As the Dallas Cowboys of 2018 are preparing for the upcoming season, another former star is walking away from the game. This time, it’s DeMarco Murray who has decided to hang up the cleats for good, retiring after seven NFL seasons. Normally we don’t look back on what once was, but this is a special occasion.
How did we get here? Just a few short years ago, the Cowboys were heading into 2014 as a team that couldn’t get over the hump. They were coming off three consecutive 8-8 campaigns in the middle of rebuilding their roster but somehow managed to finally break through. A 12-4 record, NFC East champs and return to the playoffs came that season.
That team was led by Tony Romo, who was finally getting some help. Jason Garrett built the Cowboys in the image of Jimmy Johnson’s 1990’s teams, physical up front with a dominant running game to wear down defenses. The 2014 season was what we all remembered during the three Super Bowls in a four-year dynasty, only it was led now by Romo, Murray, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and a stellar offensive line. It was a team that was robbed on the Dez Bryant catch rule.
Now, all four players are gone. You all know the deal: Romo’s body gave out after carrying the team for so many years, Murray was allowed to walk via free agency, Dez got caught in a contract dispute and has never been the same, while Witten plodded along as the Senator in the locker room and on the field. Currently, none of the four are in the league and three have retired.
It’s sad, really, that 2014 seems so long ago and that such an opportunity was wasted. It’s made worse to know that such a fun team, with a group of great players, were not given the chance to see how that season could have ended. The picture posted in the locker room after winning the 2014 NFC East with the 'core four' was one of the images that will live on forever in the memory of Dallas Cowboys fans.
Fast forward to the present and the Cowboys could be built for similar success in 2018. They have a quarterback capable of playing well when he doesn’t have to do it all and a running back who has elite talent running behind a domineering offensive line. The receiving group’s ability has yet to be seen, but they are putting in the work and they seem to have embraced the underdog role.
It’s possible Dallas can repeat what Romo, Murray, and company accomplished just four years ago. Who knows, with any luck, it could end up even better. Sometimes, a little luck is all you need, just ask Eli Manning.
The 2014 Dallas Cowboys were a joy to watch, now the star players who had such an impact on that season are fading away. A new group awaits to try and finish what that team could not.
Remembering can be cruel sometimes.
You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi