How much has changed in the 20 years since the Cowboys last won the Super Bowl?
The Cowboys earned $42,000 each for winning Super Bowl XXX. The Seahawks earned $49,000 for losing in February.
That’s merely one measurement. In fact, it’s impossible to measure how different the world is.
Three presidents, three popes, seven new Super Bowl winners. Neither the Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints (that’s funny) nor the Seattle Seahawks had ever won an NFL title.
LeBron James was 11, Jordan Spieth 2 and Justin Bieber 1. Miley Cyrus? She was running around naked then too, but it was as a presumed-adorable 3-year-old.
Remember Elian Gonzalez? He’ll be 22 and soon able to come and go to the U.S. as he and his credit card pleases.
Derek Jeter, now in his first year of retirement, was about to be the Al Rookie of the Year.
No one had heard of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Osama bin Laden or the iPhone (Steve Jobs was still persona non grata at Apple).
No one had a Wikipedia page. There was no Google...no one googled. Ashley Madison was merely someone’s name.
Harry Potter was a complete stranger.
South Beach, Atkins, Paleo? Nope.
Lance Armstrong hadn’t yet been diagnosed with cancer, much less won and then lost seven Tour de France titles.
The fairer sex was wearing Rachel haircuts.
Yes, we’ve come a long way since the fall of 1995. A look at some of it.
In the news: eBay is introduced to the growing numbers using the information superhighway....Dolly is recognized as the world’s most famous sheep after becoming the first animal successfully cloned....President Bill Clinton wins a second term, defeating Republican Bob Dole and independent Ross Perot with 49 percent of the vote and 379 Electoral College votes in the November elections....The Prince and Princess of Wales — Charles and Diana — divorce....Ted Kaczynski is arrested and indicted for crimes allegedly committed as the “Unabomber.”
Bigger news than we realized at the time: The Daily Show debuts in July.
Sports: Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula announces his retirement. Jimmy Johnson returns to coaching....The Cleveland Browns franchise leaves behind the name and history, move to Baltimore to become the Ravens....The Texas Rangers win their first AL West Division title before losing to the New York Yankees in the Division Series 3-1....Tiger Woods leaves Stanford to turn pro....The Centennial Olympic Games open in Atlanta with a stirring appearance by Muhammad Ali, who lights the Olympic flame. The achievements, including those of Dallas-native Michael Johnson, who becomes the first male athlete to win both the 200 and 400 meter gold medals, are overshadowed by the bombing in Centennial Olympic Park. Eric Rudolph would later be convicted as the perpetrator.
Pop culture: Rapper Tupac Shakur is shot multiple times in drive-by shooting in Las Vegas and dies days later.
Where were they then: Tony Romo was 16 when the season began. First-round draft choice Byron Jones turned 4 a few weeks after the Cowboys’ 22-6 season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears.
Pack is back: The Green Bay Packers, led by Brett Favre, defeat the New England Patriots 35-21 in New Orleans to win their first Super Bowl since 1967.
In the news: O.J. Simpson found liable by a civil jury in the deaths of his ex wife and her friend....British au pair Louise Woodward found guilty of killing the baby in her care....Heavens Gate cult commits mass suicide in California....In a bizarre murder spree, Andrew Cunanan kills five, including fashion designer Gianni Versace....Princess Diana dies in a car accident in France.
That was a bigger deal than we knew at the time: Steve Jobs returns to Apple.
Sports: At 21, Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Masters. … Major League Baseball retires the No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. … In June, Mike Tyson is disqualified from his highly anticipated bout with Evander Holyfield after taking a bite out of his rival’s ear.
Pop culture: Notorious B.I.G. killed in a drive-by shooting … J.K. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hits shelves in the UK with a release the next year in the U.S. as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Where were they then: Cowboys offensive lineman Doug Free was 13 during the Cowboys’ 6-10 season, their last under Barry Switzer.
Finally: John Elway wins the Super Bowl that had long eluded him — and the Broncos — defeating Green Bay 31-24.
In the news: Officials in Ireland and Britain and most of the political parties in Northern Ireland sign on to the Belfast Agreement, ending terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland and Britain....In June, three white supremacists in Jasper kill a black man, James Byrd, by dragging him three miles behind a pickup truck....Tobacco companies and U.S. states agree to the largest civil settlement in U.S. history.
That was a bigger deal than we knew at the time: In February, Osama bin Laden’s fatwa declares jihad against the “Zionist-Crusaders alliance,” including the U.S....The search engine Google is founded.
Impeachment: Bill Clinton first shakes his finger “no,” then shakes his head “yes,” he indeed did have an inappropriate relationship with a White House intern, but he never instructed anybody to lie about it. In December, the U.S. House of Representatives votes to impeach the president on charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. The president wins acquittal in the Senate chambers the next year.
Sports: The Rangers win the AL West a second time and lose to the Yankees a second time in the AL Division Series. … Nagano, Japan, hosts the Winter Olympic Games....Host France wins the World Cup....St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire is the first to eclipse Roger Maris’ single-season home run record, hitting No. 62 on Sept. 6. He finished with 70, while Sammy Sosa had 66.
Where were they then: 9-year-old Dez Bryant surely caught a few games of the Cowboys’ 10-6 season.
Elway goes out a winner: John Elway, Terrell Davis and Denver successfully defend their Super Bowl title from the year before, defeating Atlanta 34-19 in South Florida.
In the news: NATO air strikes bring peace to Kosovo and end war with Yugoslavia....Jack Kervorkian found guilty of murder for administering lethal injection to a terminally ill man....Two teenagers kill 15 in a shooting rampage at Columbine (Colo.) High School.
That was bigger news than we knew at the time: Russian President Boris Yeltsin appoints Vladimir Putin as prime minister in August.
What’s this thing do: The Bluetooth 1.0 specification is released.
Sports: Tiger Woods wins his second major, the PGA Championship....Texan Lance Armstrong wins his first Tour de France....The Dallas Stars win the NHL’s Stanley Cup, defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4-3....The Rangers win the AL West a third time but again fall to the Yankees in the AL Division Series.
Where were they then: In Chan Gailey’s second season, the Cowboys slid back to 8-8 and lost to the Vikings 27-10 in a wild-card playoff game. Tyron Smith was 8.
Greatest show on turf: St. Louis holds on in the final moments to defeat Tennessee 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta.
In the news: Jan. 1 marks the new millennium...some say....A fight between Ray Lewis and his associates and another group result in the stabbing deaths of two people. Lewis is indicted on murder charges days later....In April, Elian Gonzalez is seized in a predawn raid by U.S. federal agents and eventually reunited with his father....Yugoslavian strongman Slobodan Milošević resigns in Bulldozer Revolution....Montgomery Ward shuts its doors after 128 years in business....A band of prison inmates at the Connally, the “Texas 7,” escape and go on a crime spree culminating in the murder of Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins on Christmas Eve.
That was a bigger deal than we realized at the time: A day after Bill Belichick is hired as the New York Jets coach, he resigns to take the Patriots job instead.
Election OT: George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore go to a recount, which leads to controversy over which ballots are to be counted. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually rules 5-4 to end the recount. Bush wins Florida and the presidency.
Sports: Alex Rodriguez begins the first year of a historic 10-year contract worth $252 million with the Rangers....Tiger Woods wins the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship to become the first golfer since Ben Hogan to win three majors in a calendar year....Sydney Summer Games....Yankees win a third consecutive World Series title.
Pop culture: Curb Your Enthusiasm debuts on HBO in October.
Where were they then: Jason Witten was a freshman at Tennessee, where coaches initially thought he was a defensive end. The Cowboys, under first-year coach Dave Campo, stumble to 5-11. Former coach Tom Landry dies in February.
Ravens strike: Baltimore was crowned champion of the 2000 season, defeating the Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.
In the news: In June, Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing....On Sept. 11, terrorists fly planes into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. A third crashes after the passengers attempt to retake the plane. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan begins in October....The Enron corruption scandal is disclosed, revealing that the company’s financial condition was sustained through systematic accounting fraud.
Bigger news than we realized at the time: Tom Brady named the starter at quarterback in place of injured Drew Bledsoe for the Patriots’ third game.
Techie treats: Apple announces iTunes in San Francisco. The iPod is soon to follow.
Sports: Dale Earnhardt dies in a crash at the Daytona 500....U.S. Supreme Court rules that disabled golfer Casey Martin can ride in a cart during PGA Tour events....Barry Bonds breaks Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record with 73.
Where were they then: Current offensive lineman Zack Martin was 10 when the Cowboys’ 5-11 season began.
Patriots’ first bowl of super: New England upset the St. Louis Rams on a late field goal to win Super Bowl XXXVI 20-17.
In the news: Reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan and subsequently beheaded....John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban” is returned to the U.S. to face charges that he supplied aid to the enemy....The mystery of Chandra Levy disappearance begins to come to a conclusion when her remains are found in Washington, D.C....A U.N. Security Council resolution tells Saddam Hussein to disarm or face “serious consequences.”
Bigger news than we realized at the time: American Idol debuts on Fox.
Sports: Football fans learned of the little-known “Tuck Rule,” during the AFC divisional playoff game between the Raiders and Patriots....The Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City....Tiger Woods become the third golfer to win two consecutive Masters Tournaments and follows with his second career U.S. Open title....The Los Angeles Lakers win their third consecutive NBA title....Brazil defeats Germany 2-0 to win the 17th World Cup in Japan.
Where were they then: The Cowboys’ defense could’ve used a grown Sean Lee, then 16 years old, during a third consecutive 5-11 season.
Bucc-ing a bad reputation: Tampa Bay overwhelms Oakland to win the Super Bowl in San Diego 48-21.
In the news: The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing everyone onboard. … U.S. launches invasion of Iraq. … Elizabeth Smart is found alive after having been missing for nine months. … A recall election in California results in the ouster of Gov. Gray Davis and the installation of Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor.
Bigger news than we realized at the time: The Cowboys sign Tony Romo as an undrafted free agent.
Pop culture: At 21, Britney Spears becomes the youngest singer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Literature: Moneyball, a book detailing Oakland GM Billy Beane’s sabermetric roster approach, is published.
Sports: At Colonial, Annika Sorenstam becomes the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event in 58 years....Andre Agassi ascends to the world’s No. 1 ranking, the oldest male to do so....Cubs fan Steve Bartman turns goat after deflecting a foul ball away from Chicago outfielder Moises Alou, leading to Florida’s eight-run inning and the turning point in the Cubs’ eventual series loss....Lionel Messi makes his debut for FC Barcelona.
Where were they then: The Cowboys, under Bill Parcells, make a surprise entry into the playoffs with a 10-6 record. Brandon Carr was 17.
No standing Pats: New England wins its second Super Bowl title in three years, defeating newcomer Carolina 32-29.
In the news: Former President Ronald Reagan dies in June....Martha Stewart is sentenced to five months in prison for lying to federal investigators....Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriages....PLO leader Yasser Arafat dies. ...George W. Bush is re-elected president....The Beslan school massacre in Russia ends with 344 dead, mostly teachers and children.
Bigger news than we realized at the time: Mark Zuckerberg launches thefacebook.com at Harvard.
Pop culture: Janet Jackson bares more than is allowed by the FCC during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII....TV sitcom Friends goes off the air....Smart-guy Ken Jennings begins his streak of 74 straight victories on Jeapordy that concludes with more than $2.5 million in earnings....Million Dollar Baby debuts, as does Lost.
Sports: Phil Mickelson wins his elusive first major championship at the Masters. … Lance Armstrong wins his sixth straight at the Tour de France....Summer Games at Athens....Cursed Boston Red Sox sweep St. Louis to win first World Series in 86 years.
Where were they then: Jason Garrett retires at the end of the 2004 season at the age of 38. The Cowboys finish 6-10.
New England, old news: The Patriots win a second consecutive Super Bowl, over the Eagles 24-21, and their third in four years.
In the news: Condoleezza Rice is the first African-American woman sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State....Prince Charles announces his engagement to Camilla Parker Bowles....Pope John Paul II dies in April. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope Benedict XVI....Former FBI deputy Mark Felt reveals that he was Watergate’s “Deep Throat.”...Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,836 and doing more than $115 billion in damage.
Bigger news than we realized at the time: Lance Armstrong retires after winning his seventh straight Tour de France.
Tech treat: YouTube launches in the U.S.
Pop culture: Craig Ferguson is named host of the CBS’ The Late Show....Brokeback Mountain is released to the big screen.
Sports: Tiger Woods wins his 10th career major title after following up his fourth Masters championship with triumph at the British Open....The Atlanta Braves clinch their 14th consecutive division title....The Chicago White Sox defeat the Houston Astros for their first World Series since the 1919 Black Sox.
Where were they then: Future top draft pick Travis Frederick was 14 while the Cowboys were on their way to finishing 9-7 and out of the playoffs.
Pull the curtain: The Steelers return to football’s victory circle with a victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.
In the news: Alan Greenspan retires as chairman of the Federal Reserve....Iran announces that it has successfully enriched uranium....North Korea reportedly tests its first nuclear device....Democrats retake control of the House of Representatives in sweeping out Republicans during midterm elections.
Bigger news than we realized at the time: Roger Goodell begins job as NFL commissioner.
Pop culture: 30 Rock, starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, debuts on NBC.
Sports: Kobe Bryant scores a career-high 81 points in a win over Toronto, the second most for one game in NBA history....Winter Games in Turin, Italy....The Mavericks win the first two games, but lose the next four and the NBA Finals to Miami....Barry Bonds hits his 715th career home run, passing Babe Ruth....Troy Aikman is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame....Jerry Rice retires.
Where were they then: Present-day Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey was an 18-year-old walk-on at Arkansas who was promised a scholarship in the fall only for the offer to be reneged. He packed his bags and moved on. The 2006 Cowboys, led by new quarterback Tony Romo, finished 9-7 with a wild-card loss to Seattle after Romo lost control of the snap on a potential game-winning field-goal attempt.
Peyton takes his place: The Colts, led by game MVP Peyton Manning, defeat the Bears in the Super Bowl.
In the news: Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch of the United Kingdome, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, seven months and 29 days....Ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated....In March, the U.S. Justice Department found that the FBI had acted illegally in its use of the Patriot Act to obtain personal information about U.S. citizens....U.S. President George W. Bush orders the “surge” in troop deployments designed to stabilize regions in Iraq.
Bigger news than we realized at the time: Apple announces a new product — the iPhone.
Sports: Bill Cowher resigns as coach of the Steelers....Phil Jackson earns distinction as the fastest NBA coach to reach 900 career wins....Barry Bonds eclipses Hank Aaron with his 756th home run, becoming the most prolific home run hitter in major league history.
Where were they then: Michael Irvin’s Hall of Fame induction coincided with Wade Phillips’ first season as coach of the Cowboys, who finished 13-3 but wound up a loser in the divisional round, falling to eventual Super Bowl champion, the New York Giants.
Giants killers: New York sent New England to its only defeat while pulling off one of the great upsets in Super Bowl history.
In the news: Fidel Castro retires as president of Cuba after nearly 50 years....New York Gov. Elliott Spitzer resigns amid scandal involving a high-end prostitute....U.S. Congress passes and President Bush signs a $700 billion bill to bail out financial institutions....Sen. Barack Obama defeats Sen. John McCain to become the first African-American president in the U.S....O.J. Simpson found guilty of kidnapping and robbery. Later sentenced to 33 years in prison....Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is arrested for allegedly committing federal crimes, including attempting to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat.
Bigger news than we realized at the time: In January, it was a Black Monday in worldwide stocks, a precursor to the worldwide economic crisis.
Pop culture: Twilight, based on the book by Stephanie Meyer, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, premieres.
Sports: Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300, the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race....Tiger Woods wins the U.S. Open, his last major title to date....Usain Bolt sets a record in the 100 meters at the Beijing Games with a 9.69. Michael Phelps also stars in China.
Where were they then: Danny McCray was a 20-year-old at LSU while the Cowboys finished 9-7, third in the NFC East.
Mosh Pitt: The Steelers win their sixth title, 27-23 over Arizona.
In the news: In January, a U.S. Airways flight makes an emergency landing into the Hudson River after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport....General Motors files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June, the fourth-largest bankruptcy in American history....Michael Jackson dies on June 25....The U.S. Congress passes the Affordable Health Care Act....U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 and wounds 43 at Fort Hood.
Pop culture: Modern Family makes its introduction.
Sports: Tiger Woods announces an indefinite leave of absence after a spat with his wife after she uncovered details of a number of instances of infidelity....The Yankees win their 27th World Series title with a victory over the Phillies, New York’s last in the Jeter era.
Where were they then: Emmitt Smith entered his fifth season of retirement the same year the Cowboys went 11-5 in a season that ended in a loss to the Vikings in the NFC Divisional round.
The night hell froze over: The Saints, the NFL’s poster child for futility, did it, beating the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida.
In the news: Conan O’Brien replaces Jay Leno, who replaces O’Brien on the Tonight Show....President Obama signs the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy banning homosexuals from openly serving in the military.
Sports: The Texas Rangers advance to their first World Series after defeating Tampa Bay and the Yankees. In the series, Texas fell to San Francisco 4-2....Spain tops the Netherlands 1-0 to win the 19th World Cup in South Africa....Jerry Rice is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Where were they then: Emmitt Smith is inducted into the Hall of Fame before the season in which Jason Garrett becomes coach midway through a 6-10 season that started 1-7 under Wade Phillips.
Pack win in Arlington: In XLV at AT&T Stadium, Green Bay upsets Pittsburgh 31-25.
In the news: Revolution in Egypt eventually forces President Mubarak from power. Revolution spreads to Libya, where strongman Muammar Gaddafi is killed....In May, U.S. special forces kill Osama bin Laden in a raid at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan....NASA makes its final space shuttle flight.
Pop culture: Charlie Sheen goes on a bender, is fired from Two and Half Men. He’s replaced by Ashton Kutcher, who makes his debut....Oprah Winfrey airs her last show, ending a 25-year run.
Sports: Lawrence Taylor pleads guilty to misdemeanors of sexual misconduct. He gets six years’ probation....The Mavericks win the NBA championship, upsetting the Heat 4-2....The Rangers return to the World Series, but lose again, this time in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Where were they then: Jeremy Mincey is a defensive lineman with the Jacksonville Jaguars at age 27. The Cowboys go 8-8.
Giants again: Eli Manning and the Giants defeat the Patriots a second time in a rematch of the Super Bowl.
In the news: Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 60 years on the throne, only the second British monarch to serve that long....Kim Jong-un is appointed Supreme Leader of North Korea....Hurricane Sandy hits the shores of New Jersey....President Barack Obama is re-elected, defeating Republican Mitt Romney.
Sports: At the London Olympics, Usain Bolt becomes the first person to win the 100 meter and 200 meters in back-to-back Olympics....Serena Williams wins the U.S. Open and her fifth crown at Wimbledon.
Where were they then: Troy Aikman turned 46 in November, and the Cowboys closed 8-8.
Ravens a second time: Baltimore defeated the 49ers in the Harbaugh Bowl that turned into a blackout in New Orleans.
In the news: John Kerry is selected U.S. Secretary of State....Pope Benedict XVI announces he will retire; Pope Francis elected....In April, two brothers set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon....Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies....Edward Snowden, a former intelligence agent, discloses that he is the source of leaked secret documents that revealed global surveillance programs, many run by the National Security Agency.
Sports: Lance Armstrong, after years of denials, admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he indeed doped while competing in the Tour de France. His seven victories were rescinded....Alex Rodriguez was suspended for all of 2014 season for use of performance-enhancing drugs and schemes to cover his guilt.
Where were they then: Quincy Carter, drafted to be the successor to Troy Aikman, turned 35 during the season in which the Cowboys went 8-8 again.
Seahawks fly high: Seattle dismantles Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII
In the news: Russia annexes Crimea....ISIS makes inroads in Iraq and Syria....President Obama announces he will send U.S. troops to help combat spread of Ebola in West Africa....Comedian Bill Cosby resigns from the board of Temple University amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Pop culture: Jay Leno ends his tenure with the Tonight Show, turning over host duties to Jimmy Fallon.
Sports: Winter Games in Sochi go on even with a number of controversies....Ohio State defeated Alabama 42-35 and Oregon bested Florida State 59-20 in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Ohio State won the championship with a victory over the Ducks.
Where were they then: As Barry Switzer turns 77, the Cowboys are in the midst of a surprising 12-4 season.
A new era: New England ignores Deflategate controversy and defeats Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX.