'92 Cowboys: Grit, chemistry keyed dynasty

FRISCO, Texas – The '90s Cowboys, headlined by the Triplets, had plenty of glitz and glamour. But grit was a key ingredient in those Dallas teams developing into one of the best dynasties in NFL history.

That’s how the 1992 Cowboys remembered that team during a 20-year reunion for that Super Bowl title team, an event organized by Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith to benefit his children’s charity.

“Very talented of course, but it was a bunch of hard-working individuals,” said Russell Maryland, a No. 1 overall pick out of Miami who was part of a deep defensive line rotation. “We really came together for that purpose of winning football games.”

Smith, quarterback Troy Aikman and receiver Michael Irvin, the poster boys on those teams, already have busts in Canton. Defensive end Charles Haley probably will soon, and there are other Hall of Fame candidates from that roster.

But talent didn’t define that dynasty, the old Cowboys say.

“We had really, really good players, and in ’92 a lot of those guys were year four to six, kind of right in your prime,” former Pro Bowl fullback Daryl “Moose” Johnston said. “But to me, what made the team unique was the chemistry and camaraderie. A lot of people talk about the football team being your second family and you create a lot of analogies like that, but it’s really hard to actually create that feeling, that chemistry in the locker room. Jimmy and his staff did a really good job with that. …

“I just think that when we got into tough times, we knew each other so well, we had each other’s backs. We had a tremendous amount of respect for each other. It’s hard to create that. I think that if you were to go back and talk to players from the 49ers from the ‘80s, Steelers from the ‘70s, Packers from the ‘60s, you’ll find a lot of the same things that we talk about with our ’92 team.”