Cowboys and Star Wars: A Look Back In Time

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Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

2002
Dallas Cowboys: 5-11, 4th NFC East
Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones: May 2002, $649.4 million box office

For the first time on this list, there symmetry between the release of a Star Wars movie and a Dallas Cowboys season. In this case, we had arguably the worst Star Wars movie ever released along with the worst Cowboys campaign to ever follow a new release from this franchise.

Attack of the Clones was the trend-setter for the modern prequels that really failed on one key figure: Hayden Christensen playing the role of a young Darth Vader. Christensen kicked off back-to-back Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Supporting Actor in both Attack of the Clones and the obvious next film on this list. Christensen was so bad that even the toned-down involvement of CGI character Jar Jar Binks – way down from The Phantom Menace – wasn’t enough to make you leave the theater wondering how Christensen was able to land that part.

Replacing the figure of Sebastian Shaw with Christensen as the recently-deceased Darth Vader at the very end of Return of the Jedi was both senseless and insulting. Why wasn’t actor Alec Guiness, the original Obi-Wan Kenobi, replaced with the prequel version played by Ewan McGregor?

On the Cowboys side of things, we probably had the same feeling about second-year quarterback Quincy Carter, a guy that also made us wonder why in the world he was chosen to lead the Cowboys. Jones made a desperate reach for this former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback in the 2001 NFL Draft. In fact, Carter wasn’t even guaranteed to start his senior season in college, so this second-round draft selection was widely criticized.

Carter wouldn’t start the entire season due to injury, but Smith would become the NFL All-Time Leading Rusher during a loss to the Seattle Seahawks that season. Carter was able to defeat the San Francisco 49ers on Week 16 at Texas Stadium, but there was little else to remember concerning that particular season.

Carter would quarterback the following season, which saw new head coach Bill Parcells take over for Dave Campo and actually guide the Cowboys back to the playoffs following three consecutive seasons of 5-11 football. Carter was cut in August 2004 for failing a drug test – again. That move is widely believed to have saved a roster spot for a little-known undrafted quarterback from Eastern Illinois by the name of Tony Romo.

Next: Prequels End As Bill Parcells Brings In 3-4 Defense