Discover the Dallas Cowboys' founders and NFL beginnings.

The Dallas Cowboys were founded on January 28, 1960, when the NFL granted an expansion franchise to Clint Murchison Jr. Murchison hired Tex Schramm as the team's first president and general manager and entrusted him with building the franchise from the ground up. 

1The Cowboys played their inaugural season in 1960 as a member of the NFL's Western Conference. They struggled in their first year, finishing with a disappointing record of 0-11-1 under head coach Tom Landry. 

The Cowboys faced numerous challenges in their early years, including a lack of talent and experience. However, the team gradually improved under Landry's leadership, laying the groundwork for future success. 

Despite initial setbacks, the Cowboys began to build a competitive roster through the NFL Draft and player acquisitions. Notable early additions included quarterback Don Meredith, running back Don Perkins, and defensive tackle Bob Lilly, who became foundational players for the franchise. 

The Cowboys made their first playoff appearance in 1966, just six years after their founding. Led by Landry and emerging stars like Meredith and Lilly, Dallas finished the regular season with a record of 10-3-1 and advanced to the NFL Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. 

The Cowboys developed heated rivalries with other NFL teams during their early years, including the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. These rivalries fueled competition and added excitement to the team's matchups. 

In the 1966 NFL Championship Game, often referred to as the "Ice Bowl," the Cowboys faced the Green Bay Packers in brutally cold conditions at Lambeau Field. Despite a valiant effort, Dallas fell short, losing to the Packers 34-27 in one of the most memorable games in NFL history. 

Despite initial challenges, the Cowboys' early years laid the foundation for sustained success and growth. The team established a winning culture under Landry's innovative coaching, setting the stage for future championships and cementing their status as one of the most iconic franchises in NFL history.