The expectations for the Dallas Cowboys this year are as high as can be. To most Cowboys fans, anything less than a Super Bowl victory on their own turf will be a huge disappointment of a season.
With these monumental expectations, some people, like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, believe that this year's team is the best one put on the field since the Super Bowl teams of the '90s.
When Jones was asked on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas if these Cowboys are the best team he has had since the Super Bowl winning teams, he responded by saying, "On paper, I would. I thought the team, two years ago, was the best team that I've ever been associated with that didn't win a Super Bowl or the national championship. But the one two years ago was the best one; this one is better than that team on paper."
So that poses two questions, are they the best team the Cowboys have had since the Super Bowl teams of the '90s?
And if so, are they as good or better than those teams?
The second question is an easy answer, in my opinion. No, they are not better than the Super Bowl teams of the '90s.
Those teams of the '90s had three players who have already been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith, along with a few more that will likely be inducted when all is said and done.
While Tony Romo, Miles Austin, and the Boys are good, they can not compete with that—not right now, at least.
When it comes to whether this is the best team since the 1995 team that won the Super Bowl, they very likely could be. The only team that could really challenge them on paper would be the team from two years ago that Jerry Jones alluded to.
The Cowboys team from 2008 had 13 returning Pro Bowlers, plus they added Adam "Pacman" Jones and Tank Johnson, and drafted Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, Martellus Bennett, and Tashard Choice. They also traded for receiver Roy Williams midway through the season.
Emerging star Tony Romo was entering his first full season as starting quarterback.
Those Cowboys were given a 98 rating in EA Sports' Madden football game, the highest rating a team has ever gotten in the game.
The problem with that team was the distractions in the locker room.
Players like Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, and even Roy Williams caused all sorts of distractions and separations in the team that carried over onto the field and ruined the chances of what was essentially a football all star team.
In my opinion, this year's Cowboys are better for a few reasons.
Most importantly, all of those distractions from 2008 are gone.
I know you're probably thinking, "What about Roy Williams?" but it appears that this season he understands that he is not the No. 1 guy, and if he does not play to his full potential and keep his mouth shut he could be seeing more of the bench than he does of the field.
Dez Bryant is also a player that people think will be a distraction, but if you have followed him closely since he was drafted, it is apparent that he most likely won't be one. He has been nothing but cooperative with the front office since being drafted, showing up for OTAs, taking less money than he could have taken, being the first player drafted in the first round to have his contract signed, making sure his contract was signed before training camp started so he did not miss any practice.
So what if he did not want to carry Roy Williams' pads. Good for him, he should not have to, it is not what he is there for.
Along with Dez Bryant and Roy Williams, Tony Romo will have Pro Bowlers in Miles Austin and Jason Witten and a very solid fifth string guy in Patrick Crayton to throw to this season, making the Cowboys one of, if not the most, dangerous passing teams in the NFL.
The run game is made up of the three-headed beast of Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice.
These three are one of the most dangerous running back tandems the NFL has to offer, and combined with the threats in the passing game, makes the Cowboys easily one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league.
The big question offensively is that of the left tackle position, a position now filled by Doug Free.
While it was only one series of a preseason game, Doug Free was very impressive during the Hall of Fame game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and settled a lot of my fears for him going into the season.
That being said, Antwan Odom is nowhere near the caliber player that Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, and many other players Free will have to block this season, and the concerns are still there.
Defensively the Cowboys start Marcus Spears, Jay Ratliff, and Igor Olshansky on the line, with very talented backups in Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen.
The linebacking corps is led by Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware and includes Keith Brooking, Bradie James, and Anthony Spencer.
The big question for the Cowboys defensively is how the secondary will perform, mainly against the deep ball.
Both of the Cowboys cornerbacks, Mike Jenkins and Terrence Newman, are Pro Bowlers, but the safeties are comprised of Gerald Sensebaugh, who has failed to live up to expectations in his one year with the Cowboys, and Alan Ball, who will be the starter for the first time in his career.
With an offense as explosive as the Cowboys have, the most explosive offense in the league in my opinion, and a defense who can shut down any offense on a given night, I think this Cowboys team is the best we have seen since the Super Bowl teams of the mid '90s.
Most Cowboys fans and many analysts believe this team has the talent to be the first team to ever play, or win, a Super Bowl on their home field, do you?
Agree? Disagree? Post your feedback in the comments section!
Don't forget to vote in the poll!