FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys being home for the playoffs has proven to be an all-too-familiar occurrence since their last Super Bowl title in 1995.
This is the 18th time over the last 27 years, including the fourth in seven full seasons under head coach Jason Garrett.
Owner Jerry Jones says Garrett's job is safe partly because he remains comfortable with Garrett as coach.
"It's not something I think about very much," Garrett said. "I get focused on what I need to do to do the job as well as I can do it. That is what my attention is and focus each and every day."
Garrett's presence allows Jones to be Jones.
But Jones also has a bigger and more convenient target for the team's failure to build on last season's 13-3 campaign by heading into Sunday's season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles and hoping to avoid its fourth 8-8 season under Garrett.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell remains the boogeyman who stole the Cowboys' season with the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott after supposedly telling Jones that there would be no discipline for allegedly assaulting former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.
In Jones' mind, a Cowboys team that began the season 5-3 would certainly be in the playoffs if Elliott wasn't sidelined, resulting in a 3-3 mark in his absence that put them on the outside looking in even before being officially eliminated in last Sunday's 21-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in his first game back.
But blaming the team's season and ultimate failure on Elliott is to also be in denial about season-long issues that would have eventually derailed the Cowboys from reaching the ultimate goal of getting to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
Even more surprising that it was the Cowboys offense, led by quarterback Dak Prescott, and not the team's suspect defense that let the Cowboys down in 2017.
It's not just that Prescott and the passing game did not show discernable progress from what was the greatest rookie season by any quarterback in NFL history a year ago. It's that it seemingly took a huge step back.
After tossing just four interceptions in 2016, Prescott has 13 so far in 2017, including nine over the past seven games when the Cowboys' season went kaput.
He has had four interceptions returned for touchdowns and had seven games with under 200 yards passing. Prescott has pressed at times because of the pressure, has been indecisive and gotten away from his fundamentals.
He also has shown the youth of a young quarterback, which was evident on a crucial drive against the Seahawks on a run-pass option on first-and-goal from the 3-yard line with the Cowboys trailing 21-12.
He ultimately got stuffed on a scramble and two plays later the Cowboys missed a field goal, killing their last real chance at a comeback.
Garrett said the Cowboys would re-evaluate their passing scheme
"Well, you're always looking at what you're doing in all phases of your team," Garrett said. "You're looking at what you're doing, when you're doing it, how you're doing it and who you're doing it with. We're always trying to put our team in the best position possible, trying to put players in the best position possible where they can execute. Sometimes we've done a really good job of that, other times it hasn't been good enough. We look at ourselves as coaches first, and then we look at the execution. We've got to get better, there's no question about that."