Dallas Cowboys: 1991 vs. 2009
I am fully aware that this means nothing in the long run, but the 2009 season has been so eerily similar to the 1991 season, it is hard not to hope that next year follows the same pattern.
Here are points of comparison.
Four-Game Winning Streaks
1991: The Cowboys started at 1-2 but then went on a four-game winning streak to improve their record to 5-2.
2009: The Cowboys started at 2-2 but then went on a four-game winning streak to improve their record to 6-2.
Ends of the Winning Streaks
1991: The Cowboys ended their winning streak by losing to a northern team (Detroit) on the road.
2009: Same, except the loss occurred at Green Bay.
Upsetting Undefeated Teams
1991: On November 24, the 6-5 Cowboys were coming off a two-game losing streak, with one of those losses occurring on the road against the Giants. Dallas faced the 11-0 Redskins at Washington. The Cowboys pulled off the huge 24-21 upset, giving the team momentum down the stretch.
2009: On December 19, the 8-5 Cowboys were coming off a two-game losing streak, with one of those losses occurring on the road against the Giants. Dallas faced the 13-0 Saints at New Orleans. The Cowboys pulled off the huge 24-17 upset, giving the team momentum down the stretch.
Learning from Previous Year’s Mistakes
1991: The Cowboys needed to win one of their last two games against the Eagles or Falcons to make the playoffs in 1990. Dallas lost both games. In 1991, the Cowboys faced the Eagles and Falcons again in the last two weeks, and Dallas won both games, securing a playoff berth.
2009: The Cowboys needed to win one of their last two games against the Ravens or Eagles to make the playoffs in 2008. Dallas lost both games. In 2009, the Cowboys faced the Redskins and Eagles in the last two weeks, and Dallas won both games, securing a playoff berth.
1991: The Cowboys finished with an 11-5 record and finished in second place in the NFC East.
2009: The Cowboys finished with an 11-5 record and won the NFC East.
Playoff Droughts Ended
1991: Dallas had not won a playoff game between 1982 and 1991. That streak came to an end when the Cowboys beat the Bears on December 29, 1991.
2009: Dallas had not won a playoff game between 1996 and 2009. That streak came to an end when the Cowboys beat the Eagles on January 9, 2010.
Blowout Losses in a Dome in a Northern City
1991: Dallas traveled to Detroit to take on the Lions in the 1991 playoffs. Dallas expected to have to stop running back Barry Sanders, but instead, Erik Kramer destroyed the Dallas secondary in a 38-6 Detroit win.
2009: Dallas traveled to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in the 2009 playoffs. Dallas expected to have to stop running Adrian Peterson, but instead, Brett Favre destroyed the Dallas secondary in a 34-3 Minnesota win
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There are some other parallels and points of comparison, though some of these will need to play themselves out in 2010 and beyond.
Emerging Triplets (?)
1991: Troy Aikman was in his third season, Emmitt Smith was in his second season, and Michael Irvin was in his fourth season. Smith and Irvin emerged as Pro Bowlers in 1991, but Aikman was a year away from proving he was the real deal.
2009: Tony Romo is in his fourth season as a starter, Felix Jones is in his second season, and Miles Austin has emerged as a starter. Austin became a Pro Bowler, and Jones emerged as the team’s best running back at the end of the season. Romo got over one hump by beating the Eagles in the playoffs, but he needs more playoff wins to truly prove himself.
1991: Jimmy Johnson was in his third season as head coach after replacing Tom Landry. Playoff wins as of 1991: Landry 20, Johnson 1.
2009: Wade Phillips is in his third season as head coach after replacing Bill Parcells. Playoff wins (for Dallas) as of 2009: Phillips 1, Parcells 0.
1991: Favre was a little-known backup with the Atlanta Falcons. He was on the team that lost to the Cowboys in the final game of the regular season.
2009: Favre is probably the best known football player on the planet. He signed with Minnesota in August, leading the Vikings to a #2 seed and a playoff win over the Cowboys.
1991: Galloway was columnist with the Dallas Morning News. His column after the Cowboys’ 38-6 loss to the Lions:
They had come this far, this fast, but then they lose like that. Every defensive wart exposed. Every coaching move trumped. Every angle covered by the other guys.
They had come this far, this fast, but then they depart the playoffs looking Sunday like a ringer that had slipped past NFL security.
2009: The comment above could describe the Cowboys’ loss to the Vikings, except the focus of his piece in 1991 was on Jimmy Johnson’s response to the loss. He’s since moved on to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where the focus of Galloway & Hate this week most likely won’t express confidence in Wade Phillips.
Okay, so the pictures are from 1992 and 2006. You get the idea (KNIFE).
The Following Year
1992: Dallas goes 13-3 and wins Super Bowl XXVII.
2010: We can only dream for now.