Dallas Cowboys: A Look Back At Preseason Media Opinions


One thing we know for sure about the 2014 Dallas Cowboys season… nobody saw this level of success coming, especially the national sports media outlets.

After three consecutive 8-8 campaigns and a series of off-season moves and injuries that seemingly degraded the NFL’s worst defense from 2013, America’s Team was seen by most as a franchise circling the drain.

An 0-4 preseason and a home opener beat down at the hands of the San Fransisco 49ers was like blood in the water for the sports media piranha.

After week one, the NFL power rankings produced by the likes of ESPN, NFL.com, FOX, CBS, and USA Today had the Cowboys sitting at an average ranking of 28!  Has any NFL team in the history of the game been initially viewed as negatively as the 2014 Cowboys, yet enjoyed the same level of success as Dallas has this season?

Unfortunately for many of the NFL preseason prognosticators, the magic that is Google remembers all.  A quick search for “2014 NFL Preseason Predictions” unearthed the following Dallas doomsday forecasts:

  • Todd Archer | ESPN.com   Advanced Football Analytics is right on the money at 8-8. Nothing says history like a fourth straight eight-win season. The Cowboys’ offense should be among the NFL’s best. The defense could be among the NFL’s worst without top-flight pressure players. It all adds up to .500. Again.
  •  Alex Marvez | FOX Sports   The Cowboys could lead the league in scoring and points allowed. That forebodes yet another 8-8 kind of season.
  • Will Brinson : CBS Sports   They only won eight games last year so maybe this isn’t a perfect pick. I think they could walk away from this season with two wins total. The defense can’t stop anyone and if Tony Romo has to throw 45-50 times per game for the first five games (not unreasonable at all) his back is going to give out. Then it’s Brandon Weeden time and then it’s Jameis Winston time.
  • Ben Eagle | SI.com   The Cowboys will have the NFL’s worst record: In Dallas, a league-worst defense got worse, putting the pressure squarely on a 34-year-old quarterback coming off back surgery. There’s talent aplenty on this offense, but this team is one big hit away from starting Brandon Weeden. The only thing that could keep this team out of the NFL cellar? A division that could be equally crummy.
  •  Bill Barnwell : Grantland.com   We always talk about whether a quarterback is good enough to take his team to the Super Bowl. This is the opposite. I can’t think of a quarterback good enough to take this defense to the Super Bowl. The various players the Cowboys have assembled here have a chance to be the worst defense of this generation… Worst-Case Scenario: Jerry Jones blames a disastrous season on the Cowboys not drafting Johnny Manziel and trades a top-five pick to Cleveland to acquire him.
  • Josh Alper | NBC Sports    Things don’t look all that different this season. The offense still looks capable of posting big numbers while the defense looks incapable of preventing them, which makes it easy to feel like we’re about to see more of the same from Dallas… Games against the 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals and Saints won’t offer a chance to fatten the record outside of the division, so the Cowboys’ chances will likely hinge on how they handle things in their own yard. Their shortcomings will make that difficult, but history tells us that it isn’t impossible.

More from The Landry Hat

How times have changed.  Those same NFL power rankers mentioned earlier currently have the NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys as the 4th best team in the league.  Most of the rankings have the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Green Bay Packers ahead of Dallas.  (Given the way Romo and Friends went up to Seattle in Week 6 and handled the defending NFL champs, one has to wonder how the Cowboys are not a notch above the Seahawks.)

During his post-game locker room speech to his newly-crowned NFC East Champions, Dallas head coach Jason Garrett said that they have their sites set a little higher than a division title.  If this 2014 Dallas Cowboys team attains that goal, their season may just be remembered as the most surprising in NFL history.