Neither the Cowboys or the Eagles can accomplish a lot tonight in their regular-season finale. Both have already clinched playoff spots and are unlikely to make a significant change in their seeding. But at least for Dallas, a very rare accomplishment in NFC East history is on the table.
If the Cowboys are victorious tonight then they will have swept the division by going 6-0 against the Eagles, Giants, and the Football Team. Surprisingly, this would only be the third time that this happened in the over 50-year history of the NFC East.
Despite some of the great success that the Cowboys and our rivals have had in the NFL, a sweep of the division never occurred until 1998. Dallas went 8-0 that year, winning against the usual suspects and also the Arizona Cardinals back when it was a five-team division.
Ironically, the 1998 Cowboys were only 10-6 overall and hardly one of the best teams Dallas produced in that decade. They actually lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Cardinals, so they didn’t go completely perfect against the NFC East that year.
The only other sweep happened in 2004 at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. They went 13-3 and eventually lost in the Super Bowl to the Patriots.
Coincidentally, that 2004 Eagles team was also the last repeat champion in the NFC East.
How much either team will put into tonight’s game is yet to be seen. The Cowboys are missing Micah Parsons, Tyron Smith, Trevon Diggs, Jayron Kearse, and Tony Pollard due to a mix of injuries, illness, and COVID issues. And the Eagles don’t have much to play for, only able to move up from the 7th to the 6th seed at best.
Given this, we may see both teams empty the benches at some point tonight. Dallas has talked a good game about giving full effort tonight, but that was before they lost so many key players. Protecting their other assets may now be the greater priority.
Sweeping the division is ultimately just a novelty and a fun fact for the trivia books. It comes with no additional perk in the postseason. But in 2021, with Philadelphia a wild card team and Washington not far behind, it would mean the Cowboys dominated the NFC East in a year when it was a respectable accomplishment.
Even if the Eagles win tonight, the Cowboys still won all the games that really mattered. Hopefully, that means Dallas is capable of even greater achievements in the coming weeks.