The Dallas Cowboys are an American football team that plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The team plays its home games at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth which finished construction in time for the 2009 season. The Cowboys joined the NFL as a 1960 expansion team.
The team’s national following might best be represented by its NFL record of consecutive home sell-outs. The Cowboys’ streak of 160 sold-out regular and post-season games began in 1990, and included 79 straight sellouts at their former home, Texas Stadium, and 81 straight sell-outs on the road. The franchise shares the record for most Super Bowl appearances (8) with the Pittsburgh Steelers, corresponding to most NFC championships (8). The Cowboys are the only NFL team to record 20 consecutive winning seasons (1966/1985), in which they only missed the playoffs twice (1974 and 1984), an NFL record that remains unbroken and unchallenged. It remains one of the longest winning streaks in all of professional sports.
An article from Forbes Magazine, dated September 2, 2009, lists the Cowboys as the highest valued sports franchise in the history of the United States, and second in the world (behind Manchester United of the English Premier League ), with an estimated value of approximately $ 1.65 billion, above the Washington Redskins ($ 1.5 billion) and the New England Patriots ($ 1.361 billion). They are also the wealthiest team in the NFL, generating almost $ 269 million in annual revenue.
Danny White became the Cowboys’ starting quarterback in 1980 after quarterback Roger Staubach retired. White led the Cowboys to the playoffs five times and won two Division Championships. However, despite playing in the NFC Championship Game three consecutive years (1980/1982), the Cowboys did not reach the Super Bowl during the 1980s. In 1984, H.R. “Bum” Bright purchased the Dallas Cowboys from Clint Murchison, Jr. As the Cowboys suffered through progressively poorer seasons (from 10/6 in 1985 to 7/9 in 1986, 7/8 in 1987, and 3/13 in 1988), 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 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. 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.
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, but missed the Super Bowl by losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, 38/28. In 1995, Jones lured All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders away from San Francisco, and Dallas once again posted a 12/4 regular season record. The Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27/17 at Sun Devil Stadium in Super Bowl XXX for their fifth world championship. Switzer joined Johnson as the only coaches to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl.
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