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.