The Dallas Cowboys’ Official 50th Anniversary is Today

This was the headline in the Dallas Morning News on January 29, 1960.

By January 28, 1960, Clint Murchison had already hired Tex Schramm and Tom Landry to run the proposed Dallas Rangers, but the team was not officially “born” until owners approved the franchise officially at a meeting in Miami.  Today thus marks the 50th anniversary of the team’s official founding.

By the middle of January, the team (which would be renamed the Cowboys in March) already had more than 30 players under contract. Landry hardly seemed impressed. When told that he already had 36 players (the number was actually 31), he replied, “Thirty six! What kind of players? I don’t know anything about that.”

Murchison and Bedford Wynne went to Miami to try to convince owners to approve the team. Chicago Bears owner George Halas had previously promised that Dallas would receive a club, but this was hardly set in stone during the January 1960 meeting.

One big problem was that the league was considering realigning, and the owners were squabbling over where teams would fall. The powerhouse Baltimore Colts did not want to move into the league’s Eastern Conference, which was the conference that contained the New York Giants. Giant co-owners Jack and Wellington Mara were unsure about how they would vote.

You might recall that Washington owner George Preston Marshall was originally the one opposed to a new Dallas franchise. Murchison and Wynne famous made a power play by buying rights to the Redskins’ fight song, “Hail to the Redskins,” which led Marshall to change his mind. Marshall was noticeably absent from part of the January owners meeting in 1960.

The owners squabbled in Miami for more than a week about the expansion issue. Owners were likewise at a stalemate about the election of a new NFL commissioner to replace Bert Bell. On January 27, things started looking better for the Dallas club, as owners approved the appointment of Pete Rozelle as commissioner.

One day later, owners awarded a franchise to Murchison and Wynne while giving a franchise to Minneapolis-St. Paul for the 1961 season.

Left to right: Bedford Wynne, Clint Murchison, George Preston Marshall, Tex Schramm