DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – People say the Dallas Cowboys’ 35-30 victory Sunday over the Pittsburgh Steelers was nerve-wracking, exciting, heart-stopping, exhilarating and … probably, at times … curse-word inducing.
Sure, it was all of those things, but it was also something far more important.
It was the win that truly put the Cowboys on the road to the Super Bowl.
Now, I’m not saying that just because the victory gave Dallas the best record in the NFL while also solidifying its leads in the NFC East and the race for home-field advantage in the NFC, but rather from a historical perspective.
The proof is in the past.
Surely, people heard the voice of the Dallas Cowboys Brad Sham … shameless plug alert … right here on 105.3 The Fan point out after Sunday’s win that this was the team’s first eight-game winning streak since 1977. Now, far be it from me to say Sham is incorrect (especially since he has told me on numerous occasions to be more glass half full), so instead I’ll say that is sort of correct. Yeah, that feels nicer.
True, Sunday’s triumph gave the Cowboys their first eight-game regular season win streak since 1977, but the last time the team won eight straight games was actually in 1993.
Hmmmmmm, what do the 1977 and 1993 seasons have in common? I’ll give you a moment.
Got it yet?
That’s right … wait for it … the Cowboys won the Super Bowl in those years!
You might think that connection alone isn’t enough to project a Cowboys appearance in Super Bowl 51. OK, fair enough, let’s go further through the history books. Including the playoffs, this is only the fifth season in Cowboys’ history that the team has won at least eight straight games.
Think about that for a moment. This is the 57th season of Cowboys football and that eight-game threshold has only been met five times.
Well, what happened in the other four seasons?
The magic number was first reached in 1971, when the Cowboys posted a franchise-best 10 game winning streak on their way to winning the club’s first Super Bowl (24-3 over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl 6). Then, there were the aforementioned 1977 and 1993 teams, who both ripped off eight straight victories en route to winning their respective Super Bowls (27-10 against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 12 and 30-13 over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl 28).
The other season is more painful for long-time Cowboys’ fans.
The winning streak also reached eight games in 1978 as the Cowboys once again made it to the Super Bowl, this time dropping a 35-31 decision to the Steelers at Super Bowl 13 in a game that essentially decided the team of the decade.
That memory may sting, but there is also a very strong silver lining.
Sunday marked the fifth time in franchise history the Cowboys have won at least eight straight games. And the difference between a seven- and eight-game win streak is apparently a massive one as Dallas has won seven straight three other seasons (1970, 1983, 2007) and each ended in defeat. Compare that to the previous four seasons with at least eight straight wins. In each of those years, America’s team advanced to the Super Bowl – no doubt a welcome piece of information for the fan base of a franchise that is currently in the midst of its longest Super Bowl appearance drought ever.
And sure, there are still plenty of concerns to overcome and landmarks to hit in 2016.
There is the lingering Tony Romo/Dak Prescott discussion, ongoing injury issues and pass rushing problems that the Cowboys will have to power through to win the division let alone start advancing through the playoffs. But this team has already done something unique in the franchise’s 57-season run and history says this team will have an even more special destination … even if the Super Bowl is in Houston this year.
Longest single-season win streaks in franchise history:
1970: 7 games, lost the Super Bowl
1971: 10 games, won the Super Bowl
1977: 8 games, won the Super Bowl
1978: 8 games, lost the Super Bowl
1983: 7 games, lost in Wild Card round
1993: 8 games, won the Super Bowl
2007: 7 games, lost in Divisional round
2016: 8 games and counting, TBD
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