1995 Dallas Cowboys season
OwnerJerry Jones
Head coachBarry Switzer
Home fieldTexas Stadium
Results
Record12–4
Division place1st NFC East
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs (vs. Eagles) 30–11
Won NFC Championship (vs. Packers) 38–27
Won Super Bowl XXX (vs. Steelers) 27–17
Pro BowlersQB Troy Aikman
RB Emmitt Smith
WR Michael Irvin
OT Mark Tuinei
G Larry Allen
C Ray Donaldson
TE Jay Novacek
OG Nate Newton
DE Charles Haley
S Darren Woodson

The 1995 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 36th season in the National Football League and was the second year under head coach Barry Switzer and final of the three Super Bowl titles they would win during 1992 to 1995. Dallas would be the first team to ever win three Super Bowls in a span of four seasons (would be later matched by the New England Patriots from the 2001 to 2004 seasons). Switzer guided the Cowboys to a fifth Super Bowl win by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. As of 2021, this is the last time the Cowboys appeared in the NFC Championship Game, and in turn, their last Super Bowl appearance.

Offseason

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.

NFL draft

Main article: 1995 NFL draft

1995 Dallas Cowboys draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 46 Sherman Williams  Running back Alabama
2 59 Kendell Watkins  Tight end Mississippi State
2 63 Shane Hannah  Guard Michigan State
3 92 Charlie Williams  Cornerback Bowling Green
4 110 Eric Bjornson  Tight end Washington
4 129 Alundis Brice  Cornerback Ole Miss
4 130 Linc Harden  Linebacker Oklahoma State
5 166 Ed Hervey  Wide Receiver USC
5 168 Dana Howard  Linebacker Illinois
7 236 Oscar Sturgis  Defensive end North Carolina
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

1995 Expansion Draft

Main article: 1995 NFL expansion draft

Dallas Cowboys selected during the Expansion Draft
Round Overall Name Position Expansion Team
11 21 Willie Jackson WR Jacksonville Jaguars
16 31 Dave Thomas CB Carolina Panthers

Regular season

The 1995 season once more saw a number of key veterans depart via free agency due to the NFL salary cap, 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. 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 earned 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 victories against the Giants, Broncos, Vikings in overtime, and Cardinals. In week five at the Redskins, Troy Aikman was injured early and the Cowboys suffered their first loss of the season. Aikman returned the next week and led Dallas to wins over Green Bay, San Diego, the Falcons (marking Deion Sanders's debut game with the Cowboys), and the Eagles to move to 8–1.

In week ten, the struggling 49ers (only 5–4 and with Elvis Grbac substituting for injured Steve Young) came to Texas Stadium and shocked the Cowboys, 38–20; the game's signature play was San Francisco's second play from scrimmage, from the Niners' 19-yard line, as Grbac's pass split Dallas's safeties and Jerry Rice scored.

The win started a six-game win streak for San Francisco while Dallas rebounded, beating the Raiders and Chiefs to move to 10–2, but then was upset at home by the Washington Redskins (the Redskins, who finished only 6–10, swept the eventual world champions; it was the Skins' seventh win in fourteen meetings since the firing of Tom Landry). The Cowboys lost their second game in a row in a controversial loss at Philadelphia where, with the game tied at 17 late in the fourth quarter, Coach Barry Switzer elected to "go for it" on 4th down and a foot at the Cowboys' 29-yard line. The Eagles initially stopped Dallas for no gain but the play was ruled dead because the two-minute warning was reached before Dallas snapped the ball. Switzer then elected to try again instead of punting, and this time the play was stopped for a 1-yard loss; Philly took over and soon kicked a field goal to get the win. 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 (Deion Sanders publicly supported Switzer and the decision to try the 4th-down conversion) and eventually used those emotions to end the losing streak.

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 49ers 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 playoff game followed by a memorable NFC championship game victory against the Green Bay Packers at Texas Stadium. The team went on to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona in an attempt to tie the NFL record of a fifth league 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, made his second interception of a pass from Steelers quarterback Neil O'Donnell to seal the Cowboys' victory. Brown was named Super Bowl MVP after the game.

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 4, 1995 at New York Giants W 35–0 1–0 Giants Stadium Recap
2 September 10, 1995 Denver Broncos W 31–21 2–0 Texas Stadium Recap
3 September 17, 1995 at Minnesota Vikings W 23–17 (OT) 3–0 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Recap
4 September 24, 1995 Arizona Cardinals W 34–20 4–0 Texas Stadium Recap
5 October 1, 1995 at Washington Redskins L 23–27 4–1 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
6 October 8, 1995 Green Bay Packers W 34–24 5–1 Texas Stadium Recap
7 October 15, 1995 at San Diego Chargers W 23–9 6–1 Jack Murphy Stadium Recap
8 Bye
9 October 29, 1995 at Atlanta Falcons W 28–13 7–1 Georgia Dome Recap
10 November 6, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles W 34–12 8–1 Texas Stadium Recap
11 November 12, 1995 San Francisco 49ers L 20–38 8–2 Texas Stadium Recap
12 November 19, 1995 at Oakland Raiders W 34–21 9–2 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
13 November 23, 1995 Kansas City Chiefs W 24–12 10–2 Texas Stadium Recap
14 December 3, 1995 Washington Redskins L 17–24 10–3 Texas Stadium Recap
15 December 10, 1995 at Philadelphia Eagles L 17–20 10–4 Veterans Stadium Recap
16 December 17, 1995 New York Giants W 21–20 11–4 Texas Stadium Recap
17 December 25, 1995 at Arizona Cardinals W 37–13 12–4 Sun Devil Stadium Recap

Standings

NFC East
W L T PCT PF PA STK
(1) Dallas Cowboys 12 4 0 .750 435 291 W2
(4) Philadelphia Eagles 10 6 0 .625 318 338 L1
Washington Redskins 6 10 0 .375 326 359 W2
New York Giants 5 11 0 .313 290 340 L2
Arizona Cardinals 4 12 0 .250 275 422 L4

Playoffs

Postseason schedule

Round Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Venue Game Recap
Wild Card First-round bye
Divisional January 7, 1996 Philadelphia Eagles (4) W 30–11 1–0 Texas Stadium Recap
NFC Championship January 14, 1996 Green Bay Packers (3) W 38–27 2–0 Texas Stadium Recap
Super Bowl XXX January 28, 1996 Pittsburgh Steelers (A2) W 27–17 3–0 Sun Devil Stadium Recap

Divisional Playoffs vs Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Eagles 0 3 0811
Cowboys 3 14 6730

at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Game information
  • Scoring
    • DAL – field goal Boniol 24 DAL 3–0
    • PHI – field goal Anderson 26 Tie 3–3
    • DAL – Sanders 21 run (Boniol kick) DAL 10–3
    • DAL – Smith 1 run (Boniol kick) DAL 17–3
    • DAL – field goal Boniol 18 DAL 20–3
    • DAL – field goal Boniol 51 DAL 23–3
    • DAL – Irvin 9 pass from Aikman (Boniol kick) DAL 30–3
    • PHI – Cunningham 4 run (R. Johnson pass from Cunningham) DAL 30–11

NFC Championship Game

Dallas Cowboys 38, Green Bay Packers 27
1 2 34Total
Packers 10 7 10027
Cowboys 14 10 01438

at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Super Bowl XXX

Main article: Super Bowl XXX

Scoring summary

Staff

1995 Dallas Cowboys staff
Front office
  • Owner/president/general manager – Jerry Jones
  • Public relations director – Rich Dalrymple

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches


Strength and conditioning

Roster

Dallas Cowboys 1995 roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
52 active, 4 inactive, 1 practice squad

Awards and records

Milestones

Publications

References

  1. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 440
  2. ^ Ferraro, Michael X.; Veneziano, John (2007). Numbelievable!. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0.