The 2014 Dallas Cowboys Versus The 2007 Dallas Cowboys


After paying the price of a mismanaged salary cap in the late 90’s that extended through the early 2000’s, the Dallas Cowboys looked like they were finally on an upswing under the guidance of Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells. Dallas was the team pundits and former players from other teams the Cowboys had beat up during the Super Bowl years loved to hate on and mock in the media.

Parcells used a combination of the draft and some of his former players to improve the team immediately in 2003. After a rough 2004 season and limping to the finish of the season in 2005, the teams roster and mindset were showing signs of a championship team in the making.

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Many still hold the belief that the 2006 team was peaking at the right time and for not the famous botched field goal attempt against the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card playoff game, the Cowboys had a chance to make a run at the NFC Championship. It appeared that Dallas could finally stick their tongue out at the NFL and claim their rightful place as a perennial contender.

That roster was no doubt talented but just how sound was it built? The 2007 season brought about the thrilling domination Cowboys fans had so desperately yearned for since 1996. Winning twelve out of the first thirteen games, the team also had eleven players selected for the Pro Bowl.

The house of cards that was the 2007 Cowboys crumbled in the following years, only experiencing brief success in 2009 because of a weak NFC East. Once again fans of the team suffered the daily ridicule of jealous former players and gleeful Dallas haters in the media. We all heard the common refrains  about how the team was mediocre at best since the 90’s and were exactly a .500 team over the course of fifteen seasons with no real playoff success.

The 2014 version the Cowboys brought pride and joy back to the hearts of its enormous fan base. The dominance that the team showed at times and it’s ability to win on the road in difficult situations was inspiring.

So the question begs. Was last season just a tease like the 2007 season? Will we once again find ourselves throwing objects at the television the next few years in disgust as we listen to former Eagles, Giants and Redskins bash the Cowboys with glee?

Close examination of the 2007 roster and stats reveals some flaws that should have been more apparent at the time. That team was so much the work of a desperate and aging coach wanting to accomplish the ultimate ending to his amazing career. Deliver a Lombardi Trophy to the Cowboys and their fans.

Parcells patched together an offensive line that while formidable, was aging and injury prone. Tackle Marc Colombo and center Andre Gurode were nearing the end of their careers. Flozell Adams was all but written off before Parcells’ arrival revived his career, but he too was near the end.

The 2014 offensive line is the opposite of the 2007 version. The youth of this line is striking. With the addition of La’el Collins, the most fragile part of the line, Ronald Leary, is now backed up by a first round talent. That gives the team four first round talented lineman, all under the age of 25.

The two top wide receivers for the 07′ team were the enigma known as Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton. The Tony Romo to Owens connection was magical that season, but the receiver position was one the deepest and most talented positions for the 14′ team.

The defense you say? As much as this defense has been abused and battered by everyone, fans and media alike, the 14′ team allowed only 1.68 more points per game than the 07′ defense. That’s correct. Twenty seven more points for the whole season.

The 14′ defense actually was stouter against the run than the 07′ team. The 14′ defense only allowed 4.0 yards per carry. The team may consider building a statue for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. The difference in yards given up by the 07′ defense and the 14′ defense was significant, 722 yards less for the season, accounted for by a much better 07′ secondary.

That is where the 14′ team will either ride the wave to greater glory in the years to come or suffer a return to mediocrity because the pressure on the offense to score 35 points a game to win will catch up with them eventually.

Although we all have great memories of Owens streaking open down the middle of field and Romo hitting him perfectly in stride for a touchdown, the 14′ offense actually had more yards, more yards per play and more first downs than the prolific 07′ offense directed by then offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

There is no doubt that the latest version of the Cowboys is younger and deeper than the 07′ team. Fans can hope that with a successful draft class coming in, the 14′ team is on a different arc than the 07′ team. With some luck relative to health, we should no longer have to suffer with the mediocre tag for the foreseeable future.

So who wins the game? Even though Owens has an incredible game against cornerback Brandon Carr and the 14′ secondary, the power and strength of the 14′ offensive line wears down the 3-4 scheme of the 07′ team. They take advantage of a missed field goal from kicker Nick Folk and Romo completes a long pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant. With a only a few seconds on the clock, kicker Dan Bailey sails a 53 yard goal through the uprights. 14′ Cowboys 37, 07′ Cowboys 35.

Next: Dallas Cowboys Are About To Bounce Back To The Future