FanPost

The Worst of Times for Cowboys Fans

It has been 16 seasons since the Cowboys won the Super Bowl. It will be at least 17 seasons if the Cowboys do not win the Super Bowl this season.

For fans of the Dallas Cowboys, 16 years seems like an eternity. But nothing has been worse for Cowboys fans than the last four games of the season.

Since winning their first Super Bowl of the nineties, 20 seasons ago, Dallas has been awful over the final four games of the season.

Quarter

Wins

Losses

Win ratio

Games 1-4

44

36

.550

Games 5-8

46

34

.575

Games 9-12

50

30

.625

Games 13-16

33

44

.429

Overall, since the beginning of the 1993 season, Dallas has won 173 games (and lost 144). The win ratio over that period is .546.

Obviously, the last four games of the season have been the albatross around the Cowboys for more than just a few years. The graphical representation of Dallas' wins per week (not factoring in bye weeks) resembles a bad investment portfolio.

Wins per week from 1993 through Dec 14, 2012

Three of the worst records occur in games 13 though 16. The Cowboys have a winning record in the 15th game, but losing records in games 13, 14, and 16.

Interestingly, the two best games for Cowboys fans has been the third game of the season (16 wins), and the Thanksgiving Day game (15 wins). Outside of the final four games of each season, the only game in which Dallas has a losing record is the fourth (7-13).

There have been many theories postulated as to why Dallas has struggled down the stretch. Looking at how head coaches handled the final quarter of the season accentuates the problems faced by every coach hired by Jerry since Johnson's departure. Not one head coach has posted an overall winning record over the last four games of the season since 1993. With three more wins this season, however, Jason Garrett could buck that trend.

Coach

Wins

Losses

Win ratio

Johnson ('93)

4

0

1.000

Switzer

7

9

.438

Gailey

4

4

.500

Campo

2

10

.167

Parcells

6

10

.375

Phillips

6

6

.500

Garrett

4

5

.444

Since winning the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the Cowboys have had two seasons where the team has accumulated at least three wins in the last four games. In 1996, Dallas finished 3-1 and beat the Vikings in the wild card round of the playoffs. In 2009, the Cowboys won three of their final four, and then mauled the lowly Eagles in the wild card round.

The Cowboys won a playoff game in 1994 and the Super Bowl in 1995 after going 2-2 over the last four games those seasons. Otherwise, Dallas has not won a playoff game when not posting a winning record over the course of the final four games. The Cowboys have won fewer than two games eight times since 1993.

From 2000 through 2005 (six seasons), the Cowboys went 7-17. During that time, the Cowboys started quarterbacks named Randall Cunningham, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Drew Henson, Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Ryan Leaf, Vinny Testaverde, and Drew Bledsoe.

There is a relationship between the quality of the quarterbacks and the record of the team in the last four games. When the team was winning playoff games with Troy Aikman between 1993 and 1996, Dallas was 11-5 during the final four games of the season.

As the talent around Troy Aikman degraded, the Cowboys record over the last quarter of the season became worse. From 1997 through 1999, Dallas went 4-8, even with Troy at the helm. With Tony Romo as the quarterback, the Cowboys are 11-14 through the last four games of the season.

Though Romo's record is a marked improvement over the 7-17 record prior to Tony starting, it is obvious that the talent surrounding him on both sides of the ball has yet to achieve the level found surrounding Aikman through 1996. Of course, it is likely that no team will ever boast a collection of such talent again.

Hopefully, this trend will reverse under the direction of Garrett. Considering how it correlates with playoff success, if Jason's teams are unable to win at the end of the regular season, his time in Dallas may be brief.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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