Dallas Cowboys, an American professional gridiron football team based in Dallas that competes in the National Football League’s (NFL) National Football Conference (NFC) (NFL).
The Cowboys are one of the NFL’s most successful and popular franchises, having won five Super Bowls and eight conference championships.
The Dallas Cowboys were the modern-era NFL’s first expansion team. The NFL granted Dallas a franchise after the 1960 college draft in order to avoid losing the South to the AFL.
The team was previously known as the Dallas Steers and the Dallas Rangers. On March 19, 1960, they renamed the team the Cowboys to avoid confusion with the American Association’s Dallas Rangers baseball team.
Early struggles: 1960–1964
1960: Winless First Year
The Cowboys first played in 1960, and their home games were held in the Cotton Bowl, which was located a few miles east of Downtown Dallas.
They shared this stadium for their first three seasons with the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs), who joined the American Football League the same year.
With a team mostly made up of sub-par players, the 1960 Cowboys went 0-11-1 in their first season (many well past their prime).
From 1961 to 1964, There was a Gradual Improvement
The Cowboys made their first college draft selection the following year.
Selecting TCU Horned Frogs defensive tackle Bob Lilly with the 13th overall pick (despite having the worst record in the league in 1960, they gave the first overall pick in the 1961 draft to the expansion team Minnesota Vikings).
The Cowboys won their first game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving them their first victory in team history.
Only the year before, the Cowboys had played the Steelers in their first regular-season game.
The Cowboys ended their second season with a 4-9-1 record overall.
Dallas Improved Little in 1962, Going 5-8-1
Despite winning the 1962 AFL championship by a score of 20–17 in double overtime.
The Cowboys became the only professional football team in the Dallas-Fort Worth area after the AFL’s Dallas Texans relocated to Kansas City and became the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 1964, they went 5-8-1 again. During this time, the Cowboys had the misfortune of being associated with the city where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Following the murder, the Cowboys’ success later in the decade aided in restoring civic pride in Dallas
[Needs citation] In the early and mid-1960s, the Cowboys emerged as a contender.
1965–1969: First Tastes of Success and “Next Year’s Champions”
In 1965, the Cowboys finished 7–7, their first season with a 500 record.
In their first-ever postseason appearance, the Cowboys faced the Green Bay Packers in the 1966 NFL Championship Game, with a trip to the first-ever Super Bowl on the line.
Green Bay defeated Dallas 34–27 on a goal-line stand with 28 seconds remaining before defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 35–10 in Super Bowl I.
Despite the defeat, the Cowboys went on to make an NFL-record-tying eight consecutive playoff appearances in 1966.
(The Cowboys continued to host Thanksgiving games the following year.)
With the exception of 1975 and 1977, the Cowboys have hosted a Thanksgiving Day game since 1975.
The Cowboys were no exception to the changes that the NFL underwent in the 1970s as it absorbed the AFL and became a unified league.
After Meredith and Perkins retired in 1969, the team received new players such as Cliff Harris, as well as Hall of Famers Rayfield Wright, Mike Ditka, Herb Adderley, and Roger Staubach.
1970: First Super Bowl Appearance
The Cowboys finished 10–4 in 1970, led by quarterback Craig Morton. The Cardinals’ 38–0 shutout was the season’s low point, but the team recovered to make the playoffs.
They defeated Detroit 5–0 in the lowest-scoring playoff game in NFL history.
Then defeated San Francisco 17–10 in the first-ever NFC Championship Game to advance to their first Super Bowl appearance.
A mistake-filled Super Bowl V, in which the Baltimore Colts defeated them 16–13 on a field goal by Colts’ kicker Jim O’Brien with five seconds remaining.
1971: First Super Bowl Victory and the Move to Texas Stadium
The Cowboys moved from the Cotton Bowl to Texas Stadium in Week 6 of the 1971 season.
Dallas stumbled out of the gate, finishing 4–3 in the first half of the season, with losses to the mediocre New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears.
The Cowboys won their final seven regular-season games (finishing 11-3).
Before defeating the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs to make their second Super Bowl appearance.
In Super Bowl VI, the Cowboys defeated the upstart Miami Dolphins 24–3.
With Staubach earning MVP honors and rushing for a then-Super Bowl record of 252 yards. The Cowboys rushed for 252 yards while holding the Dolphins to 185 yards total.
The Cowboys won again in 1972, this time with a wild-card spot. Coach Landry nicknamed the defense the “Doomsday Defense,” and it quickly became a dominant force.
Their arch-rival Washington Redskins defeated them 26–3 in the NFC Championship Game.
Dallas won the NFC East in 1973 with a 10–4 record. They beat the Los Angeles Rams 27–16 in the playoffs before falling to the Minnesota Vikings 27–10 in the NFC Championship Game.
1974: 8-6, Playoffs missed
In 1974, the Cowboys struggled a little, finishing 8–6 and missing the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
Following the season, Bob Lilly announced his retirement, ending a 14-year Hall of Fame career.
1975: Third Super Bowl Appearance
The team picked well the following year, adding defensive tackle Randy White (a future Hall of Fame member) and linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson after missing the playoffs in 1974.
The Cowboys returned to the playoffs as a wild card in 1975, defeating the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams to advance to Super Bowl X, where they were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers 21–17.
The squad won the NFC East in 1976, going 11–3. With a 14–12 loss to the Rams, they were swiftly eliminated from the playoffs.
Some professional football teams played off-season basketball for a season or two. One of those years was 1976. As of this notation, this page is the only mention of it on the Internet.
1977: Second Super Bowl Victory
In the playoffs, the Cowboys blasted the Chicago Bears 37-7 and the Minnesota Vikings 23-6. For the first and only time, Randy White and Harvey Martin were named co-Super Bowl MVPs.
Denver couldn’t cope with Doomsday’s dominance in the hard-hitting game.
1978: Fifth Super Bowl Appearance
After a rough start in 1978, the Dallas Cowboys won their final six regular-season games to complete the season with a 12–4 record.
To return to the Super Bowl, the Cowboys defeated the Rams 28–0.
Dallas met the Steelers in Super Bowl XIII in the Orange Bowl in Miami.
The 1979 Dallas Cowboys finished 11–5 in the regular season. During that time, the team won 105 regular-season games, more than any other NFL team.
After that, the Rams won the NFC Championship Game and advanced to Super Bowl XIV.
Roger Staubach, the quarterback, announced his retirement after this game.
1980 – 82: Next Year’s Champions Again
The Dallas Cowboys had a 6–3 record during the strike-shortened 1982 season.
With two games left in the regular season, the Cowboys had a one-game lead over the Redskins, but they lost at home to Philadelphia and then in Minnesota on Monday night.
The Cowboys won their next six games after rallying from a 23–3 hole to overcome the Super Bowl champion Redskins 31–30 in Washington in 1983.
Both Dallas and Washington had 12–2 records when they met again in Week 15 at Texas Stadium.
However, the Redskins easily defeated the Cowboys in that game.
And Dallas went on to lose its final two games of the season (a rout by the 49ers in the regular-season finale and an upset home loss to the Rams in the wild card playoff game).
1984: 25th Season
Clint Murchison sold the team to H.R. “Bum” Bright, an oilman, and the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
It was the team’s first shutout since 1970. This was the franchise’s final winning season and postseason appearance with Tom Landry as a coach. The Cowboys went on to lose to the Rams 20-0 in the playoffs.
No other NFL club has managed to equal this achievement to date. After quarterback Jim White fractured his wrist in a mid-season loss, the squad only won one of its remaining seven games.
Dallas was 1-1 in the 1987 season before the NFL players went on strike, prompting management to hire replacement players.
With the help of players who crossed the picket line, Schramm put together one of the finest replacement squads.
After the strike, the “Counterfeit Cowboys” fell at home to a Redskins squad made up entirely of substitute players.
1988: Tom Landry’s Final Season
In 1988, the Cowboys’ season was over. Michael Irvin, the team’s first-round draft pick, was one of the few bright lights. Tom Landry’s final game was a Week 15 triumph against the Washington Redskins at Washington.
1989: Troy Aikman and Jerry Jones Arrives
As he approached his 60th birthday, he admitted to being more forgetful when it came to playing calling and time management.
Jones replaced Landry with Jimmy Johnson, the head coach of the University of Miami.
Johnson traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings after Dallas started the 1989 season 0–5. At the time, it was the largest transaction in NFL history.
The Cowboys had their worst season since their existence in 1989, finishing with a 1–15 record.
Johnson quickly returned the Cowboys to the top of the NFL by making a series of wise decisions.
After selecting Aikman, fullback Daryl Johnston, and center Mark Stepnoski in 1989.
Johnson selected running back Emmitt Smith in 1990, defensive tackle Russell Maryland and offensive tackle Erik Williams in 1991, and safety Darren Woodson in 1992.
Veteran players like tight end Jay Novacek and defensive end Charles Haley.
As well as holdovers from the Landry era like wide receiver Michael Irvin, guard Nate Newton, linebacker Ken Norton, Jr., and offensive lineman Mark Tuinei, joined the young talent.
Smith was selected NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year and Johnson was named Coach of the Year after the Cowboys ended 7–9 in 1990.
In 1991, the Dallas Cowboys made the playoffs for the first time since 1985.
They became the first team to feature the league leaders in rushing yards (Smith, Irvin) and receiving yards (Irvin). The 1991 season also marked Dallas’s return to Monday Night Football.
1992: Third Super Bowl Victory
The Cowboys finished second in the league with a 13–3 record in 1992, and they awarded quarterback Troy Aikman MVP after completing 73.3 percent of his throws.
Emmitt Smith carried for 108 yards and became the first rushing champion in NFL history to also win a Super Bowl.
1993: Fourth Super Bowl Victory
In 1993, the Dallas Cowboys won the NFL and the Super Bowl. Despite missing the first two games of the season, Emmitt Smith earned his third running championship.
The Cowboys ended the regular season with a 12–4 record and won the NFC Championship against the 49ers.
1994: Attempt of a Three-Peat Thwarted
The Cowboys played in front of the greatest audience ever seen in an NFL game in 1994.
Dallas went 12–4 in the regular season, with four losses by a combined 20 points. Erik Williams, who was lost for the year after a mid-season car accident, was a vital player for the club.
1995: Fifth Super Bowl Victory
Dallas finished the regular season with a 12-4 record and won the NFC East. The Dallas Cowboys won their eighth NFC Championship by defeating the Green Bay Packers 38-27 at Texas Stadium.
Injuries and off-field problems beset the 1996 Cowboys. Irvin was found guilty of drug possession and was suspended for the first five games of the season.
Novacek, Aikman’s most dependable target, sustained a back injury in the off-season.
Despite this, Dallas won the NFC East for the fifth time in a row with a 10–6 record.
The 1997 season ended with a poor 6–10 record for the Dallas Cowboys. During the preseason, they arrested head coach Barry Switzer after they discovered a pistol in his luggage.
In January 1998, Switzer resigned as head coach. The team fell apart down the stretch, losing five games in a row.
Chan Gailey, the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, guided the team to a 10–6 record in 1998. The Cowboys became the first club in the NFC East to sweep the conference.
However, they were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, losing 20-7 to the Arizona Cardinals.
Dallas finished with an 8–8 record and was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by Minnesota.
Dave Campo Era (2000–2002)
Between 2001 and 2002, the Dallas Cowboys used five different quarterbacks. Many supporters held Jerry Jones responsible for the team’s woes, claiming that he refused to select a capable coach.
The most humiliating setback of the Campo era came on the opening night of the 2002 season.
Parcells Era (2003–2006)
In 2003, the Cowboys won ten games and led the league in sacks, turnovers, and defense. In the Wild the Carolina Panthers defeated the Card round.
The 2004 season was shambles. The Cowboys were rocked early in training camp when starting quarterback Quincy Carter was abruptly fired, presumably for drug use.
They were just 3–5 at the halfway point of the season.
But injured rookie running back Julius Jones returned in late November and put up two of the best single-game performances in team history in back-to-back games.
Dallas, on the other hand, went 1–3 down the stretch, concluding the season with a 6–10 record.
The City of Arlington in Tarrant County voted in November 2004 to build a new stadium adjacent to the existing Ameriquest Field in Arlington.
After 38 years of playing in Irving, the team moved to its current location in 2009.
Before the 2005 season, the Cowboys bolstered their defense by drafting DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Kevin Burnett, and Chris Canty.
Through free agency, Jerry Jones added a number of veterans, including nose tackle Jason Ferguson and cornerback Anthony Henry.
On offense, the Cowboys signed free agency quarterback Drew Bledsoe in an attempt to improve their passing game.
The Cowboys had a hit-or-miss 2005 season. The Cowboys were 7–3 entering Thanksgiving, but they concluded the season 2–4 and missed the playoffs.
The Cowboys started off with a 3–2 record before hosting division rivals the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
The club lost 36-22 despite “a changing of the guard” at the quarterback position from Drew Bledsoe to Tony Romo. The next week, against the Carolina Panthers, Romo won his first game as a starter with a 35–14 comeback victory.
Furthermore, by defeating the Giants in a Week 13 rematch, the Cowboys took a two-game lead in the NFC East.
To begin the playoffs, the Cowboys faced the Seahawks in a wild card matchup.
The Cowboys turned the ball away six times in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football, including five interceptions thrown by Romo.
Dallas opened the season with a 5–0 record after a thrilling victory over the Bills in Week 5.
They were the last team in the NFC to be undefeated up to that point, facing the 5-0 New England Patriots in their next game.
The Cowboys were the first NFC number one seed to lose in the divisional round since 1990.
The Cowboys had a franchise-record thirteen players named to the Pro Bowl, with five being named All-Pro by the Associated Press.
2008: Last season in Texas Stadium
The Dallas Cowboys faced their NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the final MNF game at Texas Stadium.
After a 4–1 start, the Cowboys traveled to the University of Phoenix Stadium to face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6.
Tony Romo, the quarterback, also shattered his right pinkie finger in overtime.
Finally, the Cowboys traded first, third, and sixth-round picks to the Detroit Lions in exchange for wide receiver Roy Williams.
After getting a $34 million extension the previous June that was supposed to allow him to retire as a Cowboy, Owens was released after the season concluded.
2009: 50th season and first season in AT&T stadium
The Cowboys celebrated their 50th season of play in 2009. The new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, was completed in May of that year.
With the Giants’ losses, the Cowboys were now assured of a wild card berth at the very least. They played the Eagles on January 3rd, who had won their previous five games.
The Cowboys flew to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to face Brett Favre and the Vikings after winning their first playoff game since 1996.
The Chicago defeated the Cowboys 27–20 Bears in Week 2, their second consecutive home opener loss.
The following week, they knocked Tony Romo out with a shattered collarbone while playing the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, and things only got worse.
After losing at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars after four Jon Kitna interceptions in Week 8, the Cowboys were 1–6.
The Cowboys traveled to New York to face the Giants again.
However, the Cowboys were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention after losing at home to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jason Garrett era (2011–2019)
Jason Garrett was named full-time head coach after finishing 5–3 as an interim coach during the final eight games of the previous season.
The Cowboys faced the New York Jets for a Sunday Night game commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with Tony Romo returning in play.
The Cowboys were 1–3 in October, including a 34–7 loss to division foe Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7.
In November, they went undefeated, which helped them turn things around.
With a 7–4 record, they were tied for first place in their division with the New York Giants, whom the Cowboys had yet to face.
The Cowboys opened the 2012 season with a 24–17 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
However, they were unable to build on their momentum, losing three of their following four games.
One of those losses was to the eventual Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens in a tight 31–29 battle.
The Cowboys went on to win their next three games until falling to the New Orleans Saints in overtime in Week 16.
However, Tony Romo threw a game-ending interception, and they lost 28–18, finishing with an 8–8 record and missing the playoffs for the third year in a row.
The Cowboys won their division foe New York Giants 36–31 to start the 2013 season. The Cowboys lost three of their next four games, just like the previous year.
They lost two critical games in December, 45–28 to the Chicago Bears and 37–36 to the Green Bay Packers. During the fourth quarter, though, Romo suffered a significant back injury.
For the third year in a row, the Cowboys and their division rivals, the Eagles, were one win away from clinching the division title.
The Cowboys faced the sixth-seeded Detroit Lions in the NFL playoffs Wild Card round in 2014–15.
The Cowboys were behind by more than 10 points at halftime for the first time in club playoff history, but they rallied to win.
They met the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round, their first postseason encounter in the city since the Ice Bowl. The Cowboys’ season came to an end as the ball was turned over on downs and the Packers ran out the clock to win 26–21.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli each inked a 5-year, $30 million contract two days after the game.
The Dallas Cowboys concluded the 2015 season with a 4-12 record, which was disappointing. Tony Romo, the Cowboys’ quarterback, has been ruled out for the rest of the season after hurting his collarbone twice.
They awarded offensive Rookie of the Year to Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys finished the regular season with a 13–3 record, earning them a home-field advantage for the playoffs. In the NFC Wild Card game, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers defeated them.
The Cowboys started the season with a 19–3 win over the New York Giants. The Denver Broncos thrashed them 42–17 in Week 2.
The Cowboys faced the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 and won 28–17, becoming the first team that season to intercept Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
The Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Chargers would all defeat them in their next three games. Their season came to a close with a 6-0 victory over the Eagles, giving them a 9-7 record.
Three of the Cowboys’ major offensive players have left the team. Dez Bryant, a wide receiver, was released in April 2018. Jason Witten, a 15-year veteran tight end, announced his retirement in May.
Dan Bailey was fired on September 1 after losing his position to Brett Maher, a former CFL kicker. After losses to the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars in October, the Dallas Cowboys went 1–2.
For their star wide receiver, they dealt Amari Cooper to the Oakland Raiders.
After winning seven of their final eight games, the Cowboys were able to return to the playoffs as a result of the deal.
After a couple of losses throughout the season, the squad concluded with an 8–8 record. Jerry Jones, the team’s owner, elected not to renew Jason Garrett’s contract as head coach after the season.
Their single win came against the Minnesota Vikings in an upset.
They would go on to lose six of their next seven games, with their sole win coming against the Atlanta Falcons.
Dallas made the playoffs for the first time in three years, thanks to Dak returning from injury, an improved defense, and a 12-5 record.
However, their hearts were broken once more when the 6th-seeded San Francisco 49ers defeated them 23-17 in the Wild Card Round.
How to Watch Dallas Cowboys Games Live
1 To watch the games on TV, use a TV antenna. If the game is on CBS, NBC, FOX, or ABC, you can probably watch it live for free if you have a low-cost device called a digital TV antenna.
2 To watch games online, use the official NFL apps.
3 Local blackout restrictions are being lifted.
10 Notable Facts About the Dallas Cowboys
1 The first NFL team to win three Super Bowls in four years, with victories in 1992, 1993, and 1995. Only one other team, the New England Patriots, has won three Super Bowls in a four-year period, in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
2 The first and only NFL team to lose a Super Bowl while still having a player named Super Bowl MVP. (In Super Bowl V, linebacker Chuck Howley, who intercepted two passes and forced a fumble, became the first defensive player to win the award.)
3 The first team in NFL history to win 33 postseason games.
4 The first wild card NFL team to advance to the Super Bowl, after winning the NFC Championship in 1975.
5 The first team in NFL history to send at least 13 players to the Pro Bowl (2007 season).
6 The first and only NFL team to win 20 consecutive games (1966–1985).
7 The Giants, Eagles, Cardinals, and Redskins were the first team in NFC East history to sweep all of their division opponents (home and away), going 8–0 in 1998.
8 The Atlanta Falcons are the first team in NFL history to appear in five, six, seven, and eight Super Bowls.
They are 5–3 in the Super Bowl, with all three losses coming by four points or less. In Super Bowl 50, they made their eighth appearance.
9 Darryl Hannah, Jr. scored the first touchdown.
10 The first wild card NFL team to advance to the Super Bowl, after winning the NFC Championship in 1975.
From time immemorial, the sport has always brought people from different races and colors together, and football is no different. Thousands of people flock into the stadium to see the spectacular shows that the Dallas Cowboys present.
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