DALLAS — When the Dallas Cowboys punched their ticket to the playoffs by dismantling the Indianapolis Colts, 42-7, in Weeks 16, among those who seemed in high spirits was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Ever since the Cowboys’ shocking win at defending Super Bowl champion Seattle in Week 6, Cuban has been among those often making bold predictions about a Dallas franchise that hadn’t advanced to the postseason since 2009.
Cuban, in fact, doesn’t shy away from the notion that he believes this year for the high-powered Cowboys could very well end the way last season ended for the Seahawks.
Dallas’ quest for a sixth NFL championship begins Sunday when the Cowboys (12-4) welcome the Detroit Lions (11-5) to AT&T Stadium at 3:40 p.m. CST in an NFC Wild Card game.
“Wasn’t that exciting?” said Cuban, when asked his reaction after the Cowboys had clinched their elusive playoffs berth, coupled with the Philadelphia’s loss a day earlier against Washington that eliminated the Eagles from postseason contention. “It’s awesome, man. I love it.”
So much, in fact, that Cuban, a Cowboys season-ticket holder, has gone as far as to predict that Dallas will represent the NFC in Super Bowl 49 February 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.
As Cuban tells it, the Cowboys (12-4), winners of four consecutive games after routing each of their opponents in December, appear destined to claim their sixth Lombardi trophy in the franchise’s tradition-rich history.
“Hey, I predicted them to go to the Super Bowl and beat Denver, 52-51,” Cuban said. So I’m sticking to that…for them to win against the Broncos.”
Although Cuban wasn’t in attendance to witness Dallas’ lopsided win against the Colts that earned the Cowboys the NFC crown, he said he’s mostly happy for Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
“It was good for Jerry,” said Cuban, adding he has yet to reach out to and congratulate the Cowboys’ longtime owner. “I’m happy for him.”
Like Cuban, it seems a majority of the Mavericks locker room has gained a thorough appreciation for the Cowboys’ resurgence in this, a season in which many national media prognosticators didn’t expect them to savor a winning campaign.
“Now everybody certainly is jumping on the (Cowboys’) bandwagon,” Mavericks 16-year veteran and 12-time NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said. “Hopefully, they can keep it going and win it all.”
On Friday, the NFL’s All-Pro team was released, with the Cowboys having garnered a league-best four players on the roster. Among the notable players making the team was running back DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, and wide receiver Dez Bryant. Dallas’ Zack Martin was the lone rookie to make the All-Pro squad.
Still, in a year that essentially has given way to pandemonium throughout Dallas’ Metroplex, as well as a slew of accolades off the field, the Cowboys’ success this year undoubtedly has prompted their global fan base to anticipate a lengthy postseason run, one America’s Team hopes will culminate with a downtown Dallas parade, blanketed by confetti and the hoisting of a sixth Lombardi trophy sometime in mid-February.
So much for what many expected to be yet another disastrous season.
“Those guys look good, man,” Mavericks guard Raymond Felton said. “They’ve been doing great all year. I’m glad to see them keeping it going. I hope they make a long, a far push and win it all.”
Surely, a win on football’s grandest stage would silence more critics in what has already has been deemed a remarkable season in Big D.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.