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.
Was Sunday A “Wake Up Call,” Or Were Cowboys Exposed?
Entering last Sunday's game in Indianapolis, the Dallas Cowboys were riding high. Having won five straight games, including key victories over the top seeded Saints and division rival Eagles, everything seemed to be breaking right for the Cowboys heading into the home stretch.
Their defense was playing like one of the best in football, and after firing Paul Alexander and trading for Amari Cooper their offense was clicking just as they'd hoped. They needed (and still need) just one win to officially close out the division and clinch a home playoff game in January.
Instead, the Cowboys got absolutely demolished by the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, there's no shame in losing a road game to an 8-6 team in the NFL, but the way in which they lost certainly deserves some shame. Not even the 23-0 score can encapsulate the complete butt-kicking Dallas received at the hands of the Colts, and it was the type of loss that can sometimes make you question the blueprint.
The Cowboys, however, are not looking at it that way. Multiple leaders in the locker room have spoke this week about how they "needed" to lose like that. Running back Ezekiel Elliott called the loss embarrassing, but also said it is better for Dallas in the "grand scheme of the season."
Clearly, the leaders and coaches are calling the putrid performance a wake up call, something that will galvanize them and reset their win streak heading into the postseason. But is this really the case, or was the shutout defeat more of a sign of things to come?
Obviously it's too early to say for sure, but I do think it can be a little bit of both.
No, the Cowboys are not the class of the NFC, despite beating what can be called the best team in the same conference a couple weeks ago. There probably will prove to be some drop-off from the top 3 seeds in the conference and the Cowboys, if for no other reason than Dallas will have to go on the road to play those teams in the playoffs. It's really hard to win on the road in the NFL, especially with the increased wackiness of 2018.
The Cowboys offense is far from perfect or prolific, though if clicking they now have the skill talent to drop 30+ points any given Sunday. Their defense is talented, has a high ceiling, but is still very young and inexperienced. Though they've played elite level games before, they've also had some stinkers against the Colts and Titans during the same season.
All of this can be true. The Cowboys can be a team deserving of the playoffs, a team we should not be panicking over, but still a very flawed football team. They can be a team that if "hot" could make a run through the postseason, but also will have to answer some tough questions about coaches and players during the next two offseasons.
After all, who isn't greatly flawed in today's NFL? Hell, we just saw the beloved Rams lose two straight games.
Is it Too Late For Dallas to Fire OC Scott Linehan?
Grab your pitchforks and your torches, it's time to run the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan out of town. His playcalling has been absolutely atrocious season and it's time for him to hit the road, even if there are only two regular-season games left on the schedule.
It's completely unorthodox for an NFL team to fire an offensive coordinator this late in the season, but just last week we saw the Minnesota Vikings do just that when they parted ways with John DeFilippo. It was definitely a bold move to make considering the Vikings are still in playoff contention, but it was something they believed was in the best interest of their team.
I believe if the Dallas Cowboys want to do what's best for their team right now and not later, then they should go ahead and cut ties with Scott Linehan. His predictability and un-creativeness as a play caller is holding back a talented offense, which is hurting the overall team as a result. He's been given every opportunity to turn things around, but enough is enough.
I'd personally be on board with Jason Garrett taking over the playcalling duties. He has the experience and held the position with the Cowboys from 2007 until Linehan was hired. I'd even consider giving Kellen Moore a shot as the OC. He knows the system and has worked closely with Quarterback Dak Prescott. Regardless, the Cowboys need to find some way to increase their offensive productivity.
Right now the Cowboys offense is the 26th scoring offense in the NFL and are averaging just 19.7 points per game. To make matters worse they are the 31st ranked Red Zone offense in the league. I don't know about you, but I think that is completely unacceptable with the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball.
Firing Linehan has been a long time coming. The Cowboys flirted with the idea earlier this season during the bye week and should've pulled the trigger then, but for some reason or another decided to let him stick around. They are definitely still paying for that mistake now.
The Cowboys mistake not to replace Linehan could mean yet another early exit in the playoffs, something we have unfortunately become accustomed to. Scoring just 19 points a game isn't going to get them very far, which is truly unfortunate considering the talent they've acquired this season.
Unfortunately, as much as we would love to see Scott Linehan tarred and feathered and run out of town, I just don't see the Cowboys doing that before their season is officially over. But, in no way should he be allowed to retain his position beyond this season. He clearly isn't the answer any longer.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should fire Scott Linehan?
Despite Embarrassing Showing, Health Remains Biggest Cowboys Concern
What is it about the AFC South with these Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas' five game winning streak came to a close on Sunday, as they got straight-up embarrassed by the now 8-6 Indianapolis Colts on the road. The loss was the first since the Cowboys were embarrassed by a different AFC South competitor, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday night football earlier this season.
Though the final was 23-0, and not a single phase (or really even a single player) showed much fight or promise, the biggest concern I have for the Cowboys moving forward didn't change because of the putrid performance. It didn't change because the defense was gashed play after play or the offense failed to finish a single drive. And it didn't even change because both the Redskins and Eagles secured season-saving victories on the same day Dallas was dismantled.
The biggest concern is still their health, particularly across the offensive line.
That was not a playoff caliber interior offensive line the Cowboys put out their on Sunday. Not even close.
With their backup center in Joe Looney, backup guard in Connor Williams, and the very last interior offensive linemen on their roster in Adam Redmond playing for basically the entire game, this offense never had a chance. Dak Prescott wasn't any more inaccurate or indecisive than normal, but all those who like to scream "step up in the pocket" whenever he is sacked did not seem to have an argument this week.
There often was no pocket to step into, as those interior three, specifically Looney and Redmond, failed to provide much protection or confidence for Prescott at all. Joe Looney has actually been rather solid this season, but Sunday felt like one of his worst games of the entire year.
The Cowboys absolutely need Zack Martin to get healthy if they are to make any noise whatsoever in the postseason. At the very least, the need Xavier Su'a-Filo to come back and replace Redmond, and regain the form he displayed during his debut against the Eagles back in November.
Prescott already has issues with his pocket presence and footwork when pressured, so throwing three backup-level linemen right in front of him is not a recipe for success for the Cowboys.
I'm not jumping out of the window over this loss, and I don't think any of you should be either. Dallas had won three straight incredibly emotional and important home games to extend, save, and solidify their season respectively before this loss. They had also just about clinched the NFC East a week ago with their win over Philadelphia, and they played like a team that was due a flat performance
A letdown loss on the road, against a good team I might add, is not the end of the world. The bigger issue here is their health, because if Martin can return to anchor this offensive line, the offense should look a whole lot better than they did against Indianapolis.
It's time to move on from Sunday, go beat Tampa Bay, officially clinch the division, and get ready for Wild Card Weekend.
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