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Dallas Cowboys Have Eyes On Houston, Super Bowl LI

Inside The Star is where the voices of a nation, you the fans, can come congregate together for high-quality analysis regarding America’s Team. I speak on behalf of the entire Inside The Star team when I say that our primary objective is always to satisfy you. Earlier this week a loyal Inside The Star reader threw a tweet my way and asked if I could write up something on the subject. If you have something that you want us to write about, all you have to do is ask. Shout out to TJ, hopefully this is what you’re looking for good sir.

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Have Eyes On Houston And Super Bowl LI

Inside The Star is where the voices of a nation, you the fans, can come congregate together for high-quality analysis regarding America's Team. I speak on behalf of the entire Inside The Star team when I say that our primary objective is always to satisfy you.

Earlier this week a loyal Inside The Star reader threw a tweet my way and asked if I could write up something on the subject.

TJ Crichton on Twitter

@rjochoa think you could type up an article on the Super Bowl host course? No team has ever won hosting but has a team ever won in state?

If you have something that you want us to write about, all you have to do is ask. Shout out to TJ, hopefully this is what you're looking for good sir.

~~~

I love the Super Bowl. I love everything about it. The build up, the halftime show, the pomp and circumstance, and the game itself are collectively a subject matter that I've spent a great amount of time researching.

If you were unaware, Super Bowl LI is in Houston, TX. That's where TJ's question comes from. The Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to lock down their sixth Lombardi Trophy in the land that they call home - The Lone Star State.

TJ is correct in that no team has ever won, or even played in for that matter, the Super Bowl when they are hosting it; however, four different teams have played the big game in their home state. Two of them have even won it:

  • 1976 Oakland Raiders - Won Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl against the Minnesota Vikings
  • 1979 Los Angeles Rams - Lost Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1984 San Francisco 49ers - Won Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium against the Miami Dolphins
  • 2001 Oakland Raiders - Lost Super Bowl XXXVII at Qualcomm Stadium to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pretty funny how all four of these teams who played in/won the Super Bowl in their home state involved teams who all reside in California, isn't it? The only California-based team who isn't a part of this club is the San Diego Chargers. Womp womp for them.

What about the years before these teams stayed at home for the Super Bowl? How did they fare before that season? Did any of them have a year similar to the 2015 Cowboys?

Team Year Before SB In Home State Location of SB That Year
1975 Oakland Raiders Lost AFC Championship to Steelers Florida (Orange Bowl)
1978 Los Angeles Rams Lost NFC Championship to Cowboys Florida (Orange Bowl)
1983 San Francisco 49ers Lost NFC Championship to Redskins Florida (Tampa Stadium)
2001 Oakland Raiders Lost AFC Divisional Round to Patriots Louisiana (Superdome)

This is a small table, but there is a LOT of information that we can draw from it.

Those first two teams, '75 Raiders & '78 Rams, involved the Cowboys significantly. Those seasons culminated in Super Bowls X and XIII respectively, both of which took place in Miami's Orange Bowl and both of which the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In fact those are two of three Super Bowls that the Cowboys have played at the Orange Bowl, the third being Super Bowl V against the Baltimore Colts. Dallas has played a Super Bowl in that stadium (and in the state of Florida) three times... losing all three. That's right. They are 0-3 at the Orange Bowl/in Florida. Those are the only Super Bowl losses in franchise history, so let's never go back there ok?

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Have Eyes On Houston And Super Bowl LI 1

Moving on with these four teams in question, if you'll notice there is a heavy trend with the first three. All of them lost the conference championship game prior to playing in/winning the Super Bowl in their home state, and all three of the Super Bowls that they missed out took place in the state of Florida before moving to California.

The 2001 Raiders are the aberration in this group as the year before they stayed home for the Super Bowl they lost in the Divisional Round (the infamous Tuck Rule Game) and missed out on a Super Bowl in Louisiana, not Florida.


This bit of information isn't too particularly pleasing for Cowboys fans as Dallas did not lose the NFC Championship Game last year so we're not exactly following the book of history word for word in this regard.

Super Bowls In Houston

There have been two Super Bowls played in the city of Houston - VIII (Rice Stadium) and XXXVIII (Reliant Stadium). This is a quick sidebar, but I believe that Super Bowl XXXVIII has the greatest National Anthem of all-time and I will believe that forever.

Super Bowl VIII featured the Miami Dolphins, in the year immediately after their perfect season, capturing supremacy over the Minnesota Vikings. Super Bowl XXXVIII saw the New England Patriots secure their second World Championship in three years over the Carolina Panthers thanks to another last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Super Bowl XXXVIII also has the most roman numerals of any Super Bowl with seven. Fun fact for all you young kids out there!

If history is any indication we'll see an AFC team from the East division (Dolphins and Patriots) and an NFC team who has a quarterback on the roster that wears #17 (Bob Berry and Jake Delhomme). So basically Kellen Moore is our hero!

Same State Super Bowl Matchups

The only reason that the Super Bowl can really even be played in the city of Houston is because there is supposedly a professional football team that calls it home. In all seriousness the Texans reside in Houston, and many people have wanted to see a Lone Star Matchup in the biggest game there is.

People don't really realize this, but we've seen this happen before. Twice.

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Have Eyes On Houston And Super Bowl LI 2

Super Bowl XXV, which people incorrectly believe had the best National Anthem ever, was a thrilling game down to the end between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills. Where did this game take place? Tampa Stadium in Florida. That state just keeps coming back!

Super Bowl XXIX also saw two teams who share a state duel for the Lombardi, the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers. This was a blowout in favor of the Niners, and it also took place in Florida (Joe Robbie Stadium)!

Florida is a big common denominator in all of this which is particularly fascinating. Thank goodness Super Bowl LI isn't there because we've already gone over how that state has treated the Cowboys. Where else has Dallas played in a Super Bowl, though?

States The Cowboys Have Played Super Bowls In

The Cowboys have played in an NFL-record (Tied for 1st) 8 Super Bowls. These are the states where those have happened:

  • Florida (V, X, XIII)... All at the Orange Bowl and all losses.
  • Louisiana (VI, XII)... Tulane Stadium and the Superdome respectively, winning both.
  • California (XXVII)... The first win for the 90s Cowboys
  • Georgia (XXVIII)... The only back-to-back Super Bowl win in franchise history.
  • Arizona (XXX)... The third in four years, securing the 90s Cowboys as a dynasty.

The Cowboys will look to add Texas to that list come February of 2017 as they look to become the fifth team to play in a Super Bowl in their home state, the third to win it in their home state, and the first team to play in/win a Super Bowl in their home state in a state that is not California.

Houston, we're coming for you.

What do you think odds are that the Cowboys are playing in Super Bowl LI? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Have Eyes On Houston, Super Bowl LI" 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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Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Red Zone Liability?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Redzone Liability?

Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is arguably as talented as just about any defensive back in the NFL. He still young and has quite a bit he can do to improve his game, but there's no denying his talent. One of the things he may need to work on right now is his awareness and discipline in the red zone.

In back to back games No. 24 has been caught out of position and as a result surrendered points in the end zone. Just this last Sunday he gave up a two point conversion to Minnesota Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph. The week prior he gave up a touchdown catch to New York Giants Wide Receiver Cody Latimer.

Does this make him a liability in the red zone?

I know if I've noticed Chidobe Awuzie getting victimized in back to back weeks in the red zone opposing offensive coordinators around the league have done the same. As a result, they're going to test Awuzie to find out if they can have the same kind of success.


Chidobe Awuzie

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

If I'm Kris Richard I'm personally going to be working on making sure Chidobe is fully aware he needs to be more disciplined with his play, especially in the red zone. He's been caught out of position in back to back games and that can't be something that continues from here on out.

I'm sure Awuzie would tell you himself this is something he needs to clean up. He takes pride in his abilities and knows he can still improve. Hopefully he can take it to heart and better prepare for what's to come. Whether that means just executing his assignments better or maybe studying a little more film. It's up to him to figure out what he needs to do.

As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, they may need to start giving him a little more help over the top if this is something that continues. And if worse comes to worse, they can always see if Jourdan Lewis or Anthony Brown can be more consistent. I doubt it would come to that, but it is an option.

I for one am hoping No. 24 will just hunker down and figure out what he needs to do in order to take his game to the next level. If he can do that the Cowboys defense will be much better for it. I don't know about you, but I will be keeping a close eye on him for the rest of the season.

Do you think CB Chidobe Awuzie has become a red zone liability?


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Maliek Collins has a Breakout Opportunity Against the Minnesota Vikings

John Williams

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Cowboys DT's Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods Primed for Monster Seasons

It's been a quiet 2019 for one of the Dallas Cowboys' preseason breakout candidates, Maliek Collins. Heading into training camp, and then the regular season, Collins was the healthiest he'd been at any point in his previous three seasons. That combined with another year in the NFL, led many to believe that Collins could become a dominant 3-technique defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. Collins has been good, but perhaps not as productive as many might have predicted.

On the year, Maliek Collins has three sacks, which is third for the Dallas Cowboys behind Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence. Per Pro Football Focus, Collins is tied for 17th in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. Tied for 17th might not sound very good, but when the league leader in sacks among interior defensive linemen has just six, Collins isn't far off from threatening for the league lead. In fact, Maliek Collins is tied with All-Pro Defensive Tackles Fletcher Cox, Chris Jones, and Geno Atkins in sacks.

In total pressures, Collins is tied for eighth in the NFL per Pro Football Focus with 27 along with Quentin Jefferson and Vita Vea.

Though he's not racking up a ton of tackle this season, Collins has been excellent as a pass rusher. On Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings, he'll have a tremendous opportunity to build on his first-half numbers.


Against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, Collins has an enormous opportunity. Among quarterbacks with at least 196 drop backs, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been under pressure at the fourth highest rate in the NFL. His 40.8% pressure rate is only better than Daniel Jones, Russell Wilson, and Sam Darnold.

Vikings Guard Pat Elflein has allowed five sacks on the year, which is tied for the third most in the NFL this season among interior offensive linemen and his 20 pressures allowed is tied for eighth. When Maliek Collins gets an opportunity to line up across from Elflein, he's going to have a chance to get home.

With teams having to pay so much attention to DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and newcomer Michael Bennett, Collins should be freed up to face more one-on-one blockers.

Collins hasn't had a bad season by any stretch of the imagination, but he hasn't necessarily been the dominant player we thought he could be after his strong preseason. That perception could change when the Dallas Cowboys play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The opportunity is there for Collins, he just has to seize it.


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Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Quietly Having a Good Season

Matthew Lenix

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Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Quietly Having a Good Season

The Dallas Cowboys started to get the return on their investment of Jaylon Smith in a major way in 2018. He finished with 121 tackles (six tackles for loss), four sacks, four passes defended, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and a touchdown.

With that type of production comes lofty expectations. Dak Prescott is off to the best start of his career, All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott has found his groove with three consecutive 100-yard performances, and Amari Cooper is on pace for his best season as a pro. However, quietly, Smith is on pace to have the best season of his young career so far.

In the season opener vs the New York Giants, the Cowboys completely dominated the game virtually from the start defensively. After a touchdown on their first possession, the Giants were shut down and only scored 10 points the rest of the game. Smith would register only six tackles for the game but the Cowboys were up as much as 25 points so it wasn't really necessary for him to ball out in this contest.

Week 2 vs the Washington Redskins on the road was another solid effort defensively for the Cowboys. They held the Redskins in check behind Smith's team-leading 11 tackles as the Cowboys only allowed 255 yards of offense and two conversions on nine third downs.

The Miami Dolphins came to town in Week 3 as the Cowboys looked to improve to 3-0. The Dolphins offense never got on track as they only managed 283 total yards, went a pedestrian three of 15 on third down, gave up three sacks, and scored six points. Smith once again led the team in tackles with 10 and also forced a fumble in the red zone that was recovered by All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence when the Dolphins were driving to take the lead before halftime. Very productive game for Smith in this one.

Week 4 was a defensive battle between the Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football. The Saints came out on top 12-10 giving the Cowboys their first loss but one of the bright spots was the play of Smith. All around it was one of his better performances of the season with nine tackles (two tackles for loss), one quarterback hit, and a sack. This performance gave him 30 tackles over a three-game span which is his best stretch of the 2019 season.


The Green Bay Packers arrived at AT&T Stadium in Week 5 having won three consecutive games there, and it was quickly apparent they would win their fourth straight. The Cowboys had two turnovers on their first three possessions that led to two touchdowns for the Packers and the Cowboys never recovered. Despite holding Aaron Rodgers to zero touchdowns the Cowboys gave up a career day to Aaron Jones with 182 all-purpose yards (107 rushing, 75 receiving) and lost 34-24. Smith finished with nine tackles (tied Leighton Vander Esch for the team lead), one quarterback hit, one pass defended, and a sack. In a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated Smith was one of the few bright spots for Dallas.

The Cowboys entered Metlife Stadium for their Week 6 matchup with the New York Jets completely spiraling and it wouldn't get any better. Defensively, the Cowboys started flat by allowing 21 points in the first half. Even though they only allowed three points in the second half, Sam Darnold had a career-high 338 yards and the Jets handed the Cowboys their third consecutive loss. This would be Smith's most underwhelming performance of the season with a pedestrian four tackles. None of the impactful plays we saw from the previous three games showed up in this one.

Before the bye week, the Cowboys hosted the Philadelphia Eagles in a battle for first place in the NFC East. Smith wasted no time making an impact in this game as he forced a fumble by Tight End Dallas Goedert on the Eagles first possession near midfield which set up the Cowboys first touchdown. This set the tone for the entire defense as they held the Eagles to 283 yards total yards, only allowed 10 points and forced four turnovers. Smith tied Sean Lee and Jeff Heath for the team lead with seven tackles while also registering a pass defended and a forced fumble. Just the type of performance you'd hope for from Smith after his worst game of the season.

This past Monday night saw the Cowboys return to Metlife Stadium but this time they would take on the arch-rival New York Giants. Smith spearheaded a dominant performance by the Cowboys defense as they held the Giants to 271 total yards, five out of 16 on third down, and forced three turnovers. He finished tied with Lee for the team lead with 12 tackles while also adding a half-sack and a quarterback hit. With the Eagles on the Cowboys heels for the division lead, they needed their best players to perform vs the Giants and Smith definitely delivered on his end.

Jaylon Smith is currently on pace for 136 tackles and five sacks which would both be career highs. In five of the Cowboys eight games, he's either led or been tied for the team lead in tackles. He has continued to show that he's worth every penny of the five-year 64 million dollar extension with 35.5 million in guarantees he signed in August. His "Clear Eye View" has him playing the best football of his career in 2019.

 


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