Dallas Cowboys of today are eerily similar to the ’92 team

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by James Smith/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by James Smith/Getty Images) /

After winning four straight games and then suffering a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys took solace in knowing they won games with their backup quarterback, Cooper Rush, and have an easy schedule on the horizon. Nevertheless, losing to one of their most hated rivals in franchise history is always a hard pill to swallow.

The Dallas Cowboys were riding high on a winning streak that saw them defeat two Super Bowl participants from last season (Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams) and two divisional rivals-the New York Giants and Washington Commanders.

The Cowboys were not favored in four out of their last five games but came away successful nonetheless. The Cowboys recent success of a 4-2 record is eerily similar to one of their most successful teams in franchise history.

This Dallas Cowboys team is similar to the 1992 team that went on to win the Super Bowl and start a dynasty

Let me preface my statement with this is NOT the best Dallas Cowboys team ever assembled, but this team is truly one of the most promising ones this franchise has seen in a very long time.

And when I say long time, I am referencing back to the 1990’s during Dallas dynasty years when they had youthful, talented cornerstones at every position on the field. That’s right, this current team supersedes any good Dallas teams of the 21st century. That includes the ’07 team that went 13-3 with several Pro Bowlers.

Dallas Cowboys current similarities to 1992 Super Bowl winning team

At the beginning of the 1992 NFL season, then Dallas head coach, Jimmy Johnson, was coming off of an 11-5 record and a playoff win over the Chicago Bears in 1991. Johnson guided Dallas to its first playoff victory since the Tom Landry era of 1985, and Johnson boosted a young, talented team that was waiting its turn to dominate the league.

Even though the team was talented, the San Francisco 49ers were considered the king of the NFC, followed by the then Washington Redskins (defending Super Bowl champs), Eagles, and Los Angeles Rams.

Matter of fact, the 49ers and Buffalo Bills were picked to play in the Super Bowl that year. But Dallas had other plans that season as its young core of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irving, Moose Johnson, Charles Haley, Darren Woodson, and other elite players started the season 8-1 and instantly became a threat to the Eagles, Redskins, and Rams.

But just like this Dallas team that went on a surprising winning streak (with a backup Cooper Rush), the 1992 Dallas team won its first three games and then faced an undefeated 3-0 Eagles team in a Monday showdown that gave the winner sole position of first place. Dallas lost so bad that night in Philly (31-7) that the critics predicted the Eagles would win the NFC East.

Of course, that did not happen because Dallas went on to win 10 of its next 12 games to finish the season 13-3, win the NFC East, and secure a #2 seed in the playoffs behind the 49ers. The rest is history as it won its first of three Lombardi trophies in a four year-span. Besides losing its first meeting of the season against the buzzards, the similarities come in all shapes, sizes, and positions for this team in comparison to the ’92 team.

For starters, Dallas’ offense mirrors that one because it has a franchise signal caller in Dak, features leading running back Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, a collection of good wide receivers/tight ends in CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Noah Brown, James Washington, Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson, and Peyton Hendershot.

On the defensive side of the ball, Dallas is led by “War Daddies” Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, and the secondary starts with ball-hawking corner Trevon Diggs, Donovan Wilson, Jayron Kearse, and Malik Hooker. All three levels of Dallas’ defense have a cornerstone player, with a solid cast of supporting players that can hold their own and then some.

Just like the ’92 squad, Dallas’ defense has playmakers all over the field with any player capable of forcing a turnover and taking it to pay dirt. For example, against the Rams, D-Law returned a strip fumble for a touchdown, Armstrong blocked a punt, and Hooker made a game-changing interception. And those “War Daddies” lead the league in sacks with 24, while averaging four sacks a game.

Also, Dallas’ defense is third in the league in points allowed at 16.3 a game and has one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, Dan Quinn, who knows how to put his players in prime positions to succeed on every play. The one glaring weakness this defense needs to fix immediately is stopping the run.

Dallas’ defense gives up too many big runs. It’s an issue that must be addressed with a true 1-technique nose tackle, basically a space eater.

Similar to how then defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt orchestrated the ’92 defense, Quinn is able to do the same by playing chess because of the versatility of Parsons, moving him around and disguising his defensive formations. The strategy of Quinn is why the defense was able to carry the offense to four wins in the first place.

Guess what, the defense is only going to get better as the season progresses because it hasn’t even reached its full potential. Imagine how good this defense will be once Dak returns and it can play with a comfortable lead and teams have to constantly pass!

Look at all of those opportunities to feast on quarterbacks and force turnovers! My Gawd!

In conclusion

Like I stated in my opening paragraph, I’m not suggesting this Dallas team is better than the ’92 team that won the Super Bowl because that team was loaded with talented at every position, but you have to admit this defense is a championship-caliber contender with elite talent.

Parsons alone is a force that offensive coordinators have to account for because of his sheer ability to wreak havoc on quarterbacks at will. What made the ’92 team so special is Haley was a “War Daddy” that had to be accounted for, but Dallas was so talented and deep that it did not matter if they neutralized Haley.

On the offensive side, Dallas winning four games with Rush under center, not only kept their playoffs hopes alive, but it gave Dak the opportunity to come back at the right time and win games against Dallas’ weakest part of the schedule.

With Dallas’ newfound love of the running game (let’s hope it remains), this offense has the ability to win games with a balance attack, win TOP (time of possession), and allow its defense to rest. This is the same formula the ’92 team used with its top-notch offense to match with its dominant defense.

Lastly, the final two reasons on the similarities to the ’92 team: coaching and being one of the best in the NFC. Coach Big Mac is a good coach-a Super Bowl-winning head coach whose career is treading in the trajectory of the Hall of Fame.

Coach Big Mac proved his coaching wizardry when he won four games with Rush. Okay, I know the defense did the bulk of the heavy lifting, but he still deserves his flowers for coaching up Rush-who threw for 102 yards in a victory against the Rams.

Winning games with a backup quarterback are the norm for Coach Big Mac because he did it consistently while in Green Bay (beat Dallas in 2013 with Matt Flynn as QB) and won three road games in the 2010 playoffs enroute to winning Super Bowl XLV. The reality is Coach Big Mac knows he has a good team and will coach it up to its maximum capabilities when Dak returns.

That means anything is possible. Which sets up perfectly for this…

Outside of Philly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Packers, Rams, and San Francisco 49ers no longer sit atop of the food chain as apex predators in a now wide-open NFC. All of the aforementioned teams are very vulnerable and have visible kinks in their armor. The Bucs and Packers are offensively challenged, the Rams are not that good, and the 49ers are inconsistent.

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So, with Dak under center, please explain to me how Dallas will not sit atop the NFC food chain and one of the favorites to represent the NFC as the season progresses. This is exactly how the season unfolded for the 1992 Dallas Cowboys. By midseason, the critics recognized Jimmy had those boys ready to compete at the highest level.

I am not saying or predicting the 2022 Dallas Cowboys will have the same success as the great Dallas team of 1992. All I am saying is the similarities are eerie and that Cowboys Nation puts a big grin on my face! Hopefully, it puts one on yours, too!