In 2001, the outcome was not good at all, as the Cowboys finished 5-11 for the second season in a row while ending up in the NFC East cellar. The lone bright spot of the season was RB Emmitt Smith who rushed for 1,021 yards for his 11th season in a row over 1000 yards.
In 2002, we see as the Cowboys struggles of the last few seasons still sustained as they went back and forth with wins and losses over their first six games. The Cowboys would continue to fight dropping to 3-7 and into last place in the NFC East. After ending their losing streak with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Emmitt had his finest game of the season on Thanksgiving rushing for 144 yards, as the Cowboys kept their slip playoff hopes alive with a 27-20 win over the Washington Redskins.
It would be the last positive moment for the Cowboys as they lost their final four games to finish with a record of 5-11 for the third straight season. Following the season Coach Dave Campo was told to take a hike and Bill Parcells replaced him as Owner Jerry Jones finally chose a coach with a winning reputation. Finally someone who knows what he is doing!
In 2003, The Bill Parcells era got off to a rough beginning when the Cowboys dropped the first game to the Atlanta Falcons at home 27-13. In the second week Coach Parcells returned to the home of his greatest success as the Cowboys stunned the New York Giants 35-32 as Billy Cundiff nailed 7 Field Goals including a 52-yarder as time expired to force overtime and the game winning 25-yarder in OT.
Luck began to blow their way as the win launched the Cowboys on a five game winning streak as they held an early 2-game lead for the NFC Eastern Division. After a shutout loss on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Cowboys to use, defense to win their next two games to improve to 7-2.
Although, a week later Coach Parcells returned to another former home and things did not go as well as the Cowboys were shutout by the New England Patriots 12-0. Ouch!
After an impressive home win over the Carolina Panthers the Cowboys defense that was ranked number 1 was exposed in a 40-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving. After their Thanksgiving roasting, the Cowboys were exposed again in a 36-10 loss on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles, which saw them lose their chance at first place.
The Cowboys would go on to close out the season with two wins in their final three games to reach the playoffs for the first time in 4 years. However, in the playoffs the Cowboys would make a quick exit as the Panthers 29-10 on the road beat them. In the game, the Cowboys offense was stuck in neutral as they collected just 204 yards total in the game much of which came after the game was out of reach.
In 2004, the Cowboys stumbled before the season even began as QB Quincy Carter who had had solid 2003 was unexpectedly let go in the beginning of training camp because of problems with drugs. Without Carter, the Cowboys turned to 40-year old veteran Vinny Testeverde, whose best days were in the past not the present!
Testeverde under center the Cowboys would struggle losing seven of their first 10 games knocking the Cowboys out of the playoff picture early. On Thanksgiving, the Cowboys handed the ball to rookie Drew Henson who had not picked up a football in 3 years while playing minor league baseball with the New York Yankees.
Another young Cowboy emerged as the hope of the future Rookie RB Julius Jones who missed most of the season with an injury finally shined with 150 yards and two TDs in a 21-7 win over the Chicago Bears.
Weeks later Jones did it again rushing for 198 yards and three Touchdowns in a 43-39 upset win over the Seattle Seahawks on the road. Jones would be the focal point for the Cowboys the rest of the season rushing for 819 yards with seven TDs in just eight games as the Cowboys finished with a 6-10 record.
Now in 2005, Rumor has it quarterbacks beware of Rookie Demarcus Ware. The Cowboys Defense with should get better this year as they bounce back off a not up to scratch season, add Julius Jones for a full season and the Cowboys all of a sudden have the look off a serious playoff contender.