With one playoff win in the last 12 years, the history and tradition of Big D is anything but, and the future does not look bright.
Can the target of being dubbed "America's Team" be part of the reason, or has the game changed enough to cause the Cowboys to totally revamp the way they play the game. A new stadium with new features, and new sub-entertainment venues, but same result: No Super Bowl.
For the fans that love the Dallas Cowboys, and the fans that love to hate them, here is the start of the countdown.
With the exception of DeMarcus Ware, the Dallas defense is in need of much improvement. They give up just over and average of 21 points per game which ranks 21st in the league. For the most part, they have been rather inconsistent and in doing so puts them in their current position. The inconsistency is the most intrical part because, when they have played bad, the offense played good, and when they played good, the offense played bad. Roller coasters are fun, but not when it comes to playing defense.
A defense with only one pro bowl starter from last season (DeMarcus Ware), has some questions.
An aging Keith Brooking at middle linebacker, and Terence Newman at corner, the youngsters around them need to pick up the pace. The other problem is, if they aren't young, there lies a lack of experience, both playing and starting. And with age is suppose to come experience, but if the youngsters cannot become more coachable, and learn the nuances of the game, then each year is going to be more difficult for the fans to watch.
Another sign that you can determine how good a defense is, is really whether or not you have heard of their players. The average football fan knows (at the very least) the play makers of the good defenses, but no one from an average to poor defense even if they have a player like DeMarcus Ware.
Vince Lombardi once said, "Some people try to find things in this game that don't exist, but football is only two things - blocking and tackling" Well we just discussed the tackling aspect, and later in the countdown I will "tackle" the blocking aspect.
For starters the Cowboys have competed in more Super Bowls (8) than any other team in the NFL, winning five of them. After the 1978 season was when they were dubbed, "America's Team", even though they lost the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-31. Of course the old ball coach and NFL Hall of Famer Tom Landry was against the nickname, because he knew that it did paint a target. However, that was only the beginning of the hostility that motivated their opponents.
As high as the level of competition is in the NFL, in addition the pressure of winning, every team wants to beat "America's Team." Why? Because everyone wants to say that they BEAT "America's Team", and that fact they everyone else does not have that nickname, just adds wood to the fire.
Adding to that motivation, (although it may seem minor), is that the Cowboys play in the state of Texas. The lone star state arguably fields the best high school and college football teams each year, and in doing so, the pressure to win from within at all levels is synergistic-ally increased. And since everything is supposedly "bigger in Texas", the pressure to have the best football team in the world, with that big shiny star on their helmet, is almost surreal.
Side Note - I do believe those who live in Alaska may have something to say about everything being bigger in Texas, since Alaska is by far the biggest state.
Now you look at the off-the-field matters which relate to the world-class phenomenon that are the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. You throw in a little Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson and you have Hollywood marketability. Not to mention Romo and Simpson went on a boating trip during their bye-week before the 2007 Divisional Playoff match-up against the New York Giants (a game in which they lost).
Fun Fact - The first words a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan teaches their newborns are "Dallas Sucks." Which I though was a hilarious replacement as opposed to "Dada."
Two words. He's changed.
When Mr. Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in the late-1980's all he wanted to do was win. But in order to win, you must be patient because failure almost always comes first. Since their last Super Bowl victory he has not been patient enough with his head coaches, and with his business background has tried to make the Cowboys bigger than the game.
No head coach has lasted longer than five years under Jones, even Jimmy Johnson won two Super Bowls. Barry Switzer won Super Bowl XXX, but was gone two years later. If you want to win big in the long run, you must be patient.
Even the coaches who had minor success were gone because they couldn't win in the post-season. Chan Gailey had made playoff appearances in his first two seasons with Dallas, but was gone because of two straight playoff losses. And the legendary Bill Parcells made two playoff appearances, but was gone after only four years. Wade Phillips gets the Cowboys their first playoff win in 12 years, but no Super Bowl. I expect him to be gone after this season.
With already being dubbed "America's Team", the new stadium only makes the bulls-eye bigger. A screen inside the stadium that looks to be bigger than the field itself, restaurants, night-clubs, etc.. You name it and this stadium may have it, other than a NEW Super Bowl Banner. Dallas fans you can thank your team owner for an adult themed venue, as opposed to a football stadium.
I am convinced that had Dallas not been so over-hyped and overrated all these years, that they would have had more post-season success. This is the NFL, you cannot expect to win the Super Bowl every single year, otherwise you'll never meet your short-term goals. The building blocks to long-term success lead back to the owner.
Previously I mentioned the tackling issues of the Cowboys. And I promised to "tackle" the blocking issues. Here it is.
Arguably the most important part for any offense to have consistent success. I know the quarterback is key as well, but remember when the Ravens won the Super Bowl, Trent freaking Dilfer was their guy at the helm. Not to say that the Cowboys can't win with Romo, because they have. But once you become one dimensional, then the defensive schemes change. Which then it becomes more difficult to win late in the season.
As of week 5 the Big D ranks 24th in rushing, averaging roughly 95 yards per game. With the running back tandem they have in Marion Barber and Felix Jones, they should be at least in the top 15. This one-two punch combo has experience together and is one of the best in the game today. But because of a poor performance by the O-Line (penalties included), don't expect them to be as consistent as previous seasons.
Now since the Boys' can't run the rock, they must rely on the right arm of Tony Romo. Their receiving core is definitely above average, and with Romo's ability to keep plays alive, Dallas always has a chance. But with no run game, defenses will ultimately prepare more for the aerial assault and eventually shut it down as the game progresses.
One final note, maybe they should focus on their profession and not their heavy metal band.
If history tells us anything about NFL head coaches, its that defensive coordinators who become head coaches have limited success (with the exception of Bill Belichick).
The mastermind of the 46 defense Buddy Ryan, did not make a Super Bowl appearance as a head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Pittsburgh Steelers current defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau posted a dismal record of 12-33 as a head coach with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2000 through 2002. Lovie Smith made one Super Bowl appearance with the Chicago Bears back in 2006, but has only made one other playoff appearance. John Fox of the Carolina Panthers, and Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars have only one Super Bowl appearance and five playoff appearances in 15 total years as head coach between the two of them.
Now is it just me, or does this guy always have a look of confusion on his face?
Wade Phillips has been a head coach in the NFL for 8 full seasons prior to 2010. And has a winning percentage of almost 60%. His father (Bum Phillips) was a great NFL Head Coach, reviving the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints franchises back in the 1970s and 80s. But as most people say, "like father like son", and Wade has yet to make a Super Bowl appearance as a head coach.
His playoff record speaks for itself when he has a record of 1-5, and win number one coming this past season, but then getting embarrassed by the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round 34-3 doesn't make it a successful season in Dallas. In Denver he had future Hall of Famer John Elway for two years as head coach and got thrashed by the then Los Angeles Raiders 42-24 in 1993. In 1994 Denver was fighting for a playoff spot with a record of 7-6, but lost their final three games, to finish 7-9. After the season Wade was gone, and 3 years later Denver went on to win back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998.
In Buffalo, Wade had more regular season success but failed to make it past the wild-card round each of his first two years. He also made one of the worst decisions in Bills' history in the 1999 wild-card round against the Tennessee Titans when he benched fan favorite Doug Flutie in favor of one-hit wonder Rob Johnson to start the game. "The Music City Miracle" propelled the Titans with momentum and a birth in Super Bowl XXXIV.
History would once again repeat itself when the Cowboys posted a 13-3 record and the NFC's number one seed in 2007. Not to mention it was Wade's first year in Dallas, but who are we kidding, this is Wade Phillips. His playoff ineptitude has overshadowed that of Norv Turner and Marty Schottenheimer. Thus the Cowboys would lose to the New York Football Giants, who then went on to win Super Bowl XLII in dramatic fashion.
So with that being said, I expect Wade to be gone after this season. And if the Dallas Cowboys want to get back to their real history and tradition, they need to hire a coach who knows how to win when it matters the most.