The Dallas Cowboys

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The Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team, is one of the most storied football franchises in history. With 5 Super Bowl wins and twelve players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame they are a franchise that the league has envied for decades. According to Forbes magazine, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable Football team in American history.

Founded by Oilman, Clint Murchison Jr, in 1960, they were originally trying to get an NFL expansion team. However, much to his chagrin, George Preston Marshall, the owner of the Washington Redskins, completely controlled the south.

Clint Murchison was trying to buy the Washington Redskins in 1958. A deal was almost struck, but George Preston Marshall called for a change in the terms after already committing to an agreement. This angered Murchison immensely, thus calling off the deal. Marshall then opposed any franchise in Dallas that Murchison wanted.

How America’s Team the Dallas Cowboys were born

Since then, a unanimous vote was needed to grant an NFL expansion team, thus Marshall was standing in the way of Murchison joining the league. Luckily for Clint Murchison Jr, George Preston Marshall had a falling out with Redskins band leader Barnee Breeskin.

Breeskin wrote the music for the redskins fight song “Hail to the Redskins” and his wife wrote the lyrics. Breeskin owned the rights to the song and knew of Murchison’s situation. Breeskin wanted revenge against Marshall so he approached Murchison’s attorney to sell the legal rights to the song to Murchison just before the expansion vote in 1959.

Murchison happily bought the song for $2,500. Before the 1959 expansion vote, Murchison let Marshall know that he owned “Hail to the Redskins” and that Marshall would not be able to play it at any of the games. Marshall overwhelmed with angered knew he was beat. He then agreed to give his vote for the Dallas expansion team for the rights to the song. Thus America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys was born and a great rivalry as well.

A timeline throughout Dallas Cowboys History

The 70’s In the 70’s there were large changes in both the league and within the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL absorbed the AFL, becoming a unified league, and the Dallas Cowboys infused new blood into the team with players like Cliff Harris, Lee Roy Jordan, and Pro Football Hall of Famers Rayfield Wright, Mike Ditka, Herb Adderly and Roger Staubach. Being led by quarterback Craig Morton, the Dallas Cowboys had a 10-4 season in 1970. It was a grueling season for them, with a low point being a 0-38 beating at the hands of the St Louis Cardinals.

However, they persevered and managed to make the playoffs. In the playoffs they met the Detroit Lions who were also coming off a 10-4 season. The game was a long defensive battle, but the Dallas Cowboys overcame 5-0 in what is the lowest-scoring NFL playoff game to this date. That win advanced them to their very first Superbowl where they met the Baltimore Colts. A titanic game that sadly the Dallas Cowboys lost 16-13, courtesy of a field goal by Colts’ kicker Jim O’Brien, with five-seconds remaining in the contest.

The Dallas Cowboys moved from the Cotton Bowl to Texas Stadium in week six of the 1971 season. Although the first game in their new home was a 44-21 crushing of the Patriots New England, Dallas really struggled the first half of the season going 4-3. With losses to the mediocre New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears contributing to the tough beginning of the season. Landry finally had enough and named Staubach as the permanent starting quarterback to start the second half of the season, and Dallas was off to the races!

The Dallas Cowboys won their last seven regular season games before the complete dismantling of the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs to return to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl VI, behind an MVP performance from Staubach and 252 yards rushing, the Cowboys crushed the incredibly inferior Miami Dolphins, 24-3, to finally bury the “Next Year’s Champions” stigma. That game remains the only Super Bowl to date where one of the teams involved did not score a touchdown.

The 1972 season was another of their many winning seasons, but their 10-4 record was only good for them to make the playoffs as a wild-card team. In the divisional playoffs they faced the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers had a 28-13 lead and seemed finally to get the best of the Dallas Cowboys. In the two previous seasons, Landry knew he had to make a change so he benched Morton.
Staubach came in with guns blazing and threw two touchdown passes with less than two minutes remaining! Including the game winning touchdown to Ron Sellers for a miraculous 30-28 Dallas win, the first of many dramatic comebacks led by Staubach during the 1970s.

The Dallas Cowboys’ popularity was growing nationwide. Under Coach Landry, the aptly nicknamed “Doomsday Defense” became a powerful and dominating force in the NFL and their offense led by Staubach the Cowboys were a force to be reckoned with for many years. The Dallas Cowboys were taking advantage of technical improvements, such as pioneering innovations off the field by using computers to help scout their players, it was a first in the NFL.

They were also the first to implement a modern cheerleading squad performing choreographed routines, bringing to life the world famous Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

General manager Schramm became the most powerful GM in the NFL. He was a visionary who pushed the league to adopt changes such as relocating the goal posts to the back of the end zone and (in the 1980s) the use of instant replay. While the Pittsburgh Steelers would have more Superbowl victories in the 70’s, Dallas was emerging as America’s team with Glamour, style, and plays that knocked the socks of the fans, and their opponents.

The 80’s

In the early 80’s, Danny White was the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. When he first began his career, not much was expected out of the team. The team’s first season without Staubach, surprised fans, by ending the regular season with a 12-4 record.

The Cowboys and the fans were happy with quarterback White until the mid 80’s. At that point, he began to receive criticism for not winning a Super Bowl. Even the players were expressing a preference with Gary Hodgeboom, the backup quarterback. What the team and fans found out, was that neither quarterback would be able to help them in 1984, when they didn’t even make it to the playoffs. This was the first time in over 10 years that the Dallas Cowboys were not part of the playoff games.

At the end of the 84 season, the Cowboys were sold to H.R. Bright. During Bright’s ownership, the Cowboys struggled. They lost many of their games, and never had a great season. In 1989, he sold the team to Jerry Jones.

The first big decision that Jones made was to fire the head coach, Tom Landry, and replace him with the famous Jimmy Johnson. After having the worst record in the league in 88, the Dallas Cowboys were able to strike a first round draft pick, picking up Troy Aikman.

Aikman’s first season resulted in an injury and another worst in league season finish.

The 90’s

Early in the 90’s, the Cowboys added Emmitt Smith to their lineup. Other talent such as Michael Irvin, Darren Woodson, and Jay Novacek were also added in the early 90’s.

In 1991 the team finally made it back to the playoffs. This was their first appearance since 1985, but didn’t result in a Super Bowl win until the next season. They also won the big game in 1993.

The sports world was shocked by the news at the beginning of the 1994 season, when Coach Johnson announced his retirement. He was replaced by Barry Switzer.

Throughout the 90’s, the Dallas Cowboys had successful seasons, making it to the playoffs most seasons. During the decade, they picked up players such as Deion Sanders; however, they also had a considerable amount of controversy.

From injuries to suspensions, the end of the 90’s was a difficult time for the Cowboys. Switzer was replaced by Chan Gailey at the end of the 1997 season. What started off as an impressive first season, ended with a humiliating playoff game. After his second season, Gailey was also fired.

The 2000’s

Dave Campo was named the head coach after the departure of Gailey, but only remained in that position for three short seasons.
Enter the Bill Parcells era, who came out of retirement to coach the Dallas Cowboys. During this time, the team continued through its struggles. Drug use and injures plagued the start of Parcells career with the Cowboys. Unable to take the team where it needed to go, Parcells retired after the 2006 season.

Wade Phillips replaced Parcells and continues to define his legacy today. The team added a new stadium in 2010 and is on the path to developing a successful team.

The Dallas Cowboys have had their share of ups and downs throughout their history. However, through their successes and struggles, they continue to be one of the all time favorite teams of the National Football League and their fans around the country.