The Dallas Cowboys have played a total of fifty three seasons. In twenty three of those seasons the leading rusher on the team topped the NFL milestone of 1000 yards in rushing on the season. That means that not even half the time have the Cowboys had a Running Back eclipsing that mythical mark. So do they need DeMarco Murray, or any other runner on the 2013 team to break that mark in order to make it to the next level? We’re going to look at every possible angle to determine an answer to that question.
Sixteen different players have led the Cowboys in rushing over the years. The very first man to do so was L. G. Dupre. On March 13, 1960 the NFL gave Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, and Gil Brandt 24 hours to choose players from the existing twelve NFL teams. They could choose up to three players from each team for a total of 36 players. Any other player they wanted would have to be traded for, or signed if they were a Free Agent. Dupre was one of the players the Cowboys selected from the Baltimore Colts. He led the Cowboys with a mere 362 yards rushing in 1960.
That total represents the fewest yards in any season that the Cowboys leading rusher has gained. Only twice in the fifty three seasons has their leading rusher failed to eclipse at least 500 yards. The other time was the 1989 season where Herschel Walker was traded away, and Paul Palmer gained only 446 yards that season.
Even in the strike shortened 1982 season, where only nine games were played, Tony Dorsett rushed for 745 yards. Undoubtedly if he had stayed healthy, and the games had not been lost we would have had twenty four seasons with a 1000 yard rusher instead of the twenty three we do have. For that matter if Bruce Coslett were not an idiot in 2002 Emmitt Smith would have added one last 1000 yard season to his amazing career. And while I’m splitting hairs we’ve had other RBs get very close and could have eclipsed the mark if things had worked out right.