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The 81.25% Connection Between The 1992 And 2017 Dallas Cowboys

RJ Ochoa

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Michael Irvin, Super Bowl XXVII

For the longest time if you wanted to rent a car in the United States, you had to be at least 25 years old. That rule is a bit murky in some parts these days, but if it holds true in your neck of the woods and you were born in 1992 – this is your year!

2017 is also hopefully the year of the Dallas Cowboys as they look to take their Rookie of the Year winning quarterback, Dak Prescott, and stud running back, Ezekiel Elliott, all the way to the promised land in hopes of securing the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Many people have compared the sequence that this team is undergoing here in 2016-2017 to 1991-1992 when the Dallas Cowboys were the next big thing, losing in the 1991 Divisional Round to the Detroit Lions before winning Super Bowl XXVII in 1992. Time and time again we’ve seen this frame of promise thrown on every up-and-coming Dallas Cowboys team in hopes of recapturing the magic from a quarter century ago.

But what if I told you that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys were actually like the 1992 Dallas Cowboys? As in… legitimately similar? We’re only in February and I can tell you actually tell you that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys are – to this point – unequivocally at the very least 81.25% like the 1992 Dallas Cowboys. Confused? Allow me to explain.

The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Opponents

2017 Schedule

Image courtesty of the Dallas Cowboys Official Twitter Account.

Thanks to the NFL’s handy-dandy rotating schedule (instituted during the re-alignment in 2002) we know the exact locations of 14 games of each Dallas Cowboys season between now and the end of time. When the 2016 regular season ended the 2017 opponents became finalized and we found out that America’s Team will be playing the AFC West, NFC West, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, and of course their NFC East rivals.

Home games for the Cowboys this upcoming season will include the NFC East, Chiefs, Chargers (now LA), Rams (also LA), Seahawks, and Packers. When Dallas hits the road they’ll be going to the NFC East, Broncos, Raiders, 49ers, Cardinals, and Falcons. The exact sequence and dates of the schedule won’t be known until later this offseason, so all that we know of this season so far is literally this – the opponents.

When Have We Seen This Lineup Before?

Per the NFL’s rotating schedule, we obviously know that the Cowboys play the AFC West once every four years and the NFC West once every three. This makes for every three, four, six, eight, you get the idea, years being somewhat similar to its multiples. Prior to 2002 the NFL was shaped a bit differently in terms of divisions and things weren’t as neatly organized as they are nowadays.

It’s important to know that prior to 1978 the NFL’s regular season was only 14 games long, as opposed to the 16-game regular season that we know today. Between 1978 and 2016 we’ve seen a handful of seasons that bear a striking resemblance to 2017 as far as who the specific opponents are… but one season stands out above the rest in terms of how identical they truly are.

The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Season Is Exactly 81.25% Like The 1992 Dallas Cowboys Season

2017 Schedule

If you look at every 16-game regular season that the Dallas Cowboys have played since 1978 (when the NFL shifted to this regular season format), there is no season more identical to the 2017 Dallas Cowboys (as far as opponents) than the 1992 Dallas Cowboys.

In 1992 the Cowboys – just like they will in 2017 – hosted the Redskins, Seahawks, Chiefs, Eagles, Rams, and Giants while traveled to play the Giants, Eagles, Raiders, Cardinals, Broncos, Redskins, and Falcons. This is 13 identical contests of a possible 16 – a staggering 81.25%.

In the entire history of the Dallas Cowboys we have never seen a season more identical to what we will be seeing this season than when the 1992 Dallas Cowboys played their season which culminated in a win during Super Bowl XXVII. Does this mean that the upcoming season for America’s Team is destined to end in confetti and a downtown Dallas parade? Who knows, but if you are looking for a way to re-live the glory days… this is the way to roll.

The Los Angeles Factor: When Things Really Get Crazy

You may have noticed that in 1992 the Cowboys played two Los Angeles franchises, the Rams and Raiders. Obviously the Raiders have since relocated back to Oakland while their is indeed a second team in Los Angeles – the Chargers. Football in Los Angeles is a big reason why Jerry Jones is headed to the Hall of Fame, but the LA connection is another bit of good momentum going Dallas’ way in 2017 along these common opponents lines.

The last time that the Dallas Cowboys had a regular season contest against a team based in Los Angeles was indeed the 1992 season. 2017 is literally the first time since then – and remember that this set of games is already 81.25% identical to 1992 – that the Cowboys will play a team from La La Land. Not only will Dallas be playing a Los Angeles team, they’ll be playing two… just like they did in 1992.

That’s right, folks. The last time that the Dallas Cowboys played a team from Los Angeles they played two in that particular season (1992) – the Rams and an AFC West team (Raiders). In 2017 they’ll double dip once again against Los Angeles competition – playing that market for the first time in 25 years – against the Rams and an AFC West team (Chargers).

2017 Is 1992, 25 Years Later

25 years have come and gone since the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII, but we are seemingly here about to live the season all over again… at least 81.25% of it. While again we must be patient in order to wait for the actual 2017 Dallas Cowboys Schedule, we do know the following facts that will help us get through the offseason:

  • The 2016 Dallas Cowboys were young and on the precipice, just like the 1991 Dallas Cowboys.
  • The 2016 Dallas Cowboys lost in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs to an NFC North team, just like the 1991 Dallas Cowboys.
  • The 1992 Dallas Cowboys were the last team to play against an NFL team based in Los Angeles, and they played two when they did (the Rams and an AFC West team). The 2017 Dallas Cowboys will play against Los Angeles-based competition twice this season, against the Rams and an AFC West team… which will be the first time Dallas meets Los Angeles since that fateful 1992 season.
  • As far as opponents and locations of games are concerned, the 2017 Dallas Cowboys are 81.25% identical to the 1992 Dallas Cowboys.
  • No other team (since the 16-game regular season was instituted in 1978) in Dallas Cowboys History is as similar to the 2017 Dallas Cowboys in this regard than the 1992 Dallas Cowboys that won Super Bowl XXVII.

These are all facts. Do with them what you please. Let’s get ready to party like it’s 1992.

Tell us what you think about “The 81.25% Connection Between The 1992 And 2017 Dallas Cowboys” in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

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I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let’s roll.

@RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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1 Comment
  • dallas1966

    The only thing that is different, is that the Cowboys didn’t play in the inaugural pre-season game at Canton, in 1992. The two teams selected was the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles. I would pump the brakes on this one. No team has won, the Super Bowl, being selected for the pro football hall of fame enshrinement football game. The Cincinnati Bengals, came the closest, losing to the San Francisco 49’ers, in Super Bowl 23, after playing in the inaugural pre-season football game, in 1988, beating the Los Angeles Rams.

    I hope you are right RJ, it would be awesome to see the Cowboys, brake the curse, and win the Super Bowl in 2018. Hopefully, since it’s Jerry Jones enshrinement party, maybe the Cowboys will be the first to do so.

    Another similarity, in 1992, Al Davis, was elected to the pro football hall of fame, aka Jerry Jones in 2017. Hope, lighting in the bottle, strikes again. How About Dem Cowboys!!!

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Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

The Cowboys have just one more game to get through without their star running back Ezekiel Elliott, but Alfred Morris and Rod Smith deserve a ton of credit for the way they’ve been able to fill in out of the backfield for Zeke Elliott. Throughout the time Elliott has missed though, the Cowboys have lacked the explosive plays on offense that he can provide – until Rod Smith was given an opportunity last week at the Giants.

Smith complimented Morris exceptionally well, running with quickness and power to prove his case for more of a role on offense behind Elliott moving forward. It was the Ohio State product’s consecutive touchdowns of 81 yards through the air and 15 yards on the ground that sealed the game for the Cowboys in week 14.

Here is a closer look at Rod Smith’s performance from last week in this latest Sean’s Scout.

Smith3 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

The Cowboys offensive line was dominant as always against a tough New York defensive front, and this first play is a great look at their execution in space and on the move. Rod Smith’s decisiveness when hitting the hole with speed and balance was the first thing I noticed on the game tape.

The best thing Smith does on this play comes at the second level, where running backs can truly make a difference in Dallas. As RG Zack Martin rides his man out of the play entirely, he gets in front of Smith who is seeing the play develop straight ahead. With his long strides, Smith is able to smoothly get through traffic and continue accelerating up field through arm tackles for a big gain.

Smith2 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

These same traits are seen with Rod Smith as a pass catcher – something he does effortlessly to also help fill the void left by Elliott. Watch how quickly Smith commits to his angle up the field after catching this dump pass from Dak Prescott, attacking a defender that has the angle on him after the catch.

Rod subtly leans to the right just enough to make the defender hesitate long enough to allow his burst to evade him and gain extra yards falling forward.

Smith4 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

Smith essentially does the same thing without the ball in his hands here, on his 81 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Setting up the safety out of the slot to be beat across his face, Smith separates from him at the stem and then does a great job getting depth on his route into the vacated middle of the field. With blockers to help him reach the end zone, Smith turns this busted coverage by the Giants into the game’s biggest play.

Smith1 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

This last play I chose to show is probably the least well-blocked attempt for Smith out of the ones in this Sean’s Scout, but there is still a lot to like about what Rod does here with the ball in his hands.

The Giants might be a two-win football team, but they still have marquee players up front, particularly DE Olivier Vernon. Smith does well here to keep his feet moving as he cuts this play to the backside. Vernon does well to limit the potential gain on this play by staying away from the block of Jason Witten, as Smith is taken down by Darian Thompson.

The numbers the Giants had to commit to stopping the run was still a huge reason why Prescott had a career day throwing the football, and Rod Smith’s readiness to step in at RB was a deciding factor in getting Dallas to 7-6.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Proving to be one of the Dallas Cowboys most valuable players, considering his cost (under contract through 2018), and ability to contribute on special teams and offense, Rod Smith is the perfect RB3 for this team.

Smith is not elite in any one area, and is not a prototypical RB from a physical standpoint, but his contributions as a runner, pass catcher, and blocker could remain critical to the Cowboys’ hopes of reaching the playoffs behind this offense – even when Ezekiel Elliott is back in the fold.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Rod Smith Vs Alfred Morris: Who’s The Cowboys Real RB1?

Brian Martin

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Rod Smith Vs Alfred Morris: Who's Cowboys' Real RB1?

The Dallas Cowboys are less than a week away from welcoming back their talented Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, but until then they still have a game to play against the Oakland Raiders. That means we will have one more week of Alfred Morris and Rod Smith handling the workload, but which RB is sitting at the top of the Cowboys depth chart?

Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of decision that can end up winning or losing a game. Both Alfred Morris and Rod Smith have had their moments during Ezekiel Elliott’s absence, but neither one of them have really distanced themselves from the other. So, should Rod Smith or Alfred Morris receive the majority of the workload against the Raiders Sunday?

A Case for Rod Smith

RB Rod Smith and QB Dak PrescottRod Smith might just have had is coming out party last week against the New York Giants. Against their divisional rival, in what was a must win game for the Cowboys, Smith rushed for 47 yards on six carries and added another 113 yards through the air on five catches. He also found himself in the end zone twice, once on a rushing touchdown and the other on a receiving touchdown.

You may or may not agree, but I believe that “Lightning” Rod Smith was largely responsible for igniting the Cowboys offense and helping them pull away from the Giants last Sunday. He accounted for over 160 total yards and two touchdowns by himself and didn’t receive the majority of his playing time until later in the game.

Rod Smith certainly has traits that make him a more desirable RB over Alfred Morris. First off, he is a more complete back. He is better in pass protection and at catching the ball out of the backfield. But, he is also starting to show up in the running game and is averaging 4.5 yards a carry this season. His size (6’3″, 235) also makes him a better short yardage back, although I wish he would deliver more of a blow at the end of his runs.

A Case for Alfred Morris

RB Alfred MorrisAlthough there’s nothing particularly special that stands out about Alfred Morris, he has proven time and time again he is more than capable of carrying the workload. He has received the majority of the workload during Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and has performed pretty well. In fact, he is averaging 5 yards a carry this season, which is better than any other RB on the Cowboys roster, including Elliott.

Alfred Morris has looked pretty good this season and is playing with more of a spring in his step than I have seen from him in probably his entire career. Last Sunday against the Giants he received the the majority of the workload and finished the game with 19 carries for 62 yards. Not particularly spectacular, but the week prior he did rush for 127 yards on 27 carries in the victory over the Washington Redskins.

Like I mentioned earlier, Morris is a tried-and-true RB in the NFL and is at his best when he can continue to pound the rock and wear down opposing defenses. That is what he did against the Redskins, but he has his limitations as well. Despite his years in the league, he still struggles in pass protection and is limited in what he can do in the passing game. But, he does seem to have the trust of the Cowboys coaching staff.

✭✭✭✭✭

Personally, I would like to see more of Rod Smith this coming Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. I really like what I’ve seen from him in both the running game and in the passing game. I just think he is a more dangerous and versatile weapon then Alfred Morris. His presence on the field really opens up what the Cowboys can do offensively.

I don’t mean any disrespect to Alfred Morris at all. I just think that Rod Smith has proven he is a more dangerous offensive weapon of the two. I don’t know if the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff will agree or not, but I truly believe Rod Smith could once again be the X factor against the Oakland Raiders.

Of course, both Rod Smith and Alfred Morris will have to take the back seat once Ezekiel Elliott returns. So, this discussion really only has any credibility for this week in yet another must win situation against the Oakland Raiders.

Who do you like better… Rod Smith or Alfred Morris?

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La’el Collins’ Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise

Brian Martin

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La'el Collins' Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise 1

The decision by the Dallas Cowboys to move La’el Collins from left guard to right tackle was met by some skepticism by quite a few members of Cowboys Nation during the off-season. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of those skeptical of the move, but I’m not afraid to admit he has exceeded my expectations.

In all honesty, I always believed that La’el Collins’ best position in the NFL is on the interior of the offense of line as a guard. I thought he could use his strength and athleticism to his advantage when working in a phone booth against slower and less athletic defensive tackles. That’s not to say I didn’t think he would make a good right tackle, I just thought he had Pro Bowl potential as a guard.

Strangely enough, Collins has probably put together a Pro Bowl caliber season in his first season starting at the right tackle position for the Cowboys. He has become an upgrade over the previous starter Doug Free, and is really starting to earn high praise from the brass. Stephen Jones in particular has been impressed with Collins, especially considering how he has played after missing two full weeks of practice.

Mark Lane on Twitter

DallasCowboys COO Stephen Jones told @1053thefan La’el Collins has answered the bell after his contract extension.

I personally agree with everything Stephen Jones said about La’el Collins. I’ve really enjoyed watching his progression this season, but I have been really impressed how he played the last two weeks after missing so much practice.

You might not of known, but Collins has missed two full weeks of practice due to a herniated disc in his back. This is put his availability to play against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants in jeopardy, but somehow he has toughened up and played considerably well.

This unfortunately will be something he has to continue to battle through the rest of the season, but I’m not going to bet against him playing. He absolutely makes this offensive line better and I would hate to see Chaz Green or Byron Bell back on the field after the way they played as feel-ins.

La’el Collins has without a doubt earned my respect and I think it’s about time we all recognize the player he is turning into. I know the Dallas Cowboys appreciate all that he does and believe that his recent contract extension is money well spent.

What do you think about La’el Collins?

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