Broke Down in Dallas
By Rustyn Burnside, ESPN 977
The Dallas Cowboys. A proud organization, America’s team, a team that any causal sports fan would recognize. The money, the merchandise, the stadium, the logo, it’s all there. Dallas has the material to be not only the most valuable franchises in the NFL, but one if its best. Dallas being a playoff powerhouse in the 90’s was the last time anyone would accuse the Cowboys of being the best the NFL can offer. Three of the franchises five Super bowls came from the 93, 94 and 96 season. It was a great time to be a Cowboy and to be a Cowboy fan no doubt about it, and fans often will reminisce about the good old days when they were beating up on the Buffalo Bills for consecutive titles.
Here's the Deal Dallas. That was a long time ago. Most people who follow football closely were most likely too young or not around during the last relevant period of football in Dallas. Jerry Jones and company are desperately looking to get that spotlight turned on once again, but it isn’t happening. After a 19-3 home loss on national TV to Tom Brady once again, it looks like another rough year ahead. Per Adam Schefter, Dallas scored their fewest points in a season opener since 1989 with a rookie Troy Aikman and a first-year coach in Jimmy Johnson. Also, Quarterback Dak Prescott is now slated to miss 6-8 weeks most likely, bringing in the dawn of the Cooper Rush era. Buckle up buckaroos.
With another disappointing season most likely on the way in Dallas, it is time to recognize once again how the mighty have fallen. After the dominant 90’s, Dallas made the postseason four times from 2000-2010. Three of these resulted in a first-round loss (03, 06, 07). Only one time did they make it back-to-back (06, 07). The one time they made it to the second round (09) they were blitzed 34-3 by the Vikings. Quite the fall off for one of the 90’s powerhouses, but it didn’t stop there.
Things would somehow get worse in the 2010’s. From 2010-2021, the Cowboys would find postseason play only in four seasons. 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2021. Never would they make consecutive postseasons or advance past the divisional round. The one-time Dallas looked like a real threat was 2016. At 13-3 on the season and with a bye, the Cowboys welcomed the 10-6 Packers into Texas. Dallas would fall 34-31, but fans would remain hopeful with the success they witnessed from a rookie Dak Prescott. That success has seen a single playoff win since then in two more postseason appearances. Since the start of the 2000’s Dallas has a playoff record of 3-8. Even worse, for a team with such pride and high expectations, Dallas has not appeared in the NFC championship game since 1995, the year they beat Buffalo for a championship.
It isn’t even just the playoff perspective that shows how Dallas has fallen off as a franchise. If the NFL has a hard time taking them seriously, so does the NFC East. Dallas has six NFC East titles since 2000. This is more than the Giants and the Commanders, but three less than the Eagles. Hard to be an NFL darling, when you’re not even the division darling.
Like the Knicks, Dallas no longer should get a pass based on the team’s storied history. They deserve credit for when it happened, but that should not carry over today. Dallas needs to be held accountable for what they are, a middling football team with a large fanbase and a lot of money. Not some NFL superpower. Since 2010 the Houston Texans have made the playoffs more times than the Dallas Cowboys, six different seasons have they played playoff football. This is two more seasons than Dallas has since 2010. America’s team? They almost aren’t even the team of Texas.
Statistics, History provided by Pro Football Reference.