By the time the dust settles from this weekend’s Divisional Round matchups across the National Football League, there will only be four teams left standing in their quest for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Monday following divisional round is a place that the Dallas Cowboys have been trying to get to for about 30 years now. Half of the last six seasons have seen the team come oh so close, but unfortunately they have failed to reach the penultimate round of the NFL playoffs in the 21st century.
Measuring time through the lens of football, consider that the 2014 season feels like not too far in the rearview mirror. It was only six years ago. But do you know what was “only six years ago” in 2014? 2008! If you had asked me how long it had been since 44-6 when Tony Romo was hitting Jason Witten on the Y-Option against the Detroit Lions, the answer would have been an eternity since then.
One of Dez Bryant or Cole Beasley is going to appear in a conference title game for the first time
Time comes and goes, but one thing has unfortunately stayed the same in that the Cowboys can’t get to the conference championship game. Some of their former players are playing this weekend, a few won the Super Bowl last year with the Kansas City Chiefs, but two of the more prominent members from the aforementioned 2014 team are seeing their teams go up against one another.
Cole Beasley left the Cowboys following the 2018 season and has been with the Buffalo Bills ever since. In that time he has been a part of a rebuild that has the Bills knocking on the door of their own conference championship appearance in quite some time.
On the other side of that field will be the Cowboys’ all-time leader in receiving touchdowns in Dez Bryant. Dez joined the Baltimore Ravens in the middle of this season after missing some time in the league, and unfortunately he was unable to play when the Cowboys visited Baltimore due to COVID-19 concerns.
As the rules dictate that one team must win in NFL playoff games, this means that either Dez Bryant or Cole Beasley are going to get to a conference championship game for the first time in their careers.
Obviously, it would have great to see these players experience football’s ultimate prize with America’s Team, but times have changed and everyone has moved on. There is no trophy for simply appearing in a conference championship game, but it is very cool that one of these guys is going to be part of a team that is seriously knocking on the door for a Super Bowl appearance.