The Dallas Cowboys are a proud, glamorous franchise and fan base.
Saying the Cowboys have struggled the last 20 years is an understatement. They’ve been in a lull, winning only 2 playoff games in two decades, not living up to their monicker of “America’s Team.”
Since there inaugural season in 1960, the ‘Boys have won 5 Super Bowls, 10 Conference championships, 22 division titles, and made the playoffs 31 times.
That’s the reason they earned the nickname in the 70’s, and regained that title in the 90’s.
15 players that wore the blue Star on their helmets are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the following four men make my cut for the Cowboys Mt. Rushmore.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for them soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them?
Tom Landry (1960-1988) is the Cowboys career leader in wins by a coach with 250 and is third in NFL history. His 29 years patrolling the sidelines in his trademark fedora is an NFL record, and his 20 consecutive winning seasons is also a NFL record. Coach Landry led the ‘Boys to two Lombardi trophies (VI, XII), five NFL Championships, 13 divisional championships. In 1966 he won NFL Coach of the year and in 1975 he won the award for NFL Coach of the Year. In 1990 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When he passed away in 2000, the team wore a patch of a fedora on their jerseys’ over their hearts in his memory.
Emmitt Smith (1990-2002) is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (201), rushing yards (17,162) combined touchdowns (153 rushing, 11 receiving) and attempts (4,052). Emmitt ran behind arguably the greatest collection of offensive lineman in league history to 8 Pro Bowl and 5 All-Pro selections. He helped return Dallas to glory and turn them into the team of the 1990’s by winning 3 Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX). He won the MVP Super Bowl XXVIII, following the season he won his first of two NFL MVP awards (1992, 1993). He’s a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, the Cowboys Ring of Honor, and the team no longer issues his jersey number 22.
Smith became the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with Dallas and finished his career with the Arizona Cardinals to bring his total to 18,355. He also still holds the NFL record for most 100-yard rushing games (78) and rushing touchdowns (164).
Roger Staubach (1969-1979) finished his career in “Big D” as the record holder in all the major passing categories, even though Tony Romo and Troy Aikman have now passed him, he’s still regarded as the team’s all-time greatest QB. “Captain America”, as he was known for leading “America’s Team”, led Dallas to 2 Super Bowl Championships (VI, XII), and 5 NFC titles. In 1971 Staubach won the NFL MVP, and he’s a 6-time Pro Bowl and 2-time All-NFC selection. Staubach is a member of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, Dallas Ring of Honor, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. NFL.com rated him as the 46th player of all-time in 2010. The team no longer issues his jersey number 12.
Michael Irvin (1988-1999) has been called the “emotional lightning rod and leader” of the team the won 3 Super Bowls in the 1990’s. “The Playmaker” is the Cowboys career leader in receiving yards (11,904) and second in receiving touchdowns (65) and receptions (750). He still holds the NFL single season record for 100-yard games with 11 in 1995. Irvin was a 5-time Pro Bowl and 3-time All-Pro selection. He’s a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and the Cowboys Ring of Honor. He was rated 92nd on The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players in 2010.
Dallas fans let me know what you think? Did I get it right? Who would be on your list? I wanna hear from you.