|1990 Dallas Cowboys season|
|Head coach||Jimmy Johnson|
|Home field||Texas Stadium|
|Division place||4th NFC East|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
|Pro Bowlers||RB Emmitt Smith|
The 1990 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 31st season in the National Football League and was the second year of the franchise under the ownership of Jerry Jones and head coach Jimmy Johnson. The Cowboys rebounded from a 1–15 season in 1989 to a 7–9 record, however, missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Despite this, Jimmy Johnson won AP's NFL coach of the year honours.
The season began with a win over San Diego, breaking a 14-game home losing streak. The Cowboys showed some early season fight with two wins over Tampa Bay and a near-miss against Philadelphia, but still stood only 3–7 after ten weeks, and were seemingly out of playoff contention. However, the team improved significantly in late November, winning four games in a row (including impressive wins over the Redskins and Saints, and a blowout win over the Cardinals). The Cowboys entered the season's final two weeks needing only one win or Saints' loss to make the playoffs as a wildcard. However, in game 15, quarterback Troy Aikman separated his shoulder early against the Eagles and was replaced by Babe Laufenberg (The Cowboys had traded backup Steve Walsh early in the season and Laufenberg was elevated from third string to backup). With Aikman injured, the Cowboys mustered little offense against the Eagles and lost, 17–3. Meanwhile, the Saints upset the 49ers (handing the Niners only their second loss) to keep the Cowboys from clinching in game 15. The next week, with Laufenberg again leading the offense, the Cowboys were thoroughly beaten, 26–7, by the 4–11 Atlanta Falcons. When the Saints beat the Rams the next night, the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention.
This season featured the debut of running back Emmitt Smith. Smith held out during training camp and was only a minimal contributor in the season's early games, but began to show his future greatness with a 100-plus performance in a week 5 win against Tampa Bay and had a few other outstanding games during the season.
Because of the dismal 1-15 record from the previous season, the home opener against the San Diego Chargers was threatened to be blacked out for the local television market, since Texas Stadium was not sold out. A local radio station ended up buying all of the unsold tickets so that the game could be broadcast to the local DFW market.
|1990 Dallas Cowboys draft|
|1||17||Emmitt Smith * †||RB||Florida|
|3||64||Jimmie Jones||DT||Miami (FL)|
|9||221||Kenneth Gant||S||Albany State|
|11||277||Dave Harper||LB||Humboldt State|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
|1||September 9, 1990||San Diego Chargers||W 17–14||Texas Stadium||1–0|
|2||September 16, 1990||New York Giants||L 28–7||Texas Stadium||1–1|
|3||September 23, 1990||at Washington Redskins||L 19–15||Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium||1–2|
|4||September 20, 1990||at New York Giants||L 31–17||Giants Stadium||1–3|
|5||October 7, 1990||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 14–10||Texas Stadium||2–3|
|6||October 14, 1990||at Phoenix Cardinals||L 20–3||Sun Devil Stadium||2–4|
|7||October 21, 1990||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 17–13||Tampa Stadium||3–4|
|8||October 28, 1990||Philadelphia Eagles||L 21–20||Texas Stadium||3–5|
|9||November 4, 1990||at New York Jets||L 24–9||The Meadowlands||3–6|
|10||November 11, 1990||San Francisco 49ers||L 24–6||Texas Stadium||3–7|
|11||November 18, 1990||at Los Angeles Rams||W 24–21||Anaheim Stadium||4–7|
|12||November 22, 1990||Washington Redskins||W 27–17||Texas Stadium||5–7|
|13||December 2, 1990||New Orleans Saints||W 17–13||Texas Stadium||6–7|
|15||December 16, 1990||Phoenix Cardinals||W 41–10||Texas Stadium||7–7|
|16||December 23, 1990||at Philadelphia Eagles||L 17–3||Veterans Stadium||7–8|
|17||December 30, 1990||at Atlanta Falcons||L 26–7||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||7–9|
|(2) New York Giants||13||3||0||.813||7–1||10–2||335||211||W2|
|(4) Philadelphia Eagles||10||6||0||.625||5–3||9–3||396||299||W3|
|(5) Washington Redskins||10||6||0||.625||4–4||7–5||381||301||W1|
|Dallas Cowboys 1990 roster|
Rookies in italics
|Date||October 28, 1990|
|Stadium||Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Tim Ryan and Irv Cross|
Even though almost a year had transpired since the notorious "Bounty Bowl" games, the vitriolic rivalry between the two teams was still firmly in Cowboys fans' memories. And this was the first encounter since Cowboys players and coaches were relentlessly pelted by snowballs during that last meeting at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.
The week before game day in Dallas, Philadelphia head coach Buddy Ryan and Ted Plumb, his offensive coordinator were out for dinner. Coach Ryan was dining on pork chops and started to choke. Plumb quickly initiated the Heimlich maneuver and saved Ryan's life. Word of the incident spread in Dallas, and hatred by Dallas fans was so fevered towards Ryan that former Cowboys' president Tex Schramm dubbed the pending game on October 28 the "Porkchop Bowl." When the game began, Dallas fans tossed pork chops and similar simulated meat products from the stands toward the Eagles bench.
The final score was 21–20 in favor of the Eagles.
Awards and records
- Jimmy Johnson, National Football League Coach of the Year Award
- Emmitt Smith, National Football League Rookie of the Year Award
- 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