Why the Dallas Cowboys need to win the Super Bowl this year
The window of opportunity for the Cowboys to win a championship is likely closing, so the 2023 season might be the team's best chance for a while.
Driving the news: The NFL season kicks off Thursday, with the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs taking on the no-longer-lowly Detroit Lions.
- The Cowboys play their first regular season game Sunday night, on the road against the division-rival New York Giants.
Why it matters: The Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl since the end of the 1995 season — but hope springs eternal! When the Cowboys are winning, North Texas is a brighter, happier place.
Flashback: Dallas is tied for the NFL's second-best regular-season record over the last two seasons, behind only Kansas City.
Yes, but: The Cowboys suffered heartbreaking playoff defeats two years in a row, losing both times to the vexatious San Francisco 49ers.
State of play: The current era of Cowboys football is likely winding down. Quarterback Dak Prescott recently turned 30, the offensive line is aging, and NFL coordinators have had two years to crack the code on Dallas' dominant defense.
Plus: Several star players, including linebacker Micah Parsons and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, will be expecting new, sizable contracts soon. Starting running back Tony Pollard will play this season on a one-year franchise tag. And owner Jerry Jones is already fielding questions about extending Prescott's contract.
Reality check: Despite that financial puzzlework — and the loss of fan-favorite Ezekiel Elliott — the Cowboys are still loaded with talent. Las Vegas oddsmakers have Dallas as the sixth-most likely team to win the Super Bowl this year.
Threat level: Head coach Mike McCarthy will take over play-calling duties this season. Though he's had back-to-back 12-win seasons, McCarthy's job could be in jeopardy if the team doesn't make a deep playoff run.
- If he goes, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who has passed on other head coaching opportunities over the last two years, will likely be the first candidate in line for the job.
What's new: The Cowboys made two trades in the offseason that should help this year, bringing in 32-year-old cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the Colts and veteran receiver Brandin Cooks from the Texans.
What we're watching: Parsons is the preseason favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year.
The bottom line: While most fan bases would be happy to have a contender, for Cowboys fans it's ring or go home.
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