Even before Dak Prescott’s horrific injury, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys were in deja vu mode once again.
Many, if not all, of the Cowboys’ seasons in recent memories follow similar trends. Dallas starts slow or hot before warming up in midseason and either losing early in the playoffs or collapsing in December.
Now, the Cowboys are without Prescott, arguably their best player, for the rest of the season. Jones has one specific season to blame for the Dallas Cowboys being stuck in what is essentially a time loop.
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are stuck in a time loop
Consider the following description of the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas has plenty of talent and pays plenty of money for a team that started slow and is no lock to qualify for the NFL postseason.
Outside of 2010 and 2015, when injuries depleted the Cowboys’ roster all season and robbed them of numerous stars, that description held for the 2010s. Dallas only made the playoffs four times from 2010-19, an unacceptable number with the Cowboys’ stature and finances.
Most of the Cowboys’ seasons came down to the final week. Dallas lost three straight win-or-go-home Week 17 games from 2011-13 and, somehow, head coach Jason Garrett kept his job.
Now, Dallas enters a Week 6 matchup against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals with an unimpressive 2-3 record. Dallas has played closer to 0-5 than they have 2-3, even before Prescott suffered a terrible ankle injury.
Dallas had a breakout 2014 season
It would be unfair to pin all of the Cowboys’ problems on what happened in 2014, but further investigation proves many of the current issues began that year.
Dallas opened that season with an ugly loss at home to San Francisco. Cowboys fans booed veteran quarterback Tony Romo, and no one was sure what would happen next.
Then came an unexpected breakout season. Dallas went 12-4 and made Jerry Jones a delighted man.
Romo earned Pro Bowl honors by completing 69.9% of his passes for 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 15 starts. The veteran quarterback led three fourth-quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives.
DeMarco Murray’s 1,845 rushing yards led the league, while receiver Dez Bryant (88 catches for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns) and tight end Jason Witten (64 catches, 703 yards, and five touchdowns) each made the Pro Bowl.
The Cowboys’ 2014 season ended in heartbreak
People can forgive Dallas Cowboys fans if they want to forget about how the 2014-15 season ended.
Dallas overcame a tough Lions team to win at home in the NFC wild-card round. A week later, Dallas appeared poised to upset Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Then came the infamous Dez Bryant moment. Bryant snagged a ball late in the fourth quarter and placed both feet down as he fell at the 1-yard line.
However, officials overturned the call because they believed the ball came loose when Bryant hit the ground. Dallas lost 26-21, while Green Bay lost to Seattle in the NFC championship game a week later.
That year changed everything for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys
In the grand scheme of things, the 2014 season doesn’t seem like it would have hurt the Dallas Cowboys too much.
That season, though, provided Dallas with a reason to extend head coach Jason Garrett. Garrett was always an average head coach at best, but the 2014 season provided the impression that he could lead Dallas to a Super Bowl.
That never happened in Dallas. Garrett won two more playoff games in the next five seasons, and Dallas parted ways with him after the 2019 campaign ended.
One has to wonder what would have happened if Dallas moved on from Garrett earlier. Would a new head coach have been able to get the most out of the Cowboys at the end of the Tony Romo era — and, potentially, the early years of the Dak Prescott era?
Interestingly, Denver fired John Fox after a disappointing loss in the AFC divisional round in January 2015. Denver won Super Bowl 50 the following season.
Jerry Jones has a new head coach right now in Mike McCarthy. But as Jones gets older and Dallas remains out of the Big Game, these are questions he may have to start wondering.