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On Monday Bart Starr, the legendary long-time Green Bay Packers Quarterback who is in the Hall of Fame, celebrated his 83rd birthday. Happy belated to Mr. Starr.
Bart was the first (and second) ever Super Bowl MVP, earning the honor while wearing the white #15 on his green-and-gold jersey. This number has been on my mind a lot as of late, especially with this week's Cowboys/Packers Divisional Game looming.
You see, numbers are kind of my thing. If you follow me on Twitter then you're aware of my proclivity to tweet fun math equations that show a series of numbers culminating in one that implies some sort of destiny.
So what's fun about the number 15? Mr. Starr's birthday is a fun reminder that he's the greatest person to ever wear it in NFL History, but this number has a lot to do with the present… specifically the Dallas Cowboys.
You see, the Dallas Cowboys are trying to get to the NFC Championship Game. This is territory that has been foreign to America's Team since 1995. There are a lot of narratives hanging in the air and, if you look closely, you can connect most of them by the number that falls after 14 and precedes 16.
The 2016 Dallas Cowboys – and all of their aspirations – were built on 15, in more ways than one. Here's all of them.
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2016 Is Literally Built On 2015
Thanks to this handy-dandy little deal called a calendar, we all know that 2016 is the year that comes after 2015… so 2016 is literally built on 2015 as far as time is concerned.
While this sounds silly, it's true for the Dallas Cowboys as well. When you think about the experience that was the 2015 season, you think about all of the lessons that were learned and gleaned from it. In 2015 the Cowboys learned the steep price of not having a properly equipped back-up quarterback.
Dallas brought back Kellen Moore, but it was the drafting of Dak Prescott that we owe to 2015. An eye was on the future with the 135th pick of the Draft, and the future arrived in Week 3 of the Preseason when Tony Romo went down. Thank you for your lessons, 2015.
Bonus 15 Factoid: The 2015 Dallas Cowboys played the standard 16 regular season games all NFL teams do, but with the final one happening after the New Year they played exactly 15 games that season on the 2015 side of the calendar.
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Dak Prescott And Ezekiel Elliott Both Wore #15 In 2015
While an eye was on the future in the 4th Round of the Draft, all hands were on deck with the 4th Overall Pick. Dallas elected to take Ezekiel Elliott out of The Ohio State University, and he wound up leading the league in rushing. Pretty solid pick, I'd say.
It's no secret that Dak and Zeke have gravitated towards one another, jolting the future of the Dallas Cowboys and giving Cowboys Nation a great sense of optimism about it. There is a high level of 15 in both Dak and Zeke's past, though.
The horror that was 2015 brought forth two #DallasCowboys that used to wear #15. Amazing coincidence. pic.twitter.com/KBn06cPiOK
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) December 31, 2016
In the same way that 2016 was built on 15, this point is built on my previous one. The Cowboys learned how to be better in 2015, and the answer dictated that they acquire the services of both Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.
2015 gave us two #15s, the greatest ones that we could have ever asked for.
Bonus 15 Factoid: Ezekiel Elliott had 15 rushing touchdowns in the regular season, and the fewest completions Dak Prescott had when playing for an entire game was 15.
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The Difference Of 15 Is The Power Of 4
Back in the early days of May, I wrote here at Inside The Star about The Power of 4 concerning the 2016 Dallas Cowboys Draft Class. That little ‘ol class has done pretty well for themselves, don't ya think?
The current crop of Cowboys rookies has definitely solved a lot of problems. Beyond the obvious in Dak and Zeke, Anthony Brown has been fantastic, Maliek Collins has shown up a ton, Kavon Frazier has made a play or two, and we haven't even seen Jaylon Smith yet!
After going 12-4 in 2014 how does The 214 fix next year's 4-12?
With 21 & 4. pic.twitter.com/sCEHDuyhcB
— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) November 6, 2016
There are a lot of people who are ready to crown 2016 as the greatest Dallas Cowboys Draft Class of all-time. I'd advise pumping the brakes for a bit as 1964 (Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes, and Roger Staubach) and 1975 (The Dirty Dozen) can't be caught in just one year, regardless of how great it is.
This rookie class may be about The Power of 4, but as 4 is the difference of 15 it all works for us.
Bonus 15 Factoid: If you add up those three draft classes (1964, 1975, and 2016) by their 12 individual numbers you get 51… which is 15 reversed.
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Sunday, January 15th, 2017
Let's just say it. This Sunday is going to be epic.
You can make a legitimate case – I'm not going to, but you can – that this Sunday's contest against the Green Bay Packers is the most important football game played by the Dallas Cowboys in 21 years.
It was January of 2015 when the Cowboys saw their 2014 season end at the iconic Lambeau Field on a blown call… this makes Sunday bigger than a normal playoff game. There's an air of “not this time” hovering around this particular Divisional Playoff Game.
Beyond all of that narrative there's the fact that this game occurs on January 15th. Both the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers hold this day highly in regard, as they have both won Super Bowls on it.
The Packers won Super Bowl I on this day – Bart Starr was obviously there – and the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowl XII. While 12 obviously isn't 15, there is something neat to the notion that the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII with a stud rookie running back… just like they have now.
Bonus 15 Factoid: Sunday will mark 735 days since Dez Bryant's heroic catch in Green Bay during the 2014 Divisional Round of the Playoffs. 7 + 3 + 5 = 15.
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This Season Ends In Super Bowl LI, Which Is 15 Flipped, Where We Will Finish This Fight
As a student of NFL History I'm partial to referring to Super Bowls by their Roman Numerals, which is why I supremely hated Super Bowl 50.
Thankfully the NFL is back on track and we are approaching Super Bowl LI, aka 51 for the non-fans of Roman Numerals. It's obvious that 51 is the reverse image of 15, which suggests that things are destiny for our Cowboys.
The truth of the matter is that all of these are just a long line of fun coincidences. The real meat and potatoes of what the Dallas Cowboys are built on isn't the number 15… they're built on the guidance, vision, and discipline of Head Coach Jason Garrett.
Coach Garrett has preached a mantra to his team as they gear up for what is God-willing the ride of their lives – #FinishThisFight.
Is it a coincidence that “FinishThisFight” is 15 characters? Who knows. What I do know is that if anyone can do it, it's this team. Let's finish this fight. Huzzah.
Bonus 15 Factoid: Super Bowl LI will mark the 15th Super Bowl to occur in the month of February.