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Can the Cowboys do what hasn't been done since 2004?

The Cowboys are looking to accomplish an elusive goal.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys fans enter the 2017 season with well-grounded optimism. The team fields a bevy of star players, the best offensive line in the league, depth at most position groups and a number of young players with great potential. They’re also coming off a 13-3 record in 2016 and an NFC East division title.

Recent history, however, illustrates optimism under these conditions might not be warranted. For example, no reigning NFC East champion has won the division since the Eagles won four consecutive division titles from 2001 to 2004. In fact, teams trying to repeat as NFCE champions since 2004 have averaged 3.5 fewer wins than the previous season, dropping from a 10.8 to 7.3 average.

Other sobering facts:

  • Not one of the 12 reigning champions managed to reach the playoffs the following season.
  • Six times defending NFC East champions have seen their win totals decline by four or more games from their championship season.
  • Three times reigning champions have seen win totals decline by 7 or more (including the last time the Cowboy’s won the East crown).
  • Only one reigning champion has won as many as 10 games.

Win totals for NFCE teams following a division title the prior season :

Cowboys fans know well that each of the seasons highlighted in blue above started with optimism and ended in disappointment. Here’s the change in win totals for each of the reigning champions from the prior season:

So, all hope is lost? No, of course not. The reality is the past plays no role in the future as the 2017 Cowboys look to break both the team’s own recent history and the division’s long-term trend. The Cowboys could be at the dawn of a multi-year run as division champions, for all we know. After all, the Cowboys own the most NFC East division titles:

In fact, the Cowboys have won ten more division titles than any other NFCE team. So while recent history has not been kind to teams looking to repeat as division champions the Cowboys are still well-positioned to add to the glorious totals noted above.

So, what do you think BTBers, do the Cowboys finally break the 12-year trend and repeat as NFC East champions:

Poll

Who will win the NFC East division title in 2017?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (1187 votes)
  • 6%
    New York Giants
    (79 votes)
  • 1%
    Philadelphia Eagles
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Washington Redskins
    (9 votes)
1289 votes total Vote Now