Known as "America's Team," it seems there's no middle ground when it comes to one's opinion of the Cowboys — people either love them or hate them. This classic football team is based out of Dallas, but they play their home games at Texas stadium in Irving, Texas (plans are in the works for a new stadium to open in 2009 in Arlington, Texas).
Currently the Dallas Cowboys are members of the Eastern Division of the NFC. Over the 40 plus years of the Cowboy's existence, they have set phenomenal records and they hold the best playing record of all football teams. Several of the team's successes include a total of 27 winning seasons and the league record of 20 consecutive winning seasons. They've also won 5 of the 8 Super Bowl games appearances (1st team to win 3 w/in a 4 year period), earned 54 postseason games winning 32, they hold the most season with at least 10 wins, 14 NFC Championship game appearances (2 NFL championship games prior to NFL-AHL merger), they made the playoffs 26 times, and won 18 division championships.
1960s Team History
On January 28, 1960 Dallas, Texas was granted a National Football League franchise. However, team owners Clint Murchison, Jr. and Bedford Wynne faced opposition from the owner of the Washington Redskins. At the time the Redskins were the only team that represented the southern United States, so they were not thrilled to have any new competition. Dallas team owners bought the rights to the Redskins fight song "Hail to the Redskins" and told the Redskins owners that they couldn't use the song unless they agreed to allow for the new team. Today the rivalry between the two teams still runs strong.
Originally the Cowboys were called the Dallas Steers and then the Dallas Rangers. Eventually they fixed their minds on the nickname Cowboys for the 1960 team debut. Tex Shramm was hired as the teams General Manager and Tom Landry was hired as head coach. The Cowboys first season was not much to brag about they completed the season winless. In 1961 the team made their first draft picks and had their first victory on 09-17-60 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Dallas Cowboys continued to improve throughout the 1960s. In 1966, the Cowboys had their first winning season. With the combination of Don Meredith (Quarterback) and Don Perkins (running back) the team would set a record winning 20 straight seasons, this record has not been matched by any other team to date in NFL history. The team played in their first playoff game, which paved the way to 8 consecutive playoff appearances. In the mid-60s eight players were sent to the Pro Bowl.
The Cowboys were not only becoming a strong force in the NFL, but they were making a strong impact on the people of Dallas as well. The people of Texas were loyal and the Cowboys had to compete with the (AFL) Dallas Texans for their affections. Eventually, the Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City to become the Kansas City Chiefs. Ground was broke in 1969 for a new stadium for the Cowboys. By 1971 Texas Stadium was completed in Irving, Texas a suburb of Dallas County.
The 1966 NFL Championship Game was the Cowboys' first postseason appearance. The Green Bay Packers defeated them, but that would change the following year. In 1967, the Cowboys won their first postseason victory over the Cleveland Browns.
1970s Team History
The AFL and NFL merged in the 1970s. Not only did the NFL see dramatic changes, the Cowboys faced drastic changes as well. The team made it to their first Super Bowl with a new Quarterback Craig Morton. The game was packed with mistakes and the Baltimore Colts defeated the Cowboys 16-13.
The 1971 season had a crippled beginning in the new Texas Stadium. Landry decided to make Staubach the permanent starting quarterback for the remainder of the season after suffering several losses in the first half. This proved to be a smart move, Dallas were unstoppable. With the astounding performance of Staubach the Cowboys went on to the Super Bowl crushed their opponents the Miami Dolphins. To date it is the only Super Bowl game in which the opposing team didn't score a single touchdown. Finally the Cowboys would lose the unfriendly title of "Next Year's Champions."
At this point the Dallas Cowboys began to gain national popularity. People loved to watch the Cowboys powerful and dominating defense and amazing offense.
In 1974, the Cowboys would miss the first playoff in eight years. However the following season the Cowboys drafted Randy White and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson. They fresh line of talent took them to the next Super Bowl where the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated them. Nevertheless two years later the Cowboys defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII 27-10. NFL film editor Bob Ryan would be responsible for nicknaming the Cowboys "America's Team" a name that would stick with them through the good and the bad times.
They once again went to the Super Bowl (XIII) defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers despite a failed last-minute effort by Staubach. Staubach retired after the 1979 season and Danny White filled in for the next few years. The glory days and stardom began to fade for America's Team.
1980s Team History
The 1980s did not prove to be a great decade for the Cowboys. They did manage to return to 5 playoffs and to win 2 Division Championships, however they did not make it to another Super Bowl.
In 1984, Murchison sold the Dallas Cowboys to H.R. "Bum" Bright. The ownership didn't seem to help the plunging team and Bright sold the team to Jerry Jones in 1989. Jones immediately fired Landry the one and only coach the Cowboys ever had. Jimmy Johnson replaced Landry as head coach. The Cowboys also underwent several other changes veteran Herschel Walker was traded and the picked Troy Aikman during the draft as their new quarterback. Although they had the worst season ever in 1989, it would prove to be a new course that would bring the team back to glory.
1990s Team History
Emmitt Smith joined the line-up in 1990 as running back. Now the Dallas Cowboys had a triad of talent. Aikman, Smith, and Michael Irving together led the team back to the playoffs for the first time in 6 years in 1991.
1992 was the comeback year for the Cowboys. They won the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers and once again won a Super Bowl (XXVII) victory defeating the Buffalo Bills 52-17. The Cowboys set a Super Bowl record of 9 turnovers during the game and coach Johnson became the first to obtain both National Championship (college) and Super Bowl victory (professional) football. The following year was a mirror of '92 the team once again defeated the 49ers in the NFC Championship and in Super Bowl XXVIII they defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13. Another NFL record was set when 11 Cowboys players were sent to the Pro Bowl. Those players were Aikman, Smith, Irving, Everett, Johnston, Maryland, Newton, Norton, Novacek, Stepnoski, and Williams.
Owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jimmy Johnson had a falling out that led Johnson to leave the team at the end of the 1993 season. The new head coach would be Barry Switzer. In 1995, Deion Sanders was added to the team line-up. Following the Cowboys won their 4th straight Division Championship, their 8th NFC Championship, and finally won another Super Bowl (XXX) defeating the Steelers 27-17.
Victory can only last so long and eventually the Dallas Cowboys' glory began to fade. Switzer resigned in 1998 and Chan Gailey was a short-lived replacement. Gailey was let go in 1999 and became the only coach for the Cowboys that did not win a Super Bowl.
2000s Team History
The Cowboys promoted Dave Campo (defensive coordinator) to head coach. Jerry Jones began to face public criticism and was blamed for failing to hire a good head coach because he wanted to coach the team himself. However, Bill Parcells agreed in 2003 to come out of retirement to coach the Cowboys on Jones request. Dallas would shock the nation with a 10-6 record and the best defensive team in the NFL. The 2004 season was littered with injuries, penalties, and turmoil.
In the 2005-2006 season the defense improved, but the offense line left little to be desired. Drew Bledsoe helped to give the Cowboys some stability in their offense, but he alone couldn't make up for other troubles. However, the team managed to place third in the NFC East 2006 season.
Many people question why the Cowboys don't have a large number of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees and they claim there is a bias against the Cowboys. One thing goes without saying the Cowboys made their mark and set many records in the NFL that have not been broken. One of which is the most (7) Super Bowl MVPs Chuck Howley (linebacker), Roger Staubach (quarterback), Randy White (defensive tackle), Harvey Martin (defensive end), Troy Aikman (quarterback), and Larry Brown (cornerback).