Monday’s Drool: Post-Dynasty Mediocrity

This was, of course, supposed to be a Super Bowl season. The 2009 Cowboys had turned a corner– just as the 1991 Cowboys had– so the 2010 season was supposed to be just like the 1992 season.


Unless Dallas goes 12-0 from this point forward, the Cowboys can’t match their 13-3 season of ’92. And unless Dallas can manage to go 10-2 the rest of the way out, the team can’t even match its 11-5 record from last season. In fact, just matching the 9-7 mark the team has had in three of the past six seasons would require an 8-4 finish this year.

The talk about this team’s talent has gotten old. The talk about this team’s stupidity is more on point. This is a mediocre franchise that requires too many of us to try to remember what we used to respect.

What we probably ought to realize is that mediocrity is completely normal for teams “recovering” from their dynasty years. Assuming that the Cowboys’ dynasty of the 1990s ended after the 1995 season, this is only post-dynasty year 15. If the Cowboys follow the path of some other dynasties, it could be even longer before the team improves to something better than mediocre. Consider these:

Green Bay won five NFL titles and two Super Bowls between 1961 and 1967. Between 1968 and 1994, though, the team only managed a combined record of 173-222-9 (43.8% W-L percentage) with four playoff appearances in 27 years. Of course, the team finally made the NFC Championship Game in 1995 and won a Super Bowl in 1996, but that was after years of repeated disappointments.

Pittsburgh won four Super Bowl titles in six years between 1974 and 1979. After that, the team had its ups and downs. Between 1980 and 2003, the Steelers had a combined record of 208-176 with 12 playoff appearances in 24 years. Pittsburgh had some very solid years (better than the Cowboys have had), but the Steelers also had trouble winning big games. Losses included the AFC Championship Games in 1994, 1997, 2001, and 2004 along with Super Bowl XXX. Pittsburgh finally turned a corner by winning it all in 2005.

San Francisco had the longest dynasty in the Super Bowl era, winning five Super Bowls between 1981 and 1994 and earned 16 trips to the playoffs during an 18-year span. However, since 1999, San Francisco has only managed to go 72-109 (40% W-L record) with two trips to the playoffs.

As for the Cowboys, the team has gone 117-111 since 1996 for a W-L record of 51.3%. The Cowboys have made the playoffs in only 7 of the past 15 seasons and are in great danger of missing the playoffs again this year.

That is, quite simply, mediocre. And whether we have Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett, & Company or not, we might just have to remain used to it.

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