Every Sunday night, Around The League takes a closer look at four of the day's most interesting subplots. We call it The Filthy Four ... mostly for alliteration purposes.
Icing your common sense
We're of the opinion that one day football historians will look back at "icing the kicker" the same way today's doctors view the treatment of mental illness during medieval times. Primitive and hopelessly misguided.
But we have to hand it to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett -- on Sunday he took something dumb and hopelessly misguided and added a dash of madness. That's because Garrett -- who's just daring Jerry Jones to sentence him to a year of hard labor at an Odessa oil field -- iced his own kicker late in Sunday's game against the Cardinals. Dan Bailey had appeared to hit a game-winning 49-yard field goal as time expired, but Garrett put a stop to all that victory business with a timeout just before the snap.
Naturally, Bailey missed the kick on his second try and the Cowboys went on to lose in overtime in crushing fashion.
In a cosmic sense, this all made sense. The Cowboys had won four straight games, meaning they were way overdue for some outrageous gaffe that would put them back in the national spotlight. This should do it, and they didn't even have to sacrifice dear old Tony Romo to the Football Gods to make it happen. Win-win for everybody. Well, except for the Cowboys.
Tebow hasn't gone solo
We're not going to fight Tebowmania anymore. Much like Hulkamania, it will never die (unless Tebow does a reality show, his wife leaves him for a 20-year-old version of himself and then takes all his money in a calamitous divorce settlement). Tebow is obviously a force of nature, but the hysteria around him continues to hover at absurd levels.
At the moment, someone in the amped-up NFL.com newsroom shrieked, "Tebow did it again!"
Except he didn't. Andre Goodman did. Tebow was on the sideline, customary for the quarterback during the opposing team's possession. Point is, we're starting to feel like the Broncos as a whole are getting shorted in all this. Tebow was great on Sunday -- we were especially impressed by his ability to move his team without run-option gimmicks -- but the Broncos' five-game winning streak has been a team effort. Tebow's growing army of disciples should understand this.
Perfect Pack hits the homestretch
Way back in mid-October, The Filthy Four took great pride in being a trailblazer in wholly premature undefeated talk about the Green Bay Packers. At the time, we saw three toss-up games on the schedule: Week 9 at San Diego, Week 12 at Detroit, and Week 13 at the Giants. Well, the Pack have made it through that slate unblemished, surviving a scare Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Here's what remains for the 12-0 Packers: Week 14 vs. Raiders (who had their manhood stolen by the Dolphins on Sunday), Week 15 at Kansas City (home of Tyler Palko and his band, The Noodle Arm Express), Week 16 vs. Bears (likely without Jay Cutler, Matt Forte or any semblance of hope), and Week 17 vs. Lions (who reminisce about September like your uncles talk about that one Springsteen concert in '85).
Save Sparano (really!)
This is going to sound ridiculous, but how can Miami fire Tony Sparano? The Dolphins won for the fourth time in five weeks on Sunday against the Raiders, and they continue to look damn good doing it. Miami has outscored its opponents 139-54 over that stretch, with the sole loss coming by a single point to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Of course, it's hard to really champion Sparano when this same Dolphins team started the season with seven consecutive losses. But in an offseason that could produce more coaching turnover than we've seen in years, the Dolphins front office should at least consider if it's worth diving into a crowded fray that won't likely produce the high-profile name owner Stephen Ross covets.
Bill Cowher already said he'd rather fake laugh at Shannon Sharpe jokes than return to the sidelines. In Sparano, the Dolphins have an entrenched philosophy and a coach the team fights for. Ultimately, the owner gets what the owner wants, meaning Sparano won't survive. But that won't mean it's the right decision.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.