Wade Phillips presides over the most gutless team in franchise history.

That's his legacy. Forever.

And it should be after the Eagles stomped the Cowboys, 44-6, in a win-and- you're-in-the-playoffs game yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field.

But he's keeping his job - even after the worst loss of the Jerry Jones era. Seriously.

Jerry wants to keep the coaching staff intact because he said the continuity provides Dallas with its best chance to win. Besides, he doesn't want to make the same mistake he did nearly a decade ago, when he fired Chan Gailey after only two seasons.

Can you say poppycock?

It seems to me Jerry needs a psych evaluation. Either he has lost his mind or he thinks the fans in Dallas are so dumb they will fill his new billion-dollar stadium regardless of the product on the field or the man running the team.

That's the only conclusion you can draw, because if Phillips keeps his job after this season, Jerry should never fire him. Phillips will never do a worse job than he did this season.

Ever.

Then again, maybe Jerry's encouraged because the Cowboys won the fourth quarter - 3-0 on a 42-yard field goal by Nick Folk - and we all know the importance Phillips places on finishing strong.

"You take everybody, starting here, to the woodshed," Jerry said. "Everybody goes to the woodshed. Everyone."

We'll see.

But it's hard to talk tough about taking folks to the woodshed when Phillips, who managed a 13-3 team with Super Bowl expectations so poorly that it didn't even make the playoffs, remains the coach.

This group of arrogant faux stars played with a sense of entitlement, in part, because Phillips provided a plethora of ready-made excuses for their flaws, when he should've been challenging his underachieving players to perform better.

The big-time players who were supposed to make big plays in big games never showed up against the Eagles.

You can start with Tony Romo, who threw an interception and fumbled twice, leading to 17 points. Philadelphia outscored the Cowboys, 41-0, during the second and third quarters.

After the second fumble, Romo lay face-first on the turf, his hands on his helmet in despair. Until he decides protecting the ball is a high priority, Romo will never have end-of-the-season success.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett's offense was abject, as it has been much of this month against quality defenses. Romo said the Eagles thwarted the Cowboys' pass-blocking schemes, his way of saying either Garrett or offensive line coach Hudson Houck did a poor job.

Ultimately, this game was about the Cowboys playing the same old sloppy football Phillips has accepted all season.

Trailing 17-3 with no margin for error, Adam Jones committed a dumb personal foul - imagine that - at the end of Reggie Brown's 13-yard catch, moving the Eagles to the Dallas 14. Terence Newman's pass interference in the end zone on third-and-9 from the 13 put the ball at the Dallas 1.

Brent Celek's touchdown catch pushed the lead to 24-3.

No way this team, devoid of heart and character, could overcome that deficit. Just to make sure, Jones fumbled the ensuing kickoff to set up David Akers' 50-yard field goal on the first half's final play.

Last week, the Cowboys finished the Baltimore game by allowing the two longest runs - 77 and 82 yards - in franchise history during the game's final four minutes. Against Philadelphia, Dallas allowed two of the longest fumble returns in franchise history - 73 and 96 yards.

Ridiculous.

Now these Cowboys, who entered December 8-4 and in control of their playoff destiny, must answer another year of questions about their propensity for choking after going 1-3 in the season's final month.

Then they can answer questions about their embarrassing streak of 12 consecutive seasons without a playoff win, the longest in franchise history.

"This is a tough way to end the season," Terrell Owens said. "The last two games [were] really a shameful way to go out."

What did you expect from this gutless group?