Sports Outside the Beltway

Dallas Cowboys NFL’s Winningest Team

The Dallas Cowboys have the best winning percentage of any team in NFL history, Gerry Fraley reports for DMN.

After 50 years of trying, the Cowboys will enter the season for the first time with the highest all-time winning percentage in pro football history. By winning their final three regular-season games last year, the Cowboys pushed into the playoffs and also boosted their winning percentage to .580 and passed Miami, at .579.

That sets the bar at a high level for the Cowboys. To live up to past standards, all this season’s club has to do is stay home for what would be its ninth Super Bowl appearance after finishing the regular season with the league’s top record.

It’s the story-line for this season.

“I can’t think of a greater source of motivation for this year’s team than to remind them of the legacy of this franchise,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “The great players who have come before them and the high standard of performance that our fans are accustomed to, too.”

The Cowboys are only the fifth franchise since 1963 to have the distinction of highest winning percentage. The others are Cleveland, which reigned from 1963 through ’76, the Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders from 1977-’96, Miami from 1997-98 and 2000-09 and Jacksonville in 1999.

Jacksonville debuted as an expansion team in 1995 and reached the playoffs in each of the next four seasons. The records for Miami and Oakland include their pre-merger seasons in the AFL. The same holds for Cleveland, which dominated the All America Football Conference before joining the NFL in 1950.

“It’s particularly meaningful for the organization to have that mark as we enter into a year where we will celebrate 50 seasons of Dallas Cowboys football,” Jones said. “It is a reflection of a great commitment and a high level of excellence from a large group of people over the course of five decades. We all know that winning is the name of the game.”

When Jones took control of the franchise after Bum Bright’s disastrous run, the Cowboys ranked fourth in all-time winning percentage at .607. They rank 10th in the league for winning percentage (.548) during the Jones era, but author Michael MacCambridge credits him and former general manager Tex Schramm for putting the franchise into this lofty position.

“Almost every other team has had extended periods of poor performance – down periods if you will,” said MacCambridge, whose America’s Game has received glowing reviews for its chronicling of the NFL’s rise to prominence. “The Cowboys have never been down for very long.

It’s a pretty impressive accomplishment, especially considering how many down years the team has had in my memory.   Indeed, you’d think that the glory years of the 1970s and 1980s, when the team was going deep into the playoffs every year, would have had the team with a better winning percentage.   But the Raiders, who compiled great numbers beating up teams in an inferior league — whereas the Cowboys were an expansion team in the NFL in the days when that meant starting with other teams’ dregs — were also on a roll.

Of course, Green Bay has far more championships, Chicago has far more wins, and Pittsburgh has one more Super Bowl.   But those are much older franchises.

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Posted by Texans_00 | July 30, 2010 | 12:39 pm | Permalink

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