The 8 Best And 7 Worst Dallas Cowboys Since 2000
Perform an Internet search for “America’s Team” and the first thing you’ll see is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are that rare NFL team that fills stadiums with half their fans at away games, similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers. And like the Steelers—along with the Patriots and Broncos—the Cowboys have eight Super Bowl appearances. Dallas has won five Super Bowl titles, second to Pittsburgh’s six wins. However, Dallas has not done what the Steelers and the aforementioned teams have accomplished in the 2000—winning a Super Bowl.
Coming into the 2016 season, the Cowboys have exactly 128 wins and 128 losses for the regular season since 2000. At the same time, the storied franchise is 2 – 5 in the postseason. The modern team has been an extreme divergence from the 1970s and 1990s teams that were perennial playoff contenders and Super Bowl winners. A carousel of quarterbacks, a running back roulette and a myriad of off-field drama marred the Dallas brand during the first part of the decade.
However, not all was bad. There was a nucleus of players who strived to live up to Dallas’ values of integrity, respect, teamwork, commitment and excellence. The following list will spotlight the very best Cowboy players since 2000. Likewise, it will bring attention to several players during that same time who missed their chance at being a productive member of the most valuable sports franchise in the world.
- BEST DEZ BRYANT (WR)
Wide receiver Dez Bryant has a chance to be the most productive receiver in Dallas Cowboy history. Not to slight former Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin or current tight end Jason Witten, but Bryant has kept pace in the age of the wide receiver. Bryant is already on the verge of catching the most touchdowns in team history. He needs four to five more seasons of 1,000 yards or more to surpass either Irvin or Witten, depending on the latter’s playing plans. The two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All Pro is entrenched as the team’s number one option at wide receiver given his average of 1,312 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns per season when healthy. Only erratic quarterback play and health will keep Bryant from all-time Cowboy greatness.
- WORST GREG HARDY (DE)
What the hell were Jerry Jones and the Cowboy front office thinking in 2015 Greg Hardy was signed for one year at $11.3 million, even after his arrest and allegations that he beat up and threatened to kill his girlfriend in 2014. Already deactivated during the 2014 season with the Carolina Panthers, Hardy was suspended for ten games to start the 2015 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. His suspension was reduced to four games after the charges were dropped due to his girlfriend’s trial no-show. Hardy had his record expunged but the pictures of his girlfriend’s injuries were released, prompting more controversy. Dallas released Hardy citing his attitude, his lack of punctuality for team meetings and practices as well as his criticism of the team’s coaching staff. Hardy was arrested in Dallas for cocaine possession in 2016.