With their 20-18 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday, the Denver Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl for the eighth time in franchise history, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots and, yes, your Dallas Cowboys for the most in NFL history.
The obvious difference between the Cowboys and these other teams is their recent fortunes.
In two weeks, the Broncos will play in their second Super Bowl in three years. The Steelers have two Super Bowl wins in the Ben Roethlisberger era. The Patriots, well, you know about the Patriots.
Last week, Hall of Fame quarterback turned Fox analyst Troy Aikman—who was not only the starter, but in his prime the last time the Cowboys played in a Super Bowl—wondered aloud how things might have been different if head coach Jimmy Johnson had stayed in town after the 1993 season. The general thought among Aikman and those who played with him on those teams is that, had Johnson stuck around, the Cowboys might have more than eight Super Bowl appearances to their name now.
“I think there's a tendency ... we all do, all those former players that played under Jimmy, we look back and say, 'Wow. What would it have been like if Jimmy had stayed around?’” Airman said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “I find myself, it seems like every time around this type of year when the Patriots are playing in another AFC Championship Game thinking, 'Man, I wish Jimmy didn't have any other interests other than football back when he was coaching, didn't want to fish and get out on a boat and go out to the Keys, because he was essentially, at that time, he was Bill Belichick. But unfortunately for us and other Cowboys fans, he's got other interests."