For over 20 frustrating years the goal in Dallas has been clear - re-establish the glories that made the Cowboys 'America's Team'.
And, as the 2016 season revealed, the pieces may finally be in place for that mission to be achieved.
Indeed, for much of the previous campaign the Cowboys were perhaps the best team in the NFL, though for some their success was bittersweet, with Tony Romo, the man who had consistently put his body on the line and performed only for Dallas to either disappoint or come up short, struck down by a preseason injury and then forced to watch on as rookie Dak Prescott led them back to the postseason.
The playoffs ended in familiar fashion for the Cowboys, who went one-and-done with a failed comeback in the divisional round against the Green Bay Packers.
Since winning their last Super Bowl back in January 1996, the Cowboys have made the playoffs nine times, but have been immediately eliminated on six of those occasions.
But last year, despite the heartbreak that came with being on the wrong side of a 34-31 thriller with the Packers, Dallas ended the season with plenty of reason for optimism.
The perceived gamble of taking a running back with the fourth pick of the draft paid off substantially as Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing, while Prescott proved an unearthed gem with the ability to excel as a passer and a runner, displaying remarkable poise for someone of his limited experience.
With the best offensive line in the league, a dominant wide receiver in Dez Bryant and the ever-dependable Jason Witten at tight end, the Cowboys appear set to contend for years to come.
However, the Cowboys have consistently followed impressive seasons with let downs in the subsequent year.
Dallas has a 10-22 record in the seasons following their previous two playoff appearances in 2009 and 2014 and the signs that another slump back down to earth could be on the horizon in 2017 are there.
The saga surrounding Elliott's six-game suspension for accusations of domestic violence has hung a dark cloud over the team throughout preseason and the lack of his presence for over a quarter of the campaign is a significant blow for a team that is already missing defenders Randy Gregory and David Irving due to bans.
Pass rusher Gregory was banned for a year in January for substance abuse while defensive tackle Irving is suspended for the opening four games, which will see rookie Taco Charlton and DeMarcus Lawrence, who had just one sack in nine games in 2016, carry the burden of pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
They will be playing in front of a mediocre secondary that lost cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr and in free agency and is likely to need strong rookie seasons from cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis to make strides.
Dallas' defensive issues are in stark contrast to that of their NFC East rivals. The New York Giants spent big on the front seven last year in an approach that saved general manager Jerry Reese's job and provided them with an excellent defensive foundation from which they were able to claim eight of their 11 wins by a touchdown or less.
The Philadelphia Eagles' front seven has been a nightmare for opponents in preseason and, with Dallas - along with the Washington Redskins - seemingly lagging behind on defense, the Cowboys' hopes lie with Prescott avoiding the second-year slump many will expect and being the best quarterback in the division.
Cementing his position as the top passer in the NFC East may not be so difficult. Eli Manning appears in decline and is increasingly being propped up by the talent the Giants have put around him, Carson Wentz's rookie season in Philadelphia received plaudits but the fundamental issues with his footwork and mechanics that were on display in college still lingered.
It remains to be seen if Kirk Cousins' likely last season in Washington will be marked by the crunch-time turnovers that have dogged an otherwise promising career, but, if Prescott is unable to match his 2016 exploits and carry a team with a shaky defense through a spell without Elliott, then the failings of the opposing quarterbacks may not matter.
For Prescott to improve on a rookie season in which he threw 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions would be a significant ask.
However, his performances in preseason have been widely praised and Dallas' season rests squarely on him maintaining the poise that took them within a field goal of the NFC Championship game.
There is a strong chance the Cowboys' unwanted tradition of slumping back down to earth will continue should he fail in doing so.
|Steelers LB Shazier says he´s ´best linebacker ever´|
|Dolphins place franchise tag on Landry|
|Colts QB Luck ´extremely optimistic´ about shoulder rehab|
|A´s respond to Gruden´s belittling of Oakland|
|Yankees acquire Drury in three-team deal with Diamondbacks, Rays|
|Texans release all-time leading tackler Brian Cushing|
|Martin released by Buccaneers|
|Winter Olympics 2018: Slovenian ice hockey star Jeglic sent home after positive doping test|
|Hosmer agrees to eight-year deal with Padres|
|Harper refuses to talk free agency, says he´s focused on this season|
|Patriots knew Butler would be benched, says McCourty|
|Why didn´t Jimmy Butler play in NBA All-Star Game?|
|LeBron relishes one more link-up with Irving|
|Team LeBron edges Team Stephen in thrilling All-Star Game|
|Silver supports NBA players speaking out on social issues|
|NHL commissioner Bettman condemns ´reprehensible´ Smith-Pelly abuse|
|Blackhawks fans ejected after racist heckling of Capitals´ Smith-Pelly|
|Donovan Mitchell caps NBA All-Star challenges with dunk success|
|Steve Nash, Ray Allen among Basketball Hall of Fame finalists|
|Kevin Love: It was necessary to clean house in Cleveland|
|LeBron James thanks Ingraham as Cavs All-Star vows to speak his mind|
|Archer says Rays could have best rotation in baseball|
|Kevin Durant: Laura Ingraham´s ignorant comment was racist|
|Astros manager Hinch on Cole: He doesn´t need to be fixed|
|Kobe Bryant says Lakers ´shouldn´t need´ to recruit free agents|
|Jokic makes history as Nuggets, Wolves enter All-Star break with wins|
|Blue Jays sign pitcher Garcia to one-year deal|
|McCarron a free agent after winning grievance against Bengals|
|Klopp´s cakes, Allen´s tape and Batman Fury - Conte joins ranks of weird press conferences|
|Fitzgerald to return for 15th season, confirms Cardinals coach Wilks|
|Jordan nearly perfect to lead Clippers past Celtics|
|Warriors coach Kerr again calls for gun control after Florida shooting|
|Postcard from Pyeongchang: Beaten USA set for another great Olympic story|
|Lakers rookie Ball to return after All-Star break|
|Porzingis vows to come back ´stronger, better and sharper than ever´|
|Seattle submits official application & down payment for NHL expansion|
|Cavs soar into All-Star break, Rockets down Timberwolves|
|Flyers G Elliott to miss up to six weeks|
|Knicks star Porzingis set to miss 10 months after surgery|
|Manning to drive pace car at Daytona 500|
|Jazz rally past depleted Spurs for 10th straight win|
|Cardinals sign GM Keim to contract extension|
|Winter Olympics 2018: Chelios frustrated by ´politics´ in IOC-NHL pay dispute|
|LeBron falls short of triple-double as Cavs kick-start new era, Rockets win eighth straight|
|Bryant says he would be protesting during the national anthem if still in NBA|
|Mets pitcher Wheeler undergoes stomach injections to promote bone strength|
|Kings´ Brown suspended one game for kneeing Sergachev|
|LeBron James revels in new-look Cavs after win over Celtics|
|Colts hire Reich after McDaniels saga|
|Penguins´ Sidney Crosby nets 400th goal|
|Thomas ´got powers back´ in Lakers debut|
|Warriors break out of ´rough patch´ in impressive win against Spurs|
|Pierce a better offensive player than Bird, says Parish|
|Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose|
|Korver leads Cavs, Wade saves day in return to Miami|
|Simmons can´t figure out why he isn´t an All-Star|
|Blue Jackets´ Werenski takes skate to groin|
|Senators give GM Dorion three-year contract extension|
|Garoppolo ready to continue winning in San Francisco|
|Vikings hire Eagles QB coach DeFilippo as OC|
|Sherman expects to stay with Seahawks|
|Thomas trade positions Lakers to chase elite stars, says Magic Johnson|
|Celtics outlast Wizards in OT, Warriors end skid|
|NBA trade deadline roundup: Cavaliers dominate headlines, clean out bench|
|Jason Kelce goes on epic rant as Eagles celebrate Super Bowl win|
|NBA fines Draymond Green $50K for offensive language toward official|
|Cleveland GM Altman: Cavs were marching a slow death before trades|
|Walker replaces Porzingis in NBA All-Star Game|
|Chiefs release CB Darrelle Revis|
|49ers sign Garoppolo to record five-year $137.5m deal|