1995 Dallas Cowboys season
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|1995 Dallas Cowboys season|
|Head coach||Barry Switzer|
|Home field||Texas Stadium|
|Division place||1st NFC East|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (Eagles) 30–11
Won NFC Championship (Packers) 38–27
Won Super Bowl XXX (Steelers) 27–17
The 1995 Dallas Cowboys season would mark their 36th in the NFL and final of the three Super Bowl titles they would win in the 1990s. Dallas would be the first team to ever win three Super Bowls in a span of four seasons. Second year head coach Barry Switzer guided the Cowboys to a fifth Super Bowl victory by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
The 1995 NFL draft was one of the worst in Dallas Cowboys history. It is infamously known as the "backup draft", because the team considered their roster so strong, they drafted players based on their contributions as backups, which limited the future potential of their selections. The team traded their first-round draft choice (28th overall) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (they selected Derrick Brooks), in exchange for two second-round picks. The best player drafted would end up being Eric Bjornson.
The 1995 season, due to the NFL salary cap, once more saw a number of key veterans depart via free agency including wide receiver Alvin Harper to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, safety James Washington to the Washington Redskins, center Mark Stepnoski to the Houston Oilers and longtime Cowboys veteran defensive end Jim Jeffcoat to the Buffalo Bills. Starting cornerback Kevin Smith was out the remainder of the season after an injury in week one and perhaps the most prominent addition came on September 11, 1995, when Dallas signed All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders away from the San Francisco 49ers. Running back Emmitt Smith would earn his fourth NFL rushing title and set a then-record 25 rushing touchdowns in a season against the Arizona Cardinals to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The season began with 4 straight victories. In week five at Washington, Troy Aikman was injured early and Dallas suffered their first loss of the season. Aikman returned the next week and led Dallas to 4 more wins to move to 8–1. In week ten, the struggling 49ers (only 5–4) came to Texas Stadium and shocked the Cowboys, 38–20. Dallas rebounded with 2 wins to move to 10–2 but then were upset at home by the Washington Redskins (The Redskins, who finished only 6–10, swept the eventual world champions). The Cowboys would lose their second game in a row in a controversial loss at Philadelphia where with the game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter, Coach Barry Switzer elected to "go for it" on 4th and 1 at the Cowboys 29. The play failed and Philly kicked a field goal to provide the margin of victory. While the Cowboys in general and Switzer in particular were excoriated by fans and the media, the team became stronger and angrier after this game (to where Deion Sanders publicly supported Switzer and the decision to try the 4th down conversion) and eventually used those emotions to turn their season around.
The next week, Dallas appeared headed for a third straight defeat at home to the mediocre Giants (only 5–9 entering the game) but thanks to a clutch late reception by Kevin Williams and a last-second field goal by Chris Boniol, the Cowboys prevailed. Rejuvenated, the team defeated the Arizona Cardinals and (combined with a 49er loss the day before) secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The movie "Jerry Maguire" used film footage from the Arizona matchup.
The Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Game followed by a memorable NFC Championship Game victory against the Green Bay Packers at Texas Stadium. The team would go on to face the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona for the right to tie the NFL record of a fifth Super Bowl title. Dallas dominated early, but as the Steelers gained momentum and threatened an upset over the heavily favored Cowboys, starting cornerback Larry Brown, after the tragic loss of his son Kristopher during the season, was named Super Bowl XXX Most Valuable Player when he intercepted his second pass from Steelers quarterback Neil O'Donnell to seal the game.
|at New York Giants||35||0||W||ABC 9:00pm||
|Denver Broncos||31||21||W||NBC 3:00pm||
|at Minnesota Vikings||23||17||W (OT)||TNT 7:00pm||
|Arizona Cardinals||34||20||W||FOX 3:00pm||
|at Washington Redskins||23||27||L||FOX 12:00pm||
|Green Bay Packers||34||24||W||FOX 12:00pm||
|at San Diego Chargers||23||9||W||FOX 3:00pm||
|at Atlanta Falcons||28||13||W||FOX 12:00pm||
|Philadelphia Eagles||34||12||W||ABC 8:00pm||
|San Francisco 49ers||20||38||L||FOX 3:00pm||
|at Oakland Raiders||34||21||W||FOX 3:00pm||
|Kansas City Chiefs||24||12||W||NBC 3:00pm||
|Washington Redskins||17||24||L||FOX 3:00pm||
|at Philadelphia Eagles||17||20||L||FOX 12:00pm||
|New York Giants||21||20||W||FOX 3:00pm||
|at Arizona Cardinals||37||13||W||ABC 8:00pm||
|(1) Dallas Cowboys||12||4||0||.750||435||291||W2|
|(4) Philadelphia Eagles||10||6||0||.625||318||338||L1|
|New York Giants||5||11||0||.313||290||340||L2|
NFC Championship Game
Super Bowl XXX
- DAL – FG: Chris Boniol 42 yards 3–0 DAL
- DAL – TD: Jay Novacek 3 yard pass from Troy Aikman (Chris Boniol kick) 10–0 DAL
- DAL – FG: Chris Boniol 35 yards 13–0 DAL
- PIT – TD: Yancey Thigpen 6 yard pass from Neil O'Donnell (Norm Johnson kick) 13–7 DAL
- DAL – TD: Emmitt Smith 1 yard run (Chris Boniol kick) 20–7 DAL
- PIT – FG: Norm Johnson 46 yards 20–10 DAL
- PIT – TD: Byron "Bam" Morris 1 yard run (Norm Johnson kick) 20–17 DAL
- DAL – TD: Emmitt Smith 4 yard run (Chris Boniol kick) 27–17 DAL
|Dallas Cowboys 1995 roster|
Rookies in italics
Awards and records
- Emmitt Smith, NFL rushing leader
- Larry Brown, Super Bowl Most Valuable Player
- Michael Irvin, 100 Reception Season (Irvin finished the season with 111 receptions) 
- In 1995, Emmitt Smith won his fourth rushing title. He would rush for a career high 1,773 yards.
- The Football Encyclopedia ISBN 0-312-11435-4
- Total Football ISBN 0-06-270170-3
- Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes ISBN 0-446-51950-2
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 440
- Numbelivable!, p.159, Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano, Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, 2007, ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0