As one of the most storied franchises in NFL history, the Dallas Cowboys have seen their fair share of exceptional talent grace the gridiron. From their inception in 1960, the Cowboys have established themselves as perennial contenders, earning numerous playoff appearances and capturing an impressive collection of Super Bowl titles.
This article pays tribute to the top ten all-time Dallas Cowboys players, highlighting their extraordinary contributions, remarkable statistics, memorable playoff runs, and Super Bowl triumphs. These players have left an indelible mark on the franchise’s history, etching their names among the legends of the star.
1. Roger Staubach (QB, 1969-1979)
Nicknamed “Captain America,” Roger Staubach’s impact on the Cowboys’ success cannot be overstated. A master of clutch performances, Staubach led the Cowboys to five Super Bowl appearances, winning two of them (Super Bowls VI and XII). His ability to lead dramatic comebacks and make game-changing plays earned him six Pro Bowl selections, and he was awarded the Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl VI.
2. Emmitt Smith (RB, 1990-2002)
Emmitt Smith is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher and the cornerstone of the Cowboys’ famed “Triplets” era. Smith’s powerful running style and exceptional durability resulted in an illustrious career with Dallas. He amassed an astonishing 18,355 rushing yards and scored 164 rushing touchdowns, leading the Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories (Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX). Smith earned eight Pro Bowl selections and was named the Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XXVIII.
3. Troy Aikman (QB, 1989-2000)
Troy Aikman was the field general during the Cowboys’ dominant run in the 1990s. With exceptional accuracy and poise, he led the team to three Super Bowl titles (Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX) and was named the Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XXVII. Aikman’s leadership and ability to deliver in crucial moments earned him six Pro Bowl selections and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
4. Bob Lilly (DL, 1961-1974)
Regarded as one of the greatest defensive linemen in NFL history, Bob Lilly was the anchor of the Cowboys’ defense for 14 seasons. Known for his relentless pursuit of quarterbacks and exceptional agility, Lilly was a dominant force in the trenches. He earned 11 Pro Bowl selections, was named a first-team All-Pro seven times, and played a crucial role in the Cowboys’ appearance in Super Bowl V.
5. Michael Irvin (WR, 1988-1999)
Michael Irvin’s impact extended beyond his exceptional on-field performances. As one of the most dynamic receivers in Cowboys history, Irvin played a vital role in the team’s three Super Bowl victories (Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX). Known for his fiery personality and clutch catches, he earned five Pro Bowl selections and accumulated numerous franchise records, solidifying his status as a Dallas legend.
6. Larry Allen (OL, 1994-2005)
Considered one of the most dominant offensive linemen in NFL history, Larry Allen was a powerhouse presence on the Cowboys’ line. His remarkable strength and athleticism allowed him to overpower defenders and protect his quarterbacks with ease. Allen earned 11 Pro Bowl selections and was named a first-team All-Pro seven times during his tenure in Dallas.
7. Randy White (DT, 1975-1988)
Nicknamed the “Manster” for his combination of speed, agility, and power, Randy White was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. A tenacious tackler and pass rusher, White won the Super Bowl XII MVP and anchored the Cowboys’ defense during their victory over the Denver Broncos. He earned nine Pro Bowl selections, received the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1978, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
8. Mel Renfro (CB, 1964-1977)
Mel Renfro’s versatility and exceptional ball skills made him one of the greatest defensive backs in Cowboys history. Renfro earned 10 Pro Bowl selections and was known for his ability to make game-changing interceptions. He played a crucial role in the Cowboys’ Super Bowl VI victory and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
9. Tony Dorsett (RB, 1977-1987)
Tony Dorsett’s electrifying speed and agility made him a nightmare for opposing defenses. He played a vital role in the Cowboys’ victory in Super Bowl XII and accumulated over 12,000 rushing yards during his tenure in Dallas. Dorsett earned four Pro Bowl selections, was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1977, and secured a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
10. DeMarcus Ware (LB, 2005-2013)
DeMarcus Ware was a dominant force on the Cowboys’ defense for nearly a decade. Known for his explosive pass-rushing ability and relentless pursuit of quarterbacks, Ware accumulated a franchise-record 117 sacks during his time in Dallas. He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and is widely regarded as one of the greatest pass rushers in NFL history.
- Don Meredith (QB)
- Drew Pearson (WR)
- Cliff Harris (S)
- Darren Woodson (S)
- Harvey Martin (DE)
The Dallas Cowboys’ rich history is filled with legendary players who have achieved remarkable success on the gridiron. From Super Bowl victories to record-breaking performances, these ten players have left an indelible mark on the franchise. As the epitome of excellence, they embody the star on the Cowboys’ helmet and continue to inspire future generations of football players and fans alike.