1. Jimmy Johnson
I’ve saved the best and most obvious for last. Whenever I think of Jimmy Johnson, I think of what and where the franchise would be without his presence.
Johnson arrived to the Cowboys in 1989 as the replacement of an all-time great in Tom Landry. Before arriving in Dallas, Johnson already reached a milestone as a head coach by winning a national championship at the University of Miami.
The early returns weren't great, as the Cowboys went 1-15 and 7-9, respectively, in Johnson's first two seasons as head coach. Not until the greatest trade ever pulled off allowed the Cowboys to flip the script and become a dynasty in the 1990s.
The Great Trade Robbery occurred in 1989 when Johnson dealt the team's only worthy player in All-Pro running back Herschel Walker. The Cowboys received eight draft selections, including three first-round picks.
The result was a dynasty born as Johnson used the picks to build a team that would go on to win three Super Bowls. Notable selections from the trade haul included Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, and Darren Woodson.
Unfortunately, a fallout between Johnson and his long-time friend and former college teammate Jerry Jones forced Johnson to leave Dallas after five seasons.
Still, in those five years, Johnson built something special and was recognized for it when he was enshrined in Canton in 2020.
However, the big question remains when will Jones finally induct the coach who helped bring the Cowboys organization back to glory?