A History of 1,000-Yard Dallas Cowboy Rushers


Julius JonesIn 2006, Julius Jones became the fifth back in team history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. It was the 23rd time that a back for the Dallas Cowboys had reached this milestone, and it was the first time since Emmitt Smith accomplished the feat in 2001.

The first player to rush for 1,000 yards in team history was Calvin Hill, who did so in 1972 and 1973. Hill and Tony Dorsett were the only two players to rush for 1,000 yards before the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978. When Hill ran for 1036 yards in 1972, he broke the franchise single-season mark of 945 yards set by Don Perkins in 1962.

In 2005, Jones came the closest to 1,000 yards without eclipsing the mark when he finished the season with 993. Dorsett had the lowest total that exceeded 1,000 yards when he rushed for 1,007 yards as a rookie in 1977.

Emmitt Smith holds the franchise mark with 11 consecutive 1,000 yards seasons, during a period that lasted from 1991 to 2001. Dorsett opened his career with five straight 1,000-yard seasons, but was unable to continue the streak due to the players’ strike in 1982. He reached the mark again each season from 1983 to 1985. The only player on the list to fail to achieve this feat for a second time was Herschel Walker, who was traded by the Cowboys in 1989.

Here is a list of each of the players to reach this milestone:

Number Name Years
11 Smith, Emmitt 1991-2001
8 Dorsett, Tony 1977-1981, 1983-1985
2 Hill, Calvin 1972-1973
1 Walker, Herschel 1988
1 Jones, Julius 2006

Here is a complete list of 1,000-yard seasons by Dallas Cowboy running backs, in order of yardage.


Year Name Att. Yards Ave. TD
1995 Smith, Emmitt 377 1773 4.2 25
1992 Smith, Emmitt 373 1713 4.6 18
1981 Dorsett, Tony 342 1646 4.8 4
1991 Smith, Emmitt 365 1563 4.3 12
1988 Walker, Herschel 361 1514 4.2 5
1993 Smith, Emmitt 283 1486 5.3 9
1994 Smith, Emmitt 368 1484 4.0 21
1999 Smith, Emmitt 329 1397 4.2 11
1998 Smith, Emmitt 319 1332 4.2 13
1978 Dorsett, Tony 290 1325 4.6 7
1983 Dorsett, Tony 289 1321 4.6 8
1985 Dorsett, Tony 305 1307 4.3 7
1996 Smith, Emmitt 327 1204 3.7 12
2000 Smith, Emmitt 294 1203 4.1 9
1984 Dorsett, Tony 302 1189 3.9 5
1980 Dorsett, Tony 278 1185 4.3 11
1973 Hill, Calvin 273 1142 4.2 6
1979 Dorsett, Tony 250 1107 4.4 6
2006 Jones, Julius 267 1084 4.1 4
1997 Smith, Emmitt 261 1074 4.1 4
1972 Hill, Calvin 245 1036 4.2 6
2001 Smith, Emmitt 261 1021 3.9 3
1977 Dorsett, Tony 208 1007 4.8 12

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Article by Matt Cordon

Blogging impatiently about the Cowboys since 2006. Being a fan since 1977 hasn't required quite as much patience.

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