The 12-5 Cowboys faced off with the 10-7 49ers in a renewed playoff rivalry dating back to the ‘80s and ‘90s. Nevertheless, 2022’s playoff matchup pitted the favored third-seed Cowboys against the sixth-seeded 49ers, who punched their ticket to the playoffs in the last game of the regular season by upsetting the Los Angeles Rams.
The 49ers’ victory over the Cowboys in the Wild Card playoffs extended a drought for Dallas, who have not won the Super Bowl in almost three decades.
The Dallas Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl in 26 years
Another playoff exit for the Cowboys meant another year without a shot at the Super Bowl. The Dallas Cowboys last won the Super Bowl in 1996. In Super Bowl XXX, the Cowboys played the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 28, 1996 in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.
This Super Bowl would be the first game without head coach Jimmy Johnson, who was the architect of the Dallas Cowboys dynasty in the 1990s. Head coach Barry Switzer would win his first and only Super Bowl as the steward of a team stacked with Hall-of-Fame NFL talent.
The 12-4 Cowboys were making their eighth Super Bowl appearance while the 11-5 Steelers were making their fifth. The Cowboys went on to win 27-17, and Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown won the MVP award for the game.
Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman threw for 209 yards with 1 passing touchdown, while Emmitt Smith rushed for 49 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Tight end Jay Novacek had 5 receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown reception. Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell threw for 239 yards with one touchdown pass and three interceptions. Running back Bam Morris carried the ball 19 times for 73 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Vanessa Williams sang the national anthem during the pregame ceremonies, and Diana Ross performed the halftime show, celebrating 30 years of the Super Bowl.
Since that Super Bowl win in 1996, the Cowboys have made the playoffs 10 times, but have only three wins.
From the twilight of Troy Aikman’s career, through quarterback Tony Romo’s entire career, and currently in Dak Prescott’s tenure with the Cowboys, Dallas is still searching for that deep playoff run back to the Super Bowl.