TAMPA, Fla. — After the Dallas Cowboys won their first road playoff game in 30 years on Monday night, owner and general manager Jerry Jones sees some similarities between his teams of the 1990s and today.
“It’s like a hunting dog,” Jones said following the 31-14 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We have tasted what you need to realize it’s there and it will cause you to grow. … I saw that happen to our championship teams and I saw us take guys that certainly had the goods but they not necessarily had the experience of having it happen to them. But our teams of the ’90s did come on and get better and better and grow.”
Before Monday’s win snapped an eight-game road playoff losing streak, the Cowboys’ most recent road playoff victory was the 1992 NFC Championship Game that jumpstarted a dynasty that won three Super Bowls in four years.
Also before Monday, the Cowboys had never beaten Tom Brady (0-7).
And now the Cowboys can look for some revenge on the San Francisco 49ers, whom they will meet in the divisional round Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. The Cowboys had their 2021 season ended by the Niners in the wild-card round at AT&T Stadium when Dak Prescott was unable to spike the ball in time for one last shot at a game-winning touchdown.
“Hey, I know we’re all looking forward to it,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “This is how it goes. This is how it’s supposed to be whether you manifest it or whatever your belief is. The league can humble you but it can also put you in position to have opportunities to resolve some things, let’s just say.”
Having snapped the road playoff losing streak and the Brady curse on Monday, the Cowboys will have a chance to end another run of playoff losses: Since the creation of the divisional playoff round in 1970, the Cowboys’ current six-game losing streak in that round is the longest all-time. The only other team with at least a five-game losing streak ever in that round was the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost five straight between the 1995 and 2016 seasons.
“Anytime you get eliminated by someone, you want another crack at them the next year,” All-Pro right guard Zack Martin said. “So it should be a great atmosphere out there in San Francisco and we’re looking forward to it.”
The Cowboys will head to California with two fewer days of rest than San Francisco. The Niners advanced to the divisional round with a win Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks. The Cowboys will not arrive back in Dallas until early Tuesday morning.
Jones said the shorter week is not unfair to the Cowboys.
“What are we going to do about it? I mean the game is set,” McCarthy said. “So we’ll be there. I can promise you that.”
To Jones, the Cowboys will be a different team than the one that played against the Buccaneers.
“We’ve got a team here that has enough skill, in my opinion, to go win it,” Jones said. “And now we have some experiences that will build the intangibles. And so I think we gained on it tonight.”