, Panthers and Lions get ready to write the season's final chapter over the holidays, let's look at the Cowboys' 10 strangest moments of 2017.
March 11: Ezekiel Elliott pulls down his friend's shirt during Dallas' St. Patrick's Day Parade.
This spring, as Ezekiel was still waiting for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision on a potential suspension stemming from domestic violence allegations, the superstar running back decided to pull down a woman's top at Dallas' St. Patrick's Day parade. TMZ got the video, and it went viral. The NFL chose not to punish Elliott for the incident, but it didn't help his image during the public relations battle that ensued after Goodell decided to suspend Elliott for six games.
July 4: Damien Wilson loses it over a parking spot.
On July 4, linebacker Damien Wilson headed to Toyota Stadium, the home of FC Dallas, for Frisco's Independence Day celebration. When he got there, a woman was standing in a parking spot, saving the space for a friend. According to a police report, Wilson attempted to back his truck into the woman before brandishing a rifle he he had in the backseat at the woman and her male companion. Police charged Wilson with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but a Collin County grand jury declined to press charges in the case.
July 16: The curious case of Elliott and the silent witness.
On July 16, someone punched Daryl Nkemakola Ibeneme in the face at Clutch in Uptown, breaking his nose. Rumors swirled that Elliott had punched Ibeneme, a DJ better known as DTrain, but Ibeneme refused to talk to police, leading the Dallas Police Department to send him a tweet asking for his cooperation. DTrain never came forward, and DPD announced less than two weeks later that it was no longer pursuing the case.
@DJ_dTrain Can you please contact Detective Kreun with @DallasPD at 214-671-3617?— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) July 18, 2017
July 18: Boogotti Kasino returns Lucky Whitehead's dog.
Shortly after the incident at Clutch, Lucky Whitehead, then a Cowboys receiver, announced that someone had stolen his dog, Blitz. The next day, local rapper Boogotti Kasino posted a video to Instagram documenting the return of the dog to Whitehead, claiming he'd purchased the dog from a third party. The Cowboys cut Whitehead later in the summer.
July 18: Terrance Williams shows off in a strip-club parking lot.
On July 18, TMZ completed a bumper crop of Cowboys tabloid stories in the month, releasing video of wide receiver Terrance Williams winning a footrace in XTC Cabaret's parking lot. TMZ said Williams agreed to the race at about 5 a.m. after being challenged by another patron at the club, but Williams later claimed he was just racing a friend at about 3 a.m. as he waited for a valet to bring his car around.
September through November: Elliott goes to court.
After being suspended by Goodell in August, Elliott went on a scorched-earth campaign to avoid the six-game ban, getting four court rulings that allowed him to play in the season's first eight games. As Elliott's legal battle went on and on, it began to feel like he'd play the entire season. Then, suddenly, a federal appeals court vacated his latest temporary restraining order in November, and Elliott's ban hit the Cowboys. They lost their next three games, falling to 5-6 after a 5-3 start.
Sept. 18: Jerry takes a knee.
After President Donald Trump began railing against NFL players who protested police violence and inequality during the national anthem, players throughout the league took a knee or linked arms in solidarity during the third week of the NFL season. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who helped fund Trump's inauguration in January, stood staunchly against the protests, saying Cowboys players would not play if they didn't stand for the anthem. In an attempt to have it both ways, however, Jones took a knee with the rest of the team before the national anthem played Sept. 18 in Arizona, doing just enough to raise the ire of Trump fans on Twitter but not enough to make a real statement.
ofccadjust RT CollinRugg: Entire Cowboys stadium “BOOS”— ADORABLEDEPLORABLE (@GoldStarMomTX55) September 26, 2017
as Jerry Jones and the Cowboys take a knee. America STANDS… pic.twitter.com/xQwlUaoKe6
Oct. 27: Jeff Heath gets called on for emergency duty.
After a groin injury to Cowboys All-Pro kicker Dan Bailey during the team's Oct. 27 victory against the 49ers, the Cowboys didn't have an active kicker on their game day roster. In stepped safety Jeff Heath, who hadn't kicked since high school but made two of three extra-point attempts and handled four kickoffs with aplomb. The Cowboys won 40-10, avoiding what could've easily been a special teams disaster.
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Nov. 5: The Hill Mary.
As the clock ticked down to halftime Nov. 5, the Cowboys looked set to cruise into intermission with a 14-3 lead over the AFC-lean Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, the Cowboys' defense fell absolutely flat after Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill's weaving sprint to the end zone after taking a dump off from quarterback Alex Smith. Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo called it one of the strangest plays he'd ever seen on CBS' broadcast. He was right.
TYREEK HILL SCORES TO END THE HALF HAHAHA COWBOYS pic.twitter.com/JVPDb0DRg6— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) November 5, 2017
Dec. 17: Saved by the width of an index card.
Desperately needing a score to stave off the Raiders in the fourth quarter of a must-win game, Jason Garrett chose to go for it on 4th-and-1 from his own 39-yard-line with the score tied at 17. Dak Prescott dove forward on a quarterback sneak, appearing to come up just short of a first down. When referee Gene Steratore brought out the chains to measure, it was impossible to see on TV if Prescott got the yard he needed, but Steratore determined that he did, confirming his decision by placing an index card between the nose of the ball and the first down marker. Four days later, on Dec. 21, the NFL issued a directive telling future refs to leave their cards at home and make first down decision based entirely on what they see.
Gene Steratore folks...the absolute best in the business. pic.twitter.com/CYlpx5PPjr— Mike Randle (@RandleRant) December 18, 2017