It is time once again for Football Season. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I have pondered the idea of coming up with my All-Time Cowboys Team. Just like creating a list, forming an all-time team can require much needed time and effort as well. There have been so many great players in the history of this great franchise, and I have to come to the realization that some players that I like have to be left off of the starting lineup. It requires research. The players who have accomplished the most and have spent the most time in Dallas have the best chance of making the starting team. Sometimes, it can be like pulling teeth. When creating an all-time team, you also want to look at who can have the best chemistry.
Now, it is time to reveal my All-Time Dallas Cowboys Team:
QB: Roger Staubach
This was a very tight race between Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. However, I have to go with Captain Comeback as my Quarterback for an All-Time Dallas Cowboys Team. The level of Importance that Roger brings to that franchise speaks volumes. Staubach was arguably the best QB of the 70’s, as he won two Super Bowls and was the starter in four appearances. Troy may hold more franchise records, but Staubach had a more consistent style of play. He had more mobility than Aikman and carried more weight for the Offense. Roger was a harder assignment for the Defense than Troy. I have always been torn between the two, but Staubach has the edge in terms of impact for the team.
Backup: Troy Aikman
RB: Emmitt Smith
What else needs to be said? Emmitt Smith was the face of the Dallas Cowboys during his generation. He was the engine for that machine to run. Smith may have had the Great Wall of Dallas as his Offensive Line, but he had the vision and skills that it took to make the most of the opportunities that were presented to him. His consistency, endurance, vision and work ethic are what made him such a driving force among the NFL. His accolades speak for themselves. All-Time Leading Rusher (18,355), four rushing titles (’91, ’92, ’93, ’95) and winner of Super Bowl MVP. Emmitt has the most iron-clad case of any other Cowboys Running Back in History. Tony Dorsett was great, but he falls short.
Backup: Tony Dorsett
FB: Daryl Johnston
I chose “Moose” because he was the perfect fit for Emmitt Smith in the backfield during their Super Bowl dominance. The chemistry that they had together was amazing. There were others like Walt Garrison and Robert Newhouse who may have been more versatile, but Johnston had that physicality that I look for to build this Cowboys running game.
Backup: Robert Newhouse
WR: Michael Irvin
“The Playmaker” Michael Irvin was the heart of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 90’s. His passion for the game helped to motivate his teammates. Michael to this day is still considered the Greatest Wide Receiver in Cowboys History as he retired as the team leader in Receptions, Receiving Yards and Touchdowns. His 750 Receptions are the most by any Cowboys Receiver. He also proved to be one of the greatest postseason Receivers ever with 100 yards in six of his 16 playoff games. In time, Dez Bryant will make a strong case as a Top 2 Dallas WR.
Backup: Dez Bryant
WR: Drew Pearson
Drew Pearson was the original 88. Bob Hayes may be in the Hall of Fame while Pearson is not, but Drew was the better choice in a standard formation of receivers. Pearson has 118 more catches than Hayes and was more synonymous as Roger Staubach’s target in the 70’s. Drew made very memorable clutch plays to help Dallas achieve success during that Era as he was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 70’s. He played a huge role in the Cowboys Super Bowl run in 1977.
Backup: Tony Hill
Tight End: Jason Witten
Dallas has had a history of great Tight Ends. From Mike Ditka, Billy Joe Dupree to Jay Novacek. However, Jason Witten has rewritten the Cowboys record book for Tight Ends. Jason is the Cowboys all-time leader in Receptions with 943. He has also made 10 Pro Bowls and has to be the most respected player on the current Cowboys Roster. A place in Canton is waiting for him.
Backup: Jay Novacek
Offensive Tackle: Rayfield Wright
Rayfield Wright was the first great Offensive Linemen in Cowboys History. Wright made six straight Pro Bowls from 1971 to 1976, as he was All-Pro in three of those years. He was a major part of that first Super Bowl team. Roger Staubach can thank him for keeping him on his feet on his way to the HOF.
Backup: Mark Tuinei
Offensive Tackle: Erik Williams
Next to Rayfield Wright, I will have Erik Williams on my Offensive Line. Williams was a special player on that outstanding Offensive Line that protected Emmitt Smith like Secret Service Agents protecting the President. At one time, Williams was the best offensive left tackle in the NFL. He knew how to stand his ground, whether he was faced Reggie White or an unknown rookie. After he helped anchor the Cowboys Offense in back to back Super Bowls, Erik’s career was interrupted by a car accident in 1994. However, he still made three Pro Bowls afterward.
Backup: Flozell Adams
Offensive Guard: Larry Allen
Larry Allen has to be regarded as one of, if not the most dominant guard in NFL History. When you talk about all-time great Dallas Cowboys, Larry Allen has to be in the conversation. You could very well consider him as the strongest player ever after bench pressing 700 pounds. Along with a Super Bowl Trophy, Larry made 11 Pro Bowls. He is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Backup: Ralph Neely
Offensive Guard: Nate Newton
Along with Williams, Nate Newton was one of the massive bricks that made the Great Wall of Dallas that protected the prolific Cowboys Offense. Newton made six Pro Bowls and two All-Pro Teams during his Career. He was an essential piece of the puzzle in the success of the Cowboys.
Backup: John Niland
Center: Mark Stepnoski
Mark Stepnoski was a very smart player. He may have lacked the size of the other linemen, but he made up for it with the way that he used leverage to open holes. That is a quality that is needed for any offensive line. Mark was part of the back to back Super Bowl wins in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII.
Backup: Andre Gurode
Defensive End: Ed “Too Tall” Jones
One of the most recognizable Cowboys in History for his 6’9″ frame, Ed “Too Tall” Jones was a giant order of business for the Doomsday Defense in the 70’s. It seems like this was the most loaded position in Dallas (Harvey Martin, Jim Jeffcoat, etc). Too Tall starts on this team because of how great he was at knocking down passes. Jones played 15 seasons with three Pro Bowl appearances.
Backup: Jim Jeffcoat
Defensive End: Harvey Martin
This was a tough selection, but I have to give the nod to Harvey. Charles Haley is more recognizable to the modern fan because he won three Super Bowls in the 90’s, but his career in Dallas only lasted five seasons. Harvey Martin spent his entire 11-year Career in Dallas. Martin was a 4-time Pro Bowl Selection, Defensive Player of the Year (1977) and Co-Super Bowl MVP (XII w/Randy White).
Backup: Charles Haley
Defensive Tackle: Bob Lilly
One of the best front seven players in NFL History next to Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor, and Deacon Jones. Bob Lilly is forever known as “Mr. Cowboy”. He made 11 Pro Bowls and was the anchor of the early version of the Cowboys “Doomsday Defense”. Bob’s pass rushing brilliance is much needed in order for any defense to be great.
Backup: La’Roi Glover
Defensive Tackle: Randy White
When Bob Lilly retired from the NFL after the 1974 Season, Randy White took over to pick up the torch that Lilly left. White was known as the “Manster” half-man, half-monster. Not only did Randy possess the necessary strength for the position, but he is also regarded for how incredibly quick he was. He even ran down an Eagles wide receiver. White made nine straight Pro Bowls from 1977 to 1985. It is only fitting that White and Lilly line up next to each other on the Defensive Line.
Backup: Jethro Pugh
Outside Linebacker: DeMarcus Ware
DeMarcus Ware has played a very significant part for the Dallas Cowboys in the Y2K Era, as he has been the best 3-4 OLB in the entire league. Traditionally, almost all other outside linebackers in Cowboys History have been 4-3 OLBs. DeMarcus has been able to redefine and reshape what it means to play Outside Linebacker for the Cowboys. During his nine-year tenure in Dallas, Ware has recorded 117 Sacks in 141 games with seven Pro Bowls. Ware’s reach, cat-like speed, and reflexes create nightmares for the opposing offense.
Backup: Ken Norton, Jr.
Outside Linebacker: Chuck Howley
Chuck Howley earned first-team All-Pro honors in five straight seasons. He is also the only player in NFL History to win the Super Bowl MVP on a losing team (Super Bowl V).
Backup: Dexter Coakley
Middle Linebacker: Lee Roy Jordan
In an Era with the likes of Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke, Lee Roy Jordan found a way to shine in his own way. He was one of the team’s most outstanding performers in team history as the leader of the Cowboys linebacker corps. Jordan made five Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl and was amazing in coverage. No better choice at Linebacker for this team than Lee Roy Jordan.
Backup: Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson
Cornerback: Mel Renfro
When you think about the greatest Cowboys Cornerbacks, Mel Renfro was in a league of his own. He made 10 Straight Pro-Bowls and was a nightmare with his coverage, whether it was short coverage or deep. Renfro enjoyed the entire run of Doomsday Dominance as he was a member of both Super Bowl teams (1971, 1977).
Backup: Kevin Smith
Cornerback: Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders was the quintessential Cornerback of his generation, and his years in Dallas were very noteworthy. Prime Time had great psychology to match with his unbelievable athleticism. Jerry Jones was highly impressed with Deion’s coverage of Michael Irvin during the 1994 NFC Championship game when the 49ers kept the Cowboys from winning their third straight Super Bowl. Following that performance, Sanders was signed to the Cowboys in the offseason after his time in San Francisco came to an end. Deion was the perfect piece that Dallas needed when star Cornerback Kevin Smith went down with an injury. Neon Deion enjoyed a remarkable five-year run in Dallas, as it is considered to be the most recognizable point of his career. Sanders helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XXX while catching 14 Interceptions during his career in Dallas. He made the Pro Bowl four out of those five seasons.
Backup: Everson Walls
Free Safety: Cliff Harris
Cliff Harris was one of the staples for the Secondary of the Cowboys Defense in the 70’s. Harris made six straight Pro Bowls and was a member of both Super Bowl teams in that decade. His Coverman/Hitter Combo will create great success for this secondary.
Backup: Cornell Green
Strong Safety: Darren Woodson
Darren Woodson is the Cowboys All-Time Leader in Tackles. He was one of the most consistent defenders in team history with his physicality and competitive drive. Darren was a sharp defender, with hits similar to a linebacker. Woodson was one of the top Safeties of his generation as he won three Super Bowls while making five Pro Bowls.
Backup: Charlie Waters
Kicker: Dan Bailey
Punter: Matt McBriar
Returner: Bob Hayes
For the sake of this being about all-time Cowboys, Bob Hayes gets the edge. Hayes was the fastest player in the NFL during his time, as he averaged 25.3 yards per kick return.
Vaughn Resper Jr.
Spark Sports NFL Analyst