Dynasty. The word represents the apex in sports. A team so good that it wins multiple championships in a defined era of time, and dominates the landscape in that sport. The Cowboys experienced that once in the 90s when they won three championships in four years, and likely would have done more if Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson could have gotten along.
The Cowboys were oh so close to being a dynasty in the 70s, but those pesky Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed the glory with four championship, two of them courtesy of wins over the Cowboys.
Now that Tom Brady has left New England, the dynasty crown is up for grabs again in the NFL. Can the Cowboys claim it? Well, according to NFL.com writer Adam Schein, they are fourth on the list of candidates for a new dynasty.
Leading the list of dynasty candidates: the Kansas City Chiefs. That should be obvious as they are coming off a Super Bowl victory, one year after suffering a heart-breaking loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game (shout out to Dee Ford’s offside penalty). They are the favorites. Behind them is Lamar Jackson, along with the rest of the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson’s star is on the rise and the team crushed the 2020 draft. Two winning teams with two young quarterbacks of the future; all of that makes sense.
After that is when opinions can really start to differ. Schein places the San Francisco 49ers third. The 49ers are coming off a Super Bowl loss and have a lot of good pieces to work with going forward, but they haven’t really cemented themselves as the class of the NFC yet.
Next up, the Dallas Cowboys. Schein explains.
Too high? Well, I am going to operate under the dangerous blanket of assumption that Dak Prescott eventually signs a long-term deal. Mike McCarthy maximizes Dak, improving his consistency and making him a Super Bowl champion. That’s why McCarthy was brought to Dallas: to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. He’s done it. And he will again.
McCarthy is an offensive guru, and this squad is loaded with talent on that side of the ball. Prescott’s flanked by one of the game’s best running backs in Ezekiel Elliott, and Tony Pollard flashed plenty of ability as a rookie runner last season. Meanwhile, Dallas could definitely possess the top receiving trio in the NFL, with first-round pick CeeDee Lamb joining a pair of 1,000-yard wideouts in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. And while Travis Frederick’s retirement hurts, the offensive line should be just fine with Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and La’el Collins holding the fort.
Questions do exist on defense. Beyond DeMarcus Lawrence, where will the pass rush come from? Does the secondary, minus free-agent departure Byron Jones, have the personnel to hold up in today’s pass-happy league? Mike Nolan has his work cut out for him in his first year as Dallas’ defensive coordinator, but it’s not like this unit’s completely devoid of talent. In addition to Lawrence, 24-year-old linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch also have Pro Bowl recognition on the resume.
All in all, this roster has plenty of win-now talent in an NFC East featuring multiple teams in transition. Dallas hasn’t even made it past the Divisional Round for nearly a quarter century. The time is now for the ‘Boys to finally deliver the goods.
The two ingredients that seem to point in the up direction for the Cowboys are the offense and the addition of Mike McCarthy. The Cowboys have a ton of talent, but for whatever reason Jason Garrett couldn’t maximize it. Bringing in Mike McCarthy gives observers a chance to see if it is the players, or the coach.
Mike Nolan shaking up the defense is a very good thing. Much like the offense, that side of the ball had grown stale and was in need of an injection of new ideas. They will get that. One element that is often overlooked in a review like this is the addition of Jim Fassel to the special teams. The Cowboys special teams were simply awful in 2019 and probably cost the team a couple of games. That should be rectified this year.
Hot on the heels of the Cowboys in the number five spot of potential dynasty teams is a hated rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.
BTB, do you believe the Cowboys have what it takes to be the next NFL dynasty?