For the first time since 1989, the Dallas Cowboys will not have a representative on the annual Pro Bowl roster. Though in a typical season, they might be able to get a guy on the team because of an injury replacement or a player opts out with something more to play for, this season, there won't be a Pro Bowl game with the current public health crisis that the United States is dealing with.
So, for the first time in 31 seasons, the Cowboys will be left off the all-star squad. Pretty remarkable, really.
2020 has been bad for the Cowboys. Of that, there is no doubt. They haven't been good enough this season, and that's why they sit at 5-9 with two games remaining in the regular season. Sure, they still have a chance to steal the NFC East if a lot of things go right for them (or wrong, depending on your perspective). However, that's more of an indictment on the NFC East than it is the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys have had some bad seasons in the past. The 5-11 years of the Dave Campo era. The 6-10 at the end of Wade Phillips' tenure when Jason Garrett took over as the interim head coach. The 4-12 season in 2015 after Tony Romo was lost early in that season. And yet the Dallas Cowboys were able to get players into the Pro Bowl in those seasons.
First, the NFL flexed the then 4-9 Dallas Cowboys out of the primetime Sunday Night Football slot, and now they can't get anyone voted onto the Pro Bowl team. My, how America's Team has fallen.
This team has struggled to find consistent success since the mid-90s, and they've yet to sniff an NFC Championship game since that time. All the while, Jerry Jones continues to promote optimism and belief in squads that have underachieved. What good has that self-promotion done for this team? Yes, they have good merchandise numbers, have excellent attendance, and the best ratings in the league. Jerry Jones' Cowboys continue to be the most valued sports franchise in North American sports.
And yet, it's gotten them nowhere. They've had some good teams but haven't ever been able to get over the divisional round hump.
There isn't a whole lot to choose from this season with all of the injuries they've suffered to their stars, but DeMarcus Lawrence and Amari Cooper were possibilities. Lawrence, more than Cooper, feels like a snub from the NFC squad.
DeMarcus Lawrence (586 total snaps): 43 pressures, 6 sacks, 7.7 pass rush productivity rating (PRP), 33 stops, 10.8 run-stop %.
Chase Young (646): 28 pressures, 5 sacks, 4.2 PRP 25 stops, 6.8 RS%.
Brandon Graham (652): 47 total pressure, seven sacks, 7.6 PRP, 26 stops, 7.2 RS%.
As the Dallas Morning News' John Owning put it, there's no way that both Chase Young and Brandon Graham were more deserving of Pro Bowl consideration than Lawrence. Lawrence, on fewer pass rush snaps, was much more productive than either Young or Graham.
The fact that Lawrence wasn't selected despite being just as productive, if not more so than his two NFC East mates, speaks to how the Dallas Cowboys are viewed around the league. Even as Lawrence has had a solid season, the Cowboys' defense has been atrocious for the most part. His productivity wasn't enough to overcome the team's woes in 2020.
And honestly, it's a long time coming. The Cowboys have long been a team that ended up with more Pro Bowl selection than they probably deserved in some years. The fan voting generally gets the Cowboys a bump because of their popularity. It seems like that popularity wasn't enough to carry a player or two onto the Pro Bowl roster this year.
It's unlikely this will deter Jerry Jones and the Cowboys front office from their business as usual attitude as they can claim injuries were the reason the team underperformed this season. And they would be right this year, but injuries can't always be the excuse. Patience is wearing thin with this organization. It's long been time for the Dallas Cowboys to make a deep run in the playoffs. It likely won't happen in 2020, which makes 2021 all the more important.