What-If Wednesday: What if the Cowboys had won the 1980 NFC Championship Game?

In the weekly What-If Wednesday posts, we review some event (draft, game, or whatever) and consider what might have happened if history had been different. This week’s post focuses on the 1980 NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

In real life…

The label of quarterback Danny White as a failure began with the Dallas Cowboys’ loss in the 1980 NFC Championship Game.

What if the Cowboys had stopped Wilbert Montgomery and the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1980 NFC Championship Game?

What if the Cowboys had stopped Wilbert Montgomery and the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1980 NFC Championship Game?

White was, however, anything but a failure. He led the 1980 Cowboys to a better record than the 1979 Cowboys had posted with Roger Staubach at the helm. And one week before the 1980 NFC title game, White threw two late touchdown passes to bring the Cowboys from behind to beat the Atlanta Falcons in one of the great games in NFL history.

White’s magic ran out at Veterans Stadium on January 11, 1981. In 12-degree weather, White completed only 12 of 31 passes for 127 yards with an interception.

The Eagles took a 7-0 lead with Wilbert Montgomery’s most famous play:

Although the Cowboys tied the game before halftime, Dallas could not overcome a 10-point third quarter by Philadelphia. Dallas lost 20-7.

The Eagles turned around and lost to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV. Neither the Eagles nor the Cowboys made another Super Bowl during the 1980s.

What if the Cowboys had defeated the Eagles?

1. The Blue-Jersey Curse Would End

Ask a Cowboys fan over the age of 40 about origins of the blue-jersey curse. Many would point to the 1980 title game.

(Of course, older fans would point to SB V, when Dallas lost to the Baltimore Colts while wearing blue.)

A big win at Philadelphia would have ended the curse, and it is possible that the Cowboys might have worn blue more often. Instead, most of us don’t want to see those blue jerseys.

2. White Might Have Avoided Comparisons with Roger Staubach and, later, Tony Romo

Many fans like to compare current QB Tony Romo to Danny White because both lost big games.

The comparison is not fair because of the big games involved.

Fans during White’s era also liked to compare him to Roger Staubach, and the comparisons were almost always negative towards White.

White led the Cowboys to three consecutive NFC title games and five playoff appearances in six years. A win at Philadelphia might have done wonders to avoid these comparisons.

3. A Sixth Trip

The Cowboys would have made Super Bowl XV with a win over Philadelphia. It would have been the Cowboys’ sixth Super Bowl appearance since 1970 and their second Super Bowl trip to the Superdome in four seasons. Moreover, the Cowboys would have played a Super Bowl in New Orleans for a third time.

The other two trips to New Orleans? Wins in SB VI and SB XII.

4. However…

I ran 10 simulations of a Super Bowl XV between the Cowboys and Raiders on SimMatchup Football. It does not look good. Oakland won 8 of the 10 simulations by an average score of 22-17.

I cannot express my disappointment clearly enough.

5. And So No, White Would Not Avoid Comparisons with Roger Staubach or Tony Romo

Do Cowboys fans remember Craig Morton fondly? He was, of course, the first Dallas QB to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl.

The answer is no. And if Danny White led the Cowboys to Super Bowl XV and lost 22-17 to the Raiders, nobody would remember White or the 1980 season fondly.

Sorry, Danny.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Last Time DeMarcus Ware Did Not Play

iPhone DeMarcus Ware

DeMarcus Ware will most likely miss the first game of his career on Sunday.

It looks as if DeMarcus Ware will miss as many as four games with a quad injury. Assuming he misses Sunday’s game at Philadelphia, it will be the first time he has missed a game during his career.

That means the last time that the Cowboys played a game without Ware was the season finale in 2004 against the Giants.

Dallas had a 16-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.  Julius Jones ran all over the Giants for 149 yards, while Jason Witten caught 8 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown from Vinny Testaverde.

However, the Cowboys could not hold the lead, giving up three fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 28-24 loss. Dallas finished the season with a 6-10 record.

Somehow think that Ware has not yet had a relatively long career? Here were the defensive starters during that season finale:

LE Greg Ellis
LDT Leonardo Carson
RDT La’Roi Glover
RE Marcellus Wiley

LLB Al Singleton
MLB Dat Nguyen
RLB Dexter Coakley

LCB Terence Newman
RCB Lance Frazier
SS Lynn Scott
FS Roy Williams

Newman was in his second season. He and Kenyon Coleman are the only defensive players from 2004 who are still active in 2013.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dallas 31, Washington 16: Hail to the No-Names

The Dallas Cowboys took advantage of a huge night by returner Dwayne Harris in a 31-16 win over the Washington Redskins.

Full Story »

What-If Wednesday: What if the Cowboys had hired Mike Shanahan after the 2008 season?

What if the Cowboys had hired Mike Shanahan after the 2008 season?

Full Story »

Cowboys-Broncos Instant Trivia: Lots of Fun With New Records

Some trivia about the Cowboys’ 51-48 loss to the Broncos.

Full Story »

Denver 51, Dallas 48: Champions of Almost

The Dallas Cowboys took a 48-41 lead in the fourth quarter against the unbeaten Denver Broncos, but the Cowboys could not overcome a late interception in a 51-48 loss.

Full Story »

Friday Photo Trivia: Super Bowl XII

Answer a trivia question related to Super Bowl XII.

Full Story »

The Weekly What-If: What if the Cowboys had beaten the Broncos at any point in the past 15 years?

What if the Cowboys had beaten the Broncos at any point since 1998?

Full Story »

Cowboys-Chargers Instant Trivia: Very Premature Projections

The Dallas Cowboys are on pace for an 8-8 season. Some individuals have posted decent statistics thus far.

Full Story »

San Diego 30, Dallas 21: More Mediocrity

The Dallas Cowboys passively watched the San Diego Chargers score 20 consecutive points in a 30-21 loss.

Full Story »
Page 10 of 192« First...«8910111213»203040...Last »

Connect

newsletter software
Get Adobe Flash player