Cowboys at a crossroads for playoff momentum

In today’s salary cap era of the NFL, it is truly challenging for any team to win 10+ regular season games and make the playoffs in 3 consecutive years. So far on paper, the Cowboys look poised to do that in 2023. The last time the Cowboys made the playoffs in 3 or more consecutive seasons was from 1991-96 when they made it in 6 straight.

In the pre-cap era, The Cowboys (1975-83) hold the NFL record with 9 straight postseason appearances. In the post cap era, two teams- the Colts, who made the playoffs in 11 consecutive seasons, (2000-2010), and the Patriots (2009-2019) hold the post cap era record for consecutive playoff seasons. Obviously Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were the centerpieces of those post cap era teams’ streaks.

But obviously it’s hard in this current era of pro football for teams to run up long strings of consecutive playoff appearances.

Here are the current NFL team playoff appearance streaks:

  • Chiefs- 8 consecutive seasons- 2015-22. (3 AFC championships, 2 Lombardis)
  • Bills- 4 consecutive seasons- 2018-22. (No conf championships or SBs)
  • Bucs- 3 consecutive seasons- 2020-22 (1 NFC championship, 1 Lombardi)
  • Eagles- 2 consecutive seasons- 2021-22 (1 NFC championship)
  • Bengals- 2 consecutive seasons- 2021-22 (1 AFC championship)
  • 49ers- 2 consecutive seasons- 2021-22 (No conference championships)
  • Cowboys- 2 consecutive seasons- 2021-22 (No conference championship appearances)

That‘s not a long list. It’s hard to build a playoff contender that can compete in the playoffs consistently.

So as we head into this year’s draft, the Cowboys could be one of those teams that in the cap era enter the rare air of making the playoffs in 3 consecutive seasons. It is hard to build organizational momentum. The 2023 season will go a long way in proving whether or not the Cowboys are building that kind of momentum. Exciting times.

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