|1993 Dallas Cowboys season|
|Head coach||Jimmy Johnson|
|Home field||Texas Stadium|
|Division place||1st NFC East|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (vs. Packers) 27–17|
Won NFC Championship (vs. 49ers) 38–21
Won Super Bowl XXVIII (vs. Bills) 30–13
The 1993 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 34th season in the National Football League and was the fifth and final year of the franchise under head coach Jimmy Johnson. During Johnson's tenure, the Cowboys made two of their three Super Bowl appearances between 1992 and 1995 and won back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The season is notable for seeing the Cowboys become the first team to start 0–2 and still reach (and subsequently win) the Super Bowl. The following off-season was marked by the surprising resignation of Johnson, whom departed the Cowboys due to a dispute with owner Jerry Jones of who deserved more credit of the back-to-back Super Bowl wins. This would be Johnson's last head coaching job until 1996, when he became the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins to replace the retiring Don Shula, whom served as their head coach since 1970.
The Cowboys' journey towards Super Bowl XXVIII proved more difficult than the previous season. Running back Emmitt Smith held out the first two regular season games over a contract dispute. Dallas would lose both games to the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills starting the season at 0–2. The team would also acquire veteran quarterback Bernie Kosar after his release from the Cleveland Browns as insurance for starting quarterback Troy Aikman, who suffered a severe concussion in the NFC Championship game versus San Francisco.
In arguably his finest game as a professional, Emmitt Smith suffered a 2nd degree separated shoulder in the regular season finale versus their NFC East division rival, New York Giants. Smith willed himself through excruciating pain and carried the Cowboys to an overtime win. Dallas finished with an NFC-best 12–4 record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Smith was later named the NFL MVP and with 1,486 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns, also gave him his third NFL rushing title. Smith would also later be voted Super Bowl MVP, giving him the honor of being the only player to win all three awards in the same season. Another outstanding Smith performance came against the Eagles, where he rushed for a career-high 237 yards.
The season was also notable for the Leon Lett "blunder" in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. With Texas Stadium unusually covered with snow and ice, Dallas led the Dolphins 14–13 with seconds remaining as the Dolphins' Pete Stoyanovich attempted a long field goal. The Cowboys' Jimmie Jones blocked the field goal, apparently ending the game. However, with the blocked ball rolling around at the Dallas 10, Lett attempted to fall on it and slipped, kicking the ball and making it "live" again. Miami's Jeff Dellenbach recovered and Stoyanovich made the most of his shorter second chance, giving the Dolphins a most improbable 16–14 win.
Aikman finished the regular season completing 271 out of 392 passes for 3,100 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Wide receiver Michael Irvin once again led the team with 88 catches for 1,330 yards and 7 touchdowns. Wide receiver Alvin Harper had 36 catches for 777 yards and 5 touchdowns, and tight end Jay Novacek had 44 receptions for 445 yards and 1 touchdown. The offensive line consisted of Pro Bowlers Mark Stepnoski, Erik Williams, and Nate Newton. The defense was anchored by Pro Bowlers such as Russell Maryland, Ken Norton Jr., and Thomas Everett.
|1||at Washington Redskins||L 16–35||0–1||Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium||Recap|
|2||September 12||Buffalo Bills||L 10–13||0–2||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 19||at Phoenix Cardinals||W 17–10||1–2||Sun Devil Stadium||Recap|
|5||October 3||Green Bay Packers||W 36–14||2–2||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|6||October 10||at Indianapolis Colts||W 27–3||3–2||Hoosier Dome||Recap|
|7||October 17||San Francisco 49ers||W 26–17||4–2||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|9||October 31||at Philadelphia Eagles||W 23–10||5–2||Veterans Stadium||Recap|
|10||November 7||New York Giants||W 31–9||6–2||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|11||November 14||Phoenix Cardinals||W 20–15||7–2||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|12||November 21||at Atlanta Falcons||L 14–27||7–3||Georgia Dome||Recap|
|13||November 25||Miami Dolphins||L 14–16||7–4||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles||W 23–17||8–4||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|15||December 12||at Minnesota Vikings||W 37–20||9–4||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||Recap|
|16||at New York Jets||W 28–7||10–4||Giants Stadium||Recap|
|17||December 26||Washington Redskins||W 38–3||11–4||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|18||January 2||at New York Giants||W 16–13 (OT)||12–4||Giants Stadium||Recap|
Despite two touchdown catches by Alvin Harper the Cowboys, playing without Emmitt Smith, fell 35–16 at RFK Stadium. Derrick Lassic, replacing Smith for the time being, rushed for 75 yards but the Cowboys offensive line, whose loyalty was to Smith, didn’t block for him with the same effort; safety James Washington called it “totally unfair to Lassic.”
Before a home crowd frustrated by the Cowboys’ slow start and the continuing contract holdout by Emmitt Smith, the Cowboys fell behind the Bills 10–0, clawed back to tie the game, then fell on Steve Christie’s 35-yard field goal. Lin Elliott missed two kicks (and was cut from the team), Troy Aikman was intercepted twice, and Derrick Lassic fumbled twice. An enraged (and deranged) Charles Haley threw his helmet at team owner Jerry Jones following the game.
Three days before the game the Cowboys finally negotiated a four-year deal with Emmitt Smith. In Smith’s first game back Derrick Lassic scored twice but his 60 total yards came on fourteen carries where Smith coming in cold had 45 yards on eight carries. Dallas outgained the Cardinals in yards 410–273 and won 17–10.
For the first time in NFL history teams were allowed two Bye weeks.
The Cowboys’ new kicker Eddie Murray booted five field goals as the Packers were crushed 36–14. Emmitt Smith had his first rushing score of the season.
While a Louisiana high school quarterback was winning multiple high school player of the year awards that year the present day quarterbacks of the Colts (Jack Trudeau and ex-Packer Don Majkowski) were being intercepted four times by the Cowboys in a 27–3 runaway. Emmitt Smith burst past 100 yards with a score.
Emmitt Smith exploded to 237 yards as the Cowboys broke out of a close score in the fourth quarter to win 23–10. Troy Aikman and former Jet Ken O’Brien for the Eagles combined for just 203 yards and 23 incompletions.
With both teams at 5–2 the battle for the NFC East was joined at Texas Stadium and this game became another Cowboys runaway as Troy Aikman had two touchdowns and Emmitt Smith added two more. In falling 31–9 Phil Simms and Kent Graham were sacked a combined five times.
The win proved costly as Aikman suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter and would miss the next two games.
During halftime the Cowboys inducted Tom Landry into their Ring Of Honor.
Jimmy Johnson decided to start rookie Jason Garrett but after Garrett proved ineffective with just two completions Johnson benched him for recently signed ex-Brown Bernie Kosar, who completed thirteen passes for 199 yards and a touchdown, this despite an end zone intentional grounding penalty that made the final score 20–15 Cowboys.
Despite two touchdowns Kosar could not get a victory as the struggling Falcons triumphed 27–14. Emmitt Smith gained just one yard as the Cowboys were limited to 230 yards of offense to 400 for the Falcons.
Troy Aikman returned as the opening atop Texas Stadium allowed slushy snow onto the field. The Cowboys clawed to a 14–7 lead but in the final seconds a Pete Stoyanovich field goal was blocked; Leon Lett, pressed into service on the Cowboys field goal block team despite having never played on special teams before, foolishly believed the ball had to be recovered; when it squirted off his foot it became a live ball and the Dolphins recovered. Stoyanovich booted the ensuing field goal and the Dolphins had the 16–14 win.
While some teammates were angered at Lett’s gaffe Jimmy Johnson blamed himself and reassured a disconsolate Lett in the locker room.
Despite being sacked four times Troy Aikman completed seventeen passes for 178 yards and a first quarter score to Michael Irvin as the Cowboys led wire to wire and won 23–17. Emmitt Smith had 172 yards on the ground.
In a penalty-plagued game (twenty combined fouls for 124 yards) the Cowboys led wire to wire again in winning 37–20. Emmitt Smith added another 104 yards on the ground.
The Redskins were obliterated 38–3 as Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith accounted for 346 of Dallas’ 380 yards of offense.
Emmitt Smith put on a heroic effort overcoming a serious shoulder separation late in the second quarter to put up 229 yards of offense, 40 of them in overtime after the Giants tied the game. Eddie Murray's winning field goal earned the Cowboys the division title and a first-round playoff bye. Following the game CBS broadcaster John Madden visited Smith in the locker room to shake his hand at his courage in finishing the game.
|(1) Dallas Cowboys||12||4||0||.750||376||229||W5|
|(4) New York Giants||11||5||0||.688||288||205||L2|
|Round||Date||Opponent (seed)||Result||Record||Venue||Game Recap|
|Wild Card||First-round bye|
|Divisional||January 16, 1994||Green Bay Packers (6)||W 27–17||1–0||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|NFC Championship||January 23, 1994||San Francisco 49ers (2)||W 38–21||2–0||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|Super Bowl XXVIII||January 30, 1994||Buffalo Bills (A1)||W 30–13||3–0||Georgia Dome||Recap|
|Dallas Cowboys 1993 roster|
Rookies in italics