History of the Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys made their National Football League (NFL) debut in 1960 as an expansion team. At first, owners Clint Murchison Jr. and Bedford Wynne called their team the Dallas Rangers when they learned that the Dallas Rangers baseball team was going to fold before the start of the 1960 season. This never happened, however, so the owners changed the name to the Cowboys. The Cowboys got off to a slow start as they went winless in the first season and didn’t compile a winning record until 1966. Yet once they finally got a taste of success, it wouldn’t go away. The Cowboys would record a winning record for 20 straight seasons, setting an NFL record in the process that still holds today. Dallas made it to the championship game in both 1966 and 1967, but each time the team fell to the Green Bay Packers.

The Cowboys finally won their first Super Bowl (the name of the championship game since the 1966 season) in 1971 against the Miami Dolphins on their fourth attempt at the title. The 1970’s continued to be a successful decade for a Cowboys’ team that featured future Hall-of-Famers quarterback Roger Staubach, running back Tony Dorsett, tackle Rayfield Wright, defensive tackles Bob Lilly and Randy White, and defensive back Mel Renfro. These Cowboy greats would propel their team to three more Super Bowl appearances, but Dallas would only win Super Bowl XII in 1977. During this decade and the next, the Cowboys became known as “America’s Team” as they promoted their team more so than any other NFL team with their Dallas Cowboy Newsweekly, souvenirs, apparel, and cheerleaders.

In the 1980’s, “America’s Team” didn’t enjoy the same success as in the previous decade. It was at this time that the Cowboys’ winning record streak came to an end in 1986, and when Jerry Jones became the owner in 1989 to start a new era. The first thing Jones did was replace longtime Cowboys’ head coach Tom Landry with Jimmy Johnson. Landry had been with the team since the beginning, compiling 270 victories for third most in NFL coaching history. In the first year under Johnson, the Cowboys only managed to win one game the entire season, but things quickly turned around when the team acquired running back Emmitt Smith and quarterback Troy Aikman. The two stars would lead the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1992 and 1993 and then another in 1995 to make it three titles for the decade and five in total. Since then however, the Cowboys have gone through six coaching changes with Jason Garrett currently at the helm, and have yet to return to the Super Bowl—their longest drought in franchise history to date.