I miss covering the team that everyone loves…or loves to hate. Wait a sec, let me amend that a bit. People still love or love to hate the Cowboys, but back in the 90’s they loved to hate the Cowboys because they were good. I miss those days.
I miss the Super Bowl. It just isn’t the same when the Cowboys aren’t in it. These days I go to Super Bowl parties rather than going to the actual game. And I don’t care who wins, I just want my “numbers” to come up at the end of each quarter.
Stunningly, it was twenty-two years ago this week that the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl, January 28, 1996. That was Super Bowl XXX. That is Super Bowl thirty for those who don’t know their roman numerals. The Pittsburgh Steelers almost gift-wrapped that game and gave it to the Cowboys. Thanks Neil O’Donnell.
But seriously, that’s ancient history in the sports world. In fact, nine players from that game are in the Hall of Fame. That is to say they played out their careers, then retired, waited the five-year period, and then some still didn’t get in on the first ballot. But six Cowboys and three Steelers who played that day now have busts in Canton, Ohio.
The question today is the same as it has been for the last twenty-one years, how do the Cowboys get back to that level? The answer is simple – nobody knows. At least nobody in the Cowboys organization seems to know. They have tried so many approaches in an attempt to restore the glory and the fun of those dynastic days. From hiring a legendary coach in Bill Parcells, to consorting with the enemy, i.e. Terrell Owens, to getting lucky with quarterbacks like undrafted Tony Romo and fourth-round pick Dak Prescott.
That last name mentioned may be the key to the next Cowboys run. This is still a quarterbacks league. All you need do is look at this year’s game, and last year’s game, and the six other times that Tom Brady has lead his team to the top. Or take a peek at the other team in Super Bowl LII, and who guided them under center most of this season. I get that it’s hard to look because the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the biggest rivals the Cowboys have, but there they are in Minneapolis.
If you look at the way the Eagles built their team, it is very similar to what the Cowboys are trying to do. That is create an environment that is quarterback friendly. An environment that allows the quarterback to succeed. The Eagles traded up to get Carson Wentz in the draft of 2016, where they actually leapfrogged the Cowboys to get him. In the same off-season the Eagles hired a former NFL backup quarterback in Doug Pederson to groom Wentz.
If any of this sounds familiar, it should. In 2011 the Cowboys hired a career backup QB as their head coach, and he has been charged with developing quarterbacks. He actually did a great job with Tony Romo, getting the most out of an undrafted guy from Eastern Illinois. Romo went to four pro-bowls and may have actually lead the Cowboys to the promised land if not for a bad back.
Now the current project is obvious for the Jason Garrett lead Cowboys. Get the most out of Dak Prescott. After that spectacular rookie year, the Mississippi State Bulldog had some growing pains in year two. But know this, Garrett can coach the position and Dak is willing to work. He has the most serious approach to the game that we have seen around here since Troy Aikman.
So if you are like me, and you miss the Cowboys being in the Super Bowl, I get it! If Dak develops into what we think he might be, in a couple years we might care about the game again. Until then, I hope the Patriots lead 7-3 at the end of one, have a 17-13 lead at halftime, then 27-23 sounds like a good score at the end of the 3rd, and then no scoring in the fourth quarter. My numbers are all that matter this year, once again.