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.
@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?
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.
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.
Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?
It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.
Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.
A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.
Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.
First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:
- Earl Thomas
- Landon Collins
- Lamarcus Joyner
- Tyrann Mathieu
- Adrian Amos
- Clayton Geathers
- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
- Glover Quinn
- Tre Boston
- Kenny Vaccaro
- George Iloka
- Jimmie Ward
- Adrian Phillips
Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.
With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.
Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.
Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.
The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.
Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?
Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors
What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.
Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?
As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.
Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.
Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.
That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.
However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.
Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.
Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.
The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.
Just something to think about...
2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back
To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.
As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.
Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.
These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.
Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.
Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.
Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.
Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.
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