50 Seasons Series: Landry-Era Dynasty Ends in 1982
This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.
Between 1966 and 1982, the Cowboys appeared in 12 conference (or, prior to 1970, NFL) title games and five Super Bowls. During that time, the Cowboys never had a losing season and missed the playoffs just once. In 16 trips to the playoffs, the Cowboys won at least one playoff game 12 times.
Having defeated the Buccaneers and Packers in the 1982 playoffs, Dallas traveled to Washington to face the Redskins for the NFC championship. The Cowboys fell behind 14-3 in the first half, thanks in part to dominant performances by the Washington offensive line and defense. More problematic, though, was the poor performance of the Dallas special teams units, which gave up a fumble on a punt and allowed a 76-yard kickoff return. Before halftime, Dexter Manley knocked quarterback Danny White out of the game, leaving the Cowboys to rely on backup Gary Hogeboom to attempt a comeback.
Hogeboom threw touchdown passes to Drew Pearson and Butch Johnson to close the gap to 21-17 in the third quarter. However, Hogeboom threw two costly interceptions that led to the final 10 points for the Redskins. The Cowboys failed to score for the remainder of the game, and the Redskins were on their way to Super Bowl XVII.
For Dallas, the Cowboys would return to the playoffs two more times, but the team never won another playoff game during the Tom Landry Era. Sports Illustrated referred to the Washington game as the end of the Landry-Era dynasty. It was.