Dallas Cowboys Timeline

by Paul Heckmann, Executive Director Memories Incorporated

Credit must be given to:

Dallas Morning News, DallasCowboys.com, Pro Football Reference, Texas State Historical Society, ESPN, Wiki, a innumerable number of Cowboy fan sites, Dallas Public Library

And many hours of proofing by an anonymous member of Memories of Dallas

This is a 'living document' and will be updated as new information is proven and added


  • Clint Murchison signs Don Meredith to a personal service contract to lock him up for the proposed Dallas Steers franchise. He does the same with Don Perkins.
  • The Steers name was changed to the Dallas Rangers after a short time.
  • Murchison doesn't have the votes against the powerful Redskins franchise that have the South locked up.

    The original Cowboy brain trust. Coach Landry, owner Bedford Wynne, GM Tex Schramm and owner Clint Murchison
  • Clint and Bedford Wynne find out "Hail to the Redskins" is not owned by Washington, and in a nutshell purchase it and trades it to the Skins for their vote.
  • The founding investors were Clint Murchison, Jr. (45%), John D. Murchison (45%), Toddie Lee and Bedford Wynne (Director and Secretary) (5%) and William R. Hawn (5%).
  • Clint Murchison Jr. beca,e the new team's majority owner. His first order of business was to hire Tex Schramm as General Manager and Gil Brandt as Player Personnel Director
  • December 22, 1959 Clint Murchison hires Tom Landry as Head Coach


  • January 28, 1960. Dallas Rangers awarded NFL Franchise for the astronomical sum of $600,000
    • March 13 1960. Dallas Rangers expansion draft (regular draft was in November) Each of the 12 NFL teams had to submit a list of 9 players. Dallas could only choose 3 of the 9 players. They chose:
      - Baltimore Colts: RB L.G. Dupre, P/WR Dave Sherer, DE Ray Krouse
      - Chicago Bears: DT Don Healy, RB Jack Johnson, RB Pete Johnson
      - Cleveland Browns: WR Frank Clarke, RB Leroy Bolden, RB Ed Modzelewski
      - Detroit Lions: WR Jim Doran, C Charlie Ane, LB Gene Cronin
      - Green Bay Packers: RB Don McIlenny, DE Nate Borden, S Bill Butler
      - Los Angeles Rams: CB Tom Franckhauser, T Bob Fry, G Duane Putnam
      - New York Giants: QB Don Heinrich, G Buzz Guy, G Al Barry
      - Philadelphia Eagles: TE Dick Bielski, T Jerry DeLucca, LB Bill Striegel
      - Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Ray Mathews, DT/T Ray Fisher, RB Bobby Luna
      - San Francisco 49ers: LB Jerry Tubbs, WR Fred Dugan, DE John Gonzaga
      - St Louis Cardinals: DT Ed Husmann, LB Jack Patera, T Bobby Cross
      - Washington Redskins: LB Tom Braatz, C Joe Nicely, RB Doyle Nix
      - At this time the NFL also assigned the rights to 1960 NFL draft picks Don Meredith (who had been drafted by the Chicago Bears) and Don Perkins (drafted by the Baltimore Colts) to the Cowboys for a couple of future draft picks. Dallas had to give their third-round and ninth-round choices in the 1962 NFL draft to the Bears and Colts respectively.
  • March 19, 1960 - Rangers officially changed their name to the Cowboys. They had planned on using Dallas Rangers, but the baseball team in the area decided not to disband and since they wanted a clear and separate identity.

    The Cowboys first headquarters on 4425 Central Expressway left to right, GM Tex Schramm, owners Bedford Wynne and Clint Murchison and Head Coach Tom Landry,
  • After not being able to participate in the 1960 NFL draft during their inaugural year of existence, the Dallas Cowboys traded their first round (who became future 4x Pro Bowler Norm Snead) and sixth round (#72-Joe Krakoski) draft choices in the 1961 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins in exchange for Eddie LeBaron, convincing him to come out of retirement to become the franchise's first starting quarterback. He started 10 of 12 games in 1960, with rookie Don Meredith and Don Heinrich starting the other two. He also scored the Cowboys' first-ever touchdown in their first exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers, on August 6 in Seattle. He set a record for the shortest touchdown pass in league history, with his throw to receiver Dick Bielski from the 2-inch line against the Redskins on October 9, 1960.

April 1960: Cowboys set up headquarters at 4425 N. Central Expressway on the second floor from the first-floor tenant Dallas Automobile Club. The Cowboys' box office is on the first floorst season-ticket prices were $27.60 for six games.

Second-floor workers consisted of general manager Tex Schramm, Brandt, coach Tom Landry, three assistant coaches, a public relations director, a couple of secretaries and a receptionist.

July 9, 1960: Rookie training camp in Oregon starts

Cowboys held the first part of regular training camp at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. The second half of camp was at St. John's Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, a site handpicked by Milwaukee native Brandt which turned into a disaster as it hadn't been updated in decades and the rooms were built for youngsters, not very large men

1960-62 seasons: Cowboys primarily practice at Burnett Field, home of minor league baseball's Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers; The offense met in the first-base clubhouse, the defense in the third-base clubhouse. The training room consisted of a couple of tables and ice tubs crammed into the stadium's women's restroom.

Some practices are held at DISD-owned Cobb Stadium when Burnett floods, which technically makes it the Cowboys second practice field

Tom Franckhauser, the first Cowboy to touch the ball. Took the opening kickoff in the first game in preseason and regular season

1960 Season. Ticket sales are slow. "The league has come a long, long way from the days when we used to pay players $5,000 a year and didn't pay till Tuesday to make sure the checks cleared." Gil Brandt

Sept 10 1960. Cowboys play first game in their history at Cotton Bowl.

Tom Franckhauser becomes the first Cowboy to ever touch the ball, taking the opening kickoff, which he also did in their preseason.

1960-1971: Cowboys use Cotton Bowl for NFL games

Cowboys end 1960 with no wins and a single tie, 0-11-1


  • Training camp moved to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota
  • Cowboys add a box office at 1509 Elm Street, tickets can also be purchased at Reynolds-Penland and Jas. K. Wilson stores.

Location of the Cowboys third practice field on Central just south of Yale. That is the 6116 N Central Building - Expressway Towers, aka Cowboy Towers


  • Cowboys owner Clint Murchison Jr. buys property at Yale Boulevard and North Central Expressway from underneath the AFL's Dallas Texans which included a practice field and field house.
  • The Texans are forced to move to a new field a few blocks away for the 1962 season while the Cowboys move to their 3rd practice field. Today this would be directly below where Murchison built the Cowboys Towers at 6116 N Central, approximately where Magnolia Hotel and 6060 N Central are today
  • Training camp moved to Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan
  • Cowboys are approached by a faction of IBM that wants to get into the NFL accounting areas via their computer systems. Instead Schramm flips it on them and asks them to see what they can do about developing a scouting system. A young Salam Qureishi joins forces with Gil Brandt to create pro sports first version of 'Moneyball'.  They didnt call them 'analytics' back then, instead the used the moniker, 'predictables'


  • 1963-1989: Training camp moved to California Lutheran in Oxnard


  • February 5, 1964: Clint Murchison signs Tom Landry to the longest contract in sports history, a 10 year agreement.

    Coaching staff 1964
  • June 22, 1964: Cowboys move to their second, albeit temporary headquarters, 5738 N. Central Expressway (between Mockingbird and Yale, approximately where Mockingbird Station is now), with plans to move again in 1966 to a nearby office tower being constructed by Murchison. The temporary office is about 3 blocks south of the practice field.


  • Lamar Hunt had moved the Dallas Texans to Kansas City in 1963 as the NFL was simply too strong, the current owners were too wealthy. And then the Giants approached Bills kicker Pete Gogolak and they signed him and all hell broke loose. The AFL started to fight back, signing current NFL players like Roman Gabriel to futures contracts. The bidding wars were causing contracts to run too high. Secret meetings authorized by Pete Rozelle were held between old friends, Lamar Hunt and Tex Schramm. On June 8 1966, the AFL-NFL merger was announced. Common schedules came into play in 1970 
  • Cowboys began an NFL-record streak of 20 consecutive winning seasons. That streak included 18 years in the playoffs, 13 divisional championships, five trips to the Super Bowl and victories in Super Bowls VI and XII.
  • Cowboys won Division title but lost in the NFL championship to Green Bay
  • Dec. 19, 1966: Thirteen days before hosting the Packers in the NFL Championship Game, Cowboys move into their third headquarters in the new offices at 6116 N. Central Expressway, taking over the 11th floor of a 15-story, $7 million Expressway Tower built primarily for Murchison's marine construction company, Tecon. The office overlooks the team's practice field.


  • June 1967: Cowboys lease 3.5 acres near Forest Lane and Abrams Road and begin construction of a training facility and practice fields, which they move to in October and this becomes their fourth practice facility
  • Cowboys won Division title but lost in the NFL championship to Green Bay


  • Cowboys win the Capital Division. They lose to the Cleveland Browns in the Eastern Championship 38-14

Bill Bragg's Press Passes for 1969 when he ran cameras for CBS


  • January 17, 1971 - Cowboys go to Superbowl, losing to Baltimore on a last second FB in Superbowl V.
  • October 24, 1971: After playing their first two home games in 1971 at the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys opened Texas Stadium in Irving


  • January 16 1972 Cowboys win their first Superbowl 24-3 over the Miami Dolphins in Superbowl VI

    Landry finally sheds the 'bridesmaid' title. Bullet Bob Hayes, Big Cat Rayfield Wright raise Landry on their shoulders


  • January 18 1976 In Superbowl X Cowboys lose to Steelers 21-17 on one of the worst no-calls in Superbowl history


  • Forrest Gregg, Guard/Tackle becomes the first Dallas Cowboy in the NFL Hall of Fame


  • Thomas Henderson destroys Denver QB in Super Bowl. This is shortly before the new NFL rules which said you were not allowed to touch QBs

    January 15 1978. Dallas destroy the Broncos 27-10 in Superbowl XII

  • Lance Alworth, Flanker, NFL Hall of Fame Class of 1978


  • January 21 1979 Stealers beat the Cowboys 35-31 in Superbowl XIII


  • Bob Lilly 'Mr Cowboy' DT goes into the NFL Hall of Fame
  • Herb Adderley, CB goes into the NFL Hall of Fame


  • The drafting of Rod Hill in Round One starts a string of bad draft that continues until Jerry Jones purchases the team.
  • The 1982 NFL strike, which lasted for three months and eight weeks, forced the 1982 season to be shortened to 9 games per team
  • Dallas goes 6-3 and ends the season just missing the Super Bowl.
  • Dallas wins first round over Bucs, round two over Packs and loses NFC championship to Redskins who beat the Dolphins in the Superbowl


  • November 29, 1983: Cowboys break ground on a 30-acre office and training facility in Valley Ranch.


  • Bum Bright purchases the Cowboys for $84 million


  • Captain America in his second job, moonlighting as a waiter

    August 27, 1985: Players and coaches move to the new Valley Ranch facility.

  • Front office personnel move in several weeks later, marking the first time since 1967 that the team's practice facility and office complex are in the same area.
  • Roger Staubach inducted into NFL Hall of Fame at QB


  • In a Brad Sham book 'Stadium Stories' Tex Schramm says that in the Spring of 1986 Bum Bright, Tex Schramm and Landry agree that Landry will retire at the end of the season. According to Tex, the NFL has moved past him and he will not adapt. Paul Hackett is brought in from San Francisco to revive the stagnating offense
  • Landry refuses to let Hackett run the offense and blends the West Coast offense with his old one
  • He does not retire at the end of the year as he agreed to.


  • Brad Sham “Landry then decides, without telling anyone, he is not going to quit.  Either 1987 or 1988 in the Spring, Landry had a press conference.  Schramm had Marty Schottenheimer in town, looking at houses.  He thought he was going to hire Marty Schottenheimer to replace Tom Landry, who was going to retire.  Landry comes and has a press conference, and that’s when Schramm finds out that Landry is not quitting.
  • Tex will still not fire him as Gil, Tex and Tom were hired together and would leave together.
  • This is the strike year. Replacements go 2-1. Regulars go 5-7.


  • Possibly Landry's worst year. He can no longer relate to the players, the NFL has long since figured out the Flex defense and his GM and Owner have expected him to retire for the past two years. They go 3-13
  • Mike Ditka goes into NFL Hall of Fame at TE


  • Feb 25, 1989 - Bum Bright sells the team. He has had several offers, however he wasnt going to sell to anyone that was going to keep Landry. Landry must be fired for the deal to be done. But does not take the highest one, instead he goes with the charismatic Jerry Jones for $170 million.
  • “Our agreement on the purchase of the Dallas Cowboys was finalized with a few notes on a napkin and a handshake,” Jones said in a statement. “With Bum, his word meant everything. LA Times
  • Jones is the the majority partner, with five minority owners, including Ed Smith of Houston, who had 27 percent under Bright's ownership. The other minority owners include Charles Wily, Sam Wily and Evan Wily, who are affiliated with U.S. Cafes, owners of the Bonanza Steakhouse chain, and Russell Glass.
  • Brad Sham; “So, Bum Bright says to Jerry Jones, ‘I’ll fire him for you.’  And Jerry says ‘No, no, I’m going to fly down and tell him face to face.’  Well, people don’t want to hear that, because that doesn’t make Jerry a villain.”
  • Announcement of the sale, rumored since Thursday, came at a news conference 8:22 p.m. Saturday at Valley Ranch. The news conference was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., but was delayed because Jones and club president Tex Schramm flew in Jones' private jet to Austin to inform Landry personally that he was being replaced as Cowboys coach. Schramm's voice broke and tears welled in his eyes as he talked of the visit with Landry. "It was a very difficult meeting, difficult and sad," said Schramm, who will retain his role with the Cowboys.  "It's tough when you break a relationship that you have had for 29 years. But I am glad the ownership problem has been cleared up. It's good for the ballclub," Schramm said. (Oklahoman)
    Bright says later that his biggest regret during his Cowboy tenure was not firing Landry himself.
  • Jones offers Landry a position with the Cowboys that he declines
  • Jones hires Jimmy Johnson, his Arkansas teammate as Head Coach. He will serve from 1989-1993
  • October 12, 1989, centered on sending running back Herschel Walker from the Dallas Cowboys to the Minnesota Vikings. Including Walker and a transaction involving the San Diego Chargers, the trade eventually involved 18 players and draft picks. This gave Dallas the ammunition to win the three SuperBowls of the 1990s

“There is no right way to fire Tom Landry.  Yet it was what everybody wanted done, and what everybody agreed had to happen. They just wanted him to step away gracefully, but he didn’t want to.”

“The great irony to me is that is what he did with his players.  He intentionally did not have close personal relationships with most of his players while he was playing because he knew there would be a day when he would have to cut them. And all of his players, 85-90%, didn’t like him when they played for him. But they looked back after they played for him, and said “Wow.”   He cared about them deeply, but felt, this is the way I have to run this business.  Then it happened to him, and he didn’t like it.” Brad Sham courtesy Peter King podcast

Over 40 years in the NFL as a First-Team All-Pro, NFL Champion, NFL Punting Yards Leader as a player, then NFL Coach of the Year, Cowboys Ring of Honor, Cowboys record for career wins at 250, 5x NFC Champ and 2x Super Bowl Champ


  • 1990-97: Training camp St. Edwards University in Austin
  • Tom Landry becomes the first Cowboy coach in the NFL Hall of Fame


  • Texas E. Schramm becomes the first Cowboy GM in the NFL Hall of Fame


  • January 31 1993 Dallas destroys Buffalo in XXVII 52-17

Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson wtih Super Bowl trophy


  • 1994: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plans to expand the 65,000-seat Texas Stadium by 40,000 seats, add retractable roof panels and install a climate-control system to make the stadium a year-round venue for sporting events, including the Super Bowl, concerts, and conventions.
  • January 30 1994 Dallas replays 1993 and take out Buffalo 30-13 in Superbowl XXVIII
  • Tony Dorsett, Cowboy RB goes into the NFL Hall of Fame
  • Randy 'The Manster' White goes into the NFL Hall of Fame
  • Jackie Smith goes in NFL Hall of Fame. Only with Dallas one year but famous for dropping the tying TD pass in Super Bowl XIII against the Steelers


  • January 28 1996 Dallas wins it's 5th Superbowl over the Steelers, 27-17
  • Me Renfro joins the Hall of Fame at as a Cowboy S and CB


  • 1997–2000: The Cowboys hold preliminary talks with Arlington officials about building a stadium there. The team also publicly discusses a $260 million plan to upgrade Texas Stadium. In 2000, the Cowboys compile a list of potential stadium sites, which include Grapevine, Coppell, and Arlington. The team continues negotiating with Irving to renovate Texas Stadium.


  • 1998-2001: Training camp moved to Midwestern State in Wichita Falls
  • however in 2001, River Ridge Playing Field in Oxnard shared training camp
  • Tommy McDonald, Cowboy WR joins the NFL Hall of Fame


  • 2001: Jones says Arlington is a leading contender for a $500 million stadium. The primary site considered is the 2,000 acres (810 ha) Lakes of Arlington tract on Farm Road 157. Other cities in the running include Grapevine and Grand Prairie. In October, Jones discusses the new stadium with the mayors of Arlington, Irving, Grapevine, and Dallas.


  • 2002-2003: Training camp at Alamodome in San Antonio


  • 2003: The Cowboys ask the Irving City Council to extend their lease at Texas Stadium, which expires at the end of the 2008 season, on a year-to-year basis. They narrow their search to sites in Las Colinas and Dallas, and state legislators file bills that would allow Dallas County to increase its hotel occupancy and car rental taxes to pay for a new stadium.


  • April 2004: Cowboys announce plans to build a $650 million stadium at Fair Park in Dallas. The deal requires $425 million in public financing from a 3% hotel-occupancy tax and a 6% car-rental tax.
  • The deal falls apart in June when Dallas County commissioners say they cannot justify asking voters to approve the team's request for $425 million in public funding.
  • In July, the Cowboys and Arlington announce they are negotiating to locate the stadium near Globe Life Park (then Ameriquest Field). In August, the Arlington City Council agrees unanimously to put before voters a tax increase that would fund the city's $325 million portion of the project. Voters approve the tax increase on November 2.
  • 2004-2006: Training camp at River Ridge in Oxnard, CA


  • 2005: Arlington and the Cowboys choose the site south of Randol Mill Road and east of Collins Street for the new stadium. The city begins notifying residents and property owners of its plans to acquire their property. The Cowboys hire the HKS architectural firm to design the stadium. Early blueprints show 414 luxury suites and a two-panel retractable roof. The city completes its sale of $297.9 million in bonds to pay for its portion of the construction. Demolition of houses begins November 1.


  • January 2006: The Cowboys hired Oklahoma-based Manhattan Construction as the general contractor for the stadium and the city completes its land purchases, although it still faces a number of lawsuits over land acquisition. Later that month, Tarrant County work crews begin demolition of more than 150 Arlington residences and small business structures to make room for the stadium.
  • March 2006: Alliance announced between Manhattan Construction and two general contractors, Rayco Construction of Grand Prairie and 3i Construction of Dallas, to manage the stadium's construction.
  • April 2006: Excavation begins by Mario Sinacola and Sons Excavating. By August, they had moved over 1.4 million cubic yards of earth, shaping a 13-to-14-acre (5.3 to 5.7 ha) stadium bowl an average of 54 feet (16 m) deep.
  • October 2006: The grass amphitheater on Randol Mill Road is leveled to make way for the extension of Baird Farm Road.
  • December 2006: The stadium's structure begins to go up and on December 12, Jerry Jones unveils the in-depth plans and designs of the stadium to the public.
  • Troy Aikman goes into NFL Hall of Fame as a Cowboy QB
  • 'Big Cat' Rayfield Wright, Cowboy OT goes into NFL Hall of Fame


  • January 2007: A construction worker is injured in a 20 ft fall.
  • June 2008: Jones commissions the world's largest 1080p HDTV, to hang above field. An electrician is electrocuted while working on the stadium. Two days before, three people were injured while assembling a crane.
  • Training camp at Alamodome
  • WR Micheal Irvin goes into NFL Hall of Fame


  • 2008 and 2010 Training camp at River Ridge in Oxnard


  • 2009: The stadium is scheduled for 'substantial completion' in June. The artificial-turf field was brought into the stadium in July. The Cowboys played their first pre-season home game on August 21 and their first regular-season home game on Sunday, September 20.
  • May 2, 2009 Rich Behm is paralyzed and 11 others hurt when straightline winds take out a tent at Valley Ranch.
  • May 13, 2009: Jerry Jones announced the official name of the new venue as Cowboys Stadium.
  • 2009 and 2011: Training camp at Alamodome in San Antonio
  • September 20, 2009: The Cowboys played their first NFL regular season game in the new stadium, . The Cowboys lose to the Giants 33–31 on a last second field goal by Lawrence Tynes. It was televised on NBC. This game attracted a record-breaking crowd of 105,121.
  • 'Bullet' Bob Hayes finally goes into the NFL Hall of Fame


  • Emmitt Smith, NFL all time rushing leader is a first ballot NFL Hall of Famer


  • February 6, 2011: The 2010 NFL Season Super Bowl was hosted at the Cowboys Stadium, which saw the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. It was in the middle of a sudden snow and ice storm where several guests were struck by ice sliding off the roof. The City of Arlington had no capabilities for ice of this magnitude.
  • Deion 'Primetime' Sanders goes into NFL Hall of Fame


  • July 25, 2013: Jerry Jones announced that the official name of the venue was changed to AT&T Stadium as part of a naming rights deal.
  • Larry Allen, OT and OG for us goes into NFL Hall of Fame
  • Bill Parcells, Cowboys Head Coach goes into NFL Hall of Fame


  • Charles Haley, DE and LB goes into NFL Hall of Fame


  • Jerry Jones goes into NFL Hall of Fame as an owner


  • WR Terrell Owens goes into NFL Hall of Fame


  • Gil Brandt becomes the first Director of Player Personnel in the NFL Hall of Fame

If you haven't read our interview with Cowboy All Pro LB Thomas 'Hollywood' Henderson, go to https://memoriesofdallas.org/thomashenderson/


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2 thoughts on “Dallas Cowboys Timeline”

  1. Only thing missed was the reason the Cowboys got a franchise was because Lamar Hunt after trying for years to get Dallas an NFL franchise started his own league with a team in Dallas.

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