There’s no question that the 2020 NFL season was a disappointing one for the Dallas Cowboys. Expected by most to at least win the NFC East, a number of injuries to key players, most notably the gruesome ankle injury suffered by quarterback Dak Prescott in Week 5, and the most dreadful defense in franchise history led to a 6-10 finish, good for third place in the worst division in football, and a second straight season of sitting at home for the NFL playoffs.
But if you ask the group of Cowboys fans who recently voted on a number of topics surrounding the team, the 2021 campaign is going to go a lot better.
More than 1,300 fans recently took part in this particular fan poll with topics ranging from number of wins, what it would take for the ’21 season to be considered a success, new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the most overrated and underrated players on the team, and so much more. While we’re not going to get into every topic that was voted on, here’s a few of the highlights.
Nearly 71% of people who took part in the poll believe the Dallas Cowboys will have at least 10 wins in 2021
Recently, the folks over at The Athletic posted a 25-question survey for Cowboys fans to fill out and received close to 1,400 responses, although not everyone who filled it out answered every question. Nevertheless, there were some interesting questions asked, beginning with the number of wins Dallas will have in 2021.
Of the 1,362 people who answered this particular question, 70.9% said the Cowboys would have at least 10 wins this upcoming season, which certainly could happen given the fact that Dallas has the second-easiest schedule in 2021 based on last season’s standings. However, it should also be noted that the Cowboys have only won 10 games three times in the last 11 years.
But it should also be noted that Dak was the quarterback for two of those seasons, 2016 (13-3) and 2018 (10-6). With Prescott expected to be at 100% when the season begins, the odds of getting to 10 wins in 2021 are obviously much higher if that turns out to be true.
98.9% of people say Dallas has to at least make the playoffs for the 2021 season to be considered a success
As far as what it will take for the 2021 campaign to be considered a success, 13.3% of people who responded to that particular question said the Cowboys at least have to make it to the postseason. 45.6% said Dallas has to get to the divisional round, while an even 40% said an NFC Championship Game appearance is necessary. The remaining 1.1% said the Cowboys need to at least have a winning record.
As for how long it will be for Dallas to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since after the 1995 season, 37.3% say it will happen in the next three years, 27.6% say within the next five, 17.1% say within the next 10, 10.5% say within the next 20, and the remaining 7.5% believe it will never happen again in their lifetime.
Just over 87% of people think Dan Quinn was at least a decent hire as the new Dallas defensive coordinator
Easily the worst unit for the Cowboys in 2020 was the defense. Even when Prescott was healthy in that first month of the season, Dallas started just 1-3 as the defense was actually on pace to become the worst in NFL history. Things didn’t get to that point but the D in Big D did give up a franchise-record 473 points, the fifth-highest total in the NFL.
The Cowboys’ pass defense ranked a respectable 11th but the run defense ranked 31st, giving up 158.8 yards per game on the ground, better than only the Houston Texans, who allowed 160.2. Once the season was done, Jerry Jones wasted little time in replacing Mike Nolan with former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.
And the move seems to be going over well, at least with the Cowboys fans who answered the “How did you feel about the Cowboys hiring Dan Quinn?” question.
45.7% of those who responded said they would have preferred someone else, but still think he’ll do a good job. 41.4% said there wasn’t a better candidate out there and that they love the hire. 12.5% said they weren’t impressed and that things won’t work out, while the remaining 0.4% said they absolutely hate the hire.
Jaylon Smith was voted as the Cowboys’ most overrated player with Michael Gallup voted as the most underrated
Another aspect of the survey was asking Cowboys fans to name both the most overrated player on the team and the most underrated.
In the overrated category, 28 different players received at least one vote with linebacker Jaylon Smith being crowned the “winner” with 428 of a possible 1,167 votes. He was followed by Ezekiel Elliott (428), DeMarcus Lawrence (67), Dak Prescott (45), and Amari Cooper (35).
As far as the underrated category is concerned, 44 different players received at least one vote with Michael Gallup taking the title with 225 of a possible 1,115 votes. Backup running back Tony Pollard came in second with 156 votes and was followed by Lawrence (76), Prescott (61), and La’el Collins (55).
Trust us, that’s just a small sampling. The remaining categories and results can be viewed at The Athletic.