The Dallas Cowboys drafted cornerback Chidobe Awuzie in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Colorado. He had a good run with the Cowboys and some fans even wanted Dallas to keep Awuzie over Anthony Brown or Jourdan Lewis. In his four years with Dallas, he played in 49 games, had four interceptions, and 213 tackles. The only year in which he played every game was 2019.
After the 2020 season, Awuzie signed a three-year, $21.75 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. While he may have thought he was headed to a terrible team, Awuzie is now about to play in his first Super Bowl with the Bengals. The cornerback had his best overall statistical year playing in Cincy. In the 2021 season, he had two interceptions, 64 tackles, and four tackles for loss in just 14 games.
Aside from getting to play in the Super Bowl, it seems Awuzie is pretty happy about no longer playing in Dallas. During Super Bowl media week, the cornerback decided to throw some not-so-subtle shade at his former team.
When asked about how being traded to the Bengals impacted his play, Awuzie said it made him realize “football can be played without all the lights.” Many players who play for the Cowboys have mentioned the pressure that comes with playing for such a high-profile team with several perks at their disposal. Micah Parsons even mentioned in an interview with Bleacher Report that the lights are definitely there, but they don’t necessarily affect him.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Chidobe Awuzie throws shade at Cowboys during Super Bowl media interview saying it doesn’t take that much to form a winning football team
Awuzie said he appreciates the “blue-collar mentality.” He feels it represents the kind of person and player he is. The cornerback said that people always comment on how the Bengals don’t have an indoor facility or how their facilities aren’t always up to date, but that doesn’t bother him. He says he fits right in with the people on this team and the people of Cincinnati. Sorry, Cowboys players and fans.
He said that with the Bengals it was all about getting to work and getting the job done. Here’s the kicker:
"“I learned very quick that it don’t take much to form a winning football team. You know, football is football. You can play anywhere. You’re either going to win or you’re going to lose. I think we just have that mindset. That dog mentality. There’s no excuses. And we get it done no matter what.”"
In other words, this isn’t the mentality he found in Dallas? It’s pretty bold to say that it “doesn’t take much to form a winning football team,” but Awuzie does have a point. While the Cowboys did improve from 6-10 to 12-5, they have still yet to make a conference championship in 11 straight playoff appearances. The Bengals were 4-11 last year and are headed to the Super Bowl.
So, what is Dallas missing? Why can’t they do what the Bengals have done? Maybe the bright lights, fancy owner, and lofty expectations aren’t helping the Cowboys.