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News » Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas, Ray Buck column: Since 1996, Dallas Cowboys have had many rough season-enders

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas, Ray Buck column: Since 1996, Dallas Cowboys have had many rough season-enders

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas, Ray Buck column: Since 1996, Dallas Cowboys have had many rough season-enders
Jan. 4--Give the Dallas Cowboys some credit. --They've come up with some pretty inventive season-enders since they notched their last playoff victory 12 years, seven days ago. (But who's counting?) --This was once a franchise stuck on winning Super Bowls. It went to four NFC championship games in a row during the mid-'90s. It hoisted one Lombardi Trophy after another, after another. --Now it's spin the wheel and see what the Cowboys can do next to create pathos and self-doubt heading into the off-season. --Since this franchise last won a playoff game, it has had five head coaches, 13 starting quarterbacks and soon-to-be two stadiums. --The Cowboys have missed the playoffs six times since '96. And they're 0-6 in postseason games when they have made it. The drought began with a 26-17 loss to a second-year expansion team from Carolina on Jan. 5, 1997. And it's been the downhill slalom ever since.

The worst enders by the Cowboys since they last won a playoff game, 6C

1. "They exposed us"

Date: Dec. 28, 2008

Score: Eagles 44, Cowboys 6

Site: Lincoln Financial Field

This one is freshest. It also ranks No. 1 among colossal flops because this Cowboys team had lofty expectations and still no-showed in Philly. The game fell on the 12th anniversary of the Cowboys' last playoff victory -- Dec. 28, 1996, against Minnesota. QB Tony Romo felt the Jason Garrett game plan was exposed. Jerry Jones had to defend his decision to bring back Wade Phillips in '09.

Stat to forget: Five Cowboys turnovers, including three by Romo, led to 27 of Philly's 44 points.

2. The Cardinal sin

Date: Jan. 2, 1999

Score: Cardinals 20, Cowboys 7

Site: Texas Stadium

The '98 Cowboys (10-6) still

had The Triplets, late-season momentum, even home-field advantage vs. perennially inept Arizona. And if God was looking through the hole in the roof,

He must've covered his eyes on this one. Jake Plummer outdueled Troy Aikman (three INTs). Adrian Murrell outrushed Emmitt Smith. And the Cowboys were held scoreless until the final 3:33 of the game.

Stat to forget: The Cardinals hadn't won a playoff game

since 1947.

3. Tony Butterfingers

Date: Jan. 6, 2007

Score: Seahawks 21, Cowboys 20

Site: Qwest Field

Win some, lose some. The '06 Cowboys found their franchise QB in Week 7, but still needed to find a holder after this most improbable of all losses at Seattle. Romo simply had to take the snap, set down the ball...and

let Martin Gramatica kick a 19-yard FG for the lead. Instead, the ball in Romo's hands looked like an ice cube on a granite countertop. Ah, Bill Parcells' parting gift as Cowboys coach.

Stat to forget: Romo had 11 fumbles in his first 11 NFL starts, losing three of them.

4. Beaten by neophytes

Date: Jan. 5, 1997

Score: Panthers 26, Cowboys 17

Site: Ericsson Stadium

This was the tipping point. The '96 Cowboys were one year removed from a third Super Bowl title in four years. Carolina was a second-year expansion team...but guess who was taken to the woodshed in this divisional-round game? Aikman threw three picks and lost to Kerry Collins. Carolina led

almost from the start, using

the NFL's second-best scoring defense to stifle Dallas.

Stat to forget: Michael Irvin had one catch. He left the

game with a first-quarter

shoulder separation.

5. Laying a 'Giant' egg

Date: Jan. 13, 2008

Score: Giants 21, Cowboys 17

Site: Texas Stadium

The Cabo Game, remember it? Dumb question -- who doesn't? The '07 team sent 13 players

to the Pro Bowl, making it

perhaps the most squandered playoff loss in terms of Cowboys talent. The '07 Giants

did go on to win the Super Bowl, so maybe Eli Manning

had a right to be better than Romo, just as the Giants

proved it's hard to get beat three times in one year by

the same team.

Stat to forget: The Cowboys' only turnover of the day

was a last-gasp Romo interception in the end zone.

6. Chan's Last Stand

Date: Jan. 9, 2000

Score: Vikings 27, Cowboys 10

Site: Metrodome

The '99 Cowboys hinted at being a faux playoff team when they lost at 2-12 New Orleans on Christmas Eve. Jerry Jones wanted to fire Chan Gailey,

then and there, or so the words Jones bit off after that 31-24 loss would indicate. An 8-8 playoff team, Dallas got an eight-catch, 163-yard receiving game from Rocket Ismail against the Vikes...but the Cowboys strung goose eggs after the

first quarter.

Stat to forget: Jeff George threw three TD passes to win the last playoff game of his career.

7. Q's Last Stand

Date: Jan. 3, 2004

Score: Panthers 29, Cowboys 10

Site: Ericsson Stadium

This first Parcells team won back fans. But the Cowboys'

fast start in '03 (7-2) was a bit deceptive, as it relied on the NFL's No. 2 scoring defense

and Quincy Carter's "drive-the-bus" approach prescribed by Parcells. Emmitt Smith was cold-shouldered out of town in favor of Troy Hambrick. Dallas eventually lost four of its last five games, including a first-round KO at Carolina.

Stat to forget: The Cowboys managed only 204 yards of total offense, and Carter was gone eight months later.

8. Christmas bash(ed)

Date: Dec. 25, 2000

Score: Titans 31, Cowboys 0

Site: Adelphia Coliseum

The '00 Cowboys were the first of Dave Campo's three straight 5-11 teams. Tennessee was coming off a Super Bowl appearance -- and now 13-3. It was Monday Night Football, and "Mostly Depleted Talent" in Dallas. Anthony Wright -- making his second NFL start in place of the injured (and soon-to-retire) Aikman -- threw two picks, and Smith was held to 20 yards rushing.

Stat to forget: This marked the franchise's worst record since the '89 Cowboys (1-15).

9. Running on empty

Date: Jan. 1, 2006

Score: Rams 20, Cowboys 10

Site: Texas Stadium

The '05 Cowboys finished 9-7, and missed the playoffs for a second year in a row. Drew Bledsoe, 33, had been brought in to replace Vinny Testaverde, 41. Youth movement. The season ended with a thud, although the Cowboys already were eliminated from the playoff picture before they took the field Sunday night, by virtue of a Redskins victory over the Eagles (31-20) a few minutes earlier.

Stat to forget: The Cowboys scored 10 points against a 31st-ranked Rams scoring defense (nearly 27 ppg).

10. Quitting on Switzer

Date: Dec. 14, 1997

Score: Bengals 31, Cowboys 24

Site: Cinergy Field

Barry Switzer's long goodbye. Dallas closed out a 6-10 season by dropping its last five games, including the next-to-last Sunday at Cincy. Boomer Esiason and the Bengals led 31-10 before the Cowboys tacked on a pair of meaningless Aikman-to-David LaFleur TDs in the fourth quarter. Four months earlier, Switzer was arrested at D/FW Airport for carrying a loaded pistol in his luggage.

Stat to forget: The Cowboys were 17-17 under Switzer after their SB win over Pittsburgh.


It's been 12 years since the Cowboys won a playoff game:

Year Rec. How it ended

1997 6-10 20-7 loss to Giants in season finale

1998 10-6 20-7 loss to Cardinals in wild-card game

1999 8-8 27-10 loss at Vikings in wild-card game

2000 5-11 31-0 loss at Titans in season finale

2001 5-11 15-10 loss at Lions in season finale

2002 5-11 20-14 loss at Redskins in season finale

2003 10-6 29-10 loss at Panthers in wild-card game

2004 6-10 28-24 loss at Giants in season finale

2005 9-7 20-10 loss to Rams in season finale

2006 9-7 21-20 loss at Seahawks in wild-card game

2007 13-3 21-17 loss to Giants in divisional playoff

2008 9-7 44-6 loss at Eagles in season finale

To see more of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.dfw.com. Copyright (c) 2009, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 4, 2009

Nick Cole Name: Nick Cole
Position: OL
Age: 23
Experience: 3 years
College: New Mexico State
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