Remembering the 2007 Cowboys and the beginning of missed opportunities

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys talks to his teammate Terrell Owens #81 after a play against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys talks to his teammate Terrell Owens #81 after a play against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

It’s been 15 years since 2007 (scary) and we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the 2007 Dallas Cowboys season. There are several parallels to the 2021 season. A promising roster with a great regular-season record with hopes to make a Super Bowl run. A strong start to the season that got sour towards the end. A long list of Pro Bowl selections. Talent on all sides of the ball. And, it all ended with a devastating and frustrating loss in the team’s first playoff game. Sound familiar?

The 2007 squad was probably one of the Cowboys’ best chances to win a Lombardi Trophy in the modern era. Many argued that the 2021 team was the first time they had hopes in a Cowboys playoff run since that 2007 team. Yet, it all fell apart. We will take you through all the details of the 2007 season to give you a blast from the past.

A thorough look back at the history of the 2007 Dallas Cowboys season

IRVING, TX – OCTOBER 14: Head Coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys coaches against the New England Patriots at Texas Stadium on October 14, 2007 in Irving, Texas. The Patriots won 48-27. (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images) /

The 2007 Dallas Cowboys: The Nuts & Bolts

The 2007 season was the Cowboys’ 48th year in the NFL, their 36th season playing in Texas Stadium, and their 19th year under the ownership of Jerry Jones. The team had a stellar roster and jumped out of the gate strong and won the team’s first NFC East title since 1998. The squad’s 13 regular-season victories tied them with the 1992 Super Bowl champion team for best in franchise history.

Here are the basic facts:

  • Record: 13-3-0
  • Coach: Wade Phillips
  • Points Scored: 455 (2nd in the NFL)
  • Points Scored Against: 352 (13th in the NFL)
  • OC: Jason Garrett
  • DC: Broan Steward
  • Training Camp: Alamodome

Here are some fun fact tidbits:

  • In one-score games, the Cowboys went 4-1.
  • In games decided by a field goal or less, Dallas went 2-0
  • The longest win streak during the regular season in 2007 was seven games
  • The longest losing streak in 2007 was only ever one game
  • The Cowboys did not play any overtime games in 2007

The 2007 Dallas Cowboys: The Roster

Like in 2021, the Cowboys had an incredibly promising roster. Offensive stars included Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Jason Witten, Terrell Owens, and Terry Glenn. The defense comprised of guys like DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, and Roy Williams. There were a whopping 13 Cowboys named to the Pro Bowl (an NFL record at the time) and five named to All-Pro teams.

The front office did its best to recruit talent in the draft, but the real talent was already on the roster. Two men drafted in 2007 by the Cowboys to make a Pro Bowl in their career were linebacker Anthony Spencer (26th overall pick) and kicker Nick Folk (178th overall pick).

The 2007 Dallas Cowboys: A New Head Coach

Cowboys, Wade Phillips
PHILADELPHIA – OCTOBER 4: Head Coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys coaches on the sidelines during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 4, 2007 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-17. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

The biggest change ahead of the 2007 season was at the head coaching position. Legendary Hall of Fame Cowboys coach Bill Parcells retired after the 2006 season. Jerry Jones immediately went back to his chaotic ways before Parcells’ arrival and didn’t exactly handle the head coaching search in the best way (unsurprising). Typically, teams in need of a coach try to solidify their choice or at least get close ahead of the Super Bowl. Not Jones.

The first bizarre Jones move came when Jerry re-signed offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Garrett interviewed for the head coaching position and garnered interest from the Baltimore Ravens. Jones re-signed Garrett before deciding on a head coach, neglecting whoever he would hire the chance to pick his own coordinator. This limited Jones.

The front office interviewed ten candidates, and while most thought former OC Norv Turner would get the job, it ended up going to Wade Phillips. Phillips was the DC for the Chargers the prior year and was not known for having a ton of success as a head coach. He was also wildly different than Parcells.

Parcells was harsh and controlling. Phillips was laid-back and relaxed. Phillips essentially gave Jones the opportunity to make all the big choices and was just there to coach. The new head coach had surprising regular-season success, but when things started to go south, there was no clear or immediate push for change coming from Phillips. He would remain with Dallas until 2010.

The 2007 Dallas Cowboys: How’d They Do?

The 2007 season was Tony Romo’s first year as a solidified starter. He led one of the most promising teams in Cowboys’ history since the mid-1990s. The QB started all 13 games and held a franchise record of 36 touchdowns in a season until Dak Prescott broke that record this year. Wideout Terrell Owens was as good as expected collecting 15 touchdowns and over 1,300 yards. The two helped lead the second-ranked offense in the league in points and the third-ranked offense in yards.

The team started the season as a well-oiled machine (sounds familiar). They went 11-1 in their first 12 games, with their only loss coming against the Patriots who went on to win all 16 of their regular-season games. To get to 11-1, the Cowboys had to face the also 10-1 Packers who were led by third-year QB Aaron Rodgers who played his first minutes of NFL action to replace an injured Brett Favre.

Things were smelling like Lombardi Trophies and Super Bowl rings through Week 13. Then, it all went downhill. The end of season slump.

The 2007 Dallas Cowboys: Where It Went Wrong

Similar to the 2021 Cowboys, the 2007 team had a rough end of the season and brutal playoff appearance. It all started in Week 15 with a humiliating loss to the Eagles. The Cowboys had three turnovers, had their explosive offense held to just 240 yards, had their star QB throw zero touchdowns, and couldn’t seem to make it happen.

Two weeks later, the Cowboys lost to Washington. The weather and conditions were terrible and the offense had only 147 yards and held the ball for less than 23 minutes of the entire game. The game technically didn’t matter since they already clinched their spot in the playoffs, but the team showed no effort or heart at all.

The Loss to the New York Giants

With their 13-3 record, the Cowboys earned themselves a No. 1 seed giving them a first-week bye and home-field advantage for the playoffs. On a 60 degree day at Texas Stadium with 63,660 fans in attendance, the Cowboys hosted the No. 5 New York Giants in the Divisional Round. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called the game.

It was the third time the rivals would meet that season. The Cowboys won the two previous contests by at least ten points. Dallas played better than they had in a while. They outgained the Giants 336 to 230 and converted ten of 15 third downs. However, and this part will certainly ring a bell, 11 Dallas penalties cost the team 84 yards.

Wide receiver Patrick Crayton ruined chances on multiple occasions. He dropped what could have been an 83-yard touchdown on a 3rd and 14. He quit on a route at the end of the game that could have allowed him to score a last-second, game-winning touchdown. With four final possessions to score a touchdown, three resulted in a punt and one in an interception.

The loss allowed the Giants to miraculously go on and win a Super Bowl as they shocked the undefeated Patriots. It was heartbreaking for Cowboys fans to watch.

The 2007 Dallas Cowboys: The Beginning of Many Disappointments to Come

The loss was incredibly disappointing. This defeat extended America’s Team’s drought of playoff wins to a dismal eleven seasons. It also tied a league record for six consecutive playoff games lost. Like in 2021, it was a roster with a fighting chance, and they couldn’t even make it past the first game.

Want to feel worse? The 2007 Cowboys were the first No. 1 seeded NFC team to be eliminated in the Divisional Round since the 49ers did so all the way back in 1987 and the first time it happened since the updated playoff format came in 1990. The team has lost every Division Round game it’s made since that year (2009, 2014, 2016, 2018).

It’s a tale as old as time for the Cowboys. A team with promise plays well, has a rough end to the year, and flops in the playoffs. We just witnessed it again two months ago. What will it take to get this team to make it past a Divisional Round Playoff game? What’s missing? Whatever it is, it’s clearly something the owners haven’t been able to figure out since 1996… the last time the team won a Super Bowl.

Next. 15 Best QBs in Cowboys History. dark