Lose to Cowboys, win Super Bowl?

The fine folks at ESPN Stats & Information passed along a fascinating nugget that relates to Sunday night’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.

By no means am I suggesting it would be a good thing if the Falcons lose to the Cowboys. But history suggests otherwise.

The Falcons are 7-0 and the NFL’s only unbeaten team. But there have been three occasions since 1991 when the Cowboys faced an undefeated opponent fairly late in the season. Each time, the Cowboys won.

But here’s the kicker: Each time the opponent that got knocked from the unbeaten ranks went on to win the Super Bowl.

The most recent example came not too long ago, and it also involved an NFC South team. On Dec. 19, 2009, the Saints were 13-0, but he Cowboys beat them, 24-17. As we all know, the Saints lost their next two games after that, but then went on a postseason run that resulted in the only Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

In 2006, the Cowboys knocked off a 9-0 Indianapolis team and the Colts went on to win the Super Bowl. In 1991, the Redskins were 11-0 before losing to Dallas, and Washington recovered to go on and win the Super Bowl.