Jan 13, 2023 - Sports

Dallas Cowboys try to end 30-year drought

Game photograph of Tom Brady being tackled by Dallas Cowboys players

Cowboys fans want Tom Brady to look like this throughout Monday's game. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

When the Cowboys travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers in the first round of the NFL playoffs Monday night, the team will attempt to defy a notorious jinx and snap a 30-year road-playoff losing streak.

Why it matters: When the Cowboys do well, North Texas is a much happier place overall, at least partly because of the massive number of bandwagon fans attracted to the blue star.

The big picture: The results of this game will also likely determine a lot about the future of the team.

  • This is head coach Mike McCarthy's third year in Dallas, and though he's had two winning seasons, he still hasn't won a playoff game here.
  • With former Saints head coach Sean Payton — someone Jerry Jones has already tried to hire multiple times — now available, and immensely popular defensive coordinator Dan Quinn waiting in the wings, this could be McCarthy's last chance to keep his job.

Zoom in: Dak Prescott also turns 30 this year, and the window of his prime is shrinking. He'll have the option of opting out of his massive contract and testing free agency after next season.

Between the lines: The anxieties of dedicated Cowboys fans were already high — we're used to January heartbreak — before the team ended the regular season with the worst performance of the year.

By the numbers: The Cowboys are a 2.5-point favorite to win, though that number has already dropped through the week — an indication that more bettors are picking the Bucs.

  • Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady is 7-0 against Dallas in his career.
  • The last time the Cowboys won a playoff game on the road was 30 years ago.

The intrigue: The Bucs will wear white jerseys in Monday's game instead of their usual home red, forcing the Cowboys to wear their navy blue alternates — which plenty of people believe are cursed.

  • The Cowboys have only worn blue jerseys seven times in the playoffs over the course of their franchise history — and the team is 1-6 in those games.
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