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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!



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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Breaking: Cowboys Acquire Amari Cooper for 2019 1st Round Pick

John Williams

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Oakland Raiders' Wide Receiver Amari Cooper On the Trade Block

The Dallas Cowboys are recovering from a disappointing loss to the Washington Redskins, but that hasn't stopped them from being aggressive to try to salvage a 3-4 season. It looks like the Dallas Cowboys are going all-in on Dak Prescott for 2018 and 2019 to see if they can return him to his 2016 form. It's being reported by Josina Anderson that the Dallas Cowboys are set to acquire former first round pick and Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

Breaking: A source tells me that WR Amari Cooper will be traded to the Dallas #Cowboys.

Amari Cooper has been the subject of a lot of trade discussion over the last week and a half and it looks like he's going to be coming to Dallas to help solidify their wide receiver group. Adam Schefter from ESPN is reporting that the compensation the Dallas Cowboys are sending for Cooper is a first round pick.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys traded a first-round pick to Raiders for WR Amari Cooper, per source.

 

That's way more than I was wanting to spend to get him in here, but Cooper is just 24 years old. He's playing in his fourth NFL season and has averaged  After posting 1,000 yard seasons in each of his first two years in the NFL, Cooper fell back down to earth in 2017 with only 680 yards on 48 catches. He did have seven touchdowns last year and did that in only 14 games.

In 2018, he's averaging 4.4 receptions per game for 56 yards and has one touchdown on the season. On a Oakland Raiders offense that is struggling, Cooper is second in targets, third in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. It's bold move for a player that has had his fair share of drops in his career, though he seems to have gotten better in that area.

Despite a pretty good game from the wide receiver trio of Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, and Allen Hurns, it looks like the Dallas Cowboys are dissatisfied. Over the last few years teams like the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles have taken chances on acquiring players via trade and it's worked out well for them. The Dallas Cowboys are certainly taking a big risk, but Amari Cooper has the talent worth taking a chance on.

With the Cowboys heading into the bye week and in need of an offensive spark, if they were going to try to salvage their season, they needed to make a move. It can be debated that the price was too high, but Cooper instantly makes this offense better.



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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Dak’s 1st Loss at Redskins Leaves Cowboys Losers Before Bye

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Dak's 1st Loss at Redskins Leaves Cowboys Losers Before Bye

The Dallas Cowboys went in to Washington losers of their last three road games this season, in position to change that behind Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott's previously undefeated record against the Redskins. In the end, the ball was ultimately taken out of their hands as the Cowboys played for overtime, watching their effort come up short again with Brett Maher's miss from 52-yards out.

As was the case two weeks ago in Houston, the Cowboys multitude of errors have been focused into one play, with L.P. Ladouceur becoming the scapegoat for his penalty that pushed back the Cowboys final field goal attempt. With an unmanageable 14 days before their next game, the real issues inside this Cowboys team have plenty of time to surface, as enough were on display Sunday for Dallas to miss out on another shot at the division lead.

Here's a look at my initial notes from this Cowboys loss, sending them into their bye week at 3-4 and 1-1 in the NFC East.

  • This was yet another game where the Cowboys dealt with the ups and downs of rookie Left Guard Connor Williams.

On the same drive that Prescott left the field to be checked in the medical tent following a big hit out of bounds, Michael Gallup was able to provide a spark with a 22-yard gain on a perfect strike from Dak.

Williams helped make the play possible by holding off a bull rush from Daron Payne. The Redskins feature both Payne and his former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen at defensive tackle. They ensured the Cowboys would get nothing going on the ground in this game.

Five plays later, Williams would be called for a chop block that put Dallas behind the chains. The drive stalled and the Cowboys punted, which was a much better result compared to Prescott's attempt at overcoming Williams' holding penalty in the fourth quarter.

Erasing a first down to Cole Beasley, Prescott ran into pressure in his own end zone on third and long, inexcusably fumbling the ball for an easy Redskins recovery and touchdown.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Y'all are really going to make me do this... okay. Here we go. https://t.co/awNm55TxnH

  • Michael Gallup finally scored his first career touchdown, and has to be asking himself if they can really be so easy, as he ran wide open down the left sideline to score from 49-yards out.

Gallup sold his route brilliantly, getting his defender to bite hard on the stop route before releasing over the top. Even with some pressure in his face, Prescott delivered a perfect pass that allowed Gallup to walk in.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

I truly love me some @michael13gallup. https://t.co/KEjh9BDUPS

Give credit to the receivers around Gallup for setting up this play. Allen Hurns caught five passes, his most in a game for the Cowboys, many of them coming on the same route that Gallup faked before running vertical.

The Cowboys have deserved criticism for their lack of route designs on the outside, but when they execute well enough to win as they did here, it's easier to see the trust that remains in this team for Scott Linehan as their play caller.

It's unfortunate we didn't get to see Prescott throw at least two more passes down the stretch. Beasley was having his way with a depleted Washington secondary, and with a timeout in their pocket the Cowboys could have worked the middle of the field to attempt a winning touchdown.

Instead, their tying field goal attempt left them with plenty to think about over the bye, including if the kick would have been good from 47-yards out.

  • The Cowboys red zone defense stood tall once again, keeping the Redskins out of the end zone both times, including at the start of the third quarter thanks to a DeMarcus Lawrence stop on Adrian Peterson.

There were plenty of plays in this game where the Cowboys made Peterson look a few years younger, but the timeliness of DeMarcus Lawrence's splash plays against the run were all they needed to get the Redskins off the field in big spots.

It's not often we talk about a defensive end being clutch, but that's exactly the type of player the Cowboys have in their franchise left end.

Instead of going up 14-7 and forcing a Cowboys three-and-out on the next series, the Redskins 10-7 advantage would stand through the third quarter. These three points came on a 21-yard Hopkins field goal, set up by Lawrence screaming off the edge on third and a yard to plant Peterson for a loss of two.

  • This play may get lost in the shuffle when breaking down the Cowboys miscues for a whole extra week, but one that will stick with me for a while is Prescott's missed swing pass to Elliott.

As Tony Romo was keen to point out on the call of this game, Prescott left plenty of throws on the field, including one to Gallup on his decisive fumble. Where most of these missed chances were passes Prescott didn't pull the trigger on, the one he did against the blitz that resulted in an incomplete pass to Elliott was stunning.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

How does this happen? Seriously. How? HOWWWWW?!?! https://t.co/40V9Jx5EEP

The Redskins had scored their first touchdown of this game by throwing to their running back against the blitz, and the Cowboys could have been set up to do the same if Elliott catches this ball on first down.

The clock was a factor at this point, as the Cowboys took another 20 seconds to score on a third down rush by Prescott. The Redskins failed to take much time off the clock on their next series, with Alex Smith going out of bounds on third down.

The Cowboys' final drive began with 1:09 remaining, and it's anyone's guess as to how the game would have ended if they had just a few more seconds to manage.

  • The Cowboys were without Tavon Austin, taking away their outside threat in the running game, and turned to Cornerback Jourdan Lewis to handle their only jet sweep of the game.

The Cowboys knew Lewis better than most teams in the 2017 Draft, the cornerback out of Michigan that never carried the ball in college. The Cowboys had a few options in replacing Austin if they wanted his speed threat to remain in the game, instead doing away with most of these plays.

Instead of Deonte Thompson, Rod Smith, or even Beasley handling this role, the Cowboys ran one jet sweep to Lewis for seven yards.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

So I'd wondered if we might see Zeke as the jet motion/sweep guy with Rod Smith at RB sometime. But CB Jourdan Lewis? Interesting. Creative. I like it. https://t.co/KC3pZL1glI

Lewis has been getting more involved in Kris Richard's defense, and it was certainly different to see him used on offense for the first time.

  • The Cowboys welcomed back Sean Lee in this game and proceeded to allow over 100 rushing yards for the first time since week three - Lee's last game prior to Sunday.

In no way are the Cowboys a better defense without Lee, but they would be wise to spend a significant portion of time over the bye week figuring out their linebacker rotation with Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch.

Vander Esch was the Cowboys leading tackler coming into this game, and a huge reason why this defense held the Lions, Texans, and Jaguars in check without Lee. Playing 21 snaps against the Redskins to Lee's 38, there were snaps where LVE was noticeably missing.

The Cowboys have allowed at least 100 yards on the ground 72 times since Lee's arrival in 2010, playing to a 23-49 record in these games. In the 63 games they've held teams under 100 rushing yards, the Cowboys are 48-15.

This makes getting to the bottom of how Adrian Peterson was able to go for 99 yards at 4.1 yards per carry a key for this Cowboys defense by week eight - where they'll attempt to keep an offense that can hopefully find answers of their own in yet another game, this time on Monday Night Football against the Titans.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The feeling that the Cowboys have already missed on enough opportunities to contend in the NFC East this year will be hard to shake as the Cowboys return to Dallas on Tuesday at 3-4. This won't stop these players and coaches from doing everything they can to get back to .500 and remain in the hunt at 4-4.

In a league where fortune favors the bold to go above eight wins, the Cowboys will have to wait even longer than their 14 days between games to prove they're not another 8-8 Jason Garrett team. With poor coaching decisions and a quarterback incapable of overcoming them, the Cowboys remain in the midst of an identity crisis at week eight, thanks in large part to the left upright at FedEx Field.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Dak’s 1st Loss at Redskins Leaves Cowboys Losers Before Bye" 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

Next Day Rant: Dallas Cowboys Have Neglected Offensive Line

Jess Haynie

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Next Day Rant: Cowboys

You can point fingers in a lot of directions over the Dallas Cowboys' loss yesterday to the Washington Redskins. But if you pull back and look at the overall picture, a poor performance by the offensive line was behind several of the itemized issues.

Let's start with the run game, where Ezekiel Elliott was held to the second-worst day of his NFL career. Zeke only produced 33 rushing yards on 15 carries, with no single run greater than six yards. Dak Prescott and Jourdan Lewis had a combined 40 yards on seven carries, but Washington was able to shut down the more predictable handoffs to Elliott.

One game doesn't make a season, and Zeke was the league leader in rushing up until last week. But there was a time when no defense could take Elliott away like Washington did yesterday, and that sets a disturbing precedent moving forward.

Even more disturbing are the hits quarterback Dak Prescott is taking. With four sacks yesterday, Prescott has already been taken down 23 times in 2018. Comparatively, Dak was sacked 32 times last year and just 25 times in 2016.

And we're not even halfway through this season. And that doesn't include all of the additional hits after the ball is released, or when Dak gets tackled on an improvised run.

Let's not forget Conner Williams' killer penalty, either. A 16-yard pass on 3rd down was taken off the board by the rookie's holding flag, and Dallas was pushed back to their own 10-yard line. The next play, Dak Prescott gets strip-sacked and Washington goes up 20-10 with the recovery touchdown.

Ronald Leary, Ron Leary

Former Cowboys guard Ron Leary

Yesterday's game just drove home an issue I've had for a couple of years of now. Since their outstanding 2016 season, it feels like the Cowboys have taken their offensive line for granted.

It began with how the team handled things at left guard in 2016. They opted to let starter Ron Leary leave in free agency, not wanting to pay heavily for a guy with significant risk from degenerative knee issues.

I had no issue with Dallas letting Leary go, but replacing him was where the team got cute. They signed Jonathan Cooper, a first-round bust from the 2013 draft, and hoped that he could plug in and at least be solid between Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick.

This worked, for the most part, as Cooper started 13 games. But Dallas took a big risk in preparing for that season, trusting in either Cooper or Chaz Green to be the starting left guard as the team made a push to return the playoffs and compete for a championship.

Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in yards-per-game, but the offense was not what it was the year prior. The line may have been solvent with Cooper in there, but there was a clear regression with Leary.

Don't forget about the transition at right tackle, either. An abrupt retirement from Doug Free after 2016 prompted the Cowboys to move La'el Collins back to his college position of tackle.

When Collins was signed in 2015, the team ultimately decided he had more potential as a guard. That's where they worked him for two seasons, but then circumstances led to the shift in the 2017 offseason.

Too many moving parts and risky decisions, especially for the unit that had driven your team to its 2016 success.

Dallas Cowboys: What's The One Thing That Makes The OL Great? 1

Dallas Cowboys LT Tyron Smith, RG Zack Martin, C Travis Frederick

Dallas has leaned on its All-Pro trio of Smith, Frederick, and Martin to anchor the line. They've trusted that the other spots could get less attention and investment and that their top three would raise all ships.

There is some logic to that gamble, and the salary cap era mandates that you can't shell out big bucks and high draft picks at every position. The Cowboys can't really be faulted for attempting this in 2017, given where they were with the cap and the roster.

But after last year's 9-7 finish and playoff miss, it was time to get serious about the offensive line again. Instead, Dallas trusted that a second-round pick moving from tackle to guard would be adequate at left guard.

I'm not here to crush Conner Williams. He's flashed plenty of good things, and I think he's going to work out fine in the long run.

But the Dallas Cowboys have been playing the long game for too long. Too many decisions have been based on long-term potential over immediate concerns. They built this team to operate on the strength of the offensive line, and they've taken too many gambles with that group given its severe importance.

Of course, they didn't know that Travis Frederick was going to go out with this neurological issue. Nobody could see that coming. But if it was a torn ACL instead, it wouldn't change the impact of his absence.

Joe Looney has been solid, but now you don't have the All-Pro center there to help the rookie left guard. Williams suffers for not having Frederick next to him, and Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott suffer in the trickle-down impact.

Yesterday may have just been an especially bad day at the office, but it's indicative of the gradual degradation of the offensive line. You pay the price one way or another in the NFL, either in money and draft picks or in poor performance on the field. The bill comes due one way or another.

In Washington, the Cowboys suffered for not doing more to keep the offensive line strong. They can only hope that it doesn't continue to cost them games, and perhaps a lot more, as the season continues.



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