Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

The ‘boys of purgatory

Dallas+Cowboys
Chloe Williams

January has been a rough month for the Dallas Cowboys organization over the past 29 seasons. The ‘Boys have not won a divisional round game since 1995, which was also their last appearance in the NFC Championship game. 

The biggest and most profitable brand in the NFL is just that — a brand. Dallas is not the titan on the gridiron that it once was. Since their last Super Bowl run in 1996, Dallas has gone 5-13 in the playoffs. Teams used to fear the Cowboys whenever they faced them in the playoffs, but that was when jerseys made of mesh were still in style. 

Entering the season, expectations were high for the Cowboys. Offensively, Dallas was led by all-pro quarterback Dak Prescott and his favorite target, NFL reception leader Ceedee Lamb. One of the NFL’s Iron Man offensive lines continued their streak of consistency. The defensive unit was ranked the fifth best defense in the league, with overtones of a modern day Doomsday defense. 

The talking heads of the national media circuit and fans around the nation placed the Cowboys in the select group of teams that were contenders for the Super Bowl. For the third consecutive year in a row, the Mike McCarthy-led Cowboys went 12-5 and earned the second seed and the NFC East division title. 

Coming into the playoffs, there was no indication that this well-oiled machine would break down in any form. This season, Dallas went undefeated at home, and with the division title and being the second seed, the Cowboys would get at least two guaranteed home playoff games. The Green Bay Packers, a familiar foe in Cowboys history, snuck into the playoffs as the seventh seed. Since the expansion of the NFL playoffs for the 2020 season, not a single seventh seed has won their playoff game. History would be made by the Packers. 

The question can no longer be thrown to the side, and it must be faced head-on for the sake of the organization’s legion of fans. What is the issue with the Dallas Cowboys organization, and why do they flounder in the playoffs? 

Last Sunday showed that no matter how many yards are caught and thrown or whatever number of sacks the defensive unit gets in the regular season if you do not show up in the playoffs, those get negated immediately. 

The Cowboys have had one constant throughout this course — Jerry Jones. Jones, the egomaniac owner of the Cowboys, remains a case study of why overstepping in organizational matters can affect the team in various ways. Jones has already made up his mind; he is keeping the ship straight, and McCarthy and Prescott are not going anywhere, at least for another year. 

The Cowboys are faced with professional sports’ most derelict state of being playoff purgatory. Fans belonging to the 1999 to present Cleveland Browns or the New Orleans Saints during the ‘70s were never hopeful. These fans just knew that their favorite team was going to be terrible and have a high draft pick for a consecutive year. The expectations of those fans were low, and even when the team had a two-game winning streak, it was just a smokescreen illusion, and they knew it would not last. 

Dallas is a special case; the team has not truly been in the NFL’s basement for consecutive years. There have been a few bad years here and there, but they are consistently average or above average, enough to sustain the brand of the Dallas Cowboys. Jones, never far away from the media’s attention, feeds excitement with fiery quotes and hype and, in turn, causes immense pressure on the quality of play by the players on the field. 

Jones may have turned the Cowboys into an unlimited money-making machine over his tenure as the Cowboys owner, but the history books and fans do not care about a Cowboys-branded shopping district in Frisco or whatever sponsored product is “endorsed” by the club.

They care about the success of the on-field performance Sunday during the Fall. Time is out for McCarthy and this current squad. Jones, in a sympathetic act, will give them one last go around. They say in Dallas that the third decade is a charm. 

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About the Contributors
Nicholas Kingman, Assistant Opinion Editor
Nicholas is a freshman CAP student who joined The Paisano in Summer 2023. He is a San Antonio Native and is excited to stay home for another year.
Chloe Williams, Managing Editor
Chloe (she/her) is a senior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Adaptive Decision Business Models. On her off days you can find Chloe thrifting, being a self-proclaimed food critic or outside enjoying nature. This is her third year at The Paisano and she is excited to serve as Managing Editor.

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