15 greatest Dallas Cowboys of all time, from Jason Witten to Emmitt Smith

The list of greatest Dallas Cowboys players of all time could go on forever. Many of these players are among the best in NFL history.

Greatest Dallas Cowboys of all time | 1-5

Who are the five greatest Dallas Cowboys of all time?

5) Michael Irvin

The Playmaker is one of the most infectious personalities ever to don a microphone or play professional sports. A homer to this day, even as an analyst, Irvin doesn’t hide his admiration for the Cowboys. Irvin was one of the best receivers in the game and won three Super Bowls as part of the Cowboys’ triplets.

Irvin is a Hall of Famer who went to five straight Pro Bowls but only notched one All-Pro. Still, his “lack” of individual achievement does not lessen his value in Dallas’ history. His numbers inflated during the postseason alongside quarterback Troy Aikman’s, as they were both asked to do more. Irvin, like Aikman, delivered in those situations.

4) Troy Aikman

Speaking of Aikman, he follows Irvin on the list of greatest Cowboys of all time. It’s crazy to think that the Hall of Fame quarterback never once was an All-Pro, despite being a three-time Super Bowl champion. Aikman could put up gaudy passing stats, but he was never asked to throughout his career in Dallas.

From 1991-1996, he was the most successful quarterback in the game if we overvalue team success, which we do. As a passer, he led the league with a 69.1% completion percentage in 1993 and adjusted net yards per attempt in 1995. Despite being the quarterback of those Super Bowl-winning Cowboys teams, he was not the focal point of the offense. That was Emmitt Smith.

3) Emmitt Smith

Smith was the engine that made the dynastic Cowboys run. The NFL’s all-time leading rusher was arguably even more valuable than the franchise’s signal-caller, a distinction that the modern game could not match. The early 90s were about running the brakes off a defense with the help of a fullback. Daryl “Moose” Johnston deserves at least partial credit as well.

Smith’s individual accolades seemingly go on forever. Coming in as the sixth-best running back of all-time on Pro Football Network’s list, the four-time All-Pro was league MVP in 1993. He averaged over 105 yards per game three times during his career and led the league in rushing four times. Smith posted 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons, nine of which were over the 1,200-yard mark. He’d be the best on most team’s lists, but he lands third here behind one of the greatest defensive tackles ever and Captain Comeback himself.

2) Bob Lilly

Lilly was the first Cowboys draft pick and the first-ever Dallas player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Moreover, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever defensive tackles. Like White, Lilly had seven All-Pros in his career and won one Super Bowl.

Lilly unofficially generated 95.5 sacks throughout his NFL career. He was agile, hostile, and pliable as a defensive tackle. He was one of, if not the strongest players on the team. Yet, Lilly had the ability to hurdle chop blocks on his way to the backfield gracefully. His nickname of “Mr. Cowboy” is fitting.

1) Roger Staubach

Staubach hasn’t taken an NFL snap since 1979, but he is still one of the most recognizable faces and names in NFL history. A Vietnam veteran quarterbacked America’s Team to two Super Bowl victories. “Captain Comeback” did it time and time again, bringing the Cowboys back from the depths of despair all the way to victory.

The second-team quarterback of the 1970s All-Decade team was a first-team role model. His off-field nature and on-field leadership are the template for a franchise quarterback. That is a template that appears written down and copied by current Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

Regardless, no matter how successful a quarterback becomes in a Dallas jersey, Roger Staubach is THE Cowboys quarterback. He’s at the top of the mountain when it comes to the greatest Cowboys of all time.

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