1998 Review: No More Glory

The remains of the Cowboys' dynasty after a 1998 playoff loss against Arizona.

To understand the 1998 Cowboys, we only need to look at the team’s three games against the Cardinals.

In the season opener, the Cowboys dominated on both sides of the ball. Dallas ran the ball efficiently and passed it effectively. The team put pressure on Jake Plummer and held the Cardinals’ offense in check.

In the second game, played just over two months later, the Cowboys showed signs of offensive dominance in the first half but could not move the ball consistently in the second half. The defense started giving up huge chunks of yardage, allowing the Cardinals to climb back into the game.

The result was that in the first six quarters of action in 1998, the Cowboys outscored Arizona 66-17. In the second half of the second game, Arizona outscored Dallas 21-7.

When Arizona came to Texas Stadium for the first round of the playoffs, most hoped the Cowboys could capture what they had done in those first six quarters. Instead, the entire game looked much more like the second half of the game in Tempe.

Arizona jumped out in front in the first quarter when Plummer threw a shovel pass to running back Adrian Murrell, who scored from 12 yards out. By halftime, the score was 10-0.

There was perhaps time for the Triplets to wake up and display some playoff magic. Instead, Troy Aikman struggled throughout the game, completing less than half of his passes and throwing three interceptions. Michael Irvin had only four catches for 32 yards. The team’s leading receiver as Patrick Jeffers, who was a complete unknown when Arizona had visited in week 1 of the season.

By the fourth quarter, it was 20-0, and though Dallas scored to avoid the shutout, the Cowboys could not avoid the reality that the Cardinals had won a playoff game for the first time in 51 years. Against the Cowboys. At Texas Stadium.

Blah. And that’s only because I don’t use other four-letter words on this blog.

  • Jason Neighbors

    Yeah, that was pretty humiliating. My father is a true Cardinals fan (meaning a long-suffering one, being a fan of them his whole life) and you can only imagine the grief I got after him having to suffer through years of Cowboys beatdowns previously. (What, we had won 13 in a row prior to that, I think?)