The Dallas Cowboys will not be playing for the Super Bowl on Sunday, but a former key contributor will have a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

When the Cincinnati Bengals kickoff against the Los Angeles Rams, defensive back Chidobe Awuzie will play a major role. Awuzie was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2017 NFL Draft. He played four seasons in Dallas before moving on in the 2021 free agency period.

Awuzie, grabbed in the second-round of the draft, had an up-and-down stint with the Cowboys. While seemingly in position to make a play more often than not, Awuzie was well-known for struggling to turn his head and locate the ball in pass coverage.

It did not come to much of a surprise when the Cowboys opted to not re-sign the defender out of Colorado. However, Awuzie has found a good amount of success with the Bengals.

Cincinnati inked Awuzie to a three-year, $22 million deal last offseason. He has stepped into a significant role with the Bengals and is a key contributor on a team playing in a Super Bowl.

Pro Football Focus graded Awuzie as one of the best cornerbacks in football this season. The first-year Bengals defender recently spoke on what is different in Cincinnati.


Dallas Cowboys
Sep 13, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (24) hangs on to the ball after he intercepted a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) in the second half of the game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Culture is one of the most overused phrases in sports. It is often used when a new head coach introduces himself to the local media and fan base at the opening press conference.

It is typically an easy term to use when trying to win people over. With that said, culture is definitely an important element to success.

Look no further than the New England Patriots or Alabama Crimson Tide. Both of those organizations, so to speak, have had a large amount of success regardless of which players and assistant coaches come and go. Culture starts at the top and certainly has a real impact.

That brings us to Chidobe Awuzie. This week, Awuzie credited the Bengals’ culture for his success ahead of the upcoming Super Bowl. He mentioned how the change of scenery has been beneficial to him.

While doing so, he took a bit of a jab at the Dallas Cowboys. Awuzie said “it showed me football can be played without all the lights.” That seems to be a reference to all the bells and whistles that can be found all over the Dallas Cowboys’ facilities.


Jerry Jones concerned about running attack
Oct 10, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) talks with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones (right) prior to their game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It is difficult to have much — if any — of a problem with what Awuzie said. The Bengals are a team that comes with much less fanfare and glamor than the Cowboys. Cincinnati certainly doesn’t have the facilities to compete with what the Cowboys bring to the table.

Yet, one franchise is playing in the Super Bowl, while the other has struggled to make a deep postseason run in more than two decades.

The Dallas Cowboys know how to win the press conference and turn heads on social media with the glitz and glamour. That is nice and all until it comes to actually winning football games.

Chidobe Awuzie and the Cincinnati defense draw a big task on Sunday with the likes of Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham headlining a dangerous Rams passing attack. Meanwhile, the Cowboys will be on the couch, looking to figure out how to have a run like Awuzie and the Bengals.

Featured image via Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports