Perhaps no American sports team is placed under a microscope more than the Dallas Cowboys. With their iconic history and always boisterous fans, it's hard to imagine a world in which the Cowboys are not a relevant sports franchise.

The eyes of the sports world have found their way to the Dallas area for much of the last eight months. The Texas Rangers, who play in Arlington, Texas alongside the Cowboys, won the franchise's first World Series title last November. Currently, the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars are participating in the conference finals of their respective leagues.

Then there's the Cowboys, one of the NFL's most successful regular-season teams over the last decade but among football's most disappointing performers in the playoffs.

With the recent success of the other professional sports teams in Dallas, ESPN decided to roll out a graphic depicting how the Rangers, Mavs and Stars have separated themselves from the Cowboys in terms of postseason success.

When it's depicted like that, it's pretty jarring seeing how long it's been since the Cowboys made a deep playoff run. They haven’t reached the NFC Championship Game, let alone a Super Bowl, since the 1995 season when Dallas won Super Bowl 30.

Since then, the Rangers, Mavs and Stars have reached the semifinal round of their leagues 15 times, the championship round eight times and each has one title.

There's no denying that the Cowboys are still the most popular team among the four and have the richest history by a wide margin. Sports are a “what have you done for me lately” business though, and despite winning nine division titles and making 13 trips to the playoffs since that Super Bowl 30 triumph, the Cowboys have only five playoff wins to show for it.

Cowboys 2024 season outlook

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks on in the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 season is a crucial one for the Cowboys. Though this can change before Week 1, Dallas is set to enter the season with quarterback Dak Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy in the final year of their contracts. That's a rare spot for a perennial playoff contender to be in.

The Cowboys won 12 games in each of the last three seasons. Prescott was an MVP candidate in 2023. CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons are arguably the best players in the league at their respective positions and Dallas consistently has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

The pieces are there, but it hasn’t translated into postseason success. Owner Jerry Jones isn’t getting any younger, and wouldn’t he love to snag another Super Bowl title while he's still the general manager?

If the Cowboys don’t win a playoff game or two this year, significant changes could be made. McCarthy will almost certainly be replaced and it's possible Dallas lets Prescott test free agency. How many viable starting quarterbacks go back to their teams once they hit the open market?

As always, all eyes will be on the Cowboys during the NFL season, with a different topic about the team or one of its players surfacing almost daily. Could this finally be the year Dallas silences all the critics and hoists the Lombardi Trophy once again?