If you do not win the last one then people generally do not care, but it feels a bit forgotten that the Dallas Cowboys won a playoff game this past season. The Cowboys did not just win a playoff game. They beat Tom Brady (for the first time ever), on a grass field, while wearing their blue jerseys, and perhaps most notably, did it on the road. The victory was the franchise’s first road playoff win since the 1992 NFC Championship Game.
That last part was noted a lot both in the lead-up to and aftermath of the win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When it comes to records like that people act like you have had an opportunity to do it every year since the streak initially began, but the good thing is that it is no longer a thing for the Cowboys.
Interestingly enough, if the Los Angeles Chargers have their way this offseason then it would have never been a thing to begin with.
The Chargers have proposed a rule that would have impacted the Cowboys in the Wild Card Round last year
You may recall that the Cowboys had a few more wins than the Buccaneers when their Wild Card Round matchup against one another was set. Dallas finished 12-5 across the regular season, but because they shared a division with the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles and did not win the East, they were relegated to a Wild Card position in the playoffs.
Tampa, on the other hand, benefited from playing in a rather poor division, sometimes that is just the way that things go. They finished the season 8-9, but as winners of the NFC South held the right to host the top Wild Card in the first round of the playoffs which is what led to the game that Dallas won.
It is possible that this may not happen in the future. On Monday it was noted that L.A. has submitted a rule proposal where a team in Dallas’ position would actually have a higher seed than the Bucs this past season.
The Chargers submitted a bylaw proposal where wild-card teams would be seeded higher than division champs in the playoffs if if the wild-card team has 4 or more wins than a division champ who is below .500— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) March 13, 2023
The rule specifically would apply to Wild Cards that have at least four more wins than the division winners that they would be facing, the exact margin that Dallas had over Tampa Bay. If this rule had been in place then the Cowboys would have hosted the Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium which likely would not have mattered as the Cowboys were favored (they easily covered) even as the road team.
Incidentally this would have also applied to another Buccaneers playoff game, their Wild Card matchup against the then-Washington Football Team following the 2020 season. Tampa was the top Wild Card in the NFC with an 11-5 record (the last season before expansion to 17 regular season games) and Washington won a disappointing NFC East with a 7-9 record. Under the Chargers’ rule proposal, that game should have been played in Tampa. The Bucs won that game like the Cowboys did this past season, but Tampa went on to win the Super Bowl afterwards, in their home stadium after all of that.
The Chargers clearly believe that things should evolve and it is hard to disagree, even regardless of rooting for the Cowboys; the better team across the whole of the regular season should have the advantage. You can argue that if the Wild Card team had one more win than the division winner that perhaps it would be unfair, but the Chargers’ proposal of the former being at least four wins greater represents a true gap in team quality. The Cowboys literally had 50% more wins than the Bucs did.
NFL teams are often resistant to things like this and in this case could worry about losing a potential home game if they are the team with four less wins as a division winner. That is obviously looking at only the negative end of the spectrum, maybe teams will be a bit more positive when debating and voting.
Do you agree with the Chargers and their proposal?