The Dallas Cowboys won on Sunday and did so in emphatic fashion. At game’s end the scoreboard read 38-3 in favor of the good guys, the third blowout victory that Dallas has experienced across the first four contests this season.
Never mind that Dallas’ defense has scored more touchdowns in their home building than their opponents have in two games, and never mind the fact that the Cowboys handed Bill Belichick the worst loss that he has ever experienced in the NFL (seriously). We all know that this is a one-game, one-week at a time proposition and nothing served as the latest reminder of that than this time last week.
A week ago the Cowboys were coming off of a humbling loss in the desert against the Arizona Cardinals. The magic and nature of sports are that the tide can turn quickly and that life is much easier at 3-1 than 2-2.
Having a 3-1 record is a bigger deal than you realize, although maybe you don’t given that it has become somewhat commonplace around here lately.
Mike McCarthy has done something that no Dallas Cowboys coach since Tom Landry has done
The Cowboys hold a 3-1 record with 13 games left to go on the year. Nobody has ever won the Super Bowl by winning 75% of their first four games so rest assured we are not planning any sort of parade.
But we made mention of how common 3-1 has become for the Cowboys just a second ago. Did you know that this is not the first season under Mike McCarthy, who is currently in his fourth, that the Cowboys have had at least three wins through the first four games of the season? It isn’t, but it isn’t the second either.
The Dallas Cowboys have gone 3-1 through the first four games of each of the last three seasons. Yes, this sound oddly specific, so if you’d like you can verbalize it as the Cowboys have won at least three of their first four games over each of the last three years.
This may sound small and trivial, but wins matter in the NFL and piling them up is how you put yourself in proper position to reach the playoffs (as well as absorb losses you shouldn’t take like the Cardinals in Week 3). Consider that in his nine full seasons as the team’s head coach, Jason Garrett’s Cowboys only won three of their first four a total of three times, and he did not have those consecutively.
Looking deeper into this, thanks to our friends at Stathead, there have been a lot of head coaches in franchise history who have never done this three years in a row. In fact, only one other head coach has and it was the organization’s very first in Tom Landry.
Speaking specifically to a three-year stretch the last time that the Cowboys won at least three of the first four of a season for three years in a row was 1975-1987; however, those were the final three years of an amazing 13-year run. Landry’s Cowboys won three of the first four every year from 1975 through 1987 and he also accomplished it many times before 1975. Obviously he is among the greatest coaches in league history.
But back to McCarthy, this is another piece of information that is emblematic of the football stability that he has brought to the organization. What he is doing in terms of wins and successes is literally uncommon for this franchise in modern history (to be fair the 1990s Cowboys likely would have a place in this discussion if Emmitt Smith did not hold out to begin the 1993 season, but he did so here we are).
No coach is perfect and sometimes they will lose games that they should not, we have talked about Arizona a few times now already, but it is clear that McCarthy is among the best in the league given only three other teams (Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles) have won more regular season games in the span that we are talking about (beginning with the 2021 season). Think about that.
Once more, there are no trophies handed out for being among the winningest teams in the regular season since statues are built and streets are named after you based on playoff success.
But McCarthy consistently has the Dallas Cowboys in the conversation and that is worth a lot more than nothing.