The Dallas Cowboys organization has been around for around 60 years and they have set the bar for all NFL teams. And it’s easy to see why when looking through the Cowboys’ franchise resume.
In 60 seasons in the NFL, the Cowboys hold an all-time regular season record of 520 wins, 388 losses and six ties. They have 33 years’ of playoff appearances with an all-time postseason record of 35 wins and 28 losses that has led them to 23 division titles, 20 since the establishment of the NFC East. The Cowboys also boast 10 Conference Championships, eight since the establishment of the NFC and five Super Bowl wins.
They also know how to make and spend money, with an $875 million home stadium a $1.5 billion headquarters and practice facility while being Forbes‘ most valuable sports team since 2016, most recently valued at $5 billion.
Safe to say, Jerry Jones’ football club is the quintessential sports franchise. And though the Cowboys haven’t had the best run in the past 20-plus years, hopes are high in Dallas for this coming season. As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas; boats, stadiums and even expectations.
On paper, the Cowboys are well-equipped on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball. Most notably, Dallas’ prized 2016 draft class is still intact and ready to make a playoff run. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith have all proven to be important contributors.
This year, they will again be joined by two of Dallas’ elite starters, wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. And last but certainly not the least, the Cowboys’ first-round selection in this year’s draft, CeeDee Lamb, adds another weapon to Dallas’ already stacked offense.
With Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike McCarthy at the helm, Jerry Jones is gearing up for another one of their historic runs. But before the season gets underway, let’s a look at the Cowboys who had the most historic runs with the team, literally.
Here are the three best running backs in Dallas Cowboys history.
Don Perkins, Herschel Walker, DeMarco Murray, Duane Thomas
Special mention: Ezekiel Elliott, 2016-present
As early as his rookie season, it was clear that Ezekiel Elliot was something special. Still his best year to date, Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards, 15 touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He even added 32 receptions for 363 yards and one receiving touchdown. His play was key to Dallas finishing 13-3, the team’s best regular season record since 2007.
Though he hasn’t been as dominant as he was in his first year, it won’t be long until he catches up to those in front of him in Cowboys history. Whether it be stats or wins, Elliott will be fed.
3. Calvin Hill, 1969-1974
The first ever Ivy League graduate to be taken in the first round, Calvin Hill’s career in Dallas was nothing short of historic. Drafted in the same offseason Don Perkins chose to retire, Hill had no choice but to lead the Cowboys’ ever-depended-on ground game. And lead he would.
Hill would win Rookie of the Year and would also be named a Pro Bowler his very first year. He would go on to play in three more Pro Bowls.
In his time in Dallas, the Cowboys would make it to their first Super Bowl in 1970 and Hill would help the franchise win its first ever Lombardi Trophy the following year. His career totals as a Cowboy are 5,009 rushing yards and 39 rushing touchdowns.
2. Tony Dorsett, 1977-1988
No one would dare argue against numbers one and two on our list. First up, Tony Dorsett. Simply put, this guy just knew how to win.
The highest draft pick on our list, Dorsett was selected second overall by Dallas in the 1977 NFL Draft after they traded up for the second pick, and they had very good reason to do so. In his final year in college, Dorsett won both a National Championship and the Heisman Trophy, giving him a more than noteworthy resume. And the winning didn’t stop there.
In his first year as a pro, the University of Pittsburgh alum would win Rookie of the Year after running for over 1,000 yards and scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. He would get the ultimate win in Super Bowl XII, where he would help the Cowboys win their second Lombardi Trophy.
Although the way he parted with the franchise was bittersweet, the Hall of Famer would still finish his career in Dallas with 12,036 rushing yards and 72 rushing touchdowns.
1. Emmitt Smith, 1990-2002
This man is as big as the franchise and state he played in. And if you’re one of those rare people who have no idea who Emmitt Smith is, here’s a quick rundown of his football career>
In 1989, Smith was an Unanimous All-American and SEC MVP and followed that by being named the 1990 NFL Rookie of the Year. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler (1990-1995, 1998-1999), a four-time All-Pro First team selection (1992-1995) and two-time All-Pro Second team (1991, 1996).
Smith was also a four-time NFL rushing yards and touchdowns leader (1991-1993, 1995), named 1993’s NFL Most Valuable Player and is a three-time Super Bowl Champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) and Super Bowl XXVII MVP. His 18,355 career rushing yards and 164 rushing touchdowns are both NFL records (and it’s not even close).
In his 13 years with Cowboys, Smith helped lead the Dallas franchise to a regular-season record of 116-92, winning the NFC East six times. The Cowboys would make it to eight postseasons with Smith as their running back and they would add three more Super Bowl rings to their collection.
Smith gave Jerry Jones and the Cowboys the best years in the franchise’s history, a big reason why they’ve turned into the worlds greatest sports team. He did it in such a dominant fashion that neither Dallas nor the entire NFL will ever forget No. 22.