The Cowboy Way

Pete Carroll grew up in the NFL during the 80s and 90s. He saw dynasties built with strong running games, dominating defenses and a passing game that filled in the gaps. It should come as little surprise that his current Seahawks team is following a trail blazed by one of the dynasties of that age. What may be somewhat surprising is that it is not the 49ers teams that he was a part of, but instead, the Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys.

People remember the 1990s Cowboys for their three Super Bowl victories, Johnson’s impenetrable hairdo, Troy Aikman’s All-American play and image, and Emmit Smith. Many people picture Aikman as a prolific franchise quarterback like the John Elway’s and Dan Marino’s of that era. The truth is, while Elway was throwing for 4000+ yards and 35 attempts per game, Aikman was leading a much more balanced offense that started with Smith and that dominating offensive line.

Their defenses featured imposing pass rushers like Charles Haley and eventually a shutdown corner in Deion Sanders. There were no game-breaking receivers, but there were players like Michael Irvin that ran terrific routes and made tough catches in traffic.

Back in 1990, they finished 7-9. The following season, they went 11-5 and won their first road playoff game in 11 years before losing in the divisional round on the road. In 1992, they lost an important divisional game to the Redskins just weeks before the end of the regular season. They went on to finish 13-3 and win the Super Bowl, beating their bitter rival, the 49ers along the way.

Sound familiar?

*one game left

The Seahawks won their first road playoff game last season for the first time in nearly 30 years. They lost in the divisional round, and are looking to rebound from a tough divisional loss to go 13-3 this year. Both teams counted San Francisco as their chief competition.

The similarities between that 1992 Cowboys squad and the 2013 Seahawks doesn’t end there.

Both teams were nearly identical in points per game, points allowed, yards per play for and against and point differential. And let’s not forget that both teams featured Ken Norton Jr.

Should Seattle realize their potential this season, they will have youth and talent similar to that of the 92 Cowboys. This is a group that has already mimicked so much of how that Cowboys squad approached the game to largely the same result. This weekend is their next chance to follow in the footsteps of a champion.