Evaluating success isn’t always about whose most consistent, but who defies expectations at the most opportune times. Under head coach Jason Garrett, Dallas was consistently 8-8. They consistently missed the playoffs and recently consistently exited in the second round.
It’s why the excitement this team felt after their 24-22 wildcard victory over the Seattle Seahawks Saturday was short lived. Though, at the time, their opponent was unknown, it didn’t stop them from shifting their focus to the divisional round.
3 playoff victories in the last 20 years is what national media platforms and the depths of social media comment sections will tell you the Cowboys accomplished Saturday. Even though a little over 85% of their current roster hadn’t even reached first grade before these previous three postseason wins, people still choose to use that as a slight against this team.
They refuse to see the three division titles in five years, the three divisional round appearances and, though still woeful, the two playoff wins they’ve enjoyed recently.
The stretch between 1996-2009 when Dallas was irrelevant in the postseason is not applicable to this coaching staff, this quarterback or this roster. In Dak Prescott’s first three seasons he has accomplished three straight winning seasons and fell a game short of reaching the playoffs in 2017.
Since 2014, when Dallas has had their week 1 starting quarterback remains mostly healthy throughout the season they have been successful. Yet, because it draws a reaction, it sounds better to draw constantly drawback to the 90s to prove a point in 2019.
Is Patrick Mahomes under pressure because his team has had one playoff win since 1994? Is Phillip Rivers not a good quarterback because he too has 3 playoff wins in the last 10 years? No? Because they’re enjoying a good stretch we choose to evaluate them on recent performances as it relates to this year and these playoffs.
Local media and those involved inside the Cowboys organization all agree Jason Garrett is a model of consistency when it comes to his day-to-day routine. Same outfit, same opening statements and the same comical one-liners. However, this Saturday, it’s time he shows a little inconsistency. The one-and-done playoff mantra has consistently been a part of this team’s playoff experience.
Dallas was given a -2.5 line against Seattle last week. Against the Los Angeles Rams, they’re +7. They were expected to win last week. They always do. Since AT&T opened in 2009 the Cowboys are 3-0 at home in the wildcard round. They’re 2016 playoff journey began and ended in the divisional round. They are accustomed to getting past the first round.
However, history, you know the history that includes “three playoff wins in 20 years,” says the Cowboys ride stops in LA Memorial Coliseum. It would be consistent with how this team has operated. Even with 34 of the 53 men on this team not being apart of that 2016 or 2014 team we still look to history to formulate our opinions about this team.
Changing the three in 20 narrative begins Saturday. Before the Cowboys’ Super Bowl title in 1992, Dallas had just three playoff victories in the past 10 years. Those years of postseason struggles didn’t dictate the type of team they could be moving forward.
So why can’t that apply for this team? If it doesn’t, and they find themselves in this position in 2020, we’ll be back here again listening to reporters emphasize how this team has only managed three playoff victories in 20 years.
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