Greatest Sports Franchises - Dallas Cowboys

Having joined the National Football League in 1960, the Dallas Cowboys have gone on to become one of the league’s most successful clubs. The first expansion team of the modern era, the Cowboys are now called America’s Team. With many ups and downs throughout their career, there is no denying the team has led a storied existence. And, no discussion of the Cowboys is complete without mentioning the team’s famous cheerleaders, who are some of the most famous in all of sports. In this video, continues our series on the Greatest Sports Franchises of All Time with a look at the Dallas Cowboys.

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The Dallas Cowboys

Having joined the National Football League in 1960, the Cowboys are one of the most successful NFL teams. They were the NFL's first modern-era expansion team. Known initially as the Dallas Steers and then the Dallas Rangers, the team renamed itself to the Cowboys on March 19, 1960. Soon after, the club’s ownership group hired Tex Schramm as general manager and Tom Landry as head coach. The club began play at the Cotton Bowl stadium.

Rise to Success

Slowly but surely, the club began to field a competitive team with players like quarterback Don Meredith, running back Don Perkins, linebacker Chuck Howley, defensive tackle Bob Lilly, linebacker Lee Roy Jordan, cornerback Mel Renfro, wide receiver Bob Hayes and running back Dan Reeves. The Cowboys achieved a .500 record for the first time in 1965, bettering that in 1966 with their first winning season, and taking the Eastern Conference with a 10-3-1 record.

The Ice Bowl

In 1967, the Cowboys faced with the Green Bay Packers in what has come to be known as the “Ice Bowl.” That year’s NFL Championship game was played on December 31st at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. That game turned out to be the coldest in NFL history, with temperatures dipping to a brutal -13° Fahrenheit with a -40° wind factor. To add insult to injury, the Cowboys ended up losing the game.

Move to Texas Stadium

By 1969, the franchise began construction on Texas Stadium in Irving, a suburb of Dallas. The stadium was completed during the 1971 season, which was also the year coach Landry named Roger Staubach as the starting quarterback in the second half of the season.

Super Bowl VI

The team went on to win their last seven regular season games, and Staubach led the team to Super Bowl VI, rushing for 252 yards. Dallas defeated the Miami Dolphins by a score of 24-3, and this game remains the only Super Bowl where neither team scored a touchdown.

America's Team

The club next won the Super Bowl in 1977, when they defeated the Denver Broncos. It was at that time that an NFL Films Editor named Bob Ryan dubbed the Cowboys “America's Team.” Ironically, the decade following this declaration was a dud. The team slipped so far that when Jerry Jones bought the club on February 25, 1989, one of his first decisions was to fire the legendary Landry, the only head coach the franchise had ever known.

Jimmy Johnson

Thankfully for Cowboys fans, Jones replaced him with University of Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson.

The Trade

During the 1989 Draft, the club went on to pick up UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman first overall. Later that year, on October 12th, the Cowboys traded aging running back Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings in what is now called “The Trade.” While the team went on to finish the season 1-15, the trade set the stage for the turnaround by drafting players such as fullback Daryl Johnston, center Mark Stepnoski, running back Emmitt Smith, defensive tackle Russell Maryland, offensive tackle Erik Williams, safety Darren Woodson, all on top of veteran players such as wide receiver Michael Irvin, guard Nate Newton, linebacker Ken Norton Jr., offensive lineman Mark Tuinei, and defensive lineman Jim Jeffcoat. The club also acquired tight end Jay Novacek and defensive end Charles Haley.

Super Bowl XXVII

It was only a matter of time before this powerhouse of a club returned to – and won – the Super Bowl. In 1993, the Cowboys made their first Super Bowl trip in 14 seasons, defeating the Buffalo Bills 52–17 in Super Bowl XXVII. Coach Johnson became the first coach to claim a national championship in college football and a Super Bowl victory in professional football.

But they weren’t done.

Super Bowl XXVIII

The next season, they once again faced the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII and this time edged the Bills 30–13.

Bye Bye, Jimmy

However, only a few weeks after the celebrations ended, Jones and Johnson’s divergent outlooks led to a split, with Johnson ultimately resigning from the club.

Super Bowl XXX

Undeterred, Jones hired former University of Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer. In his first year, Switzer’s squad fell to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. After luring free agent and All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders away from San Francisco, Dallas went all the way. They defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX for their fifth world championship. Incidentally, Switzer joined Johnson as the only coaches to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl.

In the span of four years, the club added three Super Bowl wins.

Five Championship Wins

In total throughout their history, the Cowboys’ eight Super Bowl appearances have resulted in five championships. This leaves the team tied with the San Francisco 49ers for total Super Bowl wins, and trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers who have six.

A Wealthy American Sports Franchise

Since the mid-1990s, the franchise has faced its share of challenges on and off the field. Despite this, along with the NBA’s LA Lakers and MLB’s New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys remain one of the “big three” successful, wealthy and storied American pro sports franchises. That’s one fact that isn’t going to change anytime soon, since the club moved into the massive, billion-dollar Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas in May 2009. With them, they brought not only the team and the loyal fans, but also the legendary Cowboys Cheerleaders as well.

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