Established.... January 28, 1960
First Season.... 1960 with National Football League
Stadium..... AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Conference..... NFC East 1970-present / NFL 1960-present -
Team Nicknames..... America's Team, Doomsday Defense, THe 'Boys Bid D
1st Game Against BUCS..... October 2, 1977
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their game debut against the Dallas Cowboys with an offensife shutout during requlation play at Texas Stadium on Sunday October 2, 1977, losing 07-23.
The Buccaneers first ever victory against the Dallas Cowboys came on Sunday, December 3, 2000 during a home game played in Raymond James Stadium with a paid attendance of 65,621 tickets sold, to witness the victory in Tampa Bay. Warrick Dunn had the second rushing performance in team history.
Below click on ANY date to view extensive details of all gameday encounters. We have featured details of each opponent, highlights of each games statistics, players, scoring details, media coverage, photographs with a detailed game report. Below the listed dates we also include full details of the Opponent.
|ALL GAMES vs. COWBOYS (H=home @=away)|
|@||Oct. 02, 1977||L||07-23||@||Sep. 21, 1980||L||17-28||@||Nov. 21, 1982||L||09-14|
|@||Oct. 09, 1983||L||24-27||@||Oct. 07, 1990||L||10-14||H||Oct. 21, 1990||L||13-17|
|H||Dec. 03, 2000||W||27-07||@||Sep. 09, 2001||W||10-06||H||Oct. 26, 2003||W||16-00|
|@||Nov. 23, 2006||L||10-38||@||Oct. 26, 2008||L||09-13||H||Sep. 13, 2009||L||21-34|
|H||Dec. 17, 2011||L||15-31||@||Sep. 23, 2012||L||10-16||H||Nov. 15, 2015||W||10-06|
|@||Dec. 18, 2016||L||20-26||@||Dec. 23, 2018||L||20-27|
|PLAYOFF GAMES vs. COWBOYS (H=home @=away)|
|NFC Championship||Score||NFC Championship||Score|
|@||Jan. 02, 1982||L||00-38||@||Jan. 09, 1983||L||17-30|
The Dallas Cowboys are based in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The Cowboys compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team is headquartered in Frisco, Texas, and plays its home games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which opened for the 2009 season.
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The Cowboys joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960. The team's national following might best be represented by its NFL record of consecutive sell-outs. The Cowboys' streak of 190 consecutive sold-out regular and post-season games (home and away) began in 2002. The franchise has made it to the Super Bowl eight times, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Denver Broncos for second most Super Bowl appearances in history, just behind the New England Patriots record nine Super Bowl appearances. This has also corresponded to eight NFC championships, most in the NFC. The Cowboys have won five of those Super Bowl appearances, tying them with their NFC rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, and the AFC's Patriots; all three are second to Pittsburgh's record six Super Bowl championships. The Cowboys are the only NFL team to record 20 straight winning seasons (1966–85), in which they only missed the playoffs twice (1974 and 1984), an NFL record that remains unchallenged.
In 2015, the Dallas Cowboys became the first sports team to be valued at $4 billion, making it the most valuable sports team in the world, according to Forbes. The Cowboys also generated $620 million in revenue in 2014, a record for a U.S. sports team.
Rowdy is the official mascot of the Dallas Cowboys. Named by David Higginbotham of Dallas, he's been the team's mascot since 1996. His tenure overlapped with that of Pro Football Hall of Famer, Crazy Ray's, who was the unofficial mascot of the Cowboys from 1962 until his death in 2007 following the 2006 season.
Rowdy takes part in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, The Salvation Army, The Rise School of Dallas, Special Olympics, retirement centers, hospitals, schools, birthday parties, grand openings, Minor League Baseball games around the country, conventions, parades, grocery store promotions, NBA games, weddings and sometimes will take a visit to the crowd during halftime. He has even been to the Pro Bowl in 1999 and 2001. He also took part in TV events, which includes ESPN's Alumni Beach Bowl, ABC's Battle of the Gridiron and the Special Olympics.
In 1996 Rowdy jumped on the scene as the Official Mascot of the Dallas Cowboys. As the Ambassador of the Dallas Cowboys, Rowdy's job includes, but is not limited to creating game day enthusiasm at Texas Stadium. He does this at home games by driving in on his four-wheeler, tossing t-shirts into the stands, using signs like "Let's Go Cowboys," and mocking the opponents. Rowdy participates at every home game and selected away games.
Rowdy was proud to represent the Cowboys each year in selected cities for the annual Mascot convention. At this event the NFL Mascots compare and share ideas to help continue mascot antics and ways to market mascot awareness.
In August 2009, Ted Ovletrea who played the character, was notified that the team was letting him go. Cowboys spokesman said the character of Rowdy is still part of the team, but officials are evaluating his role on game days.
The Cotton Bowl is a stadium which opened in 1932 and became known as "The House That Doak Built" due to the immense crowds that former SMU running back Doak Walker drew to the stadium during his college career in the late 1940s. Originally known as the Fair Park Bowl, it is located in Fair Park, site of the State Fair of Texas. Concerts or other events using a stage allow the playing field to be used for additional spectators. The Cotton Bowl was the longtime home of the annual Cotton Bowl Classic college football bowl game, for which the stadium is named. (Beginning with the January 2010 game, the Cotton Bowl Classic has been played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.) The Dallas Cowboys called the Cotton Bowl home for 11 years, from the team's formation in 1960 until 1971, when the Cowboys moved to Texas Stadium. It is the only Cowboys stadium within the Dallas city limits. The Cowboys hosted the Green Bay Packers for the 1966 NFL Championship at the Cotton Bowl.
For the majority of the franchise's history the Cowboys played their home games at Texas Stadium. Just outside the city of Dallas, the stadium was located in Irving, Texas. The stadium opened on October 24, 1971, at a cost of $35 million and with a seating capacity of 65,675. The stadium was famous for its hole-in-the-roof dome. The roof's worn paint had become so unsightly in the early 2000s that it was repainted in the summer of 2006 by the City of Irving. It was the first time the famed roof was repainted since Texas Stadium opened. The roof was structurally independent from the stadium it covered. The Cowboys lost their final game at Texas Stadium to the Baltimore Ravens, 33–24, on December 20, 2008. After Cowboys Stadium was opened in 2009, the Cowboys turned over the facility to the City of Irving.
In 2009, it was replaced as home of the Cowboys by Cowboys Stadium, which officially opened on May 27, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. Texas Stadium was demolished by implosion on April 11, 2010.
AT&T Stadium, previously named Cowboys Stadium, is a domed stadium with a retractable roof in Arlington, Texas. After failed negotiations to build a new stadium on the site of the Cotton Bowl, Jerry Jones along with the city of Arlington, Texas a suburb of Fort Worth, funded the stadium at a cost of $1.3 billion. The stadium is located in Tarrant County, the first time the Cowboys will call a stadium home outside of Dallas County. It was completed on May 29, 2009 and seats 80,000, but is expandable to seat up to 100,000. AT&T Stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world.
A highlight of AT&T Stadium is its gigantic, center-hung high-definition television screen, the largest in the world. The 160 by 72 feet (49 by 22 m), 11,520-square-foot (1,070 m2) scoreboard surpasses the 8,736 sq ft (812 m2) screen that opened in 2009 at the renovated Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri as the world's largest.
At the debut pre-season game of Cowboys Stadium, a punt by Tennessee Titans kicker, A. J. Trapasso, hit the 2,100 in. screen above the field. The punt deflected and was ruled in-play until Titans coach Jeff Fisher informed the officials that the punt struck the scoreboard. (Many believe Trapasso was trying to hit the suspended scoreboard, based on replays and the angle of the kick.) The scoreboard is, however, within the regulation of the NFL guidelines — hanging approximately five feet above the minimum height. No punts hit the scoreboard during the entire 2009 regular season during an actual game. Also, on August 22, 2009, the day after AJ Trapasso hit the screen, many fans touring the facility noted that half of the field was removed with large cranes re-positioning the screen. According to some fans, a tour guide explained that Jerry Jones invited a few professional soccer players to drop kick soccer balls to try to hit the screen. Once he observed them hitting it consistently he had the screen moved up another 10 feet.
The first regular season home game of the 2009 season was against the New York Giants. A league record-setting 105,121 fans showed up to fill Cowboys Stadium for the game before which the traditional "blue star" at the 50-yard line was unveiled for the first time; however, the Cowboys lost in the final seconds, 33–31.
The Cowboys got their first regular season home win on September 28, 2009. They beat the Carolina Panthers 21–7 with 90,588 in attendance. The game was televised on ESPN's Monday Night Football and marked a record 42nd win for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
On July 25, 2013, the Cowboys announced that AT&T will take over the naming rights for the stadium.
The Dallas Cowboys' blue star logo, representative of Texas as "The Lone Star State", is one of the most well-known team logos in professional sports. The blue star originally was a solid shape until a white line and blue border was added in 1964. The logo has remained the same since. Today, the blue star has been extended to not only the Dallas Cowboys, but owner Jerry Jones' AFL team, the Dallas Desperados that have a similar logo based on the Cowboys. The blue star also is used on other entries like an imaging facility and storage facility.
The Dallas Cowboys' white home jersey has royal blue (PMS 287 C) solid socks, numbers, lettering, and two stripes on the sleeves outlined in black. The home pants, according to the Dallas Cowboys official media guide, are a common metallic silver-green color (PMS 8280 C) that help bring out the blue in the uniform. The navy (PMS 289 C) road jerseys (nicknamed the "Stars and Stripes" jersey) have white lettering and numbers with navy pinstripes. A white/gray/white stripe are on each sleeve as well as the collared V-neck, and a Cowboys star logo is placed upon the stripes. A "Cowboys" chest crest is directly under the NFL shield. The away pants are a pearlish metallic-silver color (PMS 8180 C) and like the home pants, enhance the navy in the uniforms. The team uses a serifed font for the lettered player surnames on the jersey nameplates.
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When the Dallas Cowboys franchise debuted in 1960, the team's uniform included a white helmet adorned with a simple blue star and a blue-white-blue stripe down the center crown. The team donned blue jerseys with white sleeves and a small blue star on each shoulder for home games and the negative opposite for away games. Their socks also had two horizontal white stripes overlapping the blue.
The team's helmets are also a unique silver with a tint of blue known as "Metallic Silver Blue" (PMS 8240 C) and have a blue/white/blue vertical stripe placed upon the center of the crown. The Cowboys also include a unique, if subtle, feature on the back of the helmet: a blue strip of Dymo tape with the player's name embossed, placed on the white portion of the stripe at the back of the helmet.
Prior to the formation of the Dallas Cowboys, there had not been an NFL team south of Washington, D.C. since the Dallas Texans folded in 1952. Oilman Clint Murchison Jr. had been trying to get an NFL expansion team in Dallas (as was Lamar Hunt – who ended up with an AFL franchise), but George Preston Marshall, owner of the Washington Redskins, had a monopoly in the South.
Murchison had tried to purchase the Washington Redskins from Marshall in 1958. An agreement was struck, but as the deal was about to be finalized, Marshall called for a change in terms. This infuriated Murchison and he called off the deal. Marshall then opposed any franchise for Murchison in Dallas. Since NFL expansion needed unanimous approval from team owners at that time, Marshall's position would prevent Murchison from joining the league.
Marshall had a falling out with the Redskins band leader Barnee Breeskin. Breeskin had written the music to the Redskins fight song "Hail to the Redskins" and Marshall's wife had penned the lyrics. Breeskin owned the rights to the song and was aware of Murchison's plight to get an NFL franchise. Angry with Marshall, Breeskin approached Murchison's attorney to sell him the rights to the song before the expansion vote in 1959. Murchison purchased "Hail to the Redskins" for $2,500. Before the vote to award franchises in 1959, Murchison revealed to Marshall that he owned the song and Marshall could not play it during games. After a few Marshall expletives, Murchison gave the rights to "Hail to the Redskins" to Marshall for his vote, the lone one against Murchison getting a franchise at that time, and a rivalry was born.Embed from Getty Images
From 1970 through 1979, the Cowboys won 105 regular season games, more than any other NFL franchise during that span. In addition, they appeared in 5 and won two Super Bowls, at the end of the 1971 and 1977 regular seasons.
Danny White became the Cowboys' starting quarterback in 1980 after quarterback Roger Staubach retired. Despite going to 12–4 in 1980, the Cowboys came into the playoffs as a Wild Card team. In the opening round of the 1980–81 NFL playoffs they avenged their elimination from the prior year's playoffs by defeating the Rams. In the Divisional Round they squeaked by the Atlanta Falcons 30–27. For the NFC Championship they were pitted against division rival Philadelphia, the team that won the division during the regular season. The Eagles captured their first conference championship and Super Bowl berth by winning 20–7.
1981 brought another division championship for the Cowboys. They entered the 1981-82 NFL playoffs as the number 2 seed. Their first game of the postseason saw them blowout and shutout Tampa Bay 38–0. For the Conference Title game they were pitted against the San Francisco 49ers, the number 1 seed. Despite having a late 4th quarter 27–21 lead, they would lose to the 49ers 28–27. 49ers quarterback Joe Montana led his team to an 89-yard game winning touchdown drive connecting to Dwight Clark in a play known as The Catch.
The 1982 season was shortened after a player strike. With a 6–3 record Dallas made it to the playoffs for the 8th consecutive season. As the number 2 seed for the 1982–83 NFL playoffs they eliminated the Buccaneers 30–17 in the Wild Card round and dispatched the Packers 37–26 in the Divisional round to advance to their 3rd consecutive Conference championship game. 3 times was not a charm for the Cowboys as they fell 31–17 to division rival and eventual Super Bowl XVII champions Redskins.
For the 1983 season the Cowboys went 12–4 and made it once again to the playoffs but were defeated at home in the Wild Card by the Rams 24–17. Prior to the 1984 season, H.R. "Bum" Bright purchased the Dallas Cowboys from Clint Murchison Jr. Dallas posted a 9–7 record that season but missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons. After going 10–6 in 1985 and winning a division title, the Cowboys were blown out in the Divisional round at home to the Rams 20–0.
Hard times came for the organization as they went 7–9 in 1986, 7–8 in 1987, and 3–13 in 1988. During this time period Bright became disenchanted with the team. During the Savings and Loan crisis, the team and Mr. Bright's Savings and Loan were taken over by the FSLIC. During an embarrassing home loss to Atlanta in 1987, Bright told the media that he was "horrified" at coach Tom Landry's play calling. The FSLIC forced Mr. Bright to sell the Cowboys to Jerry Jones on February 25, 1989.
Jones immediately fired Tom Landry, the only head coach in franchise history, replacing him with University of Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson, who was also Jerry Jones' teammate in University of Arkansas as a fellow defensive lineman and Michael Irvin was under his tutelage in college. With the first pick in the draft, the Cowboys selected UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman. Later that same year, they would trade veteran running back Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for five veteran players and eight draft choices. Although the Cowboys finished the 1989 season with a 1–15 record, their worst in almost 30 years, "The Trade" later allowed Dallas to draft a number of impact players to rebuild the team.
Johnson quickly returned the Cowboys to the NFL's elite. Skillful drafts added fullback Daryl Johnston and center Mark Stepnoski in 1989, running back Emmitt Smith in 1990, defensive tackle Russell Maryland and offensive tackle Erik Williams in 1991, and safety Darren Woodson in 1992. The young talent joined holdovers from the Landry era such as wide receiver Michael Irvin, guard Nate Newton, linebacker Ken Norton Jr., and offensive lineman Mark Tuinei, defensive lineman Jim Jeffcoat, and veteran pickups such as tight end Jay Novacek and defensive end Charles Haley.
Things started to look up for the franchise in 1990. On Week 1 Dallas won their first home game since September 1988 when they defeated the San Diego Chargers 17–14. They went 2–7 in their next 9 games but won 4 of their last 6 games to finish the season with a 4th place 7–9 record.
Coming into 1991 the Cowboys replaced offensive coordinator Dave Shula with Norv Turner; the Cowboys raced to a 6–5 start, then defeated the previously-unbeaten Redskins despite injury to Troy Aikman. Backup Steve Beuerlein took over and the Cowboys finished 11–5. In the Wild Card round they defeated the Bears 17–13 for the Cowboys first playoff win since 1982. In the Divisional round their season ended in a 38–6 playoff rout by the Lions.
In 1992 Dallas set a team record for regular season wins with a 13–3 mark. They started off the season by defeating the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins 23–10. Going into the playoffs as the number 2 seed they had a first round bye before facing division rival the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys won that game 34–10 to advance to the NFC Conference Championship game for the first time in 10 years. They were pitted against the San Francisco 49ers, the number 1 seed. On January 17, 1993 the Cowboys went to Candlestick Park and defeated the 49ers 30–20 to clinch their first Super Bowl berth since 1978. Dallas defeated the Buffalo Bills 52–17 in Super Bowl XXVII, during which they forced a record nine turnovers. Johnson became the first coach to claim a national championship in college football and a Super Bowl victory in professional football.
Despite starting the 1993 season 0–2, they again defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII, 30–13 (becoming the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl after starting 0–2). Dallas finished the regular season 12–4 as the number 1 seed of the NFC. They defeated the Green Bay Packers 27–17 in the divisional round. In the NFC Conference Championship, Dallas beat the 49ers in Dallas, 38–21. Dallas sent a then-NFL record 11 players to the Pro Bowl in 1993: Aikman, safety Thomas Everett, Irvin, Johnston, Maryland, Newton, Norton, Novacek, Smith, Stepnoski and Williams.
Only weeks after Super Bowl XXVIII, however, friction between Johnson and Jones culminated in Johnson stunning the football world by announcing his resignation. Jones then hired former University of Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer to replace Johnson. The Cowboys finished 12–4 in 1994. They once again clinched a first round bye and defeated Green Bay 35–9 in the Divisional Round. They missed the Super Bowl, however, after losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, 38–28.
Prior to the start of 1995 season Jerry Jones lured All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders away from San Francisco. Dallas started the season 4–0 including shutting out their division rival New York Giants 35–0 at Giants Stadium to open their season. Emmitt Smith set an NFL record with 25 rushing touchdowns that season. They ended the season 12–4 and went into the playoffs as the number 1 seed. In the Divisional round they dispatched their division rival Eagles 30–11 to advance to their 4th consecutive NFC Conference Championship Game, in which they defeated Green Bay, 38–27. In Super Bowl XXX the Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17 at Sun Devil Stadium for their fifth Super Bowl championship. Switzer joined Johnson as the only coaches to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl.
The glory days of the Cowboys were again beginning to dim as free agency, age, and injuries began taking their toll. Star receiver Michael Irvin was suspended by the league for the first five games of 1996 following a drug-related arrest; he came back after the Cowboys started the season 2–3. They finished the regular season with a 10–6 record, won the NFC East title, and entered the playoffs as the number 3 seed in the NFC. They defeated Minnesota 40–15 in the Wild Card round but were eliminated in the Divisional round of the playoffs 26–17 by the Carolina Panthers.
The Cowboys went 6–10 in 1997 (including losing their last 6 games of the season), with discipline and off-field problems becoming major distractions. As a result, Switzer resigned as head coach in January 1998 and former Steelers offensive coordinator Chan Gailey was hired to take his place.
Gailey led the team to two playoff appearances with a 10–6 record in 1998 and an NFC East championship, but the Cowboys were defeated in the playoffs by the Arizona Cardinals 20–7.
In 1999 Dallas went 8–8 (during which Irvin suffered a career-ending spinal injury in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles) ending in another playoff loss (this time to the Minnesota Vikings 27–10). Gailey was fired and became the first Cowboys coach who did not take the team to a Super Bowl.
Defensive coordinator Dave Campo was promoted to head coach for the 2000 season. Prior to the season starting cornerback Deion Sanders was released after 5 seasons with the team. He later signed with division rival Washington. In Week 1, they were blown out 41–14 by Philadelphia. That game was very costly when veteran quarterback Troy Aikman suffered a serious concussion which ultimately ended his career. Longtime NFL QB Randall Cunningham filled in for Aikman for the rest of the season at QB. The Cowboys finished the season in 4th place with a 5–11 record. The only highlights of 2000 were Emmitt Smith having his 10th consecutive 1,000 yard rushing season and a season sweep over the Redskins.
2001 was another hard year in Dallas. Prior to the season starting Aikman was released from the team and he retired due to the concussions he had received. Jerry Jones signed Tony Banks as a QB. Banks had been a starter for half of the season the previous year for the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens before being benched. Jones also drafted QB Quincy Carter in the second round of that year's draft, but Banks was released during the preseason. Ryan Leaf, Anthony Wright, and Clint Stoerner all competed for the quarterback position that season. Dallas again finished at 5–11, last place in the NFC East. They did sweep the Redskins for the 4th consecutive season.
Prior to the 2002 season Dallas drafted safety Roy Williams with the 8th overall pick. The season started out low as the Cowboys lost to the expansion Houston Texans 19–10 on Week 1. By far the highlight of 2002 was on October 28, when during a home game against the Seattle Seahawks, Emmitt Smith broke the all-time NFL rushing record previously held by Walter Payton. Their Thanksgiving Day win over the Redskins was their 10th consecutive win against Washington. However, that was their final win of 2002: Dallas lost their next 4 games to finish with another last place 5–11 record. The losing streak was punctuated with a Week 17 20–14 loss against Washington. That game was Smith's last game as a Cowboys player: he was released during the offseason. Campo was immediately fired as head coach at the conclusion of the season.
Jones then lured Bill Parcells out of retirement to coach the Cowboys. The Cowboys became the surprise team of the 2003 season getting off to a hot 7–2 season, but went 3–4 for the rest of the season. They were able to win the division with a 10–6 record but lost in the Wild Card round to eventual conference champion Carolina Panthers 29–10.
In 2004 Dallas was unable to replicate their 2003 success, and ended 6–10. Quincy Carter was released during the preseason and was replaced at QB by Vinny Testaverde.
Dallas got off to a hot 7–3 start for the 2005 season but ended the season in 3rd place with a 9–7 record. Prior to the season starting the Cowboys signed veteran Drew Bledsoe as a quarterback.
2006 was an interesting year for the Cowboys. Prior to the season Dallas signed free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens who was talented yet controversial. The Cowboys started the season 3–2. During a week 7 matchup against the Giants Bledsoe, who had been struggling since the start of the season, was pulled from the game and was replaced by backup Tony Romo. Romo was unable to salvage that game and Dallas lost 38–22. However, Romo was named the starter for team and went 5–1 in his first 6 games. Dallas ended the season with a 9–7 2nd-place finish. They were able to clinch the number 5 playoff seed. They traveled to play Seattle where the Seahawks won 21–20. After the season Parcells retired and was replaced as head coach by Wade Phillips.
Dallas started off the 2007 season with a bang. They began the season with a 12–1 start, including winning their first five games. Their only loss during that time span came against New England, who went undefeated that season. Despite dropping two of their last three regular season games, the Cowboys clinched their first number 1 NFC seed in 12 years, which also granted them a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cowboys lost in the divisional round 21–17 to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
In the tumultuous 2008 season, the Cowboys started off strong, going 3–0 for the second straight year, en route to a 4–1 start. However, things soon went downhill from there, after quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken pinkie in an overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. With Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger playing as backups, Dallas went 1–2 during a three-game stretch. Romo's return showed promise, as Dallas went 3–0. However, injuries mounted during the season with the team losing several starters for the year, such as Kyle Kosier, Felix Jones, safety Roy Williams and punter Mat McBriar, and several other starters playing with injuries. Entering December, the 8–4 Cowboys underperformed, finishing 1–3. They failed to make the playoffs after losing at Philadelphia in the final regular season game which saw the Eagles reach the playoffs instead.
On May 2, 2009, the Dallas Cowboys' practice facility collapsed during a wind storm. The collapse left twelve Cowboys players and coaches injured. The most serious injuries were special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, who suffered fractured cervical vertebrae and had surgery to stabilize fractured vertebrae in his neck, and Rich Behm, the team's 33-year-old scouting assistant, who was permanently paralyzed from the waist down after his spine was severed.
The 2009 season started on a positive with a road win against Tampa Bay, but fortunes quickly changed as Dallas fell to a 2–2 start. In week five, with starting wide receiver Roy Williams sidelined by injury, receiver Miles Austin got his first start of the season and had a record setting day (250 yards receiving and 2 TDs) to help lead Dallas to an overtime win over Kansas City. Following their bye week, Dallas went on a three-game winning streak including wins over Atlanta and NFC East division rival Philadelphia. Despite entering December with a record of 8–3, Dallas lost its slim grip on 1st place in the division with losses to the New York Giants and San Diego. Talks of past December collapses resurfaced, and another collapse in 2009 seemed validated. However, the Dallas team surged in the final three weeks of the season with a 24–17 victory at the Superdome, ending New Orleans' previously unbeaten season in week 15. For the first time in franchise history, Dallas posted back-to-back shutouts when they beat division rivals Washington (17–0) and Philadelphia (24–0) to end the season. In the process, the Cowboys clinched their second NFC East title in three years as well as the third seed in the NFC Playoffs. Six days later, in the wild-card round of the playoffs, Dallas played the Eagles in a rematch of week 17. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles for the first Cowboys' post-season win since the 1996 season, ending a streak of six consecutive NFL post-season losses. Dallas ended their playoff run after a hard divisional playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
After beginning the 2010 season at 1–7, Phillips was fired as head coach and was replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as the interim head coach. The Cowboys finished the season 6–10.
With the 9th pick of the 1st round of the 2011 draft, the Cowboys selected USC tackle Tyron Smith.
To start the 2011 season the Cowboys played the New York Jets on a Sunday night primetime game in New York, on September 11, 2011. The Cowboys held the lead through most of the game, until a fumble, blocked punt, and interception led to the Jets coming back to win the game. In week 2 Dallas traveled to San Francisco to play the 49ers. In the middle of the 2nd quarter, while the Cowboys trailed 10–7, Tony Romo suffered a rib injury and was replaced by Jon Kitna. Kitna threw 1 Touchdown and 2 interceptions until Romo returned in the 3rd quarter as Dallas trailed 17–7. Romo then threw 3 touchdown passes to Miles Austin as the Cowboys rallied to send the game into overtime. On the Cowboys opening possession after 49ers punt, Romo found WR Jesse Holley on a 78-yard pass, which set up the game winning field goal by rookie kicker Dan Bailey.
Dallas ended the season 8–8. They were in a position to win the NFC East but lost to the Giants in a Week 17 primetime Sunday Night game on NBC which allowed New York to win the division. The Giants would go on to win Super Bowl XLVI.
The Cowboys started off the 2012 season on a high note by defeating the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants 24–17 on the opening night of the season. They would hover around the .500 mark for the majority of the season. They lost a close Week 6 game to eventual Super Bowl XXVII Champion Baltimore Ravens 31–29 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Going into Week 17 they found themselves once again one win away from winning the division. Standing in their way was the Redskins who had beat them on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium and whom were also one win away from their first division title since 1999. Led by Robert Griffin III the Redskins defeated the Cowboys at home 28-18. Dallas once again finished the season 8–8.
In the 2013 season Dallas started off by defeating the Giants for the second straight year this time 36–31. It was the first time since AT&T Stadium had opened back in 2009 that the Cowboys were able to defeat New York at home. The win was punctuated by Brandon Carr returning an Eli Manning interception to a touchdown late in the 4th quarter.
For the third straight year Dallas once again found themselves stuck in the .500 area. In Week 5, they lost a shootout to eventual AFC Champion Denver Broncos 51–48. They battled it out with Philadelphia for control of the division throughout the season. In December however they lost 2 crucial back to back games to Chicago and Green Bay. They were very successful in division games having a 5–0 division record heading into another Week 17 showdown for the NFC East crown against the Eagles. That included beating Washington 24–23 on Week 16 thanks to late game heroics of Tony Romo. However Romo received a severe back injury in that game which prematurely ended his season. The Cowboys called upon backup QB Kyle Orton to lead them into battle on the final week of the season. Orton was unsuccessful who threw a game ending interception to the Eagles which allowed Philly to win 24–22. Dallas ended the year at 8–8 for the third year in a row. The only difference of this 8–8 ending compared to the others was that Dallas ended the season in second place compared to the 2 previous 3rd-place finishes.
To start off the 2014 season Dallas began by losing to San Francisco 28–17. After that they went on a 6-game winning streak. The highlight of this streak was defeating the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field 30–23. In Week 8, the Redskins won in overtime 20–17, and Romo's back became once again injured. He missed next week, a home loss to the Arizona Cardinals 28–17 with backup QB Brandon Weeden. Romo returnedin Week 9 to lead a 31–17 victory of the Jacksonville Jaguars which was played at Wembley Stadium in London, England as part of the NFL International Series.
Dallas played into their traditional Thanksgiving home game, this time against division rival Philadelphia. Both teams were vying for first place in the division with identical 8–3 records. The Eagles got off to a fast start and the Cowboys were unable to catch up, losing 33–10. They would rebound the next week where on the road Thursday night game they defeated Chicago 41–28 for their 9th win of the year to clinch their first winning season since 2009. This was the first time that Dallas played on back to back Thursdays. Week 15 was a rematch against 1st place Philadelphia. This time it was the Cowboys who got off to a fast start going up 21–0. Then the Eagles put up 24 answered points but Dallas came back to win 38–27 to go into first place for the first time in the season and improve to 10–4. Going into their Week 16 matchup at home against Indianapolis, Dallas was in a position to clinch their first division title since 2009 by defeating the Colts thanks to the Eagles losing that week to the Redskins. They would not disappoint as they blew out the Colts 42–7 to become the 2014 NFC East Champions, eliminating the Eagles from the playoffs. Dallas would end the regular season with a 12–4 record and an 8–0 away record when they won on the road against Washington 44–17. They would also finish December 4–0 which was huge for the Cowboys since they had struggled in the recent years in the month of December.
On January 4, 2015, the Cowboys, as the number 3 seed, hosted the number 6 seed Detroit Lions in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs. In the game, the Lions got off to a hot start, going up 14–0 in the first quarter. Dallas initially struggled on both sides of the ball. However, towards the end of the second quarter Romo threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams. Matt Prater of the Lions would kick a field goal before halftime to go up 17–7. Dallas came out swinging to start the second half by picking off Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford on the first play of the third quarter. However, the Cowboys failed to capitalize on the turnover, as Dan Bailey missed a field goal during Dallas's ensuing drive. Detroit then kicked another field goal to make the score 20–7. A DeMarco Murray touchdown later in that quarter closed the gap to 20–14. A 51-yard Bailey field goal almost 3 minutes into the fourth quarter trimmed the Cowboys' deficit to 3. The Lions got the ball back and started driving down the field. On 3rd down-and-1 of that Lions drive, Stafford threw a 17-yard pass intended for Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, but the ball hit Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens in the back a fraction of a second before he ran into Pettigrew. The play was initially flagged as defensive pass interference against Hitchens. However, the penalty was then nullified by the officiating crew. The Cowboys got the ball back on their 41-yard line and had a successful 59-yard drive which was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Romo to Williams to give the Cowboys their first lead of the game at 24–20. The Lions got the ball back with less than 2:30 to play in regulation. Stafford fumbled the ball at the 2 minute mark. The fumble was recovered by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who then fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Lions. Lawrence would redeem himself by sacking Stafford on a 4th down-and-3 play. The sack led to Stafford fumbling the ball again, which Lawrence recovered to seal the game for the Cowboys, who won 24–20. This was the first time in franchise playoff history that Dallas had been down by 10 or more points at halftime and rallied to win the game. The following week, the Cowboys traveled to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin to play the Packers in the divisional round. Despite having a 14–7 halftime lead, the Cowboys fell to the Packers 26–21, thus ending their season. The season ended on an overturned call of a completed catch by Dez Bryant. The catch was challenged by the Packers, and the referees overturned the call because of the "Calvin Johnson rule."
During the 2015 offseason the Cowboys allowed running back DeMarco Murray to become a free agent. Murray signed with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. On July 15 wide receiver Dez Bryant signed a 5-year, $70 million contract.
At home against the New York Giants, Dallas won 27–26. Dez Bryant left the game early with a fractured bone in his foot. On the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, Romo suffered a broken left collarbone, the same one he injured in 2010, and Brandon Weeden replaced him. Dallas won 20–10 to begin the season 2–0, but then went on a seven-game losing streak. Dallas finished the season 4–12 and last in their division.
After a preseason injury to Tony Romo, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was slated as the starting quarterback, as Romo was expected to be out 6-8 weeks. In game 1 against the New York Giants, Dallas lost 20–19. After this loss, Dallas would go on an eleven game winning streak. After much speculation leading to a potential quarterback controversy, Romo made an announcement that Prescott has earned the right to take over as Cowboys quarterback.
In game 10, Romo suited up for the first time this season and was the backup quarterback. Dallas defeated the Baltimore Ravens to win their 9th straight game, breaking a franchise record of 8 straight games set in 1977. It also marked rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott breaking Tony Dorsett's single season rushing record for a Cowboys rookie. Prescott also tied an NFL rookie record held by Russell Wilson and Dan Marino by throwing multiple touchdowns in 5 straight games. Dallas finished 13–3, tying their best 16-game regular season record. While Dallas defeated Green Bay at Lambeau Field in week 6, the Packers would win at AT&T Stadium in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs on a last-second field goal, ending their season.
Dak Prescott was named NFL Rookie of the Year in the NFL honors on February 4, 2017, and Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing yards. Both Prescott and Elliott made the 2017 Pro Bowl. This is the first time the Cowboys sent two rookies to the Pro Bowl.
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