With the Dallas Cowboys welcoming the Washington Commanders this week to AT&T Stadium for the very first time, it’s worth remembering that these two franchises have a long history together with the Washington franchise going under different names. This will be the first time these teams will meet under the new Washington brand of ‘Commanders’, but the Dallas and Washington franchises have played each other 124 times, including the playoffs.
There was a time from the 70s through the 90s when the Dallas-Washington rivalry was routinely ranked as the best in the NFL. Both teams were winning Super Bowls, and the two fanbases took an immense dislike to each other. The rivalry might have fallen off some because both teams have had their issues over the past couple of decades, but the undercurrent of hate is still there.
But who has the bragging rights in this rivalry? The answer is easy, and it’s not even close. America’s Team has the clear advantage.
The Cowboys have a record of 75-47 with two ties. Washington may have taken the first win in the series all those years ago (Oct 9th, 1960 - Washington 26 Dallas 14), But it wasn’t long until the Cowboys took over the series lead. The Cowboys hold the longest winning streak in the series when they won 10 straight games from 1997 to 2002. They also own the biggest blowout in the series when they crushed Washington 56-14 in the most recent game of the series. Dallas even owns a winning record on the road against Washington, 34-30.
We'll give Washington their due, in the two playoff games between the two franchises, the 1972 NFC Championship and the 1982 NFC Championship, Washington prevailed.
Where it really counts though, is Super Bowls. Dallas five - Washington three. Game, set, match.
Some famous rivalry games from the previous century
1974 Thanksgiving Day - Clint “The Mad Bomber” Longley comes on for an injured Roger Staubach and throws a late 50-yard touchdown to Drew Pearson for a 24-23 Cowboys win.
1979 final regular season game - The NFC East Championship was up for grabs. It was a game of comebacks with the final one being a Roger Staubach touchdown to Tony Hill to seal the win 35-34. Washington had supposedly sent a funeral wreath to Harvey Martin before the game. He kept it and threw it into the Washington locker room after the win.
1988 Tom Landry’s final win - Washington were the defending champs, but the Cowboys knocked them out of the playoffs with a 24-17 win. Michael Irvin had three touchdowns.
1989’s only win - The Cowboys went 1-15 in 1989, but managed to win their one game with a victory over Washington.
1999 Rocket game - Washington was leading 35-14 and looked assured of victory. Dallas scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Rocket Ismail won the game in overtime with a long touchdown pass.