Cowboys attempting a Reset

The initial team foundation was put in place by Gil Brandt, Tom Landry and Tex Schramm in the early 1960’s. The teams put together formulated the beginnings of what became America’s Team. But all teams have a natural life span.

RESET #1 – In the early 70’s the Cowboys were coming off of some really good late 60’s teams, and two consecutive Super Bowl appearances in SB V and SB VI. In 1975, the Cowboys had the dirty dozen draft. But they also drafted Harvey Martin in 1973, and Too Tall Jones in 1974. Mr. Cowboys Bob Lilly retired, and former 5th overall 1st round pick QB Craig Morton was traded away. The Cowboys were successful in their reset, going to 3 of the next 4 Super Bowls in 1975, 1977 and 1978.

RESET #2 – In the early 80’s, the Cowboys had another batch of players retire, but their reset attempt failed, resulting in the worst stretch of performance in Tom Landry’s coaching career from 1986 – 1988. That ushered in the Jimmy Johnson era, and brought us Jerry Jones as a new owner.

RESET #3 – Jimmy Johnson jettisoned older players in the early 90’s and drafted a whole bunch of new players, letting the young guys play. We don’t even remember all the bad players Jimmy Johnson drafted and traded for because his reset was successful, resulting in 3 more Super Bowl appearances after the 1992, 1993, and 1995 seasons.

RESET #4 – In 2003, Jerry hired Bill Parcells, who ushered HOF players like Emmitt Smith and Larry Allen to the door, and drafted a bunch of younger players. He reset the core of the team on both offense and defense, and from 2006 – 2009, the Cowboys had a pretty good team. But this particular core of players failed to reach their potential when Bill Parcells retired too early, and Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett were unable to coach them into Super Bowl opportunities.

RESET #5 – After the disastrous 2010 season, Wade Phillips was fired, and Jerry promoted Garrett to be his "Tom Landry." Garrett immediately set about resetting the offense by spending 3 of his first 4 1st round picks on Offensive linemen. This set up the Cowboys for success for offensive success for the next decade, but Garrett never solved the problem on defense, and the Cowboys reset failed for the 3rd time in 5 tries.

RESET #6 – This is what the Cowboys are attempting right now, by allowing older players to leave. Having come off 3 consecutive 12 win seasons, older players have run out the string from the last unsuccessful reset from the mid-2010’s. They have to get younger, and hope their recent draft classes start to produce more. 2020 and 2022 were a stellar draft classes, but 2021 and 2023 haven’t done as well. And the jury hasn’t even been selected for the 2024 class.

The reality is that we can only hope that this RESET #6 will be as successful as the initial team, and RESETs #1 & #3, and not failures like RESETs #2, #4, & #5. This coming team, after RESET #6, will be iteration #7 of the Cowboys.

  • Iteration #1 was the first successful team resulting in two NFL championship game appearances, and two Super Bowl appearances.
  • Iteration #2 was after RESET #1, and resulted in 3 more Super Bowl appearances.
  • Iteration #3 failed in the 1980’s
  • Iteration #4 was after RESET #3, and brought 3 more Super Bowl appearances
  • Iterations #5 & 6 failed in this century, just as #3 failed in the 1980’s

Let’s hope iteration #7 gives the fans more to cheer for.

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