Flashback: Has it been 20 years already?

Anytime a team wins a Super Bowl it’s special no matter how they get there. The last two Super Bowl Champions didn’t make it into the playoffs until the final game of the season. The Packers got in back in 2010 as the 6th seed and won it all and the Giants got in last season as the 4th seed and won it all. I’m sure the fans of those teams loved every second of the postseason as their teams got hot at the right time. The Giants were 6-6 in 2011 at one point and were left for dead by most experts as well as their fans. The Packers back in 2010 needed to win in the last week of the season along with some help to back into the playoffs. All of the bad things from the regular season were forgotten once these teams won the Super Bowl. It’s rare to have one of those magical seasons from beginning to end, but when it does happen it’s the greatest ride ever.

I realized the other day that it has been 20 years since the Cowboys had one of those magical seasons and went on to win the Super Bowl. Back in 1992 the Cowboys were on a mission from the first game of the season right through the Super Bowl. It seems like just yesterday as I can remember every game they played and how they became more dominant as the season went on. It was Jimmy Johnson’s fourth season as head coach and the Cowboys had ended the 1991 season with a horrible playoff loss to the Lions, 38-6. Some thought the Cowboys were probably still a year or two away from seriously competing for a championship. The Cowboys thought differently.

The Cowboys fielded the youngest team in the NFL in 1992. They also had the top ranked defense in the league, but when it came time for Pro Bowl selections not one player from the Cowboys defense was selected. The defense did not really have house hold names other than Charles Haley, who the Cowboys traded for before the start of the season. Haley was looked at as the final piece the Cowboys needed for their Super Bowl run. Some of the others joining Haley on that top ranked defense were Russell Maryland, Tony Casillas, Jim Jeffcoat, Tony Tolbert, Leon Lett, Ken Norton Jr., Vinson Smith, Robert Jones, Larry Brown, Thomas Everett, Kevin Smith, James Washington and Darren Woodson.

On offense it seemed as though the Cowboys were unstoppable most of the time. It started up front with Erik Williams, John Gesek, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton and Mark Tuinei. From there defenses had to deal with Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, Kelvin Martin, Jay Novacek and Daryl Johnston. With Norv Turner running the offense the Cowboys developed a balanced attack that opposing teams had a hard time defending them at times.

The Cowboys finished 1992 with a 13-3 record. There best record since going 12-2 back in 1977 when they went on to win Super Bowl XII. They were 7-1 at Texas Stadium in 1992. Their only loss was to the LA Rams 27-23. On the road they went 6-2 with losses to the Eagles 31-7 and the Redskins 20-17.  They beat out the Eagles for the NFC Eastern Division Championship, but came up short for home field advantage to the 49ers.

Here are a few games that will always stand out from that magical 1992 season.

Week 1: The Cowboys opened the season in Texas Stadium against the Redskins who were defending Champions. Issiac Holt Blocked a punt that went out of the end zone to give the Cowboys an early 2-0 lead and they never looked back. Emmitt Smith rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown and Kelvin Martin added a 79 yard punt return in the third quarter. The Cowboys went on to win 23-10.

Week 2: The Cowboys traveled to New Jersey to take on the Giants. It seemed to be no contest as the Cowboys jumped out to a 34-0 third quarter lead. The Giants scored twice before the end of the third quarter to make the score 34-14. What I remember most is that the scoreboard operator changed the score to show that the Giants had won the game 35-34 during the fourth quarter. The Giants did make it interesting, but the Cowboys held on for a 34-28 victory.

Week 9: Just a few weeks earlier the Cowboys were crushed by the Eagles 31-7 in Philadelphia. In the rematch the Cowboys defense took a stand and dominated as they only allowed 190 yards to the Eagles offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards as the Cowboys won 20-10 and improved to 7-1.

Week 10: The Cowboys ended the 1991 season with a 38-6 loss in the playoffs to the Lions. In 1992 the Cowboys made a return trip to Detroit, but this time it would end much different. Emmitt Smith scored three touchdowns and Michael Irvin had 114 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Cowboys defense only allowed 201 yards to the Lions offense as they cruised to a 37-3 victory.

Week 13: It was Thanksgiving at Texas Stadium and the Giants were coming for a visit. Unlike the first match-up with the Giants this time it would not be close. The Cowboys defense once again dominated as they collected four sacks and only allowed 207 yards to the Giants offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 120 yards and scored twice, which included a 68 yard score in the third quarter. The Cowboys improved to 10-2 with a 30-3 victory.

Week 16: The Cowboys traveled to Atlanta for a Monday Night game looking to lock up the NFC East title. The game included one of the most incredible runs in Emmitt Smith’s career. He seemed to get stopped by a wall of Falcon defenders, but then he bounced away and broke free down the right sideline as he beat Deion Sanders to the end zone for a 29 yard touchdown run. Smith added another 29 yard score and rushed for 174 yards. Troy Aikman completed 18 of 21 passes and threw three touchdown passes. The Cowboys won their first NFC East title since 1985 as they beat the Falcons 41-17.

Divisional Playoffs: For the third time in 1992 the Cowboys would be playing the Eagles and for the second time at Texas Stadium. It was also the first playoff game at Texas Stadium since 1983. Once again the Cowboys dominated the Eagles and won 34-10. The Cowboys defense only allowed 178 yards to the Eagles offense and sacked Randall Cunningham five times. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a score.

NFC Championship: Leading up to this game there seemed to be two stories. One was the last time the Cowboys played in San Francisco for the NFC Championship back in 1981, which ended with “The Catch” by Dwight Clark. The other was the muddy field conditions after a week of soaking rains. None of that mattered to this Cowboys team as they showed no fear against the 14-2 49ers led by Steve Young and Jerry Rice. What always comes to mind was early in the game Kevin Smith left the field for a play with a shoulder injury. On the next play Young connected with Rice on a long touchdown as he beat Issiac Holt who replaced Smith. But the 49ers were called for holding and the touchdown was called back. It seemed as though from that point on the Cowboys had the upper hand. The Cowboys defense controlled the 49ers offense and the Cowboys offense was able to move the ball and control the clock as they built a 24-13 fourth quarter lead. Young was able to bring the 49ers to within 24-20 late in the fourth quarter and most thought that Jimmy Johnson would try to get a few first downs and run out the clock. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff Troy Aikman connected with Alvin Harper across the middle as the defender fell down. Harper broke free and was finally taken down at the 49ers ten yard line after a 70 yard gain. From there Aikman sealed the game with a short touchdown pass to Kelvin Martin. The Cowboys beat the 49ers 30-20 to advance to Super Bowl XXVII. It was the first Super Bowl for the Cowboys since 1978. It was also the game that will be known for Jimmy Johnson yelling in the locker room “How bout them Cowboys!!”


Super Bowl XXVII: My first ever Cowboys game was Super Bowl XII against the Broncos back in 1977. I can’t really say I knew what was happening, but I remembered the star on the helmet. Now 15 years later I was enjoying every second of the Super Bowl including all the pregame leading up to it. I couldn’t wait to see the Cowboys name in the end zone as well as watching the player introductions. I took it all in and remember it like it was yesterday. I also remember the Cowboys being down 7-0 to the Bills after getting a punt blocked, which led to a Thurman Thomas touchdown. From that point on it was all Cowboys as they outscored the Bills 52-10. The Cowboys defense recovered five fumbles and collected four interceptions for a record nine turnovers in the game. The defense also scored two touchdowns by Jimmie Jones and Ken Norton Jr. It could have been three touchdowns and a Super Bowl record 59 points, but we all know what happened when Leon Lett celebrated too soon on his fumble return. Troy Aikman earned the game’s MVP as he competed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a touchdown and Michael Irvin added two touchdowns. All the great numbers aside, what really meant the most was the incredible journey from that 1992 season and then seeing the team holding the Lombardi Trophy and celebrating. It was a feeling unlike any feeling I have ever felt as fan.

It’s just so hard to believe that it has been 20 years since that magical season of 1992. The players have long been gone, but will never be forgotten. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin have all entered the Hall of Fame. Watching Jimmy Johnson every Sunday on Fox always brings back great memories. Charles Haley has been helping out the Cowboys defensive linemen recently as well as waiting for his own name to be called for the Hall of Fame. We also remember Mark Tuinei who passed away too soon back in 1999.

The 1992 Cowboys will always be remembered as one of the great Cowboys teams of all time as well as one of the great NFL teams of all time. Their magical season will never be forgotten.

“How bout them Cowboys!!”



Book Review – The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football

Last week, I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the soon to be released “Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football” by Sports Illustrated.

Now I’ve read my fair share of books on the Dallas Cowboys over the years, but this is the first one that I immediately cherished as a collectors item. Believe me when I tell you, that once you get this fine book in your hands, you’ll find it very difficult to put down, and I’m not kidding you either.

The book is loaded with some of the most sensational anecdotes and articles about the Cowboys as brought to you be the some of the best sports writers in the country.

The photography is stunning and the book is loaded with a  vast collection of unforgettable shots that capture the entire history of this historic franchise.

Here is some additional information from the publisher:

Sports Illustrated will release ‘The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football’ on August 24th.

The rich heritage of the Cowboys is captured in this extraordinary collection of stories by the finest sports writers in the world, including Peter King, Tim Layden and Dan Jenkins, a spectacular selection of images from the best photo archive in sports, and a mind-boggling array of stats, anecdotes and memorabilia. It is the ultimate celebration of the Dallas Cowboys.

Sports Illustrated The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football gives fans an insider look from Sports Illustrated senior writer, Peter King, whose in depth access to “America’s Team” includes a three-city scouting trip with Jimmy Johnson to a training camp sit down interview with Tony Romo to discuss his personal life in the off-season.

From the teams humble beginnings to emerging in to a franchise for which winning, and winning it all was expected. Eight Super Bowl appearances, five Super Bowl victories and the glory and the glamour that has surrounded this team. Sports Illustrated The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football revisits the names that leap out of NFL history: Dandy Don Meredith, Bullet Bob Hayes, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, the lineage of head coaches is a Who’s Who list – Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Bill Parcells and the Hall of Famers who could fill their own wing – from Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman to Michael Irvin.

As you can see, this is an incredible book that any Cowboys fan would be proud to own.

Hopefully, all of you have already registered for our contest as we are giving away 25 free copies of these stunning hard covered books. You can still register by going here.

Leave It To The Media To Rain On Emmitt’s Parade

By now most of you have heard the latest controversy about Emmitt Smith’s big snub during Saturday night’s Hall of Fame induction speech.

Apparently, the media  is trumpeting the fact that Emmitt failed to thank or acknowledge his Alma Mater, the University of Florida.

The way I see it, Hall of Famers earn the right to thank whoever they damn well please when they give their induction speech. It’s one of many rights they earned by being a Hall of Famer.

One thing that is hardly mentioned, is the glaring fact that this was an NFL Hall Of Fame speech, and Emmitt went ahead and thanked all those who made his NFL Hall of Fame career possible.

Upon being drafted by the Cowboys and beginning his NFL career, I don’t believe that anyone from the University of Florida had a hand in shaping the next 15 years of his life. However, his family did… And Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson did… And of course Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin did… And as America now knows, Daryl Johnston did too.

Those were the people who helped get Emmitt Smith to the Hall of Fame, and all of them received plenty of heartfelt recognition on Saturday. 

When Emmitt was drafted in 1990 by the Cowboys with pick number 17, he thanked the University of Florida for getting him to that point in his life. His college journey was over, and new and more glorious journey was about to begin.

To hell with all the haters.

What Will It Take To Get Over the Hurdle?

Let’s list a few names, shall we?

  • Barry Switzer (“We did it!  We did it!  We did it” … no Jimmy Johnson did it Barry!)
  • Chan Gailey
  • Dave Campo (as head coach)
  • Norv Turner (we let him go!)
  • Bill Parcells (also let him go!)
  • Terrell Owens (needed to go!)
  • Mike Vanderjagt (couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn!)
  • Martín Gramática (don’t ask!)
  • Roy Williams (the receiver – sticker shock!)
  • Zach Thomas (is this where old men come to die?)
  • Pac-Man Jones (enough said!)
  • Ryan Leaf (I should be shot for mentioning his name!)
  • Vinny Testaverde (another Social Security player!)
  • Drew (my grandmother could move in the pocket better) Bledsoe
  • Sean Payton (only went on to win a Super Bowl with the Saints!  Under who’s mentoring?  Yes, Bill Parcells!)
  • Bobby Carpenter (how dare he wear number 54!)
  • etc., etc., etc., (yes, we could all go on!)

Two of the best coaches, we let go (Parcells and Payton).  Payton later went on to win a Super Bowl in New Orleans, while Jason Garrett relives his glorious payday and his Thanksgiving game against the Packers.  “Just throw it high to Harper,” he exclaimed after the game.

I am glad that we are not as piecemeal as we used to be!  Those years between ’96 and ’06 reminded us the die-hards that the Cowboys are an every two-decade team.

In this writer’s opinion, the team that takes the field in 2010 will be the best team since the ’92 – ’95 teams, IF, they can play as a team like the dynasty of the 90’s did!  We need one man to step up on offense (Romo, Austin, Barber?) and another to step up on defense (Ware, Newman, Ratliff, Brooking?)  It needs to be someone to keep this team [as] a team – the coach sure can’t do it!  Let’s see less of Jerry on the sidelines this year.

The time to win is now!  Start 88!  Draft him so high and then don’t start him?  Let Dez live up to that number!  The pieces are there, let’s just not hope for an end of season collapse that so many Dallas Cowboys fans have become accustomed to!

Next blog – Left side of the line, and secondary …

Jimmy Johnson’s Monkey Nightmare

If the late great Tom Landry never were born, Jimmy Johnson would, by far, be my favorite coach. He demanded nothing less than excellence and was rewarded with two Super Bowl wins. (Should have been three, had it not been for the fued with Jerry Jones.)

Jimmy had a seat right next to Jerry at a country concert, opening Cowboys Stadium. Speculation would have to be that Jimmy would be discussed along with Mike Holmgren and Mike Shannahan to take over coaching duties, should God forbid, the Cowboys have another disappointing year. According to Sheil Kapadia, a contributing writer on Mike Florio’s, Jimmy misses nothing about his coaching days.

”I’ve programmed myself to never look back,” he told Dan Le Betard of the Miami Herald. “I’ve blocked out the past. Every dream or nightmare I had for 20 years was dealing with a football game. Stupid stuff. A nightmare that our uniforms weren’t ready or something like that. I haven’t had a football dream for six or seven years. You know the last dream I had? That I couldn’t get through airport security because I was carrying a monkey.”

That last line nearly made me pee my pants. I could just see Jimmy saying that. He’s super serious when it comes to work, and as laid back and fun loving as anyone you’ll ever meet. Just a great guy. Period.

He then went on to explain how coaching further complicated his life and possibly made him be someone he wasn’t.

“I was happy in my accomplishments — fulfilled, satisfied, proud, very proud — but I didn’t have true joy,” he said. “I had a responsibility when I was coaching. And that was overriding everything. Family. Friends. Not just friends but even the idea of friendship. I didn’t care whether I had friends or not. I was responsible if it didn’t work. And when things would go wrong, I’d get upset to no end. I’d replay it in my mind all day and night. At the end, winning was just OK but a loss just crushed me. What kind of way to live is that?”

He then goes on to explain how some of the most successful coaches in the league have such a hard time leaving the game.

”Praise is the trap. The way people tell Belichick he’s a genius and the best ever, the more he wants to become it,” Johnson said. “The way everyone says [Bill] Parcells is the master of rebuilding, the more he works to rebuild. I used to care about that stuff.”

I always love a good Jimmy Johnson interview and also look forward to seeing him on Fox Sports where he now gives us his views on Sunday games. Long live a happy and healthy Jimmy Johnson!

Some Players Are Worth The Gamble. Emmitt Sure Was.

The 52-17 drubbing of Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII wasn’t as close as the score indicated. It should have been 59-10. Buffalo’s Frank Reich was beyond the line of scrimmage when he released the ball completing the pass to Don Beebe for 40 yards and a touchdown. Beebe later stripped Leon Lett of the ball at the last second on a 64 yard fumble return. The ball rolled through the end zone for a touchback. Dammit.

The offseason between ’92 and ’93 was pretty sweet. Cowboys fans were smiling and smiling big. Super Bowl XXVII was in the books, the Cowboys were on top again. The planets were finally aligned once again. There was no doubt this team would repeat. Who could possibly beat them?

In 1993 Free Agency was a new thing. I don’t think fans had a real grasp on how it would change the game. Most players no longer spent careers with one team. But rest assured agents DID know how Free Agency would impact things, especially their own bank accounts. A bitter contract dispute between Emmitt Smith and Jerry Jones was immanent. Most headlines read things like "Trouble In Paradise" and basically predicted a team headed for self-destruction. Smith was offered $2.2 million. He wanted $4 million. He held out. There were rumblings about egos. Mainly Jerry Jones’ and Jimmy Johnson’s egos. Out of the gate Dallas was 0-2. How could this be happening??

January 2, 1994. Anyone remember that day? Last game of the 1993 regular season. Giants vs. Cowboys. Meadowlands. Winner is NFC East Champs. Ring a bell yet? In the second quarter Emmitt separated his shoulder after a long run. I think it was about a 40 yarder. None of us knew the severity of the injury at the time. But as the game progressed it was very obvious. He couldn’t even get up after a tackle without help from his teammates. He was in tears on the sideline. His arm just hung beside his body. He never stopped running. He never stopped fighting.

At the end of that game Emmitt Smith had taken over the game offensively. My memory of that day is pretty vivid but I could be wrong about exacts. I’m sure I have it on video somewhere. Bottom line is, Emmitt was a warrior. The game went into overtime because of Emmitt. The game was won because of Emmitt. The Cowboys didn’t lose another game that year(actually they didn’t lose another game after Thanksgiving). They started 0-2 WITHOUT Emmitt.

I remember 3 years earlier, Emmitt Smith, the rookie, was holding out in training camp. I sent a letter to The Dallas Cowboys Weekly saying things like "Who does this guy think he is??".. "He’s unproven!" You get the gist of it. At the time it felt totally justified. He WAS unproven! Sure he broke like a million records as a Florida Gator but this was the NFL baby! He was not worth the money he was asking! Obviously I didn’t have a crystal ball. The letter was printed in the following week’s "Letters to the Editor". Therefore I’m immortalized, IN PRINT, saying Emmitt Smith isn’t worth the money.

Well, 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns later, I’m pretty sure Emmitt Smith was worth the money.

The moral of this story is this:

We’re now asking ourselves is Marion Barber worth the money. Again, I have no crystal ball. I can’t compare him to Emmitt Smith. That’s not fair to Marion. Smith is a once-in-a-lifetime back. But Marion Barber has earned respect of Cowboys fans across the nation. His reckless style is both scary and inspiring to watch. His desire is unquestionable. His refusal to go down without a serious fight deserves recognition.

Is Marion Barber worth more than $30 million? I don’t know. But I don’t think the Cowboys can win that 6th trophy without him. With him, I think the Cowboys can not only win a 6th, but probably a 7th as well. Would that be worth more than $30 million? We would all ,in unison, say "YES!!". But Jerry Jones has the bankbook. What we should do as fans is not speculate what Barber is "worth" and just hope an agreement is met and we have "The Barbarian" for many years to come.


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 – Darren Woodson

Darren Woodson was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a converted linebacker in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft out of Arizona State University.

He played at safety for the Cowboys and was a five time Pro Bowl selection who developed a reputation as an effective run-stopper and was a feared and ferocious hitter. He was leader both on and off the field and was a mentor to many of the younger players, including Roy Williams.

Besides chasing and tackling ball carriers in the secondary, Woodson also was very relentless at chasing down and stopping kick returners on special teams. For many years, Woodson dominated at his position and was a threat to anyone carrying the ball within his range. Many of his tackles were so ferocious that he drew many fines from the NFL during his career.

However, doing all those things for all those years finally took a toll on Woodson’s body. After missing most of the season after having back surgery just before training camp, the hard-hitting safety announced his retirement in December of 2004. It was the end of an era for the Dallas Cowboys. Darren Woodson was the last player left from the 1992, 1993 and 1995 Super Bowl champions and he was also the last player drafted by Jimmy Johnson. His 1,350 tackles are the most-ever in Cowboys history. 

Just the mention of Woodson’s name can still make opposing wide receivers and kickoff returners cringe.

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.