|1994 Dallas Cowboys season|
|Head coach||Barry Switzer|
|Home field||Texas Stadium|
|Division place||1st NFC East|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (vs. Packers) 35-9|
Lost NFC Championship (at 49ers) 28-38
|Pro Bowlers||QB Troy Aikman|
RB Emmitt Smith
RB Daryl Johnston
WR Michael Irvin
TE Jay Novacek
OL Nate Newton
OL Mark Stepnoski
OL Mark Tuinei
DL Charles Haley
DL Leon Lett
DB Darren Woodson
The 1994 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 35th season in the National Football League. Following their second consecutive Super Bowl title, the Cowboys would see a multitude of changes. In March, months of setbacks finally reached its climax as team owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jimmy Johnson held a press conference and announced Johnson's resignation.
After a continuous run of dominance in the regular season and finishing with a record of 12-4, the Cowboys fell short of a record third straight Super Bowl title with a loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The 1994 Cowboys draft yielded only one notable addition to the team, offensive guard Larry Allen and veteran linebacker Ken Norton Jr. left the team to sign with San Francisco.
This season was also the 75th anniversary of the NFL and was designated by a diamond-shaped patch worn on the left breast of every NFL team's uniform. The Cowboys celebrated the league's history by donning their inaugural white jerseys from the 1960-1963 seasons against the Detroit Lions. The team also later debuted a special white "Double-Star" jersey on Thanksgiving Day 1994. These uniforms celebrated the Cowboys' most recent back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the 1992 and 1993 seasons and were used in most of the Cowboys' remaining games of the season, including the playoffs.
|1994 Dallas Cowboys draft|
|1||23||Shante Carver||Defensive end||Arizona State|
|2||46||Larry Allen +||Guard||Sonoma State|
|3||102||George Hegamin||Tackle||NC State|
|4||109||Willie Jackson||Wide Receiver||Florida|
|4||131||DeWayne Dotson||Linebacker||Ole Miss|
|6||191||Darren Studstill||Safety||West Virginia|
|7||216||Toddrick McIntosh||Defensive end||Florida State|
|Made roster + Pro Football Hall of Fame * Made at least one Pro Bowl during career|
|Chris Boniol||Kicker||Louisiana Tech|
|Hurvin McCormack||Defensive Tackle||Indiana|
In an attempt to be the first NFL franchise to "Three-Peat" Super Bowls, the Dallas Cowboys were off to a strong start under new head coach Barry Switzer. However dominant, the team was fielded with injuries to many key starters. The most notable injuries were a near fatal car accident to tackle Erik Williams and a nagging hamstring strain to running back Emmitt Smith. The season also saw the brief emergence of back-up quarterback and future head coach Jason Garrett as he led a comeback victory against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day by leading the Cowboys to score 36 points in the second half. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner also departed to become head coach of the rival Washington Redskins and was replaced by veteran offensive assistant Ernie Zampese. Dallas still managed to finish the regular season posting a 12-4 record and defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional game at Texas Stadium. They would later travel to Candlestick Park to face the San Francisco 49ers for the third straight time in as many years for the NFC Championship Game. Down 21 points in the first quarter, the Cowboys fought back valiantly, but fell short, 28-38.
|1||September 4||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 26-9||1-0||Three Rivers Stadium||Recap|
|2||September 11||Houston Oilers||W 20-17||2-0||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|3||Detroit Lions||L 17-20 (OT)||2-1||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|5||October 2||at Washington Redskins||W 34-7||3-1||RFK Stadium||Recap|
|6||October 9||Arizona Cardinals||W 38-3||4-1||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|7||October 16||Philadelphia Eagles||W 24-13||5-1||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|8||October 23||at Arizona Cardinals||W 28-21||6-1||Sun Devil Stadium||Recap|
|9||October 30||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 23-20||7-1||Riverfront Stadium||Recap|
|10||New York Giants||W 38-10||8-1||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|11||November 13||at San Francisco 49ers||L 14-21||8-2||Candlestick Park||Recap|
|12||November 20||Washington Redskins||W 31-7||9-2||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|13||Green Bay Packers||W 42-31||10-2||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|14||December 4||at Philadelphia Eagles||W 31-19||11-2||Veterans Stadium||Recap|
|15||Cleveland Browns||L 14-19||11-3||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|16||at New Orleans Saints||W 24-16||12-3||Louisiana Superdome||Recap|
|17||at New York Giants||L 10-15||12-4||Giants Stadium||Recap|
Barry Switzer's debut as Cowboys head coach was a 26-9 victory over the Steelers and third-year coach Bill Cowher. Kicker Chris Boniol kicked four field goals while the Steelers managed a Neil O'Donnell touchdown run and a field goal. Despite the lopsided win Michael Irvin said afterward, "We did not look sharp."
Dallas' home opener was a 20-17 win over their in-state AFC cousin the Houston Oilers. Though the Oilers closed to within 20-17 they got no further.
The Cowboys struggled against the Lions falling behind 17-7 but rallied to tie the game. Jason Hanson missed a short field goal attempt ending regulation, then in overtime another Hanson kick was blocked. Troy Aikman fumbled to the Lions and Hanson booted a 44-yarder for the 20-17 Lions win.
The Cowboys came off their bye week and their former offensive coordinator Norv Turner saw his Redskins get hammered 34-7 at RFK Stadium. The Skins lost four turnovers and managed just 110 yards of offense.
With both teams at 4-1 the Cowboys took care of business in a 24-13 win. Randall Cunningham was intercepted four times.
The Cardinals had long given little reason for confidence but this game was radically different. Troy Aikman completed three passes and a touchdown to Alvin Harper but was knocked out by a vicious hit from Wilber Marshall. The Cardinals led 21-14 in the fourth but Rodney Peete completed 186 passing yards and two scoring drives for the 28-21 win. Arriving home several players including Erik Williams went to a bar to relax. Seriously drunk, Williams drove away then was seriously injured in a vicious highway accident, missing the remainder of the season.
Bengals coach Dave Shula was disliked by Cowboys players during his time on Jimmy Johnson's staff as a young offensive coach because of his mistrust of players and resultant dumbed-down play calling. His Bengals entered this game winless and stayed that way after the Cowboys rallied from down 20-17 in the third quarter on two Boniol field goals.
The Cowboys led wire to wire in a 38-10 rout of the 3-6 Giants, out gaining them in yards 450-188 despite two fumbles. The game was marred by a scuffle between the two teams at the end of the first half.
Considered game of the year going in, Dallas' fourth meeting in three seasons with the Niners was a defensive struggle with a combined fourteen punts for 592 yards. The Niners clawed out a 14-7 lead in the fourth and the Cowboys stormed to the Niners' 7 when Aikman was intercepted (his third of the game). The Niners scored again before Dallas raced downfield and scored but could not recover an onside kick. The 21-14 win would mean San Francisco would host a playoff rematch.
Despite being out gained in yardage 313-243 the Cowboys crushed the Redskins 31-7, snagging four interceptions and a fumble. Both teams used three quarterbacks apiece including future Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.
With Troy Aikman out with injury Garrett started against the 6-5 Packers. Green Bay raced to a 24-13 lead before Garrett erupted to two touchdown throws and led two more drives ending in rushing scores. The end result was a 42-31 Cowboys win a year after their embarrassing Thanksgiving loss to Miami.
After a 7-2 start the Eagles were in free fall at 7-5 and lost again, this time at Veterans Stadium. The Eagles clawed to within 24-19 but Randall Cunningham was intercepted by Darren Woodson at the Cowboys 6 and Woodson finished a 31-19 Cowboys win.
The Cowboys lost realistic chance at the top seed in the NFC while the Browns closed in on the playoffs in a 19-14 Cleveland win, picking off Aikman twice and adding two Cowboys fumbles. It began a six-game winning streak against the Cowboys by Bill Belichick.
Dallas nonetheless secured a playoff Bye in a 24-16 win at the Superdome despite two more Aikman interceptions. Jim Everett of the Saints was worse with three picks and the two teams combined for just 517 yards of offense.
The Cowboys finished with twelve wins while the Giants in winning 15-10 salvaged 9-7 after starting 3-7. The two teams combined for just 437 yards and endured twelve penalties together. Dallas rested most of their starters.
|(2) Dallas Cowboys||12||4||0||.750||414||248||L1|
|New York Giants||9||7||0||.563||279||305||W6|
|Round||Date||Opponent (seed)||Result||Record||Venue||Game Recap|
|Wild Card||First-round bye|
|Divisional||January 8, 1995||Green Bay Packers (4)||W 35-9||1-0||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|NFC Championship||January 15, 1995||San Francisco 49ers (1)||L 28-38||1-1||Candlestick Park||Recap|
The Cowboys led wire to wire winning 35-9 as Aikman erupted to 337 yards while Brett Favre completed just eighteen passes and was benched with the game's competitive phase over for Mark Brunell in his final game before league expansion sent him to the same Jacksonville Jaguars whose interest in Dallas' former coach had helped set off the controversial change of Dallas coaches before the 1994 season.
Dallas' run as Super Bowl champions ended in bitter 38-28 fashion as three turnovers in the first eight minutes of action led to 21 Niners points and a 31-14 San Francisco lead. Aikman managed 380 yards but three interceptions were part of five Dallas turnovers. The bitterest moment came on an encounter between receiver Michael Irvin (targeted 26 times with twelve catches and two touchdowns) and Niners defensive back Deion Sanders that was considered flagrant interference but didn't draw a penalty. Team owner Jerry Jones stated afterward "there is nothing we need to change to beat the Forty Niners," yet Sanders would wind up factoring into the future in any event.