HOUSTON – While the Cowboys are not as much of a stretch to make the Super Bowl as the Texans, football fans can't help but dream of a perfect storm in the NFL playoffs that leaves Houston and Dallas alive in the first week of February.
Obviously, the situation is not very likely, but just as obviously, it is possible.
For the Texas two-step to happen, Houston would have to go on the road and beat the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots for the first time in franchise history and then knock off the winner of the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the winner's respective stadium.
Dallas may be the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they would still have to beat the Packers and the winner of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons to reach Super Bowl LI in Houston on the first Sunday of February.
If all of this happens, the I-45 rivalry between Houston and Dallas would most definitely grow exponentially.
Dallas is 3-1 against Houston in the short existence of the rivalry, with Houston's lone win coming in the franchise's first regular season game ever. The most recent meeting between the teams came in 2014. Houston lost to Dallas at AT&T Stadium, 20-17 in overtime.
If the Texans even made it to the Super Bowl, they would become the first team in the modern NFL era to play in a Super Bowl the year the big game was played in their home stadium.
So far, no team has yet managed to reach the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Only two NFL teams have reached the Super Bowl hosted in their home market: the San Francisco 49ers, who played Super Bowl XIX in Stanford Stadium, rather than Candlestick Park, and the Los Angeles Rams, who played Super Bowl XIV in the Rose Bowl, rather than the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Besides those two, the only other Super Bowl venue that was not the home stadium to an NFL team at the time was Rice Stadium in Houston: the Houston Oilers had played there previously, but moved to the Astrodome several years prior to Super Bowl VIII.
If the Cowboys are crowned the NFC champions, it would mark Dallas' first trip back to the Super Bowl since a 1995 Super Bowl victory.
A Houston-Dallas Super Bowl this season would be a dream come true for fans across the state. That's for sure.