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2002 Dallas Cowboys season

Updated: 2017-05-24T07:08Z
2002 Dallas Cowboys season
Head coachDave Campo
General managerJerry Jones
OwnerJerry Jones
Home fieldTexas Stadium
Division place4th NFC East
Playoff finishdid not qualify
Pro BowlersLa'Roi Glover DT
AP All-ProsLa'Roi Glover (2nd team)
Cowboys uniforms12.png

The 2002 Dallas Cowboys season was the 43rd season for the team in the National Football League. It was Emmitt Smith's 13th and final season with the team, officially marking the end of the famed "triplets" tenure in Dallas after wide receiver Michael Irvin was forced to retire prematurely after the 1999 season and quarterback Troy Aikman retired prior to the start of the 2001 season. All three players would eventually be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was also the last of three consecutive 5-11 finishes for the Cowboys, beginning in 2000.


Despite an off-season filled with promise, the season would again prove to be a disaster. Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator and head coach Bruce Coslet was brought in to run the offense for Dallas. Even though he was dismissed by Cincinnati, his history of high-powered offenses while running the Bill Walsh–style West Coast offense provided hope for the Cowboys. A promising draft which included former Oklahoma Sooners All-American selection safety Roy Williams in the first round and the free agent addition of Pro Bowl defensive tackle La'Roi Glover provided even more hope for weary Cowboy fans. The team was also covered throughout training camp and featured on the HBO series Hard Knocks with a strong emphasis on the anticipation of running back Emmitt Smith's road to the NFL's all-time rushing record.

2002 draft class

2002 Dallas Cowboys draft
18Roy Williams * SOklahoma
237Andre Gurode * CColorado
263Antonio Bryant WRPittsburgh
375Derek Ross CBOhio State
4129Jamar Martin FBOhio State
5168Pete Hunter DBVirginia Union
6179Tyson Walter GOhio State
6208Deveren Johnson WRSacred Heartcompensatory
6211Bob Slowikowski TEVirginia Techcompensatory
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career


  • The Cowboys traded their original first-round (No. 6 overall) selection to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for first (No. 8 overall) and third-round (No. 75 overall) selections, and a 2003 sixth-round (No. 186 overall) selection.
  • The Cowboys traded their original third (No. 72 overall), fourth (No. 104 overall) and fifth-round (No. 140 overall) selections to the Chicago Bears in exchange for second (No. 63 overall) and fourth-round (No. 129 overall) selections.
  • The Cowboys traded return man Jeff Ogden to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a seventh-round (No. 237 overall) selection.
  • The Cowboys traded their seventh-round (No. 237 overall) and 2003 fifth-round (No. 168 overall) selection to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round (No. 168 overall) selection.
  • The Cowboys traded their 2001 fourth-round (No. 102 overall) and 2002 seventh-round (No. 217 overall) selections to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for tight end O.J. Santiago.


Regular season

The air would immediately be let out of the Cowboys' balloon in the opening regular season contest which saw the team suffer a defeat to first year expansion team and new cross state rival, the Houston Texans. Though quarterback Quincy Carter again opened the season as the starter, he would eventually be benched in favor of newly signed Chad Hutchinson who, until that year, had been a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals after leaving Stanford as a two sport star. Many believed that owner Jerry Jones pressured head coach Dave Campo into starting Hutchinson much too early, due in part to the large signing bonus Jones paid to acquire the quarterback. Regardless, neither quarterback proved effective and the team once again spiraled towards a losing season.

It is believed 2002 was the first time a NFL franchise had five African American starters on their offensive line, when the Cowboys lined up rookie center Andre Gurode, tackles Flozell Adams and Solomon Page, guards Larry Allen and Kelvin Garmon.[2]

The Cowboys kept making NFL history on October 27 at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Despite a close loss, Emmitt Smith would break the all-time career yardage rushing record previously held by Walter Payton.[3] The game was stopped momentarily in recognition of the moment, allowing an emotional Smith to briefly celebrate with teammates both current and past who attended the game, as well as members of Payton's family. Smith would also later score his 125th rushing touchdown of his career on the same drive. The milestone moment would provide the lone bright spot of the year for the team and Smith, who would fail to reach the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the season for the first time in his career since his rookie season of 1990. Overshadowed by the NFL rushing landmark, safety Darren Woodson quietly also became the Dallas Cowboys all-time leading tackler.

During a late season loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, reports began to surface that owner Jerry Jones had secretly met with former New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets head coach Bill Parcells in relation to the head coaching position with the Dallas Cowboys on board Jones' private jet. Though this would prove to be a critical move to the Cowboys future success, it was nonetheless embarrassing for current head coach Dave Campo who had received no word that any potential moves were pending, and Jerry Jones was roundly criticized for the incident. On field ineptitude and off field controversy would once again lead to a 5–11 season, the team's third consecutive such finish. Dave Campo would be predictably dismissed after the season.

Notable additions to the team include wide receiver Antonio Bryant, and center Andre Gurode.


September 8, 2002at Houston TexansL 19–10
September 15, 2002Tennessee TitansW 21–13
September 22, 2002at Philadelphia EaglesL 44–13
September 29, 2002at St. Louis RamsW 13–10
October 6, 2002New York GiantsL 21–17
October 13, 2002Carolina PanthersW 14–13
October 20, 2002at Arizona CardinalsL 9–6
October 27, 2002Seattle SeahawksL 17–14
November 3, 2002at Detroit LionsL 9–7
November 17, 2002at Indianapolis ColtsL 20–3
November 24, 2002Jacksonville JaguarsW 21–19
November 28, 2002Washington RedskinsW 27–20
December 8, 2002San Francisco 49ersL 31–27
December 15, 2002at New York GiantsL 37–7
December 21, 2002Philadelphia EaglesL 27–3
December 29, 2002at Washington RedskinsL 20–14


NFC East
(1) Philadelphia Eagles1240.7505–111–1415241L1
(5) New York Giants1060.6255–18–4320279W4
Washington Redskins790.4381–54–8307365W2
Dallas Cowboys5110.3131–53–9217329L4


Dallas Cowboys 2002 roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

Rookies in italics
53 Active, 11 Inactive

Awards and records


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. ^ "2002 NFL Draft Pick Transactions". 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Numbelivable!, p.159, Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano, Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, 2007, ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0

External links

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