The last NFL team to produce three consecutive, non-playoff 8-8 seasons was in such bad shape that they changed cities. And then almost won the Super Bowl.
On the heels of atrocious seasons of 2-14 and 7-9, the Houston Oilers went 8-8 in 1996. Owner Bud Adams up and moved the franchise to Tennessee, where two more mediocre .500 seasons followed.
But in ’99 something happened. Jeff Fisher coached and Steve McNair threw and Eddie George ran and Jevon Kearse sacked and the re-branded Titans went 13-3, made the playoffs and came within one yard of beating the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.
I’m not suggesting Jerry Jones re-locate the team to Omaha and call them the Prairie Dogs. But there is a precedent for an NFL team to suddenly break out of an 8-8 rut. And break out big-time. The last team to be in the Cowboys’ position played for a championship.
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“A lot of comparisons and predictions are made this time of year and I get that,” Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo told NFL Network. “But we know that as we look around this is a new season and a new team. We can be excited about that.”
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.