Posts

Legends of the Star – Troy Aikman

As we get close to the end of our Legends of the Star feature, I finally get to profile one of my personal all time favorite Cowboys, Troy Aikman.
 
Troy was almost a legend even before he started playing professional football. As a college player, he played for both UCLA and the school he first enrolled with, the University of Oklahoma. While at Oklahoma he played for future Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer. Aikman was the teams biggest star, but because their offense wasn’t suited to his style of play, he transferred to UCLA a year later, where he gained national attention. He set over a dozen team records that still stand today and led the Bruins to the Aloha Bowl in 1987 where he compiled a 10-2 record. A year later as a senior, he won the Davey O’Brien Award which is given each year to the nations top quarterback. He was a consensus All-American, West Coast Player of the Year, and finished third for the 1988 Heisman Trophy.
 
In 1989, the Cowboys had a new owner in Jerry Jones, and a new head coach in Jimmy Johnson. That year the two of them drafted Troy Aikman with their first round pick in the NFL Draft. It was a move that would change the destiny of the franchise for the next decade.
 
Although Troy finished his first year with a disappointing 0-11 record, everyone could see that he was bursting with talent, and that he was a natural born leader. All he would need is a supporting cast, and the following season the Cowboys provided Aikman with everything he would need to lead the team into greatness.
 
In 1990, Aikman completed 226 of 399 passes for 2,579 yards and 11 touchdowns and the team improved to 7-9, but the following year he completed an NFC-best 65.3 percent of his passes, and the Cowboys improved again to 11-5 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
In 1992, everything started to come together for Aikman and the rest of the Cowboys as they were about to unleash their new high powered offense to the rest of the league. That year, the Cowboys rocketed to the Super Bowl with an explosive display of offensive power coupled with a bruising defense. The Cowboys finished the season with a 13-3 record, and Troy Aikman was named Super Bowl MVP.

For the next three seasons, the Cowboys compiled a 36-9 record, and snatched two more Super Bowl titles. Together with running back, Emmitt Smith, and wide receiver, Michael Irvin, the "Triplets" were football’s biggest stars. They were unstoppable and punished opposing defenses with a hard-hitting, lightning fast attack, that had not been seen in the game before, or since.

With 90 wins in the 1990s, Aikman became the winningest starting quarterback of any decade in NFL history. Unfortunately, during his final two seasons, injuries began to take a toll on him, and after sustaining ten concussions, the Cowboys’ six-time Pro Bowl selection announced his retirement from football.

His career statistics included a team record 32,942 yards and an amazing 165 touchdowns for a passer rating of 81.6. On September 19, 2005, during a broadcast on Monday Night Football, Troy Aikman was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor with his longtime teammates Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. The following year, Troy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Canton, Ohio and gave a teary eyed acceptance speech that no Cowboy fan can ever forget. He is forever, a true Legend of the Star.

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Legends of the Star – Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker started his football career while playing for the University of Georgia. In his freshman year, he set an NCAA rushing record and helped his team win the national title. He earned All-American honors three consecutive years, set 10 NCAA records, 15 Southeast Conference records, 30 Georgia all-time records, and capped a sensational college career by earning the 1982 Heisman Trophy in his third and final year.

In 1983, Walker turned professional and joined the New Jersey Generals of the now defunct United States Football League. Herschel was absolutely dominating and was considered by many to be the best and most electrifying player in football. He won the leagues Most Valuable Player award and set the all-time single season pro football rushing record with 2411 yards.

In 1986, Herschel Walker joined the Dallas Cowboys, and in his first season with the team he led the NFL in rushing and scored 14 touchdowns. His best year came in 1988 when Herschel rushed for 1,514 yards. He earned Pro Bowl honors with the Cowboys in 1987 and 1988. During his years with the Cowboys he was their most talented and most popular player, but the team was not winning.

In the middle of the1989 season, the Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that would change the face of the Cowboys for years to come. Besides receiving 5 players, the Cowboys also received a total of six draft picks, two of which were used to draft Emmit Smith and Darren Woodson. Jimmy Johnson used the other draft picks to make trades with other teams around the NFL which led to drafting Russell Maryland with the first overall draft pick in 1991. This trade has long been considered one of the most lopsided deals in NFL history.

After continuing his career as one of the premier running backs in the league, Herschel would later return to Dallas in 1996 and retired as a Cowboy in 1997.

Walker was one of the most productive players in the history of football and even if you discount his 3 seasons with the USFL, he still had 82 career touchdowns, 8,225 rushing yards, 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards. He is the only player to have 10,000+ yards gained on offense and 5,000+ yards on kickoff returns.

Although his career as Cowboy was not that long, during his years with the team he was the lone bright spot despite the fact that the team never made the play-offs. His contribution to the team in terms of trade value transformed the team into the most powerful team in the NFL for an entire decade. 

Walker was one of the top running backs in the pros, gaining more yards than anyone in professional football history, counting his seasons in both the NFL and USFL. He finished his professional career with a total of 8,225 yards and 61 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 512 passes for 4,859 yards and 21 scores.

 
Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Legends of the Star – Tony Dorsett

 

 

 

Before Emmitt Smith came along, whenever Cowboy fans talked about the greatest running back they ever had, only one name came to mind, Tony Dorsett. He was a superstar in every sense of the word. Even before embarking on his Hall of Fame NFL career, he was already a celebrity after being named All-American four straight years while playing for the University of Pittsburgh. His success in college led to his unanimous selection for the Heisman Trophy in 1976.

In 1977, the Dallas Cowboys traded up and made Tony Dorsett the number two overall pick in the NFL Draft. As a rookie, he rushed for 1,007 yards and 12 touchdowns and added 273 yards and a touchdown on 29 receptions. Just as he had done in college, he took the league by storm in his first year and was the unanimous selection for that years NFL Rookie Of The Year Award. It was the beginning of a remarkable career where he rushed 1,000 or more yards in eight of his first nine seasons, and the only miss was a strike-shortened season where we led the NFC in rushing. He became the first player ever to gain more than 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons. The Cowboys won an amazing 42 of the 46 games in which Tony Dorsett rushed for 100 yards.  

In 1981, he had his best year when he rushed for 1,646 yards and reeled in another 325 yards on 32 catches. In his career, Dorsett rushed for 12,739 yards and scored 91 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-NFC pick, who was All-Pro in 1981 and a veteran of four Pro Bowls. He played in five NFC championship games and Super Bowls XII and XIII. Tony Dorsett was elected to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994 and was enshrined in the Texas Stadium Ring of Honor the same year. 

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.