The Buffalo Bills hadn’t been to a conference championship game since the 1993 season before their big win yesterday over the Baltimore Ravens. Now that Buffalo’s ended one of the NFL’s longest droughts, it drops the Dallas Cowboys one spot lower with their 25-year failure to not get past the Divisional Round.
The Cowboys last appearance in the NFC Championship Game was in 1995, the same year as their last Super Bowl victory. Dallas advanced to the big game with a win over 26-year-old Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
Only five other teams have had longer waits to return to a conference championship game than the Cowboys:
- Cincinnati Bengals – 1988
- Cleveland Browns – 1989
- Detroit Lions – 1991
- Washington Football Team – 1991
- Miami Dolphins – 1992
The Browns have a chance to reset the clock today in their Divisional Round game against the Kansas City Chiefs. It would be a huge upset, but that would drop Dallas into the bottom five.
After a glorious run of three Super Bowl wins and four-straight NFC Conference Championship appearances from 1992-1995 the Cowboys have rarely been close to the same level of success. Since 1995 Dallas has only made the playoffs 10 times and has a 4-10 record in postseason games.
Dallas reached the Divisional Round six times in those 10 playoff trips, four after a first-round win and twice after a first-round bye as one of the top-two seeds in the NFC. Their most recent effort was in 2018 after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round, but they were defeated and eliminated by the Los Angeles Rams.
One reason that the Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy in 2020 was that the Green Bay Packers reached the playoffs nine times in his 12 seasons as their head coach. They made it to the NFC Championship Game in four of those years.
The Packers have continued to have playoff success without McCarthy, reaching the conference title game in 2019 and 2020. Meanwhile, the Cowboys fell to a 6-10 record this year with their new head coach.
As Dallas fans continue to wonder when they’ll see their team back in the NFL’s final four, they’re also wondering if the current head coach is the man to get them there.