What Is the Biggest Comeback in Dallas Cowboys History?

In the ’90s, the Cowboys were a force of nature with legends like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irving at the helm. They established one of the best football dynasties outside the ’80s Chicago Bears. Since then, Dallas has been unable to reclaim dominance. Let’s look at the better days and the most thrilling comebacks in Cowboys history. 

Cowboys comeback: October 21, 1984

Let’s start by rewinding all the way back 1984 when New Orleans met the Cowboys on their home turf in Dallas midway through the season. Dallas overcame a 21-point deficit in the first three quarters to barely edge out a stunned New Orleans team. 

Throughout the first half, Dallas was only able to put up a pair of field goals courtesy of kicker Rafael Septien compared to the Saints’ two touchdowns and a successful field goal. At the half, the score was 17 to six; Dallas looked on track to take the loss. 

Early in the third quarter, New Orleans extended their lead with a field goal from kicker Morten Anderson, and an interception which the Saints converted into a touchdown. Then the momentum changed. 

Dallas dominated the fourth quarter, capitalizing on turnovers and retaining more time of possession than New Orleans. QB Danny White threw a short pass for a touchdown as well as a second rushing attempt. Their third touchdown came off a New Orleans fumble. Dallas sealed the deal near the end of the quarter with a field goal to win it by three.   

September 12, 1999

Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys’ Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and Troy Aikman | PAUL BUCK/AFP via Getty Images

RELATED: Legendary Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jay Novacek Has Seen Some Tough Times Since Leaving the NFL

In 1999, near the end of Aikman’s legendary career, the Cowboys again overcame a 21-point deficit to defeat the Washington Redskins.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, reports the Washington Post, the Redskins led Dallas 35-14 in front of the largest home crowd the team had ever seen. Life seemed good, and the win already in the books. Then the holy triumvirate of Aikman, Smith, and Irving, with a little help from Rocket Ismail, turned on the juice.

In the fourth quarter alone, Dallas scored three touchdowns, sealing the win, 41-35, in overtime. Smith mounted the initial attack, punching in a one-yard touchdown to get Dallas kick-started. Aikman and Irving took it into overtime with a pair of touchdowns at the end of regulation, and Ismail sealed the deal in overtime with a beautiful, wide-open catch that cemented his nickname as “Rocket.”

September 21, 2014

Tony Romo may not have earned a Super Bowl ring, but he was known as something of a comeback kid with exceptional skill in the clinch. If only he’d had the consistency as well. Back in 2014, reports ESPN, he and Dez Bryant led one of the more exciting comebacks in modern football history against the St. Louis Rams, on the Rams’ home turf no less.

Midway through the second quarter, Dallas was down by 21. St. Louis ran them all over the field and back, making it look effortless. Then the sleeping giant awoke. A quick rushing touchdown from DeMarco Murray set things in motion, followed by a field goal from Dan Bailey. 

In the second half, Romo found his receivers, feeding Bryant, Terrence Williams, and Austin Pettis a touchdown each, accompanied by a score off a Bruce Carter interception. The Cowboys took the win, 34-31

Dallas Cowboys, ‘America’s Team’?

The franchise might not be the dominant force they once were. Their dynasty years are long past. The thing about the Cowboys is that they put on a good show no matter what. Jerry Jones knows that, and he knows that the fans know it too. Dallas is never far from the hunt.