Whether you think they’re really America’s Team or not, the Dallas Cowboys have no problem making plenty of headlines. Those headlines, however, aren’t always good; especially in 2020, things have gone south for Jerry Jones’ bunch. With each passing week, the Cowboys simply seem to get worse and worse.
While every Cowboys fan is hoping that the team pulls it together and stops the bleeding, it’s tough to be too positive right now. With everyone fearing the worst, there’s no better time to delve into the history books and revisit some of the worst seasons in Dallas football history.
The Dallas Cowboys have a rich and successful history
These days, it’s almost impossible to think of the Dallas Cowboys as anything other than Jerry Jones’ NFC East team. The franchise, however, has 60 years of history under its metaphorical belt.
After some dramatic negations, Clint Murchison Jr. managed to purchase an NFL expansion franchise; he founded the Dallas Cowboys and his team first hit the gridiron in 1960. The club grew into a contender, and, before long, had captured back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
While Dallas continued to make the playoffs, things eventually changed. Bum Bright bought the team ahead of the 1984 campaign; after that, things started to stagnate on the field.
In 1989, however, everything changed again, as Jerry Jones burst onto the scene and took over the floundering franchise. With Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith all working together, the Cowboys turned things around; Dallas claimed three Lombardi Trophies in the 1990s, reclaiming their status as America’s Team.
Since then, however, things haven’t been as easy in Big D. While the club’s usually hit the field with a talented roster, the results haven’t been there; more often than not, the season has ended in disappointment.
The worst season in Dallas Cowboys history
When a team has been in the NFL for 60 years, there are bound to be a few stinkers along the way. Even the Dallas Cowboys can’t escape that law of averages.
The worst season in Dallas Cowboys history came in the club’s inaugural 1960 campaign. They limped to a 1-11-1 record, with a painful point differential of -192. Virtually every team metric was at the bottom of the pile; Tom Landry’s men had the 13th ranked offense and defense, based on points, in the 13-team league and unsurprisingly finished in last place in the seven-team Western Conference.
If you’re willing to write the 1960 season off—trying to compete as an expansion team is never easy—the next-worst campaign came in 1989. During Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman’s first season in Big D, the club struggled; their offense and defense were, once again, at the bottom of the barrel, and the Cowboys finished the year 1-15 with a -189 point differential.
The 2020 team can still earn an unfortunate place in franchise history
Based purely on their record, the 2020 Dallas Cowboys won’t be the worst team in franchise history; they’ve already won two games through the first seven weeks of the season. That doesn’t mean, however, that things are going well for Jerry Jones and company.
At the start of the year, the Cowboys seemed to have an elite offense and a historically-bad defense. Ever since Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury, though, that strength vanished.
The team’s issues, however, go beyond a bad defense and some unlucky injuries. Anonymous reports of player discontent have reached the media; Mike McCarthy responded by saying that his team should “handle things as men.” Jerry Jones has also started gutting the roster and already seems annoyed by questions about his team’s issues. At this point, it’s hard to imagine things won’t get worse as the season continues.
While there’s still plenty of football left to be played this season, things aren’t looking too good for the Dallas Cowboys. Even if their record isn’t the worst in franchise history, there probably won’t be any rush to produce any commemorative ‘2020 season’ memorabilia once the dust clears.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference