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NFL – 1982 – Special – Great Expectations – The Story Of The 1982 Dallas Cowboys


The 1982 Dallas Cowboys season began with great expectations after having lost in the NFC Championship the two seasons prior…..which would turn out to be a strike-shortened nine game season, which the Cowboys finished with a record of 6 wins and 3 losses….placing them second in the NFC.

After losing the season opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers….which was the first time the Cowboys lost a season opener in 17 years….the Cowboys then won the next six….including five after the strike had ended….however, two losses at the end of the regular season cost them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. After beginning their playoff run at home with victories over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers….followed by a victory over the Green Bay Packers…..that’s when the Cowboys traveled to Washington….where they met defeat at the hands of their arch-rival Redskins….which was the third straight season that the Cowboys lost in the NFC championship game….as the Redskins would advance to win Super Bowl XVII against the Miami Dolphins by a score of 27 – 17.

The Cowboys featured big-play capability on both sides of the ball in 1982….as the offense relied on RB Tony Dorsett….who led the NFC in rushing…..while during the season setting an NFL record with a 99-yard run from scrimmage against Minnesota….plus the Pokes featured QB Danny White….who finished second in the NFL in passer rating.  Despite the retirement of long time starters Charlie Waters and D.D. Lewis before the season….the Cowboys still tied for the NFC lead in sacks….while CB Everson Walls led the NFL with seven interceptions.

The Cowboys were the only team to defeat the Washington Redskins in the 1982 season, winning a regular season matchup in Game 5. The Cowboys were also the only team in the NFL who never trailed at halftime in ’82…..so entering the 1983 NFL season….it would be another year of Great Expectations.


  1. The 1982 Cowboys are in my top 6 Cowboys teams of all time. The game at RFK in the playoffs, Everson Walls picked off a pass in the second quarter, but was ruled Incomplete. That drive the Redskins got points that should not have been. The Cowboys DOMINATED them a month before in this stadium. What I will always remember? I finally watched the game on dvd last year since the first time it aired. I have over 600 Cowboys games/films on dvd. This hurts to watch, Danny White is always blamed but NOTHING was his fault. Danny was injured and they would not let him return in the second half. Going back and watching the live game, Danny is crying on the sidelines and everyone was coming over to comfort him, Septian sat with him. They still had a shot to win and those Riggins yards did not come until the last five minutes of the game so it looks like the Cowboys were blown out in the stats but they were not. That is why I say,”Stats are for LOSERS.” This was a GREAT Cowboys team and better than the Redskins, but their leader went down. If Everson was awarded that pick, who knows? The 1980-1983 Cowboys teams were GREATNESS and should have at least one ring. However it was always something… For years I wondered why we never won a SB during those years. Trough all of my studying of my Books, Cowbys Newspapers and all the games/films I have on dvd…I finally realized why we lost. 1. Our linebackers were not what hthey once were and even though Ed Jones came back from his one year of boxing (1979), he came back better than ever. However they panicked in 1979 and traded for John Dutton, a Right defensive end who in 80 they converted to DT. John was not strong enough against the run, in 81 and 82 he was battling injury and our main DT in back up of him was a pass rushed, Don Smerek. We did not have a pure run stopping DT and Bob Bruenig at MLB was great but no Lee Roy Jordan and on top of that he had back issues. DD Lewis was on his last legs in 80 and 81, his replacement in 82 was not good enough and although I love him, Mike Hegman never made the jump to being great. Lack of defensive line help and suspect LB play killed my Cowboys. THAT is why we lost. Still they were great teams.

    1. Great insight! Thanks for the post. You should link your Cowboys material. We could link to it or showcase your materials.

      Thanks a bunch.

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