SUPER BOWL XXX CHAMPION 1995 DALLAS COWBOYS

One year after the San Francisco 49ers won a record fifth Super Bowl the Dallas Cowboys equaled that feat. The hardest pill to swallow for Dallas was the lost chance to 3-peat when the 49ers dethroned them in Candlestick Park that January day in the NFC Championship.

sbxxx3Ironically that 38-28 loss was easily one of the greatest games in Cowboys history.  During their championship years they had never been challenged like that, faced so much adversity, yet kept fighting on valiantly when all seemed to be lost. The game concluded the greatest series of championships between two teams.

Let’s take you back to January 15, 1995. The league was still reeling from the surprise departure of Jimmy Johnson (The U) and although Barry Switzer was there at the press conferences, we were waiting for the April fool’s joke to end.  It was Jerry Jones insistence that any coach could win with the talent the Cowboys had that led to the hiring of Switzer without any changes to the rest of the staff. That was plain goofy.

After losing Pro Bowlers Thomas Everett, Ken Norton, Jimmy Jones, Kevin Gogan, and sparkplug special teamer Kenny Gant to free agency, the Cowboys still marched to a 12-4 record.  Emmitt Smith was still the engine of the offense.

Aikman, Novacek, Irvin (The U), and Harper still posed a formidable passing attack. Charles Haley, Tony Tolbert, Darren Woodson, Russell Maryland (The U), James Washington, and Darrin Smith (The U) anchored one of the league’s best defenses despite the personnel losses. They marched into the 1994 playoffs with the chance of equaling Lombardi’s Packers in winning 3 straight championships.  So what happened??

The 49ers treating the 1993 Pro Bowl as a college recruiting trip is what happened.  The 1994 season was to be the first with free agency and it was actually Dallas’ fault that the 49ers coaching staff was there in the first place.  Back then the team that lost the conference championship to get to the Super Bowl is the coaching staff who coached that year’s pro bowl squad.  Going into the ’93 NFC Championship game, then coach Jimmy Johnson called into a radio show proclaiming “We will win the ballgame, and put it in 3 inch headline!” which irked the 49ers brass and players.

The Cowboys had prevailed in the ‘92 championship game also over the 49ers and it was a declaration that Dallas IS now the heavy between the two.  Oh you gotta love that “U” swagger! The 49ers came unglued getting roped into a pregame fight and behaved completely out of character.  They lost the game in a very boisterous embarrassing fashion 38-21.  On a quiet elevator ride down amidst the din of a celebrating Texas Stadium, Eddie DeBartolo turned to Carmen Policy and said simply “We must never be embarrassed like this again”

super-bowl-logo-1995Carmen Policy accompanied the 49er coaching staff to the Pro Bowl and went to work on specific changes the Niners needed to make to dethrone Dallas. Stealing Ken Norton from the Cowboys, whispering in the ears of  Bart Oates (Giants), Charles Mann (Redskins), Ricky Jackson (Saints), Richard Dent (Bears), and Deion Sanders (Falcons) ‘Pssstt, you know if you helped us on defense, we have the offense to knock off Dallas and we can get you a ring.’  I can so picture Policy saying that with a used car salesman smile / smirk and it worked. The 49ers were going to field an NFC Pro Bowl defense to stop Emmitt, Aikman, and Irvin and it came to full fruition January 15, 1995.  Each had a specific assignment.

Both teams came into that game extremely fired up. This time it was the 49erswith the bravado and starting the pre-game shoving matches and was the more intense team.  First assignment was fooling Dallas into thinking Deion Sanders was going to cover Irvin, when he was there to cover Harper.  Harper had become the playoff all time yardage per reception leader based upon his games against the 49ers. This confused Dallas into the first interception that made it 7-0. The offense was not only unprepared for that they benched Harper to try to figure it out. Two more turnovers ensued in that confusion and the white hot 49ers scored to make it 21-0 in the first quarter.

It was from this point on that the Cowboys showed a determination not shown in collecting the two championships from the seasons before.  They were in hostile territory, hopelessly behind, against an all star team put together piece by piece to defeat them and halt their progression into history.

They valiantly tried to stay in the game; Aikman threw for a career high 350 yards (first 300 yard game of career), Irvin set the team post season reception record with 12 for nearly 192 yards and 2 TDs while providing leadership. Emmitt Smith scored twice before his bad hamstring forced him out of the game.  In the end it wasn’t enough but the fight they showed for 3 quarters was tremendous to say the least.  To defeat the Cowboys the 49ers had to buy an all star defense with 5 pro bowl defenders. The 38-28 defeat provided the springboard into the next season.

After a few more free agent defections it became clear that this was the last hurrah for the team that Jimmy Johnson had built. They had been withered away in the two years of free agency however in the spirit of cold war double agent dealing, they wrested Deion Sanders away from the 49ers to return the favor of stealing Ken Norton from them.  An 8-1 start pointed that the Cowboys were clearly the team to beat yet a 38-21 loss to the 49ers brought them back down to Earth.

Another late season loss and it seemed the chance to win 3 out of 4 was going down the drain like the dream of a 3-peat. Then came the famous 4th down failures in a late season loss to Philadelphia 20-17. Yet Emmitt Smith, who went on to lead the league with 1,773 yards rushing kept chugging along and carried this team on his back.  He went on to set the record with 25TDs for the year. Going into the playoffs everyone thought they’d face the 49ers for the 4th straight season but the Green Bay Packers put an end to that.  Playing the Packers in the NFC Championship at home gave the Cowboys an edge as they won 38-27 to advance to Super Bowl XXX. For a more visceral feel:

There they outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 to become the first team to win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years and the first franchise to win the Super Bowl with 3 different coaches.  The Steelers punched the Cowboys square in the star but MVP Larry Brown’s interceptions sealed the game for Dallas.

The Cowboys of the early 90’s was the first champion to be besieged by free agency.  How many times would they have won if Jimmy Johnson’s original squad been able to stay together as the Dolphins, & Steelers of the ‘70s did?  I think they would have won 5 or 6 titles…What do you think?

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SUPER BOWL XXVIII CHAMPION 1993 DALLAS COWBOYS

xxviiiJimmy Johnson’s last ring with Dallas after the 1993 season besting MY Buffalo Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII, but don’t forget, he and that coaching staff was from  the [[_]]. The Cowboys were on the brink of becoming one of the NFL’s greatest dynasties.

Had Jimmy and Jerry Jones been able to suppress egos this team was primed to win 5 or 6 Super Bowls in the 1990’s. Michael Irvin had just finished his 6th year, Emmitt his 4th, & Troy Aikman his 5th. A slew of defensive starters had come onto the ball club from 1991 on including Russell Maryland, Dixon Edwards, Darren Woodson, Kevin Smith, and Larry Brown. They had just added a rookie star in LB Darrin Smith off the Miami Hurricanes (the [[_]]).

Did you know Hall of Famer Charles Haley didn’t make the Pro Bowl in 1993?? However 10 of his teammates did including 3 members from The Great Wall in Nate Newton, Mark Stepnoski, and Erik Williams. This team was stacked… yet Jimmy and Jerry left us wondering “what if?” which rages on to this day.

**Taken from another Taylor Blitz article comparing the Cowboys and the Patriots who each won 3 titles in 4 years**

xxviii3The Patriots remind me of what I think of the early 70’s Dolphins.  They’re not perceived as stronger, or faster..etc  They were always a step smarter when they needed to be and more physical than you expected. Just ask the Steelers who they beat twice in AFC Championships IN PITTSBURGH in both 2001 & 2004.  They kept Peyton Manning hogtied for years when he faced them. In winning their 3rd in 4 years the question came up “Who was better between the 90s Cowboys or the 00’s Patriots?”  Hmmmm at first glance…its no question the Cowboys were….but lets think about this a second…each team suppressed future super bowl winners…

*Cowboys held back Packers and 49ers who went on to win 29 and 31 respectively

*Patriots hed back the Steelers and the Colts who went on to win 40 and 41 respectively

Dallas defense was built on speed and the best way to attack it is to run right at them.  Corey Dillon was that type of back. The Cowboys strength was running right at their opponent with that offensive line and Emmitt Smith. Well the Patriots had some beef up front with Vince Wilfork (The U) Richard Seymour and Ty Warren.  Ty Law covering Michael Irvin(the U). Troy Aikman vs Tom Brady…Darren Woodson and Rodney Harrison hard hitting safetys for both teams…damn they’re more alike than originally thought!!

xxviii2I’ll have to go with the Cowboys in a close game 30-20.  Charles Haley and Tony Tolbert would have several sacks. Haley had sacks in 4 of the 5 Super Bowls he won…so he would get to Brady. Emmitt and Corey would each rush for 100 yards. Alvin Harper takes Tyrone Poole or Assante Samuel deep a couple times and “Moose” Johnston and Novacek would beat on Patriot linebackers for key first downs.  Deion Branch would do work on Kevin Smith and Larry Brown but other receivers would be swallowed by Darrin Smith (the U) and those fast linebackers. This is before i bring up FS Thomas Everett for any errant throws over the middle.

**No Deion Sanders—using the 93 Cowboys as a model because the 1993 Cowboys would kick the 95 Cowboys ass! Jimmy Johnson would be the coach not Barry Switzer**

So upon further review the Cowboys would win…

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SUPER BOWL XXVII CHAMPION 1992 DALLAS COWBOYS

The Dallas Cowboys championship for Super Bowl XXVII. I wished Jimmy Johnson would have had this on when I met him and the entire Cowboy coaching staff at Houlihan’s in Columbus, Ohio on St Patrick’s Day 1993.

27winThey had just visited Ohio State University and tested out players before the draft.  Standing room only in this bar on St Patty’s and havin’ a drink with an off duty police officer at the door and in they came right between us…”That S.O.B. looks just like Jimmy Johnson?” is all I could blurt out…I was drinking gang…articulation isn’t a strong suit at a time like that.  Never mind being a fan of the Miami Hurricanes, etc. Talking to him was cool…slapped me on the back and said sorry about Buffalo…lol.  This was 1 1/2 months after the 52-17 Super Bowl win Dallas had over the Bills.

Anyway, think about the ridiculous strength of this 1992 Cowboy team. Everyone has lionized Emmitt, Irvin, Troy, and lauded the trade for Charles Haley.  Bill Bates was injured, Darren Woodson (Cowboys all-time leading tackler) didn’t even start. Jimmy Smith (wideout for Jacksonville Jaguars of nearly 1000 catches) was also on this team and injured.  How many Super Bowls would Dallas have won had Jimmy stayed in Dallas?  I say they would have become the first 5 or 6 time winner of Super Bowls in a decade.  So what was the move that put the Cowboys over the top?  The Charles Haley trade?  No it was the trade for S Thomas Everett who had been a holdout for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

xxvii2You say, huh? Thomas Everett?  Think of it like this…going into the 1992 season the Cowboys Achilles’ heel was their secondary.  Their draft tells you that picking up SS Darren Woodson, CB Kevin Smith, and CB Clayton Holmes in the first few rounds. In 1991, Dallas had lost to 4 run and shoot teams including a 38-6 drubbing to Detroit in the divisional round of the playoffs. The biggest blowout loss of any NFC team in the 1990’s. They had some coverage issues but Everett solidified the secondary, put players in good spots and made several plays that defined the Super Bowl XXVII rout of my Buffalo Bills.  He helped turn the secondary into a team strength.

In the 2nd quarter when Buffalo was threatening to take the lead, Dallas had a goal line stand where Buffalo went for it on 4th down from the 1. Who intercepted the ball in the endzone to totally deflate the Bills? Thomas Everett. After halftime down 28-10 and fired up to get back into the game in the 3rd quarter, who read a short route and jumped it returning an interception to Buffalo’s 10 to end the competitive phase of the game?  Yup Thomas Everett!

xxvii3Funny he only played for Dallas in 1992 and 1993 and was a Pro Bowler who didn’t get his due for what he meant to that defense.  Without Haley in 1991, they made it to the Divisional round of the playoffs yet were destroyed by Detroit’s passing game.  Everett made sure that no one would do that in 1992.

This was the best of the Cowboys teams of the 90’s. Everett got his due in ’93 with a Pro Bowl berth.  One of the reason’s they didn’t three-peat in ’94 I believe started with Jimmy Johnson’s (the [[_]]) departure and the other was losing Thomas Everett to Tampa.

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Legends Of The Fall: Barry Sanders

As I watched Barry Sanders A Football Life, they began the episode with Sanders reading his retirement. The closure gained from it was immense. It wasn’t as though I was still sitting here thinking he was coming back after 15 years. We’ve already witnessed his induction into the Hall of Fame, but to hear his words publicly, laid to rest those feelings and emotions that lay dormant from the years immediately following his retirement. He was simply the greatest running back ever in the Chancellor of Football’s estimation.

Sanders with defenders left in his wake.

Sanders with defenders left in his wake.

To a prior generation of NFL historians, Jim Brown was the measuring stick yet when you think about it, he wouldn’t have been as effective against modern defenses. He played at a time when the NFL didn’t play black players at linebacker or safety. Brown was bigger and more imposing than the players he faced which wouldn’t have been the case had he played decades later. Brown was 230 lbs at the time when defensive linemen were 260 lbs themselves.

Sanders’ speed and elusiveness translated to any and every era in NFL history. He also did it against better defensive athletes. He played against Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, Reggie White, Mike Singletary, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, the Kevin Greene’s, Chris Doleman’s, Keith Millard’s, and Howie Long’s of the more modern game. Terrorists who could swallow offensive linemen, split the double team and had the athleticism to catch a back from behind before he could get to the corner.

With teams now putting the best athletes on the defensive side of the field, Sanders used to terrify them with his start and stop jump cuts. No offensive player over the last 30 years put more fear in coordinators or defensive players. He could make a move and leave a defender embarrassed and grasping at air. Leave them with “broken ankles” as we used to say. Simply put he’s the greatest runner the NFL has ever seen.

In 1995 Sanders conceded his role as the sole focus in the Lions offense. Not only did they become the NFL’s #1 offense they became the first team in history to have 2 receivers amass 100 receptions in the same season. Scott Mitchell (346 of 583 4,338 yds 32TDs / 12 ints) and Brett Perriman (108 rec. 1,488 yds 9TDs) should have made the Pro Bowl. Herman Moore (123 rec 1,686 yds 14TDs) did make it to Hawaii. Moore set the NFL record for receptions in a single season while these 3 put up 4 other team records. Why is this being brought up when this article is about Barry Sanders?? In this crucible of talent he still amassed 1,500 yards 11 TDs while creating this book of highlights

Most will recall that season opener against Pittsburgh when Sanders shook fellow Hall of Famer Rod Woodson right out of his ACL with two quick moves. This following vignette covers Sanders’ last five seasons in the NFL

Did The Chancellor of Football say greatest ever runner in NFL history?? First consider the average running back’s career lasts 4 years. Then take into account the greatest runners had their highest rushing totals within those 4. Sanders ran for 2,053 in year NINE. It took Jim Brown 9 years to gain 12,312 yards rushing, where it took Sanders 10 to amass 15,269. Everyone forgets the near rushing titles to go along with the 4 he won.

In his rookie year he was 11 yards short of eclipsing Christian Okoye (1,480 to 1,470), yet told Coach Fontes to let his backup get some playing time. Okoye got his rushing title yet carried the football 90 more times than Sanders! Next case in point is the slanted description of Emmitt Smith missing the first 2 games of 1993, then coming back to win the rushing title. For every Cowboy fan that touts this, they casually omit Sanders missed the last 6 games of that season with a knee injury.

At the time of Sanders retiement, he was in striking distance of Payton to begin '99.

At the time of Sanders retiement, he was in striking distance of Payton to begin ’99.

Interesting… to think that Barry entered the NFL in ’89 and Emmitt in ’90, folks forget how big a lead Sanders had at the time of his retirement. Sanders was due to break Peyton’s record late 99, it took Emmitt another 3 1/2 years to break it. Paul Tagliabue should have got involved behind the scenes and facilitated a trade to keep Sanders playing. He blew it….

Sanders would have pushed the record to 20,000 guaranteed. As we alluded to earlier, most running backs have their greatest single season rushing total in the first 4 years of their career. Barry crossed 2,000 in year nine. Even in year 10 he wasn’t slowing down.

One of the greatest battles in NFL history in terms of effort, you need to check out the birth of the Baltimore Ravens as an elite defense in the final week of 98. Barry was trying to extend his streak of 1,500 yard seasons when late in the 4th quarter he had 1,495 yards. The next 6 or 7 carries the Ravens were determined to stop him and they fought tooth and nail. Barry didn’t make it to 1,500 but he made folks miss like no one’s business. Man I wore that tape out watching that.

We didn’t know what was happening at the time with Walter Payton’s health but the 1999 season we expected to see Sanders vault to the #1 all time rushing spot… instead we got this:

Thank goodness for the emergence of Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James because the beginning of the season didn’t feel right as Sanders’ abrupt retirement cast a pall over the start of ’99. It took years for the disappointment to go away and it was reawakened at the time Smith passed Payton.

One aspect of not gaining closure on Sanders is the abandonment of the house he provided those thrills in.

One aspect of not gaining closure on Sanders is the abandonment of the house he provided thrills in.

What was missing as a football fan and historian, I never had closure to his career. I can remember this Pro Football Almanac I purchased in the summer of 1990 and they foretold a fictitious story of Sanders crossing 15,000 yards in a decade. The Lions were supposed to be winning the Super Bowl over in Tokyo to conclude his tenth season also.

It was a very interesting take with half of it coming true. With all due respect to William Sanders, his son Barry was the greatest running back in NFL history.

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1990’s San Francisco 49ers v. Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys Perspective

Back on January 10, 1982, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship in what came to be known as “The Catch”. Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin were 12, 15, & 15 yrs of age respectively at the time. Over the next decade, a football generation came to know the 49ers as the dominant team in pro football. Yet here they were in January 1993, as men, having conquered the 49ers in the ’92 NFC Championship 30-20 in a true changing of the guard.

Passing of the torch after the 1992 NFC Championship Game.

Passing of the torch after the 1992 NFC Championship Game.

Joe Montana, an iconic symbol of the old guard, was shaking hands congratulating the young Cowboys. They had vanquished not only the team with the NFC’s best record, 14-2, they topped the team that epitomized conference excellence over the last decade. Now they were navigating uncharted waters and off to Super Bowl XXVII to take on the Buffalo Bills. By the time they made it to Pasadena to take on the Bills, they’re confidence was at an all time high.However beating Buffalo was anticlimactic to what had taken place in soggy San Francisco 2 weeks before.

 

Troy Aikman came of age in the 1992 NFC Championship Game.

Troy Aikman fulfilled the promise of being drafted #1 overall with his 1992 NFC Championship Game performance.

They had come through the gauntlet which was the NFC at the time. A conference that had won the last 8 straight Super Bowls and would ultimately win 13 in a row. The physical nature of the conference was one thing, but they had to beat the mystique of the best organization in San Francisco.

Once the 49ers unseated the Cowboys back in the ’81 NFC Championship Game, they became the gold standard of NFL franchises. Every veteran wanted to play for Eddie Debartolo’s organization. Once Jerry Jones purchased the team in 1989, he traveled to San Francisco to study how the league’s model front office operated.

By the time Jimmy Johnson (the [[_]]) had rebuilt “America’s Team” in a few short years, they were ready to take on a 49er team that was prepared to rule the 1990’s just as they had the 80’s. They were built with a different breed of player. Fast, aggressive and an in your face bravado reminiscent of the Miami Hurricane teams Johnson coached in college. The most indelible image from that ’92 Championship was in the locker room when he boasted “How ’bout them Cowboys!??!” loud enough you could nearly hear it in the 49er locker room.

Terry Bradshaw once said “Once you win a Super Bowl the regular season is boring. All you care about is getting back to the playoffs where it can be fun again.”

Jimmy Johnson on gameday.

Jimmy Johnson on gameday.

Well the boredom Dallas had to endure was losing Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt, Emmitt Smith’s holdout, and the advent of free agency. In time free agency would prove to be the bigger foe, but when the Cowboys started 0-2 without Smith’s services, it was clear what priority one was.

The reality set in these were the two best teams in football. Steve Young had won the last two passing titles but Aikman was thought of as the better quarterback. Troy entered ’93 as a Super Bowl winning QB, something Young had yet to do. Michael Irvin (78 rec. 1,396 yds 7 TDs) was beginning to challenge Jerry Rice (84 rec. 1,201 yds 10 TDs) as to who was the best receiver in the game.

In every way these two team were eyeing each other for another postseason date but first had to get through a regular season affair that offered some answers.

The 26-17 win over the 49ers gave the Cowboys the inside track to Super Bowl XXVIII. In fact when they won homefield advantage for the ’93 playoffs, the only question was the status of Emmitt Smith’s separated shoulder suffered in the clinching finale against the New York Giants. Smith was one of 11 Pro Bowlers that included QB Troy Aikman, FB Darryl Johnston, WR Michael Irvin, linemen Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton, and Eric Williams. By the time you include TE Jay Novacek, they were 3 starters away from sending every player to the Pro Bowl.

The defense, which ranked 10th in the league sent LB Ken Norton Jr, DT Russell Maryland, and FS Thomas Everett to Honolulu. A far cry from the year before when they ranked #1 defensively and sent 0 players to the Pro Bowl. We’ll talk about the importance of Everett later but this team was riding high after the emotional win vs. New York. They kept their eye out west on the 49ers as they blew out the wildcard Giants 44-3 in the divisional round. Dallas beat Green Bay 27-17 to set up the NFC Championship rematch in Texas Stadium.

As pundits lauded the 49ers lopsided win in Candlestick, it belied the fact they had actually struggled down the stretch losing 3 of their last 4. Sure their defense had put it together in taking down the 1 dimensional Giants, but that is after they had the huge battle in the season finale at Dallas and a hard fought wildcard against the Vikings.

After listening to the experts all week, Jimmy Johnson had had enough and called in to a Dallas Radio show on Friday night and declared “We will win the game! You can put it in 3 inch headline!” There was no easing into it now….this was a street fight in the school yard. They called the laced up shirt and tie corporate 49ers out and how would they respond.

They beat down the 49ers 38-21 and were actually ahead 28-7 in the 2nd quarter. Texas Stadium for the first time ever was raucous. Even in the Tom Landry days crowds in Dallas responded like they were at a play or something. They cheered when it was time to but this felt different. It was boisterous and the tempo of the team and the audience fed off Jimmy Johnson’s bravado and echoed in kind. Who knew it was  going to be Johnson’s last game ever at Texas Stadium??

After beating The Chancellor of Football’s Buffalo Bills for the Super Bowl XXVIII championship, we had Johnson’s departure in the offseason. On March 29th was the press conference where there was a mutual parting of the ways. The shock wave could be felt through the NFL. The youngest team in the league that won back to back Super Bowls was going on without their vocal leader?? Jerry Jones erroneously stated there were 50 coaches who could coach the Dallas Cowboys and hired Barry Switzer to succeed him.

The Cowboys were that talented and headed into 1994 as the best team in football on paper. Or so they thought… the 49ers had retooled and fashioned much of their team and personality based on the bravado that left them whipped in Dallas the preceding January. The Niners had signed away Ken Norton Jr. and 6 defenders to bolster their defense including future Hall of Famers Ricky Jackson, Richard Dent, and Deion Sanders. All off the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Back then the team that lost the conference championship coached the Pro Bowl and San Francisco used this as a recruiting trip.

Free agency had robbed the Cowboys of Norton, DTs Tony Casillas & DT Jimmie Jones, and to the Chancellor the most valuable defender in FS Thomas Everett. Before Everett’s arrival in ’92, the 11-5 Cowboys struggled with Run & Shoot offenses especially, and at times was awful against the pass. Why do you think they drafted CB Kevin Smith, S Darren Woodson, and traded for Everett to start 1992??

Not Charles Haley...it was Thomas Everett that pushed the Cowboys over the top back in the early 1990s.

Not Charles Haley…it was Thomas Everett that pushed the Cowboys over the top back in the early 1990s.

Dallas had been 1-3 against Run & Shoot teams in 1991. They went 5-0 against those teams including the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII that finished as the top passing teams that year with Everett. It was this end zone interception in Super Bowl XXVII that started the 1990’s reign of the Dallas Cowboys. Otherwise the Bills take a 17-14 lead and the Bills take control of the game. In big games he starred….in each NFC Championship Game against the 49ers he picked off Steve Young. You cannot underscore his importance in gluing a young secondary together and teaching them to be pros by example.

Yet 1994 saw this team try to move on without this defensive firepower and they did go 12-4. DE Charles Haley was healthy and made the Pro Bowl with 12.5 sacks, S Darren Woodson, and Leon Lett came into their own making their first Pro Bowl trips. The offense was as potent as ever with Smith’s 1,461 yards and 21 TDs. Although he battled leg injuries the 2nd half of the season. Did they have enough in the gas tank to get to win a 3rd straight Super Bowl and make it into NFL lore?? All they had to do was take a trip out to beat the 49ers for the right to go to Super Bowl XXIX.

So Dallas had to watch the 49ers go on to win Super Bowl XXIX 49-26 over San Diego. They did return the following year to beat Pittsburgh 27-17 to win their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years yet the rivalry came to an end for this era. Both teams kept raising the bar on each other and pushed themselves to a height no other team could reach. In each of these seasons they were the best teams in football and won all 4 Super Bowls… yet lingering questions are still being debated to this day…

  • How many Super Bowls would Dallas have won if Johnson coaches the whole decade??
  • Would they have won 3 in a row if Johnson coached them in ’94??
  • Would the 49ers have won in 1994 if they hadn’t built a defense from the ’93 Pro Bowl roster??
  • How would the 1990’s play out for Dallas if there had not been free agency??
  • Why isn’t Jimmy Johnson in the Pro Football Hall of Fame??
  • Would the Cowboys have won in 1994 if T Erik Williams doesn’t get in that car accident??

However one of the indelible moments from the 1994 NFC Championship Game was the near pass interference call in the 4th quarter between Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin. Instead of a 1st and goal where the 49er lead could have been trimmed to 3, an irate Barry Switzer bumps an official in protest incurring a 15 yard penalty. Dallas was forced to punt and never threatened again. In 1995, in a quiet Texas Stadium Courthouse the two Hall of Famers had a hearing to discuss a disputed play which altered the course of football history.d_sanders_950115_640

LMAO “Panicked state of mind!” Thanks for reading and please share the article.

Epilogue: When it came to Jimmy Johnson’s success in Dallas, it was bitter sweet being a Buffalo Bill fan. We lost those two Super Bowls but I was a fan of his back to Herschel Walker and when he first coached the Cowboys. Nope not Dallas…we’re talking the Oklahoma St Cowboys. I first read about Jimmy Johnson during the ’82 season when his running back Earnest “Sparkplug” Anderson became the 5th back to run for 1,000 yards in just the 5th game of the season.

Herschel walker won the Heisman but I kept screaming it was “Sparkplug” Anderson that led college football in rushing! Alas…no blog back in ’82. Yet remember following Johnson and as a tradition would watch the Bluebonnet Bowl played on New Year’s Eve and watched Oklahoma St win that game. When it was announced he was coming to my favorite college team at The [[_]] of Miami, talk about excited… I knew Schnellenberger’s replacement and the rest is history.

I did get to meet Johnson and the Dallas Cowboy coaching staff at Houlihan’s on St Patrick’s Day in 1993 just after the first Super Bowl with Buffalo. I remember having him sign my Golden Nugget /Mirage jacket from Vegas and talked a little football. If only cell phones with cameras, Instagram & Facebook existed then…

Dedicated to the memories of Mark Tuinei, Godfrey Myles, and Joe Avezzano

Next Up: 1990’s San Francisco 49ers v. Dallas Cowboys: 49ers Perspective

 

 

The Chancellor Weighs In: LaDainian Tomlinson Retires

Tomlinson set to retire as a Charger on Monday.

We’re hours away from the retirement of a future Hall of Famer when Tomlinson takes the podium. In the history of the NFL, Tomlinson is an evolutionary link to great runners of the past.  Ernie Nevers, Steve Van Buren, Jim Brown, OJ Simpson Continue reading