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Mailbag: What Was The Effect Of "The Catch" On The Cowboys' Franchise?

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WALT DEBELL

TROY, NY

First let me say R.I.P. Dwight Clark.  Now I always hated THE CATCH because I don't believe that won the game.  Drew Pearson being finger tipped tackled and Danny White's fumble lost that game.  But how do you think Cowboys (and 49ers) history would have changed with the Cowboys winning that game and possibly the Super Bowl too?

Bryan: Indeed. Dwight Clark was a heck of a player and an even better person. Despite all the things that you mentioned that happened in the game, it was the 49ers' time. Their roster was young and on the way up. The Cowboys' roster, on the other hand, was older and declining. Under Bill Walsh this was a better team and history showed that. The 49ers were not a fluke. Even if the Cowboys would have won that game, the 49ers in the long run would have been better. 

David:Yeah, I don't think I'm buying it in the long-term. Even if the Cowboys had found a way to win that game, the 49ers weren't going anywhere – not with Joe Montana at the helm and a whole host of other talent. The fact that San Francisco won Super Bowls in 1984, 1988 and 1989 is a testament to that. Had the Cowboys won, they'd have six Super Bowls – which would put them even with Pittsburgh for most in the league. But I don't think it would've changed either teams trajectory during the 80s.


GARET TANAKA

WAILUKU, HI

With the secondary and wide receiver units being overhauled the last two years, do you see this as a coincidence or an organizational style moving forward? That said, do you think maybe the defensive line could see the same changes next off-season, with players like Tyrone Crawford, David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence, Maliek Collins and Charles Tapper not on the roster this time next year for one reason or another?

Bryan: There is going to be roster turnover whether it's planned or just the situation. In the case that you've mentioned I believe it's more about the situation. They will still have the ability to tag Lawrence if they choose. The others will likely take care of themselves through their own play or injury problems. If it's an overhaul it will be due to these reasons. 

David:In these specific instances, I think it was way more of a conscious choice. Obviously, you always want to be younger and cheaper – but I think it'll be easier said than done on the defensive line. If DeMarcus Lawrence can replicate last year's success, I don't know how you let him go. Tyrone Crawford brings a lot more value than just his sack production, so I don't know about that. I don't see why you'd let Maliek Collins go before his rookie deal is over. The biggest variable I'm unsure of is David Irving, and only time is going to tell how that plays out.

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