The Dallas Cowboys did not win the Super Bowl. Again.
To see the Cowboys win the big game for the last time, you would have to go all the way back to the 1995 season when Forrest Gump was rampaging through theaters and baby Ezekiel Elliott was born one hot summer night. It’s 26 long years. It’s super unsatisfying to watch things play out the way they have for the Cowboys over the years, but that doesn’t take away from the excitement of the journey. Like this year for example; bad ending, but really fun for much of the year.
These moments of happiness from past seasons have made us reflect a little on the quality of these years. In Friday’s premiere episode of The Star Seminar, we played a little game where Rabblerousr, Landon McCool and I all discussed our three best non-championship seasons for the Dallas Cowboys. And a little caveat to this game is that each of us had to select a non-elimination year for our roster.
Here are the seasons that made my top three…
1990 – The Big Turnaround
This is the season I chose for my “non-playoff” season because it marked the start of something special. Sure, the team finished the year with a 7-9 record, but that was a big improvement from the 1-15 season they had the year before. This was the year that bitter fans who simmered after Tom Landry’s firing realized that this Jimmy Johnson guy might be the real deal.
At first, the team still struggled, but won four straight games later in the year. They lost their last two games and missed the playoffs, but that was largely due to Troy Aikman going down and backup quarterback at the time, Babe Laufenberg, struggling. It was Emmitt Smith’s rookie season and it didn’t take long for us to see he was going to be something special. They were good on offense with Aikman, Smith, Michael Irvin and Jay Novacek. They were starting to step up on defense with young defensive linemen like Jimmy Jones, Tony Tolbert and Danny Stubbs. They even had two linebackers, Ken Norton Jr. and Jack Del Rio, who now happen to be defensive coordinators. And let’s not forget how Jimmy Johnson paid attention to special teams with point guards like Bill Bates, Kenneth Gant, Alexander Wright, Kelvin Martin and punter Mike Saxon. These guys were real difference makers.
2007 – Another ride on the Romocoaster
It was hard to see Bill Parcells leave after the 2006 season and we weren’t sure what to expect with new coach Wade Phillips. The new season also brought Jason Garrett to the Dallas coaching staff as he entered his first year as the league’s offensive coordinator. The Cowboys’ offense was on fire, scoring the second-most points in franchise history at the time, and they were second in the league next to the New England Patriots’ record season.
This was Tony Romo’s first full season as the team’s starting quarterback. They had a running back combo of Julius Jones and Marion Barber (who made the Pro Bowl that year without ever starting a game). Romo and Terrell Owens respectively broke single-season passing and touchdown records that year, helping the team to a 12-1 start.
The BTB Rabblerousr alum and I discussed this extensively on our new show on the Blogging The Boys podcast network – The Star Seminar. Former BTBer Landon McCool was the guest on the first episode. You can listen to us there every Friday. Be sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network so you don’t miss any of our other shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
The offense got all the glory, but they actually had a pretty good defensive unit with players like DeMarcus Ware, Roy Williams, Terence Newman, Greg Ellis, Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher and free agent safety Ken Hamlin. In all, the team sent 13 players to the Pro Bowl. Ultimately, the season ended in disappointment as the top-seeded Cowboys lost in the divisional round to eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the final game. Match. It opened the door to some wild stories, especially for Romo as he endured a second straight season with an endgame error when questioned about his decision to go to Cabo San Lucas during the week. off, and sparked the notion of a Jessica. The Simpsons Curse. But, if you just take out the ending, it was a pretty fun season. I will never forget that Monday Night Buffalo game for as long as I live.
1981 – This is the team I love
This season was my favorite non-league season because it was the year that solidified my love for the Cowboys. I was very young, but I have so many good memories of that team that year. They had a young future Hall of Famer in Tony Dorsett who rushed for over 1,600 yards. They had the wide receiving trio of Drew Pearson, Tony Hill and Butch Johnson. And they loved pulling out the razzle-dazzle with trick games.
And it wasn’t just about the offense. The Cowboys defense led the league with 53 takeouts! That’s crazy. If you’re impressed with the league-leading 26 interceptions the Cowboys had last year, then you’ll love the 37 picks they had in 1981. And we know Everson Walls had 11 thanks to Trevon Diggs who tied his Cowboys single. -season high, but Walls had assists from Dennis Thurman (nine picks) and Michael Downs (seven picks). It was so fun to watch the defense take the ball.
That team put together three different four-game winning streaks that year and while it ended in an epic NFC championship against the San Francisco 49ers where some guy did some kind of catch or something, it didn’t. Doesn’t take away from the remarkable, exciting season that The Cowboys team brought us that year.
These are my first three, and you?