2001 Dallas Cowboys season

2001 Dallas Cowboys season
Head coach Dave Campo
Home field Texas Stadium
Record 5–11
Division place 5th NFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify

The 2001 Dallas Cowboys season was the team's 42nd in the National Football League. They tried to surpass their 5-11 record from 2000, but they ended up matching their previous record and miss the playoffs for the second straight season.


An eventful off-season created a lot buzz but little change in the Cowboys' fortunes. Franchise quarterback Troy Aikman, after suffering a pair of concussions the previous season, was released by the team. Unable to sign on with another team — in part due to his long history of concussions — Aikman announced his retirement at an emotional and lengthy press conference later in the off-season. This left running back Emmitt Smith as the last of the famed "triplets" from the teams' Super Bowl victories. Veteran quarterback Tony Banks was signed in the off-season from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens as an immediate replacement, and owner Jerry Jones hand picked Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter with a second round draft choice as the quarterback of the future. Many saw the Carter pick as quite a reach considering Carter's inconsistent career at Georgia and his low draft rating by several other teams.

Regular season

Despite what seemed a promising outing in the first pre-season game by starter Tony Banks, the Cowboys, in a very surprising move, released Banks in the middle of training camp and handed the reins over to their rookie quarterback. Unfortunately, a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness led to the Cowboys starting a total of four different quarterbacks over the course of the season including journeyman Anthony Wright and former Arkansas Razorback Clint Stoerner. In an attempt to provide more depth at the quarterback position, the team signed former second-overall draft pick Ryan Leaf mid-season, however he provided no improvement in his limited playing time. His only start of the season, a Week 9 loss to the Falcons, was the final start of his career. The game also marked the first start for Falcons QB Michael Vick.

Even with the injection of new blood, the Cowboys suffered through another 5–11 campaign and a last place finish in the NFC East. The lack of development at quarterback and the offense as a whole would be blamed on offensive coordinator Jack Reilly who was dismissed after the season. Fans became weary of the Cowboys' performance and blamed owner Jerry Jones, who by now had taken a more hands-on approach to running the team.

One notable game included week 7, where the Cowboys led the Giants 24–7 at halftime, but (thanks in part to Clint Stoerner's throwing 4 interceptions) the Giants rallied to win in overtime. In an unusual move, Stoerner was pulled from the game for Ryan Leaf late in the 4th quarter of a tie game. It was Leaf's debut with the team, but he couldn't lead them to victory.

Another infamous game was on Thanksgiving Day against the Broncos. Dallas trailed 26–10 and scored a touchdown in the 4th quarter. Coach Dave Campo decided against "going for 2" which if successful would have made it an eight-point (and one possession game). Campo instead kicked the extra point, keeping the margin at 9. Dallas did score one more late TD but that was not enough to tie the game and they never got the ball back, and lost 26–24.

A fourth consecutive season sweep of rival Washington Redskins and a victory over the San Francisco 49ers were the only victories of note. Much of the focus turned towards Emmitt Smith and his pursuit of the all-time career rushing yardage record. During an early season game against the San Diego Chargers, Bob Hayes was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 9, 2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 10–6
2 September 23, 2001 San Diego Chargers L 32–21
3 September 30, 2001 at Philadelphia Eagles L 40–18
4 October 7, 2001 at Oakland Raiders L 28–21
5 October 15, 2001 Washington Redskins W 9–7
6 Bye
7 October 28, 2001 Arizona Cardinals W 17–3
8 November 4, 2001 at New York Giants L 27–24
9 November 11, 2001 at Atlanta Falcons L 20–13
10 November 18, 2001 Philadelphia Eagles L 36–3
11 November 22, 2001 Denver Broncos L 26–24
12 December 2, 2001 at Washington Redskins W 20–14
13 December 9, 2001 New York Giants W 20–13
14 December 16, 2001 at Seattle Seahawks L 29–3
15 December 23, 2001 at Arizona Cardinals L 17–10
16 December 30, 2001 San Francisco 49ers W 27–21
17 January 6, 2002 at Detroit Lions L 15–10


NFC East
(3) Philadelphia Eagles 11 5 0 .688 343 208 W2
Washington Redskins 8 8 0 .500 256 303 W2
New York Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 321 L2
Arizona Cardinals 7 9 0 .438 295 343 L1
Dallas Cowboys 5 11 0 .313 246 338 L1


Dallas Cowboys 2001 roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

Rookies in italics
53 Active, 13 Inactive

Coaching staff

Dallas Cowboys 2001 coaching staff
Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches


Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator – Mike Zimmer
  • Defensive End – Jim Jeffcoat
  • Defensive Tackle – Andre Patterson
  • Defensive Nickel – Bill Bates
  • Linebackers – George Edwards
  • Secondary – Pete Carmichael, Jr.

Special Teams Coaches

  • Special Teams – Joe Avezzano
  • Kickers – Steve Hoffman
  • Strength and Conditioning – Joe Juraszek



The Football Encyclopedia ISBN 0-312-11435-4
Total Football ISBN 0-06-270170-3
Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes ISBN 0-446-51950-2


  1. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 113

External links

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