The Dallas Cowboys have not made a deep playoff run since winning Super Bowl XXX in the 1995 season. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday the franchise is "not going to be at peace" until it finds continuous postseason success.
"We've gotta take the next step, and I think everybody feels it, is we gotta be successful in the playoffs," Jones told Adam Schein on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio. He added: "Our fans deserve that. Certainly, we're not going to be at peace until we get over that hump."
The Cowboys finished the 2021 season with a 12-5 record, their best finish since 2016 when they went 13-3. After clinching the top seed in the NFC East, Dallas met the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card Round, falling 23-17.
The 49ers took a 23-7 lead into the fourth quarter and held off a late push from the Cowboys. Controversy erupted after Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott ran 17 yards down the middle of the field with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter and no timeouts.
Time expired before the Cowboys could run another play, and head coach Mike McCarthy was criticized for running a quarterback draw given the circumstances. McCarthy defended his decision, telling reporters it was "the best option."
Schein asked Jones on Friday if the team replays that final drive and uses it as motivation entering the 2022 season. He said he thinks "everybody in the Cowboys organization" rewatches that drive and the one before it.
Despite the questionable play call from McCarthy, Jones said he believes the longtime head coach can lead the team to a championship (h/t NFL.com's Bobby Kownack):
"Well, we've got nothing but the utmost respect for Mike. And as you said, we had a lot of good things happen. ... In Jerry and I's mind, there's no better guy to do that who's had as much success in this league as anybody than Mike McCarthy. His track record speaks for itself in Green Bay. I think he took the Packers to either three or four championship games. Obviously won a Super Bowl, you know, really had success in the postseason in Green Bay, and, you know, set us up with an opportunity to do that. We had the ball there twice with less than three or four minutes on the clock to go win the game with one of the best offenses in the league and we didn't get the job done."
While they lost Amari Cooper and La'el Collins this offseason, the Cowboys still figure to have one of the best rosters in the NFL. Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb highlight an impressive offensive unit, while Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs and DeMarcus Lawrence are standouts on defense.
That said, it won't be easy for the Cowboys to come out on top of the NFC in 2022, especially with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers set to return to their respective teams.