Let’s turn the clock back a bit, shall we? Critics love to say that Dallas Cowboys fans live in the past, and for the purposes of this exercise we’re going to a bit. We’re firing the ‘ol DeLorean up to 88mph in order to re-visit the 2016 season (it was a fun one, wouldn’t you say?). What we’re looking at specifically is where the Cowboys landed each week on NFL.com’s Power Rankings… the results will interest you.
NFL.com’s weekly power rankings are written by Elliot Harrison, a Dallas native and Cowboys Historian, and I’ll attest to the list’s quality. Elliot is a fantastic NFL writer and he’s usually very fair to the Cowboys (not to mention he was one of the OG National Romo Defenders).
As you can see the Cowboys sat at 16th right after their Draft. Of course it was that very Draft that would significantly boost the quality of America’s Team last season, but that was unforeseen by literally everyone in the NFL.
The Lowest Point On The Season
Amazingly the lowest status that the Dallas Cowboys reached in these Power Rankings was the 19th spot. This is considering that the Cowboys were down Tony Romo – at that point their unquestioned savior – and had just lost to the New York Giants (remember when Terrance Williams didn’t get out of bounds?).
Dez Bryant clearly telling Terrance Williams to get out of bounds. Wow.
#19 isn’t terrible relatively speaking. Considering that the whole world got to see what the Dallas Cowboys were without Tony Romo just a season prior, the fact that Dallas was still considered a Top 20 team was an achievement that’s something to be proud of. Fortunately for all of us things got going quickly and the Cowboys rose, rose, and rose.
The Cowboys Soar To The Top
The question “when did Dak Prescott really and truly earn the job of starting quarterback?” is one that is fascinating to debate. Some would say it’s a collection of games, some would say the Overtime win at home against Philadelphia, and others would say it was the big road win at Lambeau Field.
It was indeed that victory in Green Bay that catapulted the Cowboys in these Power Rankings. Prior to that the Cowboys were 8th and jumped all the way up to 3rd, the Cowboys wouldn’t leave the Top 3 for the rest of the regular season.
After that Eagles win on Halloween’s eve, the Cowboys actually climbed all the way up to 2nd! They would never fall below #2 for the remainder of the season, but they would rise for a bit.
America’s Team Takes The Throne
The Cowboys maintained Elliot Harrison’s top spot in his weekly power rankings on NFL.com for four weeks (shout out to #4 Dak Prescott!). They originally took the throne after what many would say was their biggest win of the season, an incredible clash of the NFL’s finest franchises when Dallas outlasted the Steelers in Pittsburgh on November 13th.
The Kool-Aid at #1 stayed blue and silver for a long and glorious month as the Cowboys ripped off victories against the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, and in Minnesota against the Vikings. It took a road loss in New York in frigid conditions against a stifling defense for the Cowboys to fall down a spot and see the eventual Super Bowl LI Champion New England Patriots take the spot back.
Dallas was one of just six teams to hold the top spot across the season, and they held it for the second-longest amount of time. It’s tough to argue that that specific stretch of time was when they were at their most dominant, and unfortunately it all ended for good about a month after that New York Giants loss.
Where will the Cowboys land on next season’s week-to-week Power Rankings? We’re all going to have to wait to find out!