This list is about “America's Team.” No, not the Denver Broncos, we are talking about the “America's real Team,” the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have a rich history in the National Football League, with the franchise winning five Super Bowls and reaching the big game eight times, a record they share only with the Pittsburgh Steelers. One can argue the Dallas Cowboys are the greatest franchise in the history of professional football. You don’t get the title of “America's Team” if you're not. However, a franchise is only as good as the players that play for it and to succeed as much as the Cowboys have it takes great players, not just good players.
This list looks at the top 15 Cowboys of all time. The list consists of long tenured Cowboys, with players having to have played five or more seasons with the organization. Some of these players may not be anywhere near the top 15 in league history, but these players contributed a great amount to the Cowboys and helped them win numerous championships and games. However, most on the list are Super Bowl champions and tht does play a factor on how high they're ranked. That doesn’t mean players without a ring didn’t make the cut, as career stats are also a big factor in there rank. Before we start, we'd like to apologize to Tony Romo, as Jason Witten isn’t the greatest Cowboy of all time, although he made the list and that should bring a smile to his face and maybe some Cowboys tickets my way… I guess that's wishful thinking.
15 Tony Romo
If this list was for the most scrutinized Cowboy of all time, Tony Romo would be number one. Hate him or love him he has earned his spot on this list and, with his numbers improving every year, he might even make the top ten when it's all said and done. Romo is the Cowboys all time career leader in passing touchdowns with 222, he has 26 4th quarter comebacks/game winning drives (also a franchise record), and he’s second to only Aikman for all time passing yards (a mark he should pass by the end of the year). He also has an NFL record for most consecutive road games with at least one touchdown (36).
14 Lee Roy Jordan
Lee Roy Jordan was one of the smallest linebackers in the league at only 6’-1’ and 215 pounds. However what he lacked in siz,e he made up for with talent. Jordan ranks second in Cowboys history with 743 solo tackles, second in assisted tackles 493 and second in combined tackles with 1,236. His 32 career interceptions ranks seventh in franchise history. He has a Super Bowl ring, was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and is also a member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
13 Rayfield Wright
Rayfield Wright was a dominant offensive lineman and if not for Larry Allen, he would be the best offensive line man to ever play for the Cowboys. Wright won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys and played in five. He’s part of the 1970s All Decade Team, he’s a six-time pro bowler and four-time First team All Pro selection. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. That's a pretty solid resume.
12 Jason Witten
Jason Witten is number one in Tony Romo’s eyes, yet in reality, he's note all that close. Nevertheless, Witten has been the most consistent player for the Cowboys in this past decade and that has led to him putting up great stats and finding himself with numerous Cowboys and NFL records. His 902 receptions is a Cowboys record and he also has the Cowboys record for most reception in a game with 18 (also an NFL record for a tight end) His 110 receptions in 2012 is also an NFL record for a tight end. Witten is second all time in career receptions and receiving yards by a tight end. He may be the greatest tight end in Cowboys history, but he's certainly not their best player. That being said, he's been an incredible player for the Cowboys.
11 Darren Woodson
Darren Woodson doesn’t get as much respect as he deserves becuase he’s not in the Hall of Fame nor part of the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Even though he doesn't have those accolades, he still put up great numbers and that’s what placed him on this list. Woodson is a three time Super Bowl champion, he is the Cowboys franchise leader in tackles with 135 and he’s a five-time pro bowler. A great career and one of the greatest safeties in Cowboys history.
10 DeMarcus Ware
Many will be skeptical of this entry being so high on the list, but DeMarcus Ware was the Cowboys' most dominant player for the last decade. Though he doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring, he has made his mark on the Cowboys history books. Ware is the all time franchise leader in sacks (117) and forced fumbles (32), he is a seven-time Pro Bowler, former defensive player of the year, and a two time sacks leader. He was also voted to the 2000s All Decade Team and is a member of the 100 Sack Club. Hard to argue with that kind of a resume.
9 Mel Renfro
Mel Renfro is the best defensive back to ever put on a Cowboys uniform. The talented defensive back is the Cowboys all time leader in interceptions with 52, is a two time Super Bowl champion and ten-time Pro Bowler. Renfro was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1981.
8 Randy White
Randy White, nicknamed “The Manster,” is a Super Bowl champion and was awarded Co- Super Bowl MVP (XII), making him the only defensive tackle ever to be named Super Bowl MVP. White is part of the 1980s All Decade Team, is a nine-time Pro Bowler, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is a member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor. With a nickname like "The Manster," how could he not be in the top 10?
7 Tony Dorsett
Tony Dorsett was a remarkably talented running back (NFL record 99 yard rushing TD) and if it weren’t for Emmit Smith, he would be considered the greatest running back to ever play for the Cowboys. Dorsett is a one-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Pro Bowler, former offensive rookie of the year, and is eighth on the list of all time leading rushers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame and is a member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
6 Larry Allen
Larry Allen is arguably the greatest lineman to ever play for the Cowboys. He is credited for opening holes for Emmith Smith and protecting Troy Aikman, two huge tasks. He is a Super Bowl champion, eleven-time Pro Bowler, seven time All Pro, and is part of 1990s and 2000s All Decade Team. Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and is also a member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
5 Michael Irvin
Michael Irvin, who self proclaimed himself “The Playmaker,” is the Cowboys all time leader in receiving yards with 11,904. He is a three-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and is part of the 1990s All decade Team. He also holds the single season record of eleven 100 yard games. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
4 Bob Lilly
Bob Lilly was the first player ever drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, generously nicknamed “Mr. Cowboy,” as he was the cornerstone of the legendary Doomsday Defense. He’s a Super Bowl champion, an eleven-time Pro Bowler and part of the 1960s and 1970s All Decade Team, as well as the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All Time Team. He was the first player to be inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1975.
3 Troy Aikman
Troy Aikman is number three on the list, however, he could have easily been number one on this list. He’s a three-time Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP (XXXVII). Aikman stands alone as the Cowboys all time leader in passing yards with 32,942, he’s a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2005. It's a wonderful problem for the Cowboys, that their 3rd best player of all time, would easily be 1st for half the franchises in the NFL.
2 Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach comes in at number two and can arguably be in the number one spot, just like Aikman. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP (VI) and a part of the NFL 1970s All Decade Team. Staubach is also the first of four players to have won the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP, a pretty great feat. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
1 Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith isn’t just the NFL’s all time career rushing leader, he is also the greatest Cowboy of all time. Smith is a three-time Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP (XXVIII), NFL MVP, and a part of the NFL 1990s All Decade Team. Furthermore, he has three NFL rushing records; career rushing yards (18,355), career rushing touchdowns (164) and career 100 yard games (78). He is also the Cowboys all-time leading rusher with 17,162 yards, a mark that may never be broken. He’s a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2005.