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1984 Dallas Cowboys season

Season information
TeamDallas Cowboys
Season Year1984
Head coachTom Landry
Home fieldTexas Stadium
Place4th in NFC East
Playoff finishdid not qualify
Upcoming Next2016

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The Cowboys finished the 1984 season with a record of nine wins and seven losses, and missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. A division record of 3-5 caused them to finish fourth in the NFC East, despite equaling the overall records of the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. The Cowboys went through major changes during the offseason, as key players Drew Pearson, Billy Joe Dupree, Harvey Martin, Robert Newhouse, and Pat Donovan all retired, and Butch Johnson was traded to the Denver Broncos. Adding to the overhaul, Gary Hogeboom replaced Danny White as the starting quarterback in preseason, and a quarterback controversy ensued throughout the season. After a 4-1 start, Hogeboom played poorly in losses to St. Louis and Washington, and was replaced by White in both games. The following week against New Orleans, White had to relieve Hogeboom again, this time after Hogeboom injured his right wrist early in the second half. White led the Cowboys to victory, overcoming a 21 point deficit in the fourth quarter. White started the next two games, but after a poor performance by both quarterbacks against the Giants, Hogeboom regained the starting position. The constant change at quarterback didn't help the team's inconsistent play, and they reached their nadir at Buffalo late in the season, suffering a humiliating 14-3 loss at the hands of the winless Bills. Afterwards, White would go onto to start at quarterback for the rest of the season. Still, for all the turmoil surrounding the Cowboys, they held a 9-5 record going into the season's final two weeks, and were tied for the division lead. However, two heartbreaking losses to the Redskins (a game in which the Cowboys led 21-6 at halftime) and Dolphins ended the Cowboys' string of postseason appearances at nine.

The Cowboys perennially potent offense fell into disarray during the 1984 season. The offensive line was ravaged by injury and retirement, and Cowboy quarterbacks were under duress all season. The line also struggled to open holes for the running game, despite another productive season from Tony Dorsett, who rushed for 1189 yards. Turnovers were another source of frustration, as the offense turned it over 42 times. The defense once again featured a strong pass rush, led by perennial all-pro defensive tackle Randy White, as well as an opportunistic secondary, with safety Michael Downs leading the way with seven interceptions. However, stopping the run was a problem throughout the season, as the defense allowed 4.4 yards per carry.

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