This story originally appeared in Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. For subscription information, please click here.
The Cowboys are one of only two teams who have reached the Super Bowl eight times, joining the Steelers. And only Pittsburgh has won more than the five Lombardi trophies that the Cowboys have taken home, San Francisco also owning five Super Bowl rings as well.
Now, with Super Bowl XLVIII set to take center stage, there is no doubting the franchise's impact on the biggest game of the year. Here's a look back at each of the Cowboys eight Super Bowl appearances:
Super Bowl V
Baltimore Colts 16, Cowboys 13
Jan. 17, 1971
Orange Bowl (Miami)
MVP: LB Chuck Howley
The result: Colts rookie kicker Jim O'Brien booted a 32-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to give Baltimore the victory in a brutal contest that included a combined 11 turnovers. Dallas, which led 13-6 at halftime, also set a Super Bowl record with 10 penalties.
Most Memorable: Some 38 years later Howley remains the lone player from the losing team named Super Bowl MVP. He finished the game with two interceptions, one of which he returned 22 yards.
Did you know: Quarterback Roger Staubach watched this game from the bench as coach Tom Landry tabbed Craig Morton as his starter. Staubach, then in his second NFL campaign, started three games during the regular season with Morton clearly having the better numbers. Morton went 12-of-26 in the Super Bowl with three interceptions and a touchdown.
* "I haven't been around many games where the players hit harder. Sometimes people watch a game and see turnovers and they talk about how sloppy the play was. The mistakes in that game weren't invented, at least not by the people who made them. Most were forced."*
– Head coach Tom Landry
Super Bowl VI
Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3
Jan. 16, 1972
Site: Tulane Stadium (New Orleans)
MVP: QB Roger Staubach
The Result: In what would be Miami's lone loss for the calendar year of 1972, the Cowboys rushed for 252 yards and simply dominated the Fish. And while Staubach was named MVP, completing 12-of-19 passes for 119 yards and two scores, it could've easily been Howley again, as he returned a 41-yard interception and recovered a fumble. His pick early in the fourth led to the final touchdown, a seven-yard hookup from Staubach to fellow Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.
Most Memorable: Outside of it being the franchise's first Super Bowl, and championship of any kind for that matter, this Dallas team remains the only in Super Bowl history to not allow a touchdown. Actually, in three postseason games that season, the "Doomsday Defense" gave up just one touchdown.
Did you know: It was 39 degrees and windy at kickoff, the coldest Super Bowl ever played, although the mark is expected to be broken on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII.
* "I don't think I ever felt any better as an athlete than how I felt after that game."*
– Quarterback Roger Staubach.
Super Bowl X
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Cowboys 17
Jan. 18, 1976
Orange Bowl (Miami)
MVP: WR Lynn Swann
The Result:Pittsburgh won its second straight Super Bowl behind the acrobatic efforts of Lynn Swann (four catches, 161 yards) and two touchdown passes from Terry Bradshaw. The Cowboys led 10-7 at halftime, but the Steelers scored 14 straight points in the fourth quarter before a last-ditch comeback effort fell short when Staubach tossed his third interception of the game as time expired.
Most Memorable: Without question, Swann's 53-yard stumbling, bumbling, spectacular second-quarter catch that is replayed so often that at this point Cowboys fans likely become physically ill on each and every viewing.
Did you know: The legendary Pat Summerall called his first of 16 Super Bowls, more than any other announcer.
"[Dallas safety] Cliff Harris came over to me once after a play and said I was lucky because he just missed me with a hard shot. He said he was going to come after me when I went across the middle, and I told him to come ahead because if anyone got hurt it was going to be him. He hits hard, but there was no trouble."
– Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann
Super Bowl XII
Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10
Jan. 15, 1978
Superdome (New Orleans)
MVP: DT Randy White and DE Harvey Martin
The Result: The Cowboys defense dominated, impressing the more than 100 million people watching this game by forcing eight turnovers and limiting Denver to just 61 passing yards. The clinching score came in the fourth quarter when running back Robert Newhouse threw a 29-yard touchdown pass – on a halfback option – to wide receiver Golden Richards.
Most Memorable: White and Martin are the only co-MVP winners in Super Bowl history. The duo anchored a defensive effort that recovered four fumbles and intercepted four passes.
Did you know: This was the first Super Bowl played inside a domed stadium. And in starting for Denver, Craig Morton became the first quarterback to start a Super Bowl for two different teams.
"Dallas is a very, very good team. The Cowboys are No. 1, I believe. They proved it because of their terrific defense."
– Broncos head coach Red Miller
Super Bowl XIII
Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Cowboys 31
Jan. 21, 1979
Orange Bowl (Miami)
MVP: QB Terry Bradshaw
The Result: To many, the most painful loss in franchise history, the Cowboys' bid for back-to-back Super Bowls falling short as Bradshaw threw a then-Super Bowl record four touchdown passes. Dallas trailed 35-17 with 6:51 remaining, but Staubach threw a pair of scoring passes to cut the deficit to four with 22 seconds left. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Pittsburgh.
Most Memorable: For both Cowboys fans and the Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end, Jackie Smith's dropped pass in the end zone in the third quarter is without question the most unforgettable play from this game.
Did you know: The Cowboys were the first team in Super Bowl history to score at least 30 points and lose. San Francisco also did last year in Super Bowl XLVII.
"Roger back to throw, has a man in the end zone … caught. Touchdown … dropped. Dropped in the end zone, Jackie Smith all by himself. Aw, bless his heart, he's got to be the sickest man in America."
– Cowboys radio broadcaster Verne Lundquist on Smith's drop
Super Bowl XXVII
Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17
Jan. 31, 1993
Rose Bowl (Pasadena)
MVP: QB Troy Aikman
The Result: More than 14 years removed from their last Super Bowl appearance, the Cowboys blew Buffalo out of the Rose Bowl. They forced nine turnovers and tallied the game's final 21 points. Aikman finished 22 of 30 for 273 yards and four touchdown passes, while Emmitt Smith rushed for 108 yards. Michael Jackson provided the halftime entertainment.
Most Memorable: We're sorry, but it's Leon Lett having the ball stripped by Don Beebe in the midst of an early celebration en route to the end zone.
Did you know: With the win, Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson became the first coach to win a national college championship and a Super Bowl.
"There was never any doubt we'd get to this point. The concern was how long it would take."
– Head coach Jimmy Johnson
Super Bowl XXVIII
Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13
Jan. 30, 1994
Georgia Dome (Atlanta)
MVP: RB Emmitt Smith
The Result: While it wasn't quite déjà vu, it was another Cowboys rout of Buffalo in the Super Bowl. Looking back, some may forget that the Bills led at halftime, 13-6. However, it was all Dallas in the second half as the Cowboys outscored Buffalo, 24-0, behind two touchdown runs by Smith and a 46-yard fumble recovery touchdown return by free safety James Washington.
Most Memorable: While no one realized it at the time, this would mark Johnson's final game with the Cowboys.
Did you know: Dallas became the first team in NFL history to start a season 0-2 and win the Super Bowl. It also became the fifth to win back-to-back while Buffalo became the first to lose four straight.
"We feel sorry for 'em [Buffalo], but we couldn't help it."
– Wide receiver Michael Irvin
Super Bowl XXX
Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Jan. 28, 1996
Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe)
MVP: CB Larry Brown
The Result: While many were expecting another blowout, Pittsburgh brought the Cowboys to the brink of a historic upset before quarterback Neil O'Donnell threw an interception with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, Smith found the end zone from four yards out and Dallas had its fifth Super Bowl win in 24 years. Larry Brown won MVP honors with two second-half interceptions, each of which led to touchdowns following 44- and 33-yard returns.
Most Memorable: Outside of the win itself, probably Brown's second interception and the feeling that the Cowboys were in the midst of a dynasty the likes of which the NFL had never before witnessed.
Did you know: This win marked the 12th straight for the NFC over the AFC in the Super Bowl. At the time, this was also the second-most watched television program ever, behind only the final episode of MASH*.
"I know that having done it three times in four years, certainly this football team has made a place in history. I don't know if this team is going to be regarded as the Team of the '90s. I don't think anyone in our organization is ready to look back over the last four years and say we had a good run."
– Quarterback Troy Aikman