It's been 9,765 days since Jerry Jones hoisted the Cowboys' fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy after Dallas vanquished Pittsburgh in Arizona's Sun Devil Stadium. The 27-17 win marked the third title the Cowboys have won under Jones, who purchased the franchise less than seven years earlier.
It's been over a quarter-century since the Cowboys' fielded their last Super Bowl team. But following Sunday's blowout win over previously one-loss Minnesota, Jones believes that this team is good enough to end the title drought.
"A resounding yes. Yes. Unequivocally," Jones said of the Cowboys being Super Bowl contenders, via ESPN. "I think we've had adversity. We very easily could have more adversity. ... Yes, I think if we use the experience of what we're having in the season, then we're going to be playoff ready. But I sure do think that what I see out here right now is the team like that you could go get a Super Bowl with."
Like all teams, the Cowboys have had their share of adversity this season. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Jourdan Lewis, Tyron Smith, James Washington, Matt Farniok and Devin Harper were among the Cowboys players who have dealt with injuries at various points this season. Several more players, including Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsons, are currently dealing with injuries ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Giants.
Despite these injuries, the Cowboys have compiled a 7-3 record through 10 games. Dallas would be the fifth seed and would face Tom Brady's Buccaneers in Tampa in the wild card round if the playoffs started today. The Cowboys are two games behind the one-loss Eagles for first place in the NFC East division. Philadelphia is one game ahead of Minnesota (and holds the tiebreaker) in the race to capture the conference's only playoff bye.
Often criticized for building top-heavy teams, Jones' current edition has proven that it has considerable depth while being largely able to overcome injuries. Dallas went 4-1 when Cooper Rush played in relief of Prescott earlier in the season. Tony Pollard has reinforced his status as a top-tier running back. Part-time starter Dorance Armstrong Jr. is second on a team that already has 42 sacks this season.
The Cowboys appear to have the depth to be a legitimate contender when the playoffs begin in mid-January. But first, the Cowboys have to finish off the regular season, which still includes future matchups against the Giants (on Thursday), Philadelphia, Tennessee and Washington. That might be why Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy -- who won a Super Bowl as the Packers coach a dozen years ago -- is pumping the breaks on Super Bowl talk at this point in the season.
"Talking about anything other than the Giants is a waste of time," McCarthy said earlier this week, via Cowboys.com's Patrik Walker. "This is about beating the Giants."
Ironically, the Cowboys' biggest challenge to reach the Super Bowl (which will again be played in Arizona) may be the 49ers, who improved to 6-4 after dismantling the Cardinals on Monday night. The two teams faced each other in the NFC Championship Game three straight years from 1992-94. The winner of that game ended up winning the Super Bowl each time.