Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (2024)

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (1)

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Dan Reeves (10th), 1966 - The versatile running back finished 10th in the voting in 1966, when he led the NFL in total touchdowns with 16. Reeves had 757 rushing yards but also 557 receiving yards.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (2)

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Bob Lilly (8th), 1966 - Defensive tackles don't usually find themselves in the MVP contention but Lilly was always the exception. In 1966, he finished 8th in the voting, thanks to his 12.5 sacks, the second-highest single-season total of his career.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (3)

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Don Meredith (3rd), 1966 – The highest of the three finalists the Cowboys had for MVP that season, Meredith had a career-high 2,805 passing yards with 24 TDs, also a personal-best. His 15.8 yard per completion led the NFL for the second-straight season.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (4)

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Bob Lilly (5th), 1968 – His 12.5 sacks highlighted yet another stellar season for Lilly, who made the Pro Bowl for the third straight season, a streak that would extend to 10 consecutive years.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (5)

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Calvin Hill (4th), 1969 – What a rookie season it was for Hill, who not only finished as the AP Rookie of the Year, but was the first and one of three in franchise history to garner MVP votes in his first season. Hill rushed for 942 yards and eight touchdowns.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (6)

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Bob Lilly (13th), 1971 – In his 11th pro season, Lilly didn't show signs of slowing down. He was still terrorizing opposing quarterbacks, evident by his signature play of his career in the Super Bowl that season, when he stopped Miami's Bob Griese for a 29-yard loss.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (7)

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Roger Staubach (2nd), 1971 – When he finally was named starting quarterback in the middle of the season, Staubach and the Cowboys took off, winning the Super Bowl that season. He also led the entire NFL in quarterback rating (104.8) and had a 15-4 touchdown to interception ratio.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (8)

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Roger Staubach (4th), 1978 – Four different times in his career, Staubach led the league in QB rating and 1978 was another one, with an 84.9 rating. He also led the Cowboys to an 11-4 record and a second-straight Super Bowl appearance.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (9)

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Roger Staubach (5th), 1979 – In what proved to be the final season of his Hall of Fame career, Staubach again was masterful in the clutch, with three game-winning drives, including the memorable 35-34 win over Washington in his final victory. Staubach's 92.3 QB rating led the NFL again.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (10)

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Tony Dorsett (1981), 3rd – If you just went by touchdowns, it looked like a down year for Dorsett, who only had four rushing and six total. But the yards made up for it as Dorsett had a career-high 1,646 yards and his 1,971 all-purpose yards was also a career-high.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (11)

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Danny White (1982), 5th – In a strike-shortened season, White was still able to put up big numbers in only nine games. White completed 63.2 percent of his passes, a career-best as a full-time starter. He also threw passed for over 2,000 yards in leading the Cowboys to a 6-3 record. They would eventually lose in the NFC Championship Game, the second of three-straight losses on the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (12)

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Randy White (1983), 7th - After producing four straight seasons under double-digit sacks, White came back in a major way in 1983, with 12.5 sacks, helping him finish seventh in the voting, becoming just the second defensive player in franchise history as an MVP finalist.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (13)

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Herschel Walker (1988), 7th - In his last full season with the Cowboys, Walker put up over 2,000 all-purpose yards, showcasing his true versatility to be a powerful runner and dynamic receiver. Walker had 1,514 rushing yards, along with 505 receiving yards.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (14)

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Emmitt Smith (1992), 3rd - The Cowboys won their first Super Bowl in 15 years, and Smith was a major reason for the success, leading the NFL in rushing for the second straight year with 1,713 rushing yards, a franchise record that he would later break. Smith led the NFL with 107.1 rushing yards per game.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (15)

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Troy Aikman (1993), 5th –Overshadowed by Emmitt Smith's incredible MVP season, Aikman was 11-3 as a starter and also put up career numbers, finishing with a 99.0 quarterback rating, the highest of his Hall of Fame career. Also, his 69.1 completion percentage led the NFL that season.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (16)

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Emmitt Smith (1993), 1st - His true "value" was seen early in 1993 season when the defending champs went 0-2 with Smith sitting out without a contract. When he returned, the Cowboys immediately got back in their groove and Smith found a way to win his third straight rushing title with 1,486 yards and he also led the NFL with a 5.3 average per carry, the highest of his career.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (17)

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Emmitt Smith (1995), 3rd - After seeing his streak of three-straight rushing titles end in 1994, Smith came back strong right off the bat in 1995, scoring on a 60-yard touchdown in the opening drive of the Week 1 game against the Giants. Smith rushed for four touchdowns that night, a sign of what was to come as he set an NFL record with 25 rushing TDs to lead the league, along with his 1,773 rushing yards, claiming his fourth and final rushing title.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (18)

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Tony Romo (2014), 4th - After his first game of the season in which he struggled through a back injury and threw three interceptions in a loss to the 49ers, it didn't look as if Romo would be an MVP finalist. But he helped the Cowboys finish 12-4 and his 69.9 completion percentage and 113.2 QB rating was No. 1 in the NFL.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (19)

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DeMarco Murray (2014), 3rd – A career season for Murray earned him Offensive Player of the Year with a league-leading 1,845 rushing yards, the most in Cowboys history. He also led the NFL with 13 rushing touchdowns and a 115.3 average per game.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (20)

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Ezekiel Elliott (2016), 4th – He led the NFL in rushing 1,631 yards and had 15 touchdowns as the Cowboys leaned on Zeke, who had five games with over 130 rushing yards.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (21)

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Dak Prescott (2016), 6th – A magical rookie season with both Dak and Zeke providing a boost of energy to the Cowboys. Dak wasn't supposed to be the starter that year but took over for an injured Romo in the preseason and never gave up the job, winning 13 games as a starter with a 67.8 completion percentage, the highest by a rookie in NFL history.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (22)

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Micah Parsons (2022), 8th – The Cowboys were able to go 4-1 without Dak Prescott in the lineup and the big reason was the play of the defense, led by Parsons, who was able to surpass his career-high in sacks as a rookie with 13 with 13.5 in 2022.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (23)

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Dak Prescott (2023), 2nd – After leading the NFL in interceptions the year before, Dak came back in 2023 to lead the league in TD passes with 36. He also had the most completions with 410 and ranked second in the NFL with a career-best 105.9 QB rating.

Rank'Em: Cowboys have had MVP finalist 23 times (2024)
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