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In failing to capture the NFC East, the Cowboys failed to live up to their preseason hype

The Cowboys wining the NFC East and failing to do it again the next year, a tradition unlike any other.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever the Cowboys have success, people always say that they’re unable to build off of it.

People say this for a reason, though. It is true that the Cowboys have had an extreme amount of difficulty putting back-to-back successful seasons together.

Sunday night the Philadelphia Eagles locked up the NFC East, meaning the Cowboys won’t repeat as division champions. This, to people’s point, is not shocking.

The Cowboys have only won the NFC East five times since they repeated as division champions in 1996: 1998, 2007, 2009, 2014, & 2016. They did return to the playoffs in 1999 as a wildcard team, but they obviously did not win the division.

Winning your division isn’t necessarily the mark of living up to hype, to be fair. Sometimes you’re in a season that has a team within your division that just catches fire, and wildcard spots are welcome; however, the Cowboys are on the outside looking in there.

2017 has been weird in many capacities for the Cowboys, including the will-they-or-won’t-they issue of suspension that hovered over Ezekiel Elliott for so much of it.

The reality is that, while they are still technically mathematically alive in the playoff hunt, the Cowboys have been underwhelming this season by a wide margin.

It’s been a long time since the NFC East has featured one team that dominated it year after year. You’d have to go back to the four consecutive titles from Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia to find anything particularly epic.

Every year since Jason Garrett has been associated with the Dallas Cowboys and they’ve won the NFC East has been followed up with extreme disappointment and/or an injury that helped ruin the season. It’s an age-old cliche at this point.

It’s been over 20 years since the Cowboys put together consecutive seasons that saw them sit atop the NFC East. Over 20 years! That’s hard to accept at some point.

Hopefully the Cowboys can win the NFC East in 2018 and 2019, but for now they’ll have to shift their 2017 focus exclusively to a wildcard route.

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