Before 2017 started many people were already talking about how it would end in heartbreak for the Dallas Cowboys.
This team, they argued, was incapable of putting together back-to-back seasons of serious success. As tired of a narrative as that is, it had proven itself true time after time for America’s Team.
Many believers of this idea likened 2017 to 2008 for Dallas. They were both years where the Cowboys were coming off of 13-win seasons, both seasons featuring quarterbacks entering their second full seasons as starters.
What if I told you 2008 really did happen again, though? There are an amazing number of things that happened in 2017 that hadn’t since 2008. Get ready for a walk down memory lane.
Cowboys go 9-7 following 13-3 and a divisional round exit
As mentioned, the Cowboys won 13 games in 2007 and 2016. In both instances they were bounced from the divisional round of the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion.
Just like 2008, the Dallas Cowboys finished this season a game above .500. What’s amazing is that 2017 was the first time since 2008 that the Cowboys had a record of 9-7. It’s almost as if it was destined to be this way.
The Cowboys had a quarterback start his second full season
Again, you knew this, but this season served as Dak Prescott’s second full one as the starting quarterback of America’s Team. Tony Romo played in 2006, but his first full season as the starter wasn’t until 2007 (when he also won 13 games).
Romo actually missed time in 2008 due to a broken pinky, but it was still the second season that he entered as the starter. The coincidences are just beginning, my friend.
A fourth-year Cowboy named DeMarcus had his way with the NFL
The Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 should have been DeMarcus Ware, considering he led the NFL in sacks with 20. Most of us are still bitter about this, obviously.
2008 was actually Ware’s fourth season in the NFL, far and and away his most productive at the time (it would ultimately be his greatest sack year). Doesn’t that sound familiar?
DeMarcus Lawrence put on quite a show for the Cowboys in his fourth season, almost leading the NFL in sacks (tied for second with 14.5). The number is easily Lawrence’s career high, who is the next DeMarcus that is going to break out in his fourth year?
Trouble starts to brew with the Cowboys star receiver
Who could forget the Terrell Owens saga of 2008 for the Cowboys?
The star receiver alleged that Tony Romo and Jason Witten were creating secret plays, conspiring against him, man those were some good times. Either way, T.O. was the top receiver on the Cowboys, and his falling out in Dallas undeniably happened throughout 2008.
Dez Bryant didn’t have the season many expected of him, although he did lead the team in receiving. He made headlines last week when he questioned the Cowboys offensive scheme, a move, while not quite like Owens, was a signal of some discontent.
Perhaps even more coincidental is that Owens and Bryant had the exact same number of catches in 2008 and 2017, respectively. 69 catches and no playoff berth, an unfortunate common denominator.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers missed the playoffs
We’ve discussed at great length how the mighty Aaron Rodgers and his Packers friends won’t be part of the teams going to the playoffs this season.
Do you know the last time that Aaron and Co. missed out on January football? I’ll give you a hint, we’ve talked about it a lot so far. The last time Rodgers and the Packers missed out on postseason football was in fact 2008, his first season as their starter.
An NFL team went 0-16
Rodgers’ final game of that 2008 season was actually against the Detroit Lions. They defeated them, giving the Lions their 16th loss on the season, making them the first team to ever go 0-16.
On Sunday the Cleveland Browns matched this feat of ineptitude and became the second team to reach such a historic mark. It is literally the second time that this ever happened, and both times were in 2008 and 2017. These are not just coincidences, people!
It’s worth noting that the head coach of those Lions was current Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Will Hue Jackson be the Cowboys DC in nine years?!
The Tennessee Titans made the playoffs with a third-year first-round quarterback
One of the teams with a win-and-in situation this past Sunday was the Tennessee Titans. They were victorious against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they are playing playoff football for the first time since, you guessed it, 2008.
The Titans of then were primarily manned by veteran quarterback Kerry Collins, but they did have a big name third-year quarterback who was a first-round pick, Vince Young. The Titans of today are playoff-bound with their own third-year signal caller, Marcus Mariota.