1989 Dallas Cowboys season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1989 Dallas Cowboys season
Head coach Jimmy Johnson
Owner Jerry Jones
Home field Texas Stadium
Record 1–15
Division place 5th NFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers none

The 1989 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise’s 30th season in the National Football League and was the first year under the ownership of Jerry Jones as well as under the helm of head coach Jimmy Johnson, who had compiled a 44–4 record in his last 4 years as coach of the University of Miami Hurricanes. They failed to improve on their 3–13 record from 1988, finishing at 1–15 and missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.


NFL Draft

1989 Dallas Cowboys draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 1 Troy Aikman *   QB UCLA
2 29 Steve Wisniewski *  OG Penn State He was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Raiders
2 39 Daryl Johnston *  FB Syracuse
3 57 Mark Stepnoski *  C Pittsburgh
3 68 Rhondy Weston  DE Florida
4 85 Tony Tolbert *  DE UTEP
5 113 Keith Jennings  TE Clemson
5 119 Willis Crockett  LB Georgia Tech
5 125 Jeff Roth  DT Florida
7 168 Kevin Peterson  LB Northwestern
8 196 Charvez Foger  RB Nevada
9 224 Tim Jackson  DB Nebraska
10 252 Rod Carter  LB Miami (FL)
11 280 Randy Shannon  LB Miami (FL)
12 308 Scott Ankrom  WR TCU
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career


Besides the entry of Johnson and Jones, the Cowboys made pre-season headlines by drafting UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman with the first pick in the NFL Draft. Curiously, they also drafted quarterback Steve Walsh later in the NFL’s supplemental draft (in doing so, they gave up a number one pick in the 1990 draft). Walsh had played quarterback for Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami and led the ‘Canes to a 23–1 record as a starter and one national title.

Walsh and Aikman battled for the starting quarterback job in the pre-season, with Aikman winning the nod when the regular season began. Expectations were raised when the Cowboys finished with a strong 3–1 preseason record.

On opening day, the Cowboys were beaten by the New Orleans Saints, 28–0, and went on to finish 1–15 for the season. Aikman broke the index finger on his non-throwing hand in week four and Steve Walsh started the next five games, including the team’s only win, before Aikman returned to finish the season.

Two of the few bright spots of the season were linebacker Eugene Lockhart, who led the league in tackles, and James Dixon, who was one of the NFL’s leaders in kickoff return average.

1989 was the first season in the history of Monday Night Football that did not feature at least one Cowboys game.

The only win by the Cowboys during the season was against the rival Redskins in Washington. Though the season seemed a complete failure, it would prove to be the prelude to many great years ahead. Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, future centerpieces of the Cowboys’ 1992 to 1995 dynasty, headlined this team. During the season, star running back Herschel Walker would be traded to the Minnesota Vikings for multiple players and draft picks. By finishing 1–15 they would have received the top spot in the 1990 NFL Draft; however, the pick was forfeited because the Cowboys drafted Walsh in the Supplemental Draft. Later, they would trade and draft a running back out of Florida named Emmitt Smith, with one of the many draft choices obtained from the Vikings in the Herschel Walker trade. Other notable additions to the team that year include center Mark Stepnoski, fullback Daryl Johnston, and defensive end Tony Tolbert.

The two matchups between the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles (including one on Thanksgiving) were particularly hostile and became known as the Bounty Bowls.

The 1989 season was the final NFL season for the legendary Ed "Too Tall" Jones and longtime offensive lineman Tom Rafferty.

The Cowboys’ futility matched that of the 1980 New Orleans Saints as they became the second NFL team to end a season at 1–15.


Dallas Cowboys 1989 roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

Rookies in italics
47 Active, 3 Inactive

Herschel Walker

In 1989, at the height of his NFL career, the Cowboys traded him to the Minnesota Vikings for a total of five players (LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart) and six draft picks (which led to Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, and Darren Woodson). This was judged to be one of the turning points in the rise of the Cowboys to the top echelon of the NFL. Walker’s trade was widely perceived as an exceptionally poor move considering what the Vikings had to give up in order to get him, and remains one of the most frequently vilified roster moves of the team’s history. The Vikings coaches reluctantly accepted Walker after the trade and never totally used the tool they had been given. Scout.com says "Walker was never used properly by the coaching brain trust (a total oxymoron in this case)".[1]

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance Record
1 September 10, 1989 at New Orleans Saints L 28–0
2 September 17, 1989 at Atlanta Falcons L 27–21
3 September 24, 1989 Washington Redskins L 30–7
4 October 1, 1989 New York Giants L 30–13
5 October 8, 1989 at Green Bay Packers L 31–13
6 October 15, 1989 San Francisco 49ers L 31–14
7 October 22, 1989 at Kansas City Chiefs L 36–28
8 October 29, 1989 Phoenix Cardinals L 19–10
9 November 5, 1989 at Washington Redskins W 13–3
10 November 12, 1989 at Phoenix Cardinals L 24–20
11 November 19, 1989 Miami Dolphins L 17–14
12 November 23, 1989 Philadelphia Eagles L 27–0
13 December 3, 1989 Los Angeles Rams L 35–31
14 December 10, 1989 at Philadelphia Eagles L 20–10
15 December 16, 1989 at New York Giants L 15–0
16 December 24, 1989 Green Bay Packers L 20–10


NFC East
New York Giants(2) 12 4 0 .750 6–2 8–4 348 252 W3
Philadelphia Eagles(4) 11 5 0 .688 7–1 8–4 342 274 W1
Washington Redskins 10 6 0 .625 4–4 8–4 386 308 W5
Phoenix Cardinals 5 11 0 .313 2–6 4–8 258 377 L6
Dallas Cowboys 1 15 0 .063 1–7 1–13 204 393 L7


Game summaries

Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles

1 2 3 4 Total
Cowboys 0 3 7 0 10
Eagles 0 17 3 0 20

at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Game information


  • 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


  1. ^ Viking Update Staff (2001-06-20). "History: Walker Trade". Scout.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  2. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 292
  3. ^ Pro Football Reference; Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles – December 10th, 1989

External links

  • 1989 Dallas Cowboys
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Dallas Cowboys Official Site
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1989_Dallas_Cowboys_season&oldid=916593674"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Dallas_Cowboys_season
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "1989 Dallas Cowboys season"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA