It’s been 20 long years since the Cowboys played in a Super Bowl. Crazy that college sophomores from DFW – and everyone younger – have never experienced the joy, the hype and the excitement of America’s Team in the NFL’s biggest game.
I was fortunate to attend three of the five Cowboys’ Super Bowl wins as a writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The other two I watched on TV and remember – both times – my parents letting me miss school the ensuing Monday because it was a “Cowboys holiday.”
Since it’s been so long – and because we’re just not that amped about Panthers-Broncos – let’s dig the Cowboys’ Super Bowl wins out of the moth balls and rank ‘em. I know, it’s a task akin to a mother singling out a favorite among her five children. But, if we’re honest, we judge – and rank – everything.
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Even though they’re ultimately the same, sometimes yesterday’s hamburger just tasted better than today’s. Or vice-versa. Maybe it was the extra mustard. Maybe a different bun. Or perhaps it was just the gap between trips to the same burger joint that enhanced the taste. So, even though we all have about five identical pairs hanging in the closet, let’s slip into our favorite blue jeans and remember the Cowboys in the Super Bowl by finding our favorite.
There are five of ‘em. And they each represent the same thing – a championship season. But for different reasons and personal preferences, some are better than others.
5. XXVIII 1993 Cowboys 30, Bills 13 – About as ho-hum as a Super Bowl can get, it was another expected blowout over another overmatched Bills’ team in the wake of Dallas’ bigger victory over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. The Cowboys actually trailed at halftime, but dominated the second half, 24-0, by simply handing the ball to Emmitt Smith.
4. XII 1977 Cowboys 27, Broncos 10 – Beating former teammate Craig Morton and Denver’s hyped “Orange Crush” defense was satisfying, but topping a hapless opponent that committed eight turnovers hardly felt super. The sloppy Cowboys committed 12 penalties, two turnovers and allowed Roger Staubach to be sacked five times – and still won in a blowout. By far Dallas’ worst-played championship.
3. XXX 1995 Cowboys 27, Steelers 17 – Finally, the Cowboys exacted revenge from the hated rival that twice beat them in ‘70s’ Super Bowls. That in itself made this one memorable. But, honestly, the sensation was a tad dulled by Barry Switzer’s coaching, Larry Brown’s MVP and a hint that the dynasty was coming to an end. In retrospect, we should’ve enjoyed this one more at the time.
2. XXVII 1992 Cowboys 52, Bills 17 – A 15-year wait for another title was worth it as Garth Brooks and Michael Jackson performed at the Rose Bowl. Troy Aikman threw five touchdown passes and only Leon Lett’s premature celebration prevented Dallas for setting a Super Bowl record for most points scored.
1. VI 1971 Cowboys 24, Dolphins 3 – There’s always a special place in your heart for your first love, and Super Bowl. Devastating title-game losses to the Packers were finally erased by a dominating defense and Bob Lilly’s epic 29-yard sack of Bob Griese. "Next Year's Champions" no more. The feeling was 70 percent joy, 30 percent relief and 100 percent wonderful.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.