The 1996 Taurus was the end of an era for Ford. It was the last time that it would seriously compete in the sedan market in the U.S. This makes it the perfect metaphor for the Dallas Cowboys because they also reached the end of their heyday that year. The Taurus was the best-selling car before the Toyota Camry ousted it in 1997.
Ford focused its efforts on the F-series of trucks with great success. The Japanese car market overwhelmed the American option with economical and reliable options. Maybe they resemble the Patriots in the 2000s because they were well-oiled, well-functioning machines (via Road And Track).