What are the worst moments for each NFL franchise? Yahoo Sports provides our opinion, which you are free to disagree with (and we’re sure you will).
5. The White House scandal
The Cowboys visited Bill Clinton in the White House several times in the 1990s after winning Super Bowls. But it was a very different White House, a two-story brick home on a suburban cul-de-sac next to the team’s Valley Ranch practice facility, where many of the Cowboys indulged in excesses of all types. Wild stories of sex and drugs began circulating after news of the house leaked, with Michael Irvin as the reported ringleader. Gone forever was the team’s reputation for moral rectitude as embodied by the Landrys and Staubachs, replaced by one for debauchery and deviance. In truth, neither reputation was entirely deserved. For America’s Team, as for America, the reality usually falls somewhere in between.
4. Romo botches snap
After winning their third Super Bowl in four years to cap off the 1995 season, the Cowboys endured a disappointing decade. And then some. By the time they played the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 wild card game, they had gone through four coaches post-Jimmy Johnson and hadn’t won a playoff game in nearly 10 years. That sad stretch appeared over when Dallas, trailing by one point, lined up for a 19-yard field goal with just over a minute left. But a good snap slipped through the hands of Tony Romo, who had retained his holding duties despite becoming the team’s starting quarterback midway through the season. Romo picked up the ball and was tackled, sealing the loss and starting a “Choking Romo” narrative that continued, fairly or not (mainly not), for the rest of his Cowboys career.
3. The Drop
Late in the third quarter of Super Bowl XIII, the Cowboys trailed the Pittsburgh Steelers by a touchdown but appeared to have tied the game when Roger Staubach hit a wide-open Jackie Smith in the middle of the end zone for a 10-yard score. Except Smith, the sure-handed tight end playing in the final game of a stellar 16-year career, dropped it. “Oh, bless his heart,” Verne Lundquist said on the Cowboys’ radio broadcast. “He’s got to be the sickest man in America.” He wasn’t alone. Tom Landry threw up his hands in disgust. Staubach cringed. Cowboys fans cried as Dallas settled for a field goal and never did draw even in a 35-31 loss.
2. The Catch
One of the greatest moments in San Francisco 49ers history was the ultimate heartbreak for the Cowboys. With Dallas desperately clinging to a six-point lead in the 1981 NFC championship game, San Francisco drove 83 yards in the final minutes and faced a third-and-3 at the Cowboys 6. On a designed rollout to the right, three Cowboys, including 6-foot-9 Ed “Too Tall” Jones, chased 49ers quarterback Joe Montana toward the sideline and nearly got him before Montana flung the ball, seemingly high and out of the back of the end zone in order to avoid the sack. You know the rest. Dwight Clark leaped out of nowhere. The ball stuck to his fingertips. The 49ers took the lead. Danny White got sacked and fumbled. And the Cowboys, the NFC’s dominant team of the 1970s, gave way to the 49ers for a full decade, failing to make the Super Bowl throughout the ‘80s.
1. The Jimmy Johnson-Jerry Jones divorce
As football marriages go, the Johnson-Jones partnership of old friends and former Arkansas teammates was a beautiful fairy tale … while it lasted. With Jones as hard-driving owner and Johnson as both swaggering head coach and savvy GM, Dallas went from 1-15 in 1989, their first season together, to Super Bowl champions four years later. But friction began to develop as each man felt unappreciated by the other and Jones sought more control over football decisions. After a second straight championship in 1993, they parted ways, leaving Cowboys fans to wonder what could have been had their egos not gotten in the way. Yes, Dallas still won the title two years later, with coach Barry Switzer benefitting from the talent that Johnson accumulated, but the franchise has never been the same since. With Jones calling the football shots, Dallas has won two playoff games in the last 21 years.