The cowboy is perhaps the most romantic figure in American history. From gunfights at high noon to fighting off hostile Indians to cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail, the mystical cowboy with his rough-and-tumble persona, his indomitable spirit, and his simple, straightforward idea of justice, blazed the trail for westward expansion.
But that was then.
Cowboys still exist today, of course. They still run their ranches and punch their cows. But their battles hardly ever include six-shooters. The heroes among them are relegated to arenas where they ride bulls and race barrels. They still matter. Their values have not changed much and neither has their preferred lifestyle. But they no longer dominate the American consciousness.
This is the 21st century. It belongs to those blazing trails in other places, like space or cyberspace.
And I cannot help but wonder: Is the same thing true for the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL? The iconic franchise that was once led by the man in the most recognizable hat in America and a quarterback whose morals were as rock steady as his influence on the field.
The franchise that attended five Super Bowls in a ten-year span. The franchise that had a run of 20 consecutive winning seasons. The franchise that reinvented itself and rode the backs of the Triplets to domination of the 20th century’s final decade.
The Cowboys still exist in the 21st century, but like their namesake, they are no longer the focal point. An entire generation of footbal fans have only heard that they were good once. A long, long time ago. Like, last century! If you think this is hyperbole, or that I am missing the mark by saying the Dallas Cowboys are so last century, then, while Seattle (!) fans prepare to cheer their team in the Super Bowl, let’s look at the 21st century facts regarding your Cowboys, shall we?
Breaking down the Cowboys’ fortunes in the 21st Century
|Win/Loss Record||112-112||1-4 Playoff Record|
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Fourteen seasons into the century and the Cowboys have had four head coaches, which is an average of 3.5 years per stint. They have made the playoffs just four times, or 28.5% of the time. They have won just ONE playoff game. Compare that to ANY prior decade in team history, including the 1960s, when they were a fledgling organization, and you will see how woeful this team has been since the Y2K scare.
Fourteen years in and they have won exactly as many games as they have lost.
Still there. Still something of a factor. But no longer a dominant force. No longer America’s passion.
Just like their namesake.
Is it? Is this the last Cowboys song?
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