This wasn't the greatest year in the history of the Cowboys franchise, but not everyone is holding that against them.
Bob Sturm of The Ticket and Dallas Morning News has revealed his 10th annual NFL Franchise rankings (Super Bowl era only) and, once again, the Cowboys come in at number one. They have the Packers to thank for their continued superiority as a seventh Steelers Super Bowl title would have nudged them into the top spot.
The reason for the Cowboys' continued success in the rankings comes from Sturm's methodology. He gives teams points for each season making the playoffs and then increasingly more points for making the Championship Game and Super Bowl. Winning the Super Bowl is worth the most points and then the total points are averaged out across the years to make up for the fact that teams have existed for different amounts of time.
There's nothing glaringly unfair about the rankings, but that doesn't mean it isn't geared toward keeping the Cowboys on top of the rankings. It's hard to make a compelling argument that the Steelers aren't number one simply because they've won more Super Bowls in the same amount of appearances. It's all well and good that the Cowboys have made the playoffs more often and that they have played in more Championship Games, but the goal of every season is winning the Super Bowl.
If you aren't going to make Super Bowl titles the alpha and omega, then there should be points given for winning seasons and winning all playoff games, not just making it to the title game. Sturm's rationale for not giving those points makes sense -- expanded playoffs cheapen some wins -- but it is hard to ignore the way that is also slanted in favor of the dominant teams fromt he 70's who didn't get to lard their record with those victories. The Cowboys are penalized very little, if at all, for winning nothing of significance since 1996 while other teams with recent success see little show up in Sturm's rankings.
We'd settle for a bigger onus being placed on winning the Super Bowl, though. If you're pretending the NFL started in 1966, then the Super Bowl should be considered a much bigger prize than it is under current circumstances.
That start date is also fairly slanted toward having the Cowboys finish on the higher end of the ladder. It was the first year of the Super Bowl, but it was also the first year where the Cowboys did anything worthwhile. Adding the full history of the NFL and it's forbears would likely leave you with a different result or, using Sturm's average points per year, it would make the argument about the Cowboys even stronger for how well they've done since entering the league.
Like most lists, this becomes good fodder for discussion above all else. We're curious to know what you think: Are the Cowboys the best franchise over the last 45 years of football?