Are The Dallas Cowboys The Greatest Franchise in NFL History?

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It is amazing to hear the Draft picks taken each year talk about the honor of playing for America’s Team and how they still view the Cowboys as one of the elite franchises in NFL history. It raises the question of whether they truly are. Fans live too close to the heart sometimes and all we are going to see is the last 16 years that haven’t lived up to our own expectations. It makes you wonder though, where do the Cowboys stand in relation to all of the other teams. Let’s take a look.

First of all it is important to know that the Cowboys were the 13th team in NFL History, with their genesis in 1960. So 12 NFL teams have been longer established than the Cowboys. They are the Arizona Cardinals (1920), Chicago Bears (1920), Green Bay Packers (1921), New York Giants (125) Detroit Lions (1930), Washington Redskins (1932), Pittsburgh Steelers (1933), Philadelphia Eagles (1933),  St. Louis Rams (1937), Cleveland Browns (1946), San Francisco 49ers (1946), and Indianapolis Colts (1953).

May 10, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) performs a drill during the rookie minicamp at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters in Irving, TX. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

There were also 8 teams who started their own league the same year the Cowboys joined the NFL, they began as the AFL. Those teams are the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Tennessee Titans.

This means 11 teams have come into the NFL or AFL later than the Cowboys and the original 8 AFL teams. They are the Minnesota Vikings (1961), Miami Dolphins (1966), Atlanta Falcons (1966), New Orleans Saints (1967), Cincinnati Bengals (1968), Seattle Seahawks (1976), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976), Carolina Panthers (1995), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995), Baltimore Ravens (1996), and Houston Texans (2002).

It is easiest to compare teams who started the same year. So let’s start with the Dallas Cowboys. Since 1960 they are 448-330-6. Do any of the 8 teams who came into the AFL that same year have more wins that the Cowboys? The Bills are 370-426-8. The Raiders are 430-363-11. The Broncos are 419-375-10. The Patriots are 426-369-9. The Titans are 392-406-6. The Jets are 365-431-8. The Chargers are 399-394-11. The Chiefs are 404-388-12. So of the 9 teams that came into professional football in 1960 the Cowboys have won 18 more games than the next closest team the Raiders.

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