In my endless research of all things football and through my passion for the history of the NFL, I have decided to try and compile an All-Time Team for all 32 current NFL franchises. By All-Time Team I mean a starting roster compiled of the very best players to ever put on each franchise’s jersey. I will be starting in alphabetical order by current franchise location, so Arizona Cardinals all the way to The Washington Football Team, with the goal of releasing one to two All-Time teams a week for the duration of the current NFL season. This is meant to be fun and cause some debate and is based on my opinion after all my research and deep dives into each franchise’s history. Of course, not everyone will agree with who I chose, and I’d love to hear from anyone who agrees or disagrees, but first, let’s lay out some ground rules for how I came up with each team.
1. Each team roster will consist of the following:
Offense - 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 2 OT, 2 OG, 1 C
Defense - 2 DE, 2 DT, 3 LB, 2 CB, 2 S
Special Teams - 1 K, 1 P, 1 Returner
Coach - 1 Head Coach
2. I only considered an individual’s stats and contributions with each specific franchise. For example, Peyton Manning’s years with the Broncos were not considered when deciding on the starting QB of the Colts All-Time Team. As a result, the stats and awards listed with each individual player are only those that were achieved with that specific franchise.
3. A player cannot represent two teams as the starter. Players who spent time with more than one team were considered for the franchise they spent the most time with or had the most impact on. This rule led to some interesting scenarios that I will discuss in detail with each specific article to try and clear up any confusion.
4. A player’s stats and impact were considered in context with their era. This won’t simply be a listing of who passed or ran for the most yards in franchise history.
5. All stats are from Pro-Football-Reference and through the 2021 season. I will also be counting sacks from 1960, though the NFL doesn't officially count sacks until 1982.
6. Players in the "Honorable Mentions" section are ordered by year. It's not an indication of where I believe they rank in franchise history.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!
Dallas Cowboys All-Time Team
First Season: 1960
Record: 538-403-6 (57.17 W-L%)
Playoff Record: 35-29
Super Bowls Won: 5 (1971, 1977, 1992, 1993 and 1995) (Lost in 1970, 1975 and 1978)
Passing Leader: Tony Romo 2,829/4,335 | 34,183 Yds | 248 TD
Rushing Leader: Emmitt Smith 4,052 Att | 17,162 Yds | 153 TD
Receiving Leader: Jason Witten 1,215 Rec | 12,977 Yds | 72 TD
Sack Leader: DeMarcus Ware 117 Sk
Interception Leader: Mel Renfro 52 Int
Scoring Leader: Emmitt Smith 986 Points
Winningest Coach: Tom Landry 250-162-6