It’s hard to think of a team more synonymous with football than the Dallas Cowboys. Super Bowl and division championships, NFC titles, Pro Bowlers, Hall of Famers -- the Cowboys have them all, as some of the biggest names in NFL history have graced their roster.
The team has called three different venues home since 1960: the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium and AT&T Stadium (originally named Cowboys Stadium), where 105,121 fans showed up in 2009 for the first regular-season game. It features a video screen as big as two basketball courts, a pair of massive arches that span almost a quarter of a mile and a stunning retractable roof. Fans know that when they come to a showdown here, they won’t leave disappointed. Rowdy, the official mascot, will get them riled up, and of course, the precision dance routines and blue and white star-spangled uniforms of the team’s cheerleaders are legendary.
In the Cowboys’ very first NFL victory, they were able to score ten points in the final 56 seconds to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach Tom Landry helped to start the franchise, and for 29 years, he was the only leader the team had. During his lengthy tenure, the squad claimed 13 division titles, seven conference championships and two Super Bowl victories.
Speaking of the Big Game, the Cowboys have quite an impressive history of winning the ring. In their first championship (Super Bowl VI), quarterback Roger Staubach was named MVP; he would eventually earn the nickname “Captain Comeback” in part for helping his team overcome numerous fourth-quarter deficits. They also defeated Denver in Super Bowl XII, Buffalo in XXVII (while making a record sixth appearance in the game) and Buffalo again in XXVIII. But their biggest achievement came in January 1996 at Super Bowl XXX, when they vanquished the Steelers to become the first team in NFL history to win three championships in four years. They closed out the ‘90s as the most successful squad of the decade, and it’s no wonder, since their triumphs include eight postseason trips, six division titles, four appearances in the conference championship game and three Super Bowl wins.
The Cowboys are well represented in Canton’s hallowed halls. Landry and Staubach both have a place, of course, but the Cowboys’ first player inductee was Bob Lilly in 1980. Lilly anchored the as-intimidating-as-it-sounds “Doomsday Defense” and appeared in ten consecutive Pro Bowls. Owner Jerry Jones drafted quarterback Troy Aikman in 1989, and what a great decision that was! Aikman was only the third player in NFL history to lead a team to three world titles and was the winningest QB of the ‘90s. Emmitt Smith scored a whopping four NFL rushing titles and three Super Bowl rings, along with league and SB MVP awards. In 2000, he joined Walter Payton and Barry Sanders with over 15,000 career rushing yards. Other Hall of Famers include Randy “The Manster” White, Bob “The World’s Fastest Human” Hayes and Michael “The Playmaker” Irvin.
History doesn’t lie, and the Cowboys have given concrete evidence through the years that they deserve the patriotic nickname of “America’s Team.”