It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are one of the NFL's most storied franchises. Despite being in existence for much less time than organizations such as the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, they've managed to forge a history complete with championship pedigree. 8 NFC championships, 5 Lombardis; all done without any hardware from the last 18 seasons.
Of course, to accomplish this they must have had some exceptional players along the way. That's one of the great things about following a team such as Dallas, the totem pole of individual accomplishments sometimes reads like a Who's Who of professional football. Passing records include Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, receiving records list Michael Irvin and Bob Hayes. Can't go wrong there.
Even though the league has evolved to more passing than running, one should hardly minimize the fact that players such as Tony Romo and Jason Witten have ascended to the top of several lists. They are elite players at their positions and are deserving of every accolade. In 2012, Witten became the clubs all-time reception leader while Romo broke the mark for passing yards in a season.
So what marks and records are within reach for them and other Cowboys in 2013? Glad you asked, let's take a look.
- Currently, Romo is in second place in career passing yards. While it is highly unlikely that he will be able to catch Troy Aikman this season (32,942 yards), getting to the 30,000 yard milestone is certainly attainable. Romo will need to pass for 4,263 yards; a feat he's accomplished twice ('09 & '12) and came close to a third time ('07: 4211 yards).
- Romo is already in first place in career passing touchdowns; he currently sits at 177, just 23 away from 200 for his career.
- As long as Romo makes it through camp healthy, opening night against the Giants will mark Romo's 100th game as a professional. By the midpoint of the season, he'll pass Don Meredith for 4th most as a Cowboys QB.
- Even though Romo's thought to be "not clutch", he's somehow managed to rank third on the team as far as game-winning drives with 19 in just six and a half seasons. Two more passes Aikman for second, and if he can manage five (his total in 2012), he'll pass Captain Comeback, Roger Staubach, for first all-time.
- The Cowboys have had some of the best running backs in the game, but outside of the elite? Yeesh. DeMarco Murray, he of two injury-interrupted seasons, needs one full campaign with at least 1,169 yards to pass Felix Jones for 10th on the all-time list for the team. Yes, that Felix Jones. A 2,000 yard season (hahahaha... haha.. ha.. ha) would pass Julius Jones and Herschel Walker into 8th place. And yes, that Julius Jones. Murray is currently 17th at 1,560 yards.
- Murray's grand total of 6 rushing touchdowns in two years ranked him 147 behind Emmitt Smith, but in 26th place. a 10 TD season would put him tied for 15th with Duane Thomas.
- A 1,000 yard season by Dez Bryant (2,871 yards currently) would move him from 18th place into eighth, pass Jay Novacek (3,576), Terrell Owens (3,587) and Doug Cosbie (3,728).
- Miles Austin is already in seventh place all-time for Cowboys receiving yards. He needs just 763 on the season to reach 5,000 for his career. 977 yards and Frank Clarke gets passed for 6th place. The Top 5 is incredibly safe for at least three seasons. Irvin, Witten, Hill, Pearson, Hayes. G'Lawd!
- Jason Witten needs 1,052 yards to reach 10,000 for his career.
- With 44 touchdown receptions, Witten ranks 6th all-time. 5 more moves him past Drew Pearson, 8 moves him past both Clarke and Tony Hill into third behind Hayes (71) and Irvin (65).
- Ranked 12th, Miles Austin (277) needs 63 receptions to pass Jay Novacek for 8th. 89 passes Bob Hayes for 7th.
- Dez Bryant ranks 20th with 200 catches, 101 passes Doug Cosbie for 9th. With 27 touchdowns,Bryant needs 12 on the year to pass Terrell Owens for 8th. A great season of 15 passes Billy Joe Dupree for 7th.
- Jason Witten, currently 18th with 268 points, needs 56 points on the season to surpass Marion Barber (318), Richie Cunningham (320) and Nick Folk (323) into 8th place on the all-time Cowboys scoring list.
- Third-year kicker Dan Bailey has scored 259 points already in his career; good for 19th. A slightly above average season of 133 points would move him into the Top 5 all-time for Dallas scoring. Remember our kicker concerns from a couple years ago? Me neither.
- DeMarcus Ware, with 111 sacks, is already the official record holder for the Cowboys. With just three and a half more, he will own the total record for the club, which is currently held by Harvey Martin at 114. Martin is still not in the Cowboys Ring Of Honor.
So which of these milestones can you see happening for the Cowboys players in 2013? We all know it's a team game, but when done correctly, individual accolades can and likely will contribute to overall team success. Talk it out in the comments section.