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Woody Paige: Denver isn't 'Little d' in Cowboys rivalry

September 16, 2017 Updated: September 16, 2017 at 8:20 pm
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The Broncos hosted the Chargers Sunday, October 30, 2016 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

It's been a quarter century since the last great Western ("Unforgiven'') and the last Cowboys victory in Colorado (31-27).

Must be very difficult for those hundreds of thousands of Texans who travel here to ski and pump up our economy. The Dallasites (parasites?) and Fort Worthians haven't been able to declare "How 'bout them Cowboys?'' or "Yee-Haw'' on the slopes since the 1990s.

The Broncos haven't even lost to the Cowboys anywhere in 22 seasons - the longest successful streak against an NFC franchise and second overall only to the Broncos' stretch against AFC Browns, which dates to 1990.

Who's "Little d'' now? Not Denver.

The Broncos have thrown the Cowboys off the saddle.

Yes, the Cowboys will claim they don't play the Broncos often. But it is well to remember that the Broncos have beaten the Boys in five confrontations from 1998-2013.

Do the Cowboys want to be reminded of that 51-48 shootout, led by Sheriff Peyton Manning, in 2013 and the Edifice Complex the Cowboys suffered in Jerry's World? How about 2009 when the Broncos were coached by a rookie named, ha, Josh McDaniels? Or the 2005 Broncos' shocker in overtime? Or that 1998 blowout when the Broncos quarterback was old man John Elway?

Oh, the Cowboys will want to mention that this is the 40th anniversary season of when they smashed Orange Crush cans against their foreheads after a 27-10 thumping of the Broncos, who were appearing in their first Super Bowl.

But the Broncos can retort that they have played in four Super Bowls, and won three, since the Cowboys last showed up for a Super Bowl way back in No. 30. Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah.

From 1996-2016, the Broncos played in 23 postseason games and won 14, while the Cowboys played in 12 and won just three.

These two teams were born the same year - 1960, the Cowboys in the National Football League, the Broncos in the American Football League. They were equally awful for the first six seasons, with the Cowboys losing 54 and the Broncos 59.

Since, though, each has reached eight Super Bowls, with the Cowboys winning five and the Broncos three. But, the Cowboys became ancient football history, while the Broncos have been the second-winningest team in the NFL for decades.

But the Boys are back - with Dak, Zeke and Dez leading the 13-3 comeback record of 2016 and an impressive opening victory against the Giants a week ago. The Broncos held on, with an outstretched hand from Shelby Harris, to vanquish the Carson California Chargers on Monday.

Oddly enough, the Broncos could have drafted Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant. In 2010, with the 22nd selection, the Broncos chose Demaryius Thomas over Bryant, who went two picks later. The wide receivers have produced similar outstanding careers. D.T. has more catches and yardage and Dez more touchdowns, and both signed matching five-year, $70 million contracts in 2015.

Later in that same first round, the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow, who served as an inspiration for young Dak Prescott.

The Mississippi State quarterback named his dog "Tebow,'' played under the same coaching mentor (Dan Mullen) and was called, in college, the next Tebow, which was considered a compliment then. The Broncos contemplated drafting Prescott in 2016, and the Cowboys were highly interested in Paxton Lynch. (Elway ultimately stayed away from Prescott because of the Tebow comparisons.) Dak was grabbed in the fourth round, followed by running back Devontae Booker.

There was, of course, The Tony Romo Matter. Because of Prescott's exceptional rookie season, the Cowboys no longer needed, or wanted, Romo. The Broncos, as Elway finally acknowledged, pondered the possibility of signing Romo and recreating The Manning Move.

Romo will be in a TV booth in New Orleans on Sunday instead of playing for either team.

Which will prevail on Sunday afternoon?

The Cowboys have the edge at quarterback, running back (with Ezekiel Elliott and the help of a judge), tight end and, decisively, in the offensive and defensive lines. The Broncos have a slight advantage at wide receiver and a definitive advantage at linebacker (Chinese Dragon Von Miller) and in the secondary. The special teams are virtually even.

Cowboys 24-20.

Ski season should be amusing and unforgiving.

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