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.
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Since becoming the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Rod Marinelli hasn't had too many of his former players follow him to Dallas. In fact, I can only think of one… Henry Melton, and we all know how that turned out.
I don't know about you, but I found that a little strange. It's pretty common for coaches to try to bring some of their players with them when they accept a new job. Familiarity goes a long way in the NFL and former players can also help make the transition easier for everyone.
Strangely enough, Rod Marinelli hasn't really been afforded that luxury, whether it was his doing or not. But, there is a free agent who played under Marinelli's tutelage in Chicago who might make sense for the Dallas Cowboys, linebacker Shea McClellin.
Rod Marinelli was the defensive coordinator in Chicago when the Bears decided to draft Shea McClellin 19th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Marinelli likely had a big say in that decision, and if he still feels the same, a reunion could be in order.
Shea McClellin started his career in the NFL as a 4-3 left side defensive end playing opposite Julius Peppers, but was also viewed as a potential Brian Urlacher replacement. He showed flashes of becoming a solid defensive end his first few years in the league, but was eventually moved to linebacker, where he seemed to find a home for himself.
After his contract expired with the Bears, the New England Patriots decided to bring him aboard to help with their linebacker depth. He only ended up starting four games for them in 2016, but made some memorable plays to help the Patriots become the Super Bowl champions.
Unfortunately, the 2017 season wasn't very kind to him. His entire year was wiped out due to a concussion, which probably had a lot to do with why they recently released him.
This of course could be good news for the Dallas Cowboys. They currently need some depth at the linebacker position and Shea McClellin could provide that, if he's healthy. The healthy bit here is key, because he has had problems with concussions in the past.
If McClellin is indeed healthy, he could bring a versatile skill set to the Cowboys defense. His best spot is probably at strong side LB (SAM), but I think he could play middle linebacker (MIKE) as well. He also could provide depth at defensive end, the position he played to start his NFL career.
With the LB depth a concern, Shea McClellin makes quite a bit of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, his past history with concussions is a red flag, but it also drives down his asking price. I think he would definitely fall into that "bargain shopping" mentality the Cowboys have been using these last few offseasons.
He probably wouldn't be viewed as a very important signing, but you still need these types of players on your team in order to succeed in the NFL. Let's see if the Dallas Cowboys agree.
Do you think a Rod Marinelli and Shea McClellin reunion is in order?
Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys
Now that he's signed with the Washington Redskins, cornerback Orlando Scandrick joins a lackluster list of former Cowboys players and coaches who have gone from Dallas to its historic rival. The history of these moves is ugly for Washington, going back over 40 years, and can't have their fans too excited anytime they sign an ex-Cowboy.
The most recent example was just last year with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After a strong season as a 15-game starter in Dallas, McClain got a four-year, $21 million deal to join the Redskins. He missed four games with injuries and was only credited with two starts; hardly what the team wanted given the money they paid.
Before him it was Jason Hatcher, whose 11-sack season for the Cowboys in 2013 got him a four-year, $27.5 million deal from Washington. Hatcher would battle knee injuries for two season, getting only 7.5 sacks from 2014-2015. His early retirement in 2016 brought an abrupt end to a disappointing tenure.
Continuing the legacy of defensive linemen was Stephen Bowen, who Washington paid a shocking amount of money ($27.5 million over five years) to in 2011 to pick up in free agency. Bowen had a great first year for the Redskins with six sacks and 16 starts, but injuries would soon cost him 14 games from 2013-2014. He was eventually released after only one standout season in four with the team.
Going back even further, DT Brandon Noble joined Washington in 2003 after being a full-time starter for Dallas for over two seasons. He would miss all of 2003 with a knee injury, have an unimpressive year in 2004, and then missed all of 2005 with more health issues. He retired after being released by the Redskins in 2006.
Orlando Scandrick won't be the first cornerback to go from Dallas to Washington, or the best. At age 32, Deion Sanders was released in 2000 by the Cowboys and then got a huge seven-year, $56 million deal from the Redskins. This came less than a year after Daniel Snyder bought the franchise and was desperate to get them relevant again.
The Sanders move backfired horribly. Even after a solid season by his lofty standards, Primetime was disgruntled with both the coaching staff and his increasing struggles as an aging player. He suddenly retired after just one season of the seven-year contract.
Washington also tried to tap into the Cowboys' glory days when they signed receiver Alvin Harper in 1997. Harper had left Dallas in 1995 and spent two years with Tampa Bay, but had not carried over the same success he enjoyed playing in the Dallas offense.
The Redskins hoped that reuniting him with Norv Turner, who had been Harper's offensive coordinator and was now their head coach, would help Alvin get back to form. But between ongoing injuries and the absence of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith as teammates, Alvin Harper was never the same guy as when he won two Super Bowls in Dallas.
The failed poaching attempts go back many more decades, another one being running back Calvin Hill. The fourth-leading rusher in Cowboys history and a four-time Pro Bowler while in Dallas, Hill joined Washington in 1976. He served as a backup only, averaging only 3.8 yards-per-carry as he played behind the likes of Mike Thomas and John Riggins.
The bad history doesn't stop with players. The aforementioned Norv Turner, who was one of the hottest assistant coaches in history after the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s, was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 1994.
Turner's run started with a whimper, drafting quarterback Heath Shuler third overall in that first year. Shuler would go down as one of the biggest QB busts in NFL history
Norv's Redskins never seemed to recover from that blunder. He only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance from 1994-1999, and was fired midway through the 2000 season.
Far more recently, Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan left the team in 2015 and took the same job in Washington. He didn't get to bring the offensive line or DeMarco Murray with him, though. As such, the Redskins have remained one of the league's worst rushing teams for the last three seasons. They fell to a new low of 28th in the NFL in 2017.
~ ~ ~
Of course, none of this means that Orlando Scandrick won't have success in Washington. But with the Redskins generally the most mismanaged team in the NFC East, all of the Dallas players and coaches who've gone there have not walked into good situations. For all that Cowboys fans love to complain about Jerry Jones, he handles the owner and GM roles better than any pair Washington's had in almost 30 years.
Given the nature of the rivalries, we naturally can't wish success for Scandrick or anyone else who leaves Dallas for a division opponent. With the track record we just discussed for Washington, it's not something I'll be losing any sleep over.
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog18 hours ago
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Star Blog2 days ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?