FRISCO - This season the Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East Division and made the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2018. However, Dallas' 12-5 run came to an abrupt end at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card Round.
The crashing of a hopeful season proved to be a disappointment for owner Jerry Jones, the team, fans and ...
Even former Cowboy and NFL legend Deion Sanders.
"The city is better when the Cowboys are better. Everything is better when the Cowboys are winning," Sanders told Bri Amaranthus in an exclusive visit with CowboysSI.com. "But they seem like they are always getting to the end and choke."
The perennial Pro Bowl player is widely regarded as the greatest cover cornerback of all time. A two-time Super Bowl champion, "Prime Time" was a big part of the Cowboys win in Super Bowl XXX, the last title for the team in 26 years.
Why did the Cowboys "choke"? What went wrong in the home loss to the underdog 49ers?
"They just aren't built for the moment," Sanders said. "Back when the Cowboys were the Cowboys, you never doubted if Troy Aikman was going to show up. Or the offensive line, Emmitt (Smith), Michael (Irvin), Moose (Daryl Johnston), (Charles) Haley, (Tony) Tolbert, (Leon) Lett, Deion (Sanders) or (Darren) Woodson.
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"You never doubted if those guys were going to show up in the big games. You don't know what you are going to get, nowadays. You really don't and that's a problem."
"Coach Prime''s focus was on his own team this season and his "old-school attributes" are proving successful at the college level. As head coach at Jackson State, Sanders turned around the program in just a year and is dominating the recruiting trail with unprecedented success at the FCS level. In 2021, Sanders put together the first 11-win season in JSU history on the way to the SWAC championship, earning the FCS Coach of the Year Award. In Super Bowl LVI, Sanders is picking the L.A. Rams, who are 4-point favorites.
For the Cowboys, with quarterback Dak Prescott back under center (after a gruesome ankle injury in 2020), Dallas was first in total yards per game (407) and second in passing yards per game (282.4). Cornerback Trevon Diggs led the NFL with 11 interceptions. Rookie Micah Parsons terrified opponents and earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
The Cowboys totaled six players on the NFC Pro Bowl team and would have been a seventh had Prescott not turned down a replacement invite.
But the fizzle and flop at the end of the season garnered a phone call from Sanders to his old teammates to discuss "why they choked."
"If you could hear those conversations, those are hilarious," Sanders said.
Watch the full exclusive interview with Deion below in which he also shares what is left on his bucket list, why he has no desire to coach for the Dallas Cowboys, his partnership with Gillette Razors and his best Jerry Jones story.