The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in Super Bowl LVIII to claim their third championship since 2019. Over the past near-decade, the Chiefs and 49ers have been the model of consistency in the NFL. While the Super Bowl and the event’s pageantry are casual experiences to casual fans, diehard fans of the sport understand the difficulty it takes to make it to Super Bowl Sunday as regular as San Francisco and Kansas City. For Cowboys fans, it’s challenging to be onlookers as yet another trophy is hoisted by the Chiefs, and the Cowboys continue their Super Bowl drought heading into the 2024 season.
Here are a couple of Cowboys-related thoughts after Super Bowl LVIII.
The Cowboys must be more aggressive in building their roster
The Dallas Cowboys were once one of the more aggressive sports franchise in the world. Strangely, they have become risk-averse in trying to acquire the best players and assemble the best roster. Over the last few seasons, the Cowboys have struggled to beat the 49ers. Coaching is a factor, but talent separates the two clubs and is the most glaring difference. The 49ers continually add vital pieces to fortify their roster and are willing to do what it takes. For example, the 49ers were leading the NFC West at the NFL trade deadline and felt they needed to add more talent to their defensive line.
Instead of sitting on their hands, they acquired former number-one overall pick Chase Young for a third-round draft choice. In years prior, they also acquired Christian McCaffrey, who placed third in MVP voting this season and traded for left tackle Trent Williams. Both players are arguably the best at their position in the NFL. When looking at the San Francisco starters in last night’s game, out of the 22 for San Francisco’s offense and defense, 10 were not drafted by the 49ers. Two of their starters (Charvarius Ward and Jake Brendel) were once with the Cowboys organization. Not to take anything away from Brock Purdy, because he’s had a successful career up to this point, but the 49ers built a roster so good that the last pick in the 2022 draft guided them to two consecutive NFC title games.
The value of 49ers’ brass letting the front office be all about football, not brand building, speaks volumes compared to Dallas. The Cowboys have become synonymous with the phrase “We like our guys.” The 49ers like winning and going to Super Bowls. (Yes, they still need to win them, but at least they are getting there). The lesson for the Cowboys is to avoid being smitten with draft picks or the investment in a draft pick. Take Trey Lance, for example. The 49ers were so assured that he wasn’t part of their future that they traded him to Dallas for a fourth-round pick despite drafting him with the third overall pick in 2023.
The Cowboys should not fear staff changes
Recently, the Washington Commanders hired former Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to serve as their new head coach. Joe Whitt was initially considered to replace Quinn in Dallas but also left Dallas to be Washington’s defensive coordinator. Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will be named the new defensive coordinator.
Some fans have made peace with Quinn leaving, breathing a sigh of relief following the defense’s poor showing at the end of the season including the Packers in the playoffs. Yet, some are hesitant over Quinn’s exit from the Commanders, likely in reverence for what he did to turn around a porous defense in 2020 that couldn’t get out of its way. The writing has been on the wall for some time that keeping Quinn would only be temporary. He deserves a nod for what he accomplished in Dallas, but there shouldn’t be unrest for what lies ahead without him. As stated, personnel matters. If you enhance the talent, the job of their new coach is much easier to do, and even the most experienced coach can draw inspiration and creativity from having better components to work with.
In their recent deep playoff runs, notice how many coordinator changes the Chiefs and 49ers have had. After winning a Super Bowl last year, the Chiefs allowed offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to join the Commanders. Yet, the Chiefs found themselves in the big game the following season despite having to incorporate a bevy of new receivers into their offense and manage injuries to Travis Kelce and Isiah Pacheco. San Francisco has made the NFC title game four times in the last five seasons despite having three different defensive coordinators in that span. (Robert Saleh, 2017-2020, Demeco Ryans, 2021-2022, and Steve Wilks, 2023-)
Consistency amidst these changes underline the importance of an ownership group committed to supporting the head coach, supplementing the quarterback in a productive environment, and giving their new coordinators assets to enhance their options for the best chance at sustained success. Whoever Dallas decides to be their guy needs to be given the right assets and the space to adjust because we’ve seen for Kansas City and San Francisco that change is good.