Dallas Cowboys

That ’70s Show

Squint real hard and see the similarities.

At long last, the ’70s are back. Women are again wearing Halston. Television viewers are glued to CBS’ hit Swingtown. Two movies founded on the old decade’s staples of Star Wars and ABBA – The Clone Wars and Mamma Mia – were among last weekend’s top 10. And Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” is climbing the charts with its blatant theft – excuse me, its “sampling” – of ’70s classics “Werewolves of London” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Coulda swore I even saw former President Jimmy Carter flittin’ around the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The significance of it all? It’s time for another Dallas Cowboys’ Super Bowl.

The Cowboys christened Texas Stadium in 1971 by going undefeated in the new building en route to winning Super Bowl VI. As the Cowboys kick off the 2008 season Sunday in Cleveland and prepare to pull the shades in their 37-year-old house, it’s impossible to ignore the similarities.

The ’71 Cowboys were led by a Pro Bowl quarterback, Roger Staubach. The ’08 Cowboys are led by a Pro Bowl quarterback, Tony Romo.

The ’71 Cowboys featured an elite offensive tackle in Rayfield Wright, a rugged running back in Duane Thomas, a big-play receiver in Bob Hayes and a reliable tight end in Mike Ditka. The ’08 Cowboys feature an elite offensive tackle in Flozell Adams, a rugged running back in Marion Barber, a big-play receiver in Terrell Owens and a reliable tight end in Jason Witten.

The ’71 Cowboys sported Pro Bowl pass-rusher Bob Lilly, savvy linebacker Chuck Howley and game-changing cornerback Mel Renfro. The ’08 Cowboys sport Pro Bowl pass-rusher in DeMarcus Ware, savvy linebacker Zach Thomas and game-changing cornerback Pacman Jones.

The ’71 Cowboys were guided by the humble, calculating class of owner Clint Murchison and head coach Tom Landry. The ’08 Cowboys are guided by … hmm … Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips.

I never said identical twins.

Also like the ’71 team – which lost Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts on a last-second field goal the previous season – the ’08 Cowboys are fueled by failure. They haven’t won a playoff game since ’96 – the longest post-season drought in franchise history – and are still stinging from season-ending losses to the Seattle Seahawks in ’06 (when Romo botched the snap on a game-winning field goal) and to the New York Giants in ’07 (when Romo was intercepted in the end zone in the final two minutes.)

There’s no guarantee that this year’s Cowboys can, as the ’71 team did, march through the regular season with only three losses, hold three playoff opponents to a combined 18 points and raise the Super Bowl trophy.

But the template is parallel. The pieces are in place. The expectations are percolating.

Last week The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and the majority of Las Vegas sportsbooks tabbed Dallas to be the NFC’s representative in Super Bowl XLIII February 1, 2009 in Tampa. We know “what”; all that’s left is “how”.

“We’re excited about the new stadium in Arlington,” says Jerry Jones. “But first things first, Texas Stadium deserves to go out a winner.”

A game-by-game look into my crazy crystal football at the shocking twists, turns, tales and totals of what should be a perfect farewell season to Texas Stadium.

Yes, I said perfect.

Sunday at Cleveland – In a dazzling debut, Pacman Jones returns a punt, an interception and two indictments for touchdowns. Cowboys 34, Browns 24.

Sept. 15 vs. Philadelphia – Avenging last year’s home loss to Philly when she showed up in a pink replica of her boyfriend’s jersey, Jessica Simpson sparkles and surprises in an “I (heart) Avi Adelman!” tank top. Cowboys 30, Eagles 21.

Sept. 21 at Green Bay – In the house that Brett Favre built, Romo snubs opposing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and commandeers the pre-game microphone for an awkward repeat rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” Cowboys 23, Packers 20.

Sept. 28 vs. Washington – Phillips loses a spirited game of Sudoku to a flatulent mutt at halftime, prompting Don Meredith to jump off his couch and warble, “Turn out the lights … it’s farty Rover.” Cowboys 27, Redskins 3.

Oct. 5 vs. Cincinnati – In a triumph of quality over quantity, Dallas’ Joneses trump Cincinnati’s outlaws. Cowboys 41, Bengals 21.

Oct. 12 at Arizona – Cowboys roll despite spotting the clueless Cardinals a touchdown under DISD’s “effort-based” grading system. Cowboys 27, Cardinals 10.

Oct. 19 at St. Louis – This just in: Rowdy still sucks. Cowboys 38, Rams 17.

Oct. 26 vs. Tampa Bay – Jerry Jones ponders trading two first-round picks for Buccaneers’ receiver Joey Galloway, but ultimately decides to rescue stowaways Demi Lovato and Nastia Liukin from the pirate ship in the end zone. Cowboys 20, Bucs 16.

Nov. 2 at New York Giants – Distracted by new girlfriend Kim Kardashian’s biggest ass-et, Terrell Owens drops 12 passes and emerges from the post-game locker room in a T-shirt that reads “iSuck”. Cowboys 23, Giants 21.

Nov. 16 at Washington – Post-game guest and newly elected President Barack Obama’s speech to the Cowboys is sabotaged by his (“Daddy!”) incessantly (“Daddy!!”) interrupting (“Daddy!!!”) daughters. Cowboys 14, Redskins 13.

Nov. 23 vs. San Francisco – After more lackluster performances on special teams and public address, Jerry Jones fires Bruce Read and George Dunham and replaces them with Joe Avezzano and Russ Martin. Cowboys 17, 49ers 13.

Nov. 27 vs. Seattle – In Texas Stadium’s final Thanksgiving game, former Cowboy Julius Jones exacts revenge by rushing for one yard. Cowboys 23, Seahawks 14.

Dec. 7 at Pittsburgh – In a stunning, almost flawless performance, Romo completes 28 of 29 passes, slightly overthrowing just one route. “I missed a curl,” he sings in the locker room, “and I liked iiit!” Cowboys 44, Steelers 31.

Dec. 14 vs. New York Giants – In an effort to remind him to get off the field on third downs, safety Roy Williams again changes his uniform number, this time from 38 to 3. Cowboys 19, Giants 17.

Dec. 20 vs. Baltimore – Most of Dallas’ ’71 team shows up for Texas Stadium’s dramatic regular-season finale, but are reduced to cameos when Keon Lattimore, Danny Amendola and Todd Lowber show up and somehow command starring roles. Cowboys 48, Ravens 3.

Dec. 28 at Philadelphia – With the playoffs and home-field advantage clinched, Phillips allows Belo weatherman Pete Delkus to plot the game plan on an issue of Briefing. Cowboys 3, Eagles 2.

NFC Divisional Playoff – After bulling over nine defenders, three referees, two cheerleaders and a Salvation Army bell-ringer en route to his 30th rushing touchdown of the season, Marion Barber is finally tasered and hand-cuffed in the end zone by Lupe Valdez. Cowboys 34, Packers 10.

NFC Championship Game – DeMarcus Ware validates his Defensive Player of the Year honor by sacking Eli Manning seven times and refusing three interview requests from Michael Strahan and two more from Tiki Barber. Cowboys 30, Giants 13.

Super Bowl XLIII – After lifting Dallas’ first championship trophy since the Stars in ’99, Pacman Jones delivers an impassioned speech while collecting folded dollar bills and organizing a post-season party at The Men’s Club. Yells Pacman, “Let’s Bend One for the Tipper!” Cowboys 31, Patriots 30. -- Richie Whitt