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Dallas downer

Aikman says give up Super Bowl talk

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Posted: Saturday December 25, 1999 03:03 PM

  Troy Aikman Star power outage: Troy Aikman's late-game interception sealed the Cowboys' fate. Elsa Hasch/Allsport

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman says its time to give up on Super Bowl talk. Deion Sanders says he may quit if the team can't compete for a future championship.

Thus are the reactions as the Cowboys playoff hopes seemed to disintegrate with a 31-24 loss to New Orleans on Friday.

The 7-8 Cowboys can still make it to the playoffs -- if several teams lose their remaining games and Dallas can beat the New York Giants. But playoff possibilities seem remote.

Aikman said after the game that the Cowboys should probably have stopped talking about the Super Bowl before they left training camp.

Now Aikman joins Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones in pondering the team's plight after having such high hopes at the beginning of the season.

Despite the turn of events, Aikman said he remains optimistic about the future of the team.

"I think we have a bright future, sure,' he said. "But I don't know where we're at exactly. I don't know how good we are. I don't know how bad we are. I don't know. We've been talking since October about running the table and going to the Super Bowl."

Cornerback Deion Sanders said he may not play if the Cowboys don't have a realistic shot at a Super Bowl.

"If I don't think there' s a team inside that locker room going to the Super Bowl, I can't play," Sanders said. "I'm getting too old for this mess. I can't do it. If we don't feel we can put a team on the field that can win it all, there's no reason to play."

Owner Jerry Jones envisioned having his fourth Super Bowl trophy in 10 years.

"Now I know that's unlikely and that hurts," said Jones.

A frequent criticism of Dallas is that the team has spent too much on stars to fund an adequate supporting cast.

But Dallas' stars seemed to contribute most to the Cowboys' loss.

New Orleans' Fred Weary returned a fumble by running back Emmitt Smith for a touchdown with 9:59 left to give the Saints the lead.

Aikman threw an interception in the end zone with 1:04 left to play when the Cowboys were first and goal and had a chance to tie the score.

Sanders was burned on a 50-yard reception by Keith Poole that set up the Saint's tying touchdown with 11:16 to play.

Related information
Inside the NFL: Dr. Z's Forecast
Saints hurt Cowboys' playoff hopes with upset
Sports Illustrated's Peter King: Santa King's bag of gifts
Troy Aikman says the Cowboys didn't accomplish what they set out to do. (95 K)
Aikman thinks he let his team down. (48 K)
Deion Sanders thinks the Cowboys played way below their abilities. (81 K)
Sanders can't believe Keith Poole burned him for a 50-yard catch. (69 K)
Emmitt Smith says even the best players make mistakes. (67 K)
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