How The Dallas Cowboys’ Playoff Performance Could Shape Their Off-Season Plans

Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys with Blake Jarwin after a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in overtime on December 9. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Getty

Since he bought the Dallas Cowboys for a measly $150 million from Bum Bright some 30 years ago next month, Jerry Jones has built the NFL’s most valuable empire, with the franchise valued in September by Forbes at $5 billion, or 33 times what he paid. Pretty sweet return, huh?

Full Forbes coverage of the NFL playoffs: the outlook for all 12 teams.

The one thing that Jones has been unable to do for the last 23 years, though, is to buy another Vince Lombardi Trophy for the lobby of the Cowboys’ plush headquarters. The team won its fifth and most recent Super Bowl title way, way back on January 28, 1996.

How They Got Here

When the Cowboys clinched the NFC East title last month, they qualified for the playoffs for only the 10th time since Super Bowl XXX. In that same timeframe, the New England Patriots have made the playoffs 19 times and have won five Super Bowls, which must irk Jones.

Jones, 76, has crafted a business colossus that has often fallen short on the field, at least by business-colossus standards. After the Cowboys rallied for a 36-35 victory Sunday over the New York Giants, Jones was asked what the Cowboys’ first playoff run of more than two games since 1996 would mean to him.