Dallas Cowboys Highlights Since Team Birth in 1960

A Glimpse of Dallas Cowboys History Through the Decades

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys
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The Dallas Cowboys, first known as the Dallas Steers, then the Dallas Rangers, were the NFL's first modern-era expansion team formed in 1960. The NFL awarded Dallas the franchise after the 1960 college draft had been held. As a result, the NFL's first-ever expansion team played its inaugural season without the benefit of a college draft. On March 19, 1960, the organization announced that it would be called the Cowboys to avoid confusion with the American Association Dallas Rangers baseball team.

Highlights Through the Decades

1960s Highlights
1960 • Dallas is granted an NFL franchise on January 28.
• Clint Murchison, Jr. (majority owner) hired Tex Schramm to be general manager, Gil Brandt as director of player personnel and Tom Landry as head coach.
• Wide Receiver Jim Doran was the first Dallas Cowboys player to be selected to play in the Pro Bowl.
• Recorded first preseason win with a 14-3 victory over the New York Giants on August 27
• Recorded first non-losing game with a 31-31 tie with the New York Giants on December 4
• Ended the first season with a 0-11-1 record.
1961 • Dallas is moved into the NFL's Eastern Conference.
• Bob Lilly is selected as the Cowboys first-ever NFL Draft choice.
• Picked up first regular-season win in a 27-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 17
• Don Perkins became the first Dallas Cowboy to rush for 100 yards in a game when he racked up 108 yards against the Minnesota Vikings on September 24th.
1962 • Training Camp moved to Northern Michigan College in Marquette, Michigan
• Became the first team in NFL History with two 100+ yard runs in the same game in a 41-19 win over Philadelphia on October 14. In the fourth quarter, Amos Marsh returned a kickoff 101 yards and Mike Gaechter returned an interception 100 yards.
1963 • Training camp moved to California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks, California.
Don Meredith became the first Cowboy to pass for 400 yards in a game when he threw for 460 yards against San Francisco on November 10
1964 • Head coach Tom Landry was given a 10-year contract extension.
1965 • Finished 7-7 to record first non-losing season.
• The Cowboys and Packers set a record for fewest passing yards in a game with -11 on October 24
• Recorded first sellout crowd (76,251) on November 21 in a 24-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the Cotton Bowl.
1966 • First winning season (10-3-1), and Eastern Conference Championship.
• Played in first post-season action in the Playoff Bowl on January 9. Lost 35-3 to the Baltimore Colts in Miami.
• Tex Schramm named President of the Dallas Cowboys.
• Cowboys' first Thanksgiving Day appearance was a 26-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on November 24.
1967 • The NFL's move to a divisional format left the Cowboys in the Capitol Division of the Eastern Conference.
• Won their first Capitol Division title.
• On December 23, the Cowboys announced plans to build Texas Stadium.
• Recorded first playoff win with a 52-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on December 24.
• On December 31, lost NFL title game 21-17 to Green Bay in game widely known as the "Ice Bowl."
1968 • Recorded the first season with double-digit wins.
• Allowed just two rushing touchdowns all year.
• Scored a league-high 431 points.
1969 • Broke ground on Texas Stadium on January 25.
• The last of the original Cowboys (Don Meredith and Don Perkins) retire.
• Recorded fourth-consecutive season leading the league in fewest yards allowed.
1970s Highlights

• Re-alignment after merger with AFL leaves Dallas in the Eastern Division of the NFC.


• Made first Super Bowl appearance with a heartbreaking 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V on January 17.
• The first game at Texas Stadium, a 44-21 win over the Patriots, was played on October 24.

1972 • Recorded first Super Bowl championship with a 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
• Calvin Hill becomes first 1000-yard rusher for the Cowboys.
1973 • Recorded 100th victory with a 40-3 win over the New Orleans Saints on September 24.
• Set an NFL record by qualifying for the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year.
1974 • Only year during the decade of the 70s that the Cowboys failed to qualify for the playoffs.
1975 • Played the first season since 1966 without a Thanksgiving day game.
• Bob Lilly named the first member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
1976 • Lost 21-17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl X on January 18.
• Don Meredith and Don Perkins added to Ring of Honor.
1977 • Chuck Howley added to Cowboys Ring of Honor.
• Drafted Tony Dorsett, who went on to be NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
• Harvey Martin named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
• Roger Staubach is the NFC Passing Leader.
1978 • Defeated the Denver Broncos 27-10 in Super Bowl XII on January 15.
• Scored the most points during the '78 season with 384 and allowed the fewest with only 208.
• Roger Staubach is the NFC Passing Leader.
1979 • Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-31 in Super Bowl XIII on January 21.
• Roger Staubach is the NFC Passing Leader.
1980s Highlights
1980 • Bob Lilly becomes the first Dallas Cowboys player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1981 • Mel Refro is added to the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
1982 • Recorded 200th regular-season win with a 24-10 victory over the Redskins on December 5.
• Tony Dorsett leads the NFL in rushing.
• Went through entire strike-shortened season (nine games) without recording a single fair catch.
1983 • Roger Staubach added to Cowboys Ring of Honor.
• Ground broke on new headquarters at Valley Ranch.
1984 • H.R. "Bum" Bright buys the Dallas Cowboys from Clint Murchison, Jr.
• Missed playoffs for the first time since 1974.
1985 • Roger Staubach inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
• New headquarters at Valley Ranch open on October 27.
• Texas Stadium becomes the first to have two DiamondVision scoreboards.
1986 • Lost 17-6 to Chicago at Wembley Stadium on August 3 in London in the first American Bowl.
• Recorded first losing season in 21 years.
1987 • Original owner Clint Murchinson, Jr. dies on March 30.
1988 • Tom Landry tied Curly Lambeau's NFL record of 29 consecutive years as head coach of one team.
1989 • On February 25, Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys from "Bum" Bright.
• Jones replaces head coach Tom Landry with Jimmy Johnson. Tex Schramm resigns as Cowboys general manager.
• Lee Roy Jordan added to Cowboys Ring of Fame.
• Cowboys tie the record of 15 losses in a season and set a new record with 14-consecutive home losses.
1990s Highlights
1990 • New training facility in Austin, Texas opens on July 18.
• Tom Landry is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
• Emmitt Smith is named NFL Rookie of the Year.
• Jimmy Johnson is named NFL Coach of the Year.
1991 • Tex Schramm is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
• Emmitt Smith leads the NFL in rushing.
1992 • Paul Tagliabue names Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to the NFL's Competition Committee.
• Emmitt Smith leads the league in rushing again.
1993 • On January 31, Dallas defeated Buffalo 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII.
• Tom Landry is added to the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
• Emmitt Smith leads the league in rushing for the third year in a row and is named the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

• On January 30, Dallas defeated Buffalo, 30-13, in Super Bowl XXVIII.
• Barry Switzer is named the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys on March 30.
• Tony Dorsett and Randy White added to Cowboys Ring of Honor.

1995 • Emmitt Smith leads the league in rushing.
1996 • Dallas defeats the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17, in Super Bowl XXX on January 28.
• Cowboys earn fifth-straight NFC Eastern Division title.
1997 • Troy Aikman becomes the Cowboys all-time leading passer.
• Michael Irvin becomes the Cowboys all-time leading receiver.
• Head Coach Barry Switzer resigns under pressure.
1998 • Chan Gailey is hired as head coach of the Cowboys.
• Emmitt Smith becomes the Cowboys all-time leader in rushing yards and the NFL's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns.

• Former head coach Tom Landry passes away after a battle with Leukemia.
• Cowboys all-time leading receiver Michael Irvin suffers a career-ending neck injury.
• Chan Gailey fired at conclusion of season

2000s Highlights
2000 • Dave Campo is hired to be the Cowboys new head coach.
2001 • Emmitt Smith passes Walter Payton to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher.
2002 • Bill Parcells named head coach of the Cowboys.

• The Cowboys became the surprise team of the season, posting a 10–6 record and a playoff berth by leading the NFL in sacks, turnovers and having the best overall defense in the NFL.

2004 • Decision is made to begin building a new stadium in Arlington, Texas, in time for 2009 season.
2005 • Signed free agent quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

• Tony Romo becomes starting quarterback.
• Bill Parcells retires from coaching at end of the season. Wade Phillips named as new head coach.


• Tony Romo receives 6-year contract for $67.5 million, making him the third-highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Tony Romo set team records in touchdowns (36) and passing yards (4,211) in one season.
• Terrell Owens tied the franchise record for most scoring receptions in a single game (four) and the franchise record for most touchdown receptions in a single-season (15).
• The Cowboys tied a franchise record by winning 13 regular season games
• A record thirteen players were named to the Pro Bowl, while five were named All-Pro by the Associated Press.


• Cowboys play their last season at Texas Stadium.
• Terrell Owens is released. In three season, Owens had 235 receptions for 3,587 yards and 38 touchdowns.

2009 • Cowboys start their 50th season in new AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
• Cowboys beat the Eagles in the Wild Card but go down against the Vikings in the Divisional Playoff.
2010s Highlights
2010 • Tony Romo injures his collarbone, Jon Kitna comes in as starting quarterback.
• Wade Phillips is fired as head coach and is replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
2011 • Cowboys finish the season 8-8, losing two crucial regular season games to the New York Giants who went on to be Super Bowl XLVI champs.
2012 • Cowboys end their season 8-8, placing third in the NFC East for the second straight year.
2013 • Cowboys end their season 8-8, placing second in their division for the season.

• Cowboys started the season with a six-game winning streak, their longest streak since 2007.
• The team won its first division title since 2009 as the #3 NFC seed and undefeated in away games.
• Playoff franchise-first during Wild Card game against Detroit: the team came back to win the game despite being 10+ points at halftime.

2015 • Tony Romo was out with collarbone injuries most of the season resulting in a last-place finish in the NFC East.
2016 • Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott took over for Romo and threw for 3,667 yards. Prescott was awarded the NFL Rookie of the Year award.