Head coach Tom Landry
Start date 1972
|Division place 2nd NFC East|
Owner Clint Murchison Jr.
Home field Texas Stadium
|Playoff finish Lost Conference Championship|
Similar 1970 Dallas Cowboys, 1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1965 Dallas Cowboys, 1977 Dallas Cowboys, 1978 Dallas Cowboys
The 1972 Dallas Cowboys season was their 13th in the league. The team failed to improve their previous output of 11–3, winning only ten games. They qualified for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season but settled for the wildcard spot. A pre-season injury to quarterback Roger Staubach and the trade of Duane Thomas (both had been integral figures in the 1971 championship team) hindered the offense (mitigated somewhat since their replacements, Craig Morton and Calvin Hill, were former starters). In the divisional playoff round, Staubach came off the bench to engineer an improbable 30–28 comeback win over the 49ers (Dallas had trailed by 28–16 with less than 2 minutes to play). The win over the 49ers still ranks as one of the all-time great Cowboys wins. However, the momentum could not carry them to a victory over Washington in the NFC Championship game.
Roger Staubach was lost in the 3rd pre season game with the Los Angeles Rams when Marlin McKeever tackled him. It required him to get a shoulder operation. Veteran backup Quarterback Craig Morton would lead the Cowboys for the 1972 season. When the Cowboys got down in the December 23rd playoff game Tom Landry inserted Roger who led them from a come from behind 30–28 victory over San Francisco. In 1972 The Cowboys would build up big leads in games only hang on in to win the game. Some examples of this would be the Monday Night when they hosted Detroit, the November 5 game in San Diego, a November 12th game at home versus St Louis, and the December 9 home game against Washington. The December 18, 1972 Sports Illustrated ran a story on the 1972 Dallas Cowboys surrounding their game with the Washington Redskins on pages 20–23, and featuring Cowboy middle linebacker #55 Lee Roy Jordan on the cover.
Still another factor in the Cowboys 1972 season was that All Pro defensive tackle Bob Lilly played through an injury to his back for most all of the year, along with a bone spur near his heel and an injured muscle just above his knee. Lilly was furthermore selected for his 10th Pro Bowl but did not play in the game. Lilly had 2 1/2 sacks on the season, while overall the team totaled 32.
The Dallas Cowboys since its inception have always had cheerleaders, but during the team preparations to defend their World Championship title in 1972, a turning point in cheerleader history would be made with the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, wearing new star spangled uniforms and performing dance routines, instead of the traditional acrobatic displays.
The Cowboys qualified for the playoffs a record seventh consecutive year.
This season marks the first time in Cowboys history they wore their white jerseys for every game. The second and only other time so far was 2010.