Flash Points: Cowboys' defining moment

What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Cowboys -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment on May 27.

Any franchise that puts a star in the middle of its field and carries the nickname “America’s Team” should have more than a few moments worth remembering. The funny thing about the Dallas Cowboys is that it isn’t that hard to nail down the turning points in the franchise’s history. The Cowboys basically had nothing going for them until a stoic, stone-faced revolutionary showed up in 1960 armed with a fedora to wear on game days and all sorts of crazy ideas about flex defenses and shotgun formations. Tom Landry didn’t claim his first conference title until 1966 -- six years after his hiring in Dallas -- but hardly anybody remembers that wait for success today. What they do recall is that Landry was the central figure in the Cowboys’ success for 29 years, right until the day new owner Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989.

Sure, Jones created instant controversy when he fired Landry. But the maverick owner with a con man’s grin had a vision that worked just fine on its own. He hired an old buddy from college named Jimmy Johnson, set him loose on the NFL and won two Super Bowls within the next five years. The only downside was Jones’ ego. It led to an eventual split between him and Johnson in 1994, and Jones never hired another dynamic coach until Bill Parcells arrived in 2003.

As we all know, the Cowboys have yet to regain the dominance that was their trademark in the 1990s. But we also have to accept something else: Whether in good times or bad, they’ve always been a franchise that has kept things interesting.

What is your Cowboys defining moment? If you vote Other, give us your suggestion in the comments area below.