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Top 10 Dallas Cowboys in NFL History

Updated on February 14, 2015

They earned the nickname of "America's Team." Today, I rank the top 10 Dallas Cowboys of all time.

10. Don Meredith

"Dandy Don" was one of the first great players in team history.

A third round pick in 1960, Don Meredith was one of the first players picked up by the expansion Cowboys. After spending time as a backup, he showed he deserved the starting job sue to his grit and toughness and was one of the most productive players for the team when their record was below .500. Meredith led the Cowboys to two NFL Championship games in 1966 and 1967 but loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay. In the 1968 playoff loss to Cleveland, He played with a broken rib, a punctured lung, and pneumonia.

Meredith retired after 1968 after throwing for over 17,000 yards and 135 touchdowns in his nine seasons in Dallas. He was a three time pro bowler, two time All-Pro, and the 1966 NFL MVP.

9. Mel Renfro

He was one of the most consistent defensive backs in team history.

A second round pick in 1964, Mel Renfro went from running back to safety and led the team in interceptions as a rookie and also led the league in return yards. In his fifth season, he was moved to cornerback and his speed proved to be too much for receivers. In his 14 seasons, Renfro intercepted 52 passes returning them for 626 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned 109 punts for 842 yards and a touchdown and 85 kickoffs for 2,246 yards and two touchdowns. He is the Cowboys all time leading interceptor.

Renfro retired after the 1977 season as a 10 time pro bowler, five All-Pro, and a two time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

8. Randy White

"The Manster" was one of the scariest defensive lineman offenses ever had to face.

A first round pick in 1975, Randy White spent two seasons at middle linebacker before being moved to defensive tackle. He quickly proved to be a fixture at the position becoming one of the best in the league. He gained the nickname "Manster" for being half man, half monster with his style of play. In Super Bowl XII, White and fellow defensive lineman Harvey Martin were named co-Super Bowl MVPs. In his 14 seasons in Dallas, he only missed one game and accumulated 1,104 tackles and 111 sacks.

White retired after 1988 as a nine time pro bowler and All-Pro, Super Bowl XII co-MVP, and Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

7. Larry Allen

He is one of the strongest offensive lineman ever to play the game.

A second round pick in 1994, Larry Allen would go on to play every position on the offensive line except center. His strength was always his greatest asset as he recorded an assisted bench press of 705 lbs and a squat of 905 lbs. during his career. Allen helped the team allow some of the fewest sacks in the league during his time. He is the third player in history to be named a pro bowler at three different offensive line positions. Primarily used as a guard, Allen became famous for driving back defensive lineman to make holes for Emmitt Smith.

Allen spent his final two seasons in San Francisco before retiring after 2007. In his 14 seasons, he was an 11 time pro bowler, seven time All-Pro, a member of the 90's and 2000s all decade teams, and Super Bowl champion. Allen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

6. Troy Aikman

He is one of the most accurate quarterbacks ever to play the game.

The first overall pick in 1989, Troy Aikman showed the toughness needed to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. By 1991, Dallas had one of the most productive offenses in the league and Aikman was the leader who guided the way. In 1992, he set career highs in completions, passing yards, and touchdown passes while leading the Cowboys to a team record 13-3 regular season record. Aikman led the team to three Super Bowl victories in four years while being named the MVP in Super Bowl XXVII. The connection of Aikman to Michael Irvin is one of the greatest passing combinations in league history. Concussions and back injuries forced him to retire after 2000 as the teams all time leader in passing yards and won more games in the 90's than any quarterback in the decade.

In his 12 seasons in Dallas, Aikman was an All-Pro in 1993, a six time pro bowler, and three time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

5. Michael Irvin

"The Playmaker" was the force of commitment to the Dallas teams of the 90's.

A first round pick in 1988, Michael Irvin led the NFC in yards per reception as a rookie. His best season was in 1995, when he set Dallas records for receptions and receiving yards, while also scoring 10 touchdowns and setting an NFL record with 11 games with over 100 yards receiving. Irvin had one of the most productive games in NFL playoff history, with 12 catches for an NFC championship record 192 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to San Francisco in 1994. Irvin is the only player to play for each of the first four Cowboys coaches. He was forced to retire in 1999 after a sustained spinal cord injury.

In his 12 seasons in Dallas, Irvin was a five time pro bowler, three time All-Pro, and three time Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

4. Tony Dorsett

The original "TD" brought a spark to the Dallas offense instantly.

A first round pick in 1977, Tony Dorsett made an almost instant impact on the team as he won the rookie of the year award and helped the team reach Super Bowl XII. His running style of running to what he sees original baffled head coach Tom Landry, but he eventually adapted to Dorsett's style. In 1983, Dorsett broke a 99 yard touchdown run against the Vikings which is the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. The run is even more impressive considering the fact Dallas only had 10 men on the field. In his 11 seasons in Dallas, Dorsett had a career total of 12,036 yards and 72 touchdowns.

Dorsett spent his final season in Denver before retiring after 1988. He was a four time pro bowler, three time All-Pro, and Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

3. Emmitt Smith

He is one of the most committed running backs ever to suit up.

A first round pick in 1990, Emmitt Smith quickly became the focal point of the Dallas offense winning the offensive rookie of the year award. in 1993, He became the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award all in the same season. By 2002, Smith surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL's all time leading rusher. He holds every major rushing statistic in team and league history. In his 13 years in Dallas, he rushed for over 17,000 yards and 153 touchdowns.

Smith spent his final two seasons in Arizona before retiring after 2004. He was an eight time pro bowler, five time All-Pro, lead the NFL in rushing four times, and three time Super Bowl champion. Smith was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

2. Bob Lilly

"Mr. Cowboy" was the team's most dominant player in his time.

A first round pick in 1961, Bob Lilly became the leader of the "Doomsday Defense" His size and strength allowed him to shed blocks to get to the ball carrier. His greatest assets were his pass-rushing skills and his ability to slice plays open with his agility and instincts. Lilly's agility and quickness helped him score four defensive touchdowns in his career. In Super Bowl VI, he recorded a game record by sacking Miami quarterback Bob Griese for a 29 yard loss and is one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl defensive history. In his 14 seasons, Lilly recorded 94.5 sacks and played in 196 straight games.

Lilly retired after 1974 as a 11 time pro bowler, nine time All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, and a member of the 60's and 70's all decade teams and 75th anniversary team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

1. Roger Staubach

"Captain America" was one of the greatest clutch players, mobile quarterbacks, and leaders in league history.

A tenth round pick in 1964, Roger Staubach spent five years serving in the Navy before joining the Dallas roster in 1969. Midway through 1971, he acquired the starting job and helped the team to a victory in Super Bowl VI and was the game's MVP. After being injured most of 1972, Staubach came in late during the team's divisional playoff game against the 49ers and threw two touchdown passes in the last 90 seconds to win the game 30–28 which would become the first of his great comebacks. His "Hail Mary" pass retained his reputation as one of the most exciting quarterbacks of the 70's. In his 11 seasons in Dallas, Staubach threw for 22,700 yards and 153 touchdowns while also adding 2,264 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns while helping Dallas to five Super Bowl appearances and two victories in the decade.

Staubach retired after 1979 as a six time pro bowler, two time Super Bowl champion, and a member of the 70's all decade team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

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