10 Greatest Dallas Cowboys Teams of All Time

Nine of the teams on this list played for the NFL championship

The Dallas Cowboys were founded in 1960 as the first modern NFL expansion team. It took the franchise seven seasons to put together a team with a winning record, but it has made up for it since then.

 

The Cowboys hold the NFL's all-time best winning percentage at .574 and have the most playoff appearances with 33. They are also the only franchise in NFL history to be valued at more than $5 billion.

 

With this type of pedigree, Dallas has fielded many great teams over its relatively short history. Here are the 10 best.

 

10. 1966

Finished: Lost to Green Bay Packers 34-27 in NFL Championship

Regular Season Record: 10-3-1

The first Dallas Cowboys team to ever post a winning record won the Eastern Conference to earn a berth in the NFL title game. There, quarterback Don Meredith and company came up short in a shootout with the defending champion Green Bay Packers.

 

9. 1981

Finished: Lost to San Francisco 49ers 28-27 in NFC Championship Game

Regular Season Record: 12-4

The Cowboys went to three straight NFC Championship Games from 1980-82 and the team that closest to winning was the '81 squad. If not for "The Catch" and San Francisco cornerback Eric Wright’s tackle of Dallas receiver Drew Pearson on the ensuing drive, the Cowboys might have won another Super Bowl.

 

8. 1970

Finished: Lost to Baltimore Colts 16-13 in Super Bowl V

Regular Season Record: 10-4

Dallas won its fifth straight division title and held its two conference playoff opponents to a total of 10 points to earn its first trip to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys then came up short in a hard-hitting game best remembered for its high number of turnovers.

 

7. 1975

Finished: Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers 21-17 in Super Bowl X

Regular Season Record: 10-4

The Cowboys became the first wild card to advance to the Super Bowl thanks to the famous "Hail Mary" play against the Minnesota Vikings and a beatdown of the Los Angeles Rams in the conference title game. The amazing run ended when the Pittsburgh Steelers scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl X to clinch the victory.

 

6. 1978

Finished: Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers 35-31 in Super Bowl XIII

Regular Season Record: 12-4

The defending Super Bowl champion outscored its opponents by 11 points en route to facing the Steelers in the first rematch in Super Bowl history. Once again, Dallas came up short to Pittsburgh in what was the best Super Bowl ever played up to that point.

 

5. 1971

Finished: Beat Miami Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI

Regular Season Record: 11-3

The Cowboys had a quarterback controversy between Roger Staubach and Craig Morton during its first seven games and went 4-3. Then head coach Tom Landry went with Staubach permanently and the Cowboys won their last 10 games to take home the first title to the Big D in four tries.

 

4. 1995

Finished: Beat Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Under head coach Barry Switzer, Dallas became the first team to win their third Lombardi Trophy in four years. They also beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl for the first time in three tries.

 

3. 1977

Finished: Beat Denver Broncos 27-10 in Super Bowl XII

Regular Season Record: 12-2

Playoff Seed: No. 1

The last team to win in the 14-game season and the pre-"Mel Blount Rule Era" did so in dominant fashion. The Cowboys beat all three of their playoff opponents by at least 17 points en route to Dallas' second Super Bowl win.

 

2. 1993

Finished: Beat Buffalo Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Dallas started the season 0-2 while running back Emmitt Smith sat out over a contract dispute. The Cowboys signed him before Week 3 and went on to win their second straight Super Bowl. My belief is that if Smith had started the season with the Cowboys, this would be the best team in Dallas history.

 

1. 1992

Finished: Beat Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII

Regular Season Record: 13-3

The Cowboys went from 1-15 to Super Bowl champs in a span of four seasons, thanks to head coach Jimmy Johnson’s eye for talent and the Herschel Walker trade. Powered by a defense ranked first in total yards, Dallas upset San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game and then blew out Buffalo in the Super Bowl. This team launched one of the most dominant runs in NFL history.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

 

(Top photo courtesy of www.dallascowboys.com)

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