professional football team and one of five teams in the Eastern Division
of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football
League (NFL). The Cowboys play at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, and
wear uniforms of blue, silver, and white. The team takes its name from
the state’s cattle ranching history, and the star on the players’
helmets is emblematic of Texas’s nickname, the Lone Star State.
Tom Landry Dressed in a jacket, tie, and trademark hat, coach Tom Landry
was a familiar sight on the Dallas Cowboys sideline from 1960 to 1988.
During his 29-year career the Hall of Fame strategist guided the Cowboys
to five Super Bowl appearances and compiled 270 career wins.SportsChrome-USA
Dallas is one of the most successful franchises in NFL history, having
appeared in eight Super Bowls—more than any other team. The Cowboys won
five of these games, a record matched only by the San Francisco 49ers.
Tom Landry, one of the most successful coaches in professional football
history, led the club to two Super Bowl victories during the 1970s, with
teams starring safety Mel Renfro and quarterback Roger Staubach. Under
head coaches Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, the team won three Super
Bowls during the 1990s, with lineups featuring quarterback Troy Aikman
and running back Emmitt Smith.
The Cowboys joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960. During its
first season, the team failed to win a single game. In 1965, under
Landry, the Cowboys earned their first of nine consecutive trips to the
playoffs. Quarterback Don Meredith, receiver Bob Hayes, and running back
Dan Reeves propelled Dallas to consecutive NFL Championship Games in
1966 and 1967. Both years, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Cowboys
and went on to win the Super Bowl. (Before 1971, the NFL and American
Football League champions met in the Super Bowl after their respective
Dallas reached Super Bowl V in 1971 after defeating the Houston Oilers
(now Tennessee Titans) and the Detroit Lions in the playoffs. The NFL
crown evaded the Cowboys, however, as they lost the game on a
last-minute field goal by the Baltimore Colts (now Indianapolis Colts).
The next year Roger Staubach took over as quarterback and led the league
in passing; he was named the 1972 NFC player of the year. The Dallas
defensive lineup that year was called the Doomsday Defense because of
the way it overwhelmed Dallas’s opponents. Outstanding players included
linebackers Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan, end Bob Lilly, and safety
Mel Renfro. The franchise won its first Super Bowl that year, besting
the Miami Dolphins 24-3.
Under Landry the Cowboys became the NFC’s most consistent team of the
1970s and early 1980s. Landry’s highly sophisticated game plans produced
one of the NFC’s most potent offenses, and the team made three more
trips to the NFL title game. The Cowboys lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers
in 1976, defeated the Denver Broncos in 1978, and lost to the Steelers
in 1979 in one of the most thrilling Super Bowls ever played.
Pittsburgh’s quarterback Terry Bradshaw had passed for four touchdowns
and the Steelers led the game 35-17 with 6 minutes 51 seconds left to
play. But Staubach then passed for a quick touchdown, and the Cowboys
recovered an onside kick that led to another Dallas score. A second
onside kick attempt failed, however, and Pittsburgh won the game, 35-31.
Dallas’s many standouts during this period included several future Hall
of Fame members, including running back Tony Dorsett and wide receivers
Tony Hill and Drew Pearson. On defense, end Ed “Too Tall” Jones and
tackle Randy White, also a future Hall of Famer, were two of the era’s
most feared pass-rushers.
Dallas entered a rebuilding phase in the late 1980s, and after three
consecutive losing seasons, Landry retired in 1989. During his career at
Dallas, Landry made 19 postseason appearances in 29 seasons. With 270
career wins he ranks behind only Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324)
on the NFL career list.
Landry’s replacement was former University of Miami head coach Jimmy
Johnson. After two losing seasons he guided Dallas back to the
postseason in 1991. Johnson earned coach of the year honors in 1990 for
his rebuilding success. His Dallas teams featured quarterback Troy
Aikman, wide receiver Michael Irvin, tight end Jay Novacek, and running
back Emmitt Smith. In 1993 Smith became only the fourth player to win
three consecutive NFL rushing titles, joining Jim Brown, Earl Campbell,
and Steve Van Buren. Dallas captured back-to-back Super Bowls in 1993
and 1994, routing the Buffalo Bills in both games.
After a disagreement with team owner Jerry Jones, Johnson left the
Cowboys. Former University of Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer then
headed the team from 1994 to 1997. Switzer guided the franchise to a
fifth Super Bowl success with a victory over the Steelers in 1996, and
the Cowboys became the first team to win three Super Bowls in four
seasons. However, in the late 1990s the Cowboys struggled and had little
1971 V Lost to Baltimore Colts, 16-13
1972 VI Defeated Miami Dolphins, 24-3
1976 X Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-17
1978 XII Defeated Denver Broncos, 27-10
1979 XIII Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers, 35-31
1993 XXVII Defeated Buffalo Bills, 52-17
1994 XXVIII Defeated Buffalo Bills, 30-13
1996 XXX Defeated Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17
NFL History Guide