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Dallas Cowboys: A Legend Winning
The star, Big D, America's Team. Through more than five decades, the Dallas Cowboys have picked up the monikers, because they have become one of the most recognizable sports brands in America, if not the world. They elicit the kind of emotional reaction that defines the word, fan. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. There’s almost no in between. And tickets to Dallas Cowboys games are among the most coveted tickets there are. All of this because of one thing: the Dallas Cowboys win. More than 500 times and counting, including five Super Bowls, 10 conference championships and 23 division titles.
1960s: Building a Winner
Winning wasn’t always the Cowboys’ trademark. They didn’t win a single game in their first year. In fact, they barely became a team at all. But through the determined efforts of oilman Clint Murchison, the first southern team in the NFL got a home in the Cotton Bowl and embarked on that miserable 1960 season. But Murchison knew he had a coach, Tom Landry, and a quarterback, Don Meredith, to work with. The Cowboys began building around them. After six long, losing seasons, they finally compiled a winner. In 1966, the Cowboys went 10-3-1, including the NFL’s first Thanksgiving Day game, when almost no one else would schedule it. By then, the Cowboys had Meredith at QB, Walt Garrison and Dan Reeves toting the ball, speedy Bob Hayes catching passes, and a defense anchored by linemen Bob Lilly and Jethro Pugh, and linebacker Chuck Howley. They won the Eastern Division, before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship.
1970s: Building a Reputation
That team was the start of something big – the Cowboys would not have another losing season again until 1986.
In 1969 Roger Staubach would become quarterback and Calvin Hill was plugged in at running back. With that combo thrown into the mix, the Cowboys would march all the way to the Super Bowl in 1970. But the Baltimore Colts would throw a wrench into the works by beating Dallas, 13-6, in the big game.
It was the decade of the 1970s that the Cowboys carved out a reputation for winning. From 1970 through ’79, they won 105 games, more than any NFL franchise. They also appeared in five Super Bowls, winning two, during that span. And football-loving Texas folks began to buy tickets - Cowboys tickets would become among the most valued of NFL tickets.
In 1971, the Cowboys christened their new home, Texas Stadium. That team would go 11-3, with Staubach winning the league MVP. He had a supporting cast that included Garrison, Hill, Reeves and Duane Thomas rotating in the backfield, and Hayes, Lance Alworth and TE Mike Ditka in the receiving corps. A vaunted Doomsday Defense shaped up with the additions of Lee Roy Jordan at linebacker and Herb Adderly at cornerback.
They marched through the playoffs, beating the Minnesota Vikings (20-12) and the San Francisco 49ers (14-3) to win the NFC title and reach their second straight Super Bowl. There they stifled the Miami Dolphins, 24-3, for the franchise’s first championship. The Cowboys would reach another Super Bowl after the 1975 season, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-17, in the title game. In 1977 the team had been reworked, with the additions of Tony Dorsett and Robert Newhouse in the backfield; Drew Pearson and Tony Hill among the receivers; and a defense that featured Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Randy White and Harvey Martin up front. That crew rolled to a 12-2 regular season, crushed the Bears and Vikings in the playoffs, and went on to Super Bowl XII, defeating the Denver Broncos, 24-10. The 1978 Cowboys would drive to the Super Bowl again. But they would again be frustrated by the Steelers, 35-31, even after coming back from a 35-17 deficit in the final seven minutes.
The 1980s would be characterized by change in the Cowboys camp. Staubach retired in 1980, leaving the helm to Danny White, and the Cowboys would have some good seasons, but not good enough to make title games as they had in the past. Before the 1984 season, H.R. "Bum" Bright purchased the Dallas Cowboys from Clint Murchison, and the franchise fell on hard times. Bright's finances during S&L crisis forced him to sell the team to Jerry Jones, who would launch a new era in Cowboys lore. Jones caught a lot of flak when he fired Landry right away. But Cowboys fans would come to embrace the new era when Jimmy Johnson became head coach and the team drafted QB Troy Aikman and brought in WR Michael Irvin. Those additions would be the preamble to a decade that would bring the Cowboys more success than ever.
1990s: Back to Super Seasons
Aikman, Irvin, running back Emmitt Smith and fullback Daryl “Moose” Johnston formed the nucleus of a team that would win three of the four Super Bowls they would appear in. The Cowboys won straight Super Bowls over the Buffalo Bills after the 1992 and ‘93 seasons. But the success came with a clash of personalities between Jones and Johnson. Just weeks after Super Bowl XXVIII, the clash culminated with Johnson announcing his resignation. But Jones drew from his resources and hired old buddy Barry Switzer, the former University of Oklahoma coach. Switzer carried the Cowboy banner to a 12-4 record and all the way back to the Super Bowl, after the 1995 regular season. But the Cowboys team that triumphed 27-17 over their old championship rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Super Bowl XXX, would be the last of the great Dallas teams.
2000s and Beyond
The new millennium has brought some good and bad seasons, but the Cowboys have yet to win another division title. They’ve gone through four coaches and moved into a new playground, AT&T Stadium in 2009. A whole new cast of characters has helped the Cowboys to seven more playoff appearances. Tony Romo and Dak Prescott have shouldered most of the quarterbacking duties during this period. Their go-to guys have been the likes of Terrell Owens and Dez Bryant at wide receiver, and Jason Witten, tight end. DeMarco Murray is the latest in a line of heralded Cowboys running backs. Jason Garrett has coached the team to playoff appearances in three of the last five years, and the latest version of the team keeps Dallas Cowboys ticket sellers busy. It is just a matter of time before America’s Team makes another breakthrough.