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Aikman, Smith, and Irvin Cowboys Ring of Honor Selectees

The biggest stars of the Dallas Cowboys teams that won three Super Bowls in the 1990s, quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith, and wide receiver Michael Irvin will be inducted into the prestigious Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor this year, reports Jennifer Floyd Engel.

‘Triplets’ Cowboys’ latest Ring of Honor class

Photo: The Cowboys' Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith will be inducted into the Cowboys̢۪ Ring of Honor exactly how they played. Together.

The Cowboys have scheduled a 6 p.m. news conference to announce the addition of Irvin, Aikman and Smith into the exclusive Ring, according to a source. It is fitting, since all of their success in the NFL came together, including winning three Super Bowls with the Cowboys in the 1990s.

This is the first year the Cowboys could have added “The Triplets” to the Ring together because Smith did not retire until this off-season. By doing so now, the Cowboys can honor all of them before any are honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Irvin and Aikman are eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

It’s fitting that the three all be inducted together and, certainly, it would be hard to find three more deserving enshrinees.

This should benefit Irvin the most, as he was narrowly denied enshrinement in Canton during his first year of Pro Football Hall of Fame eligibility. Some argue that the Cowboys’ stinginess with adding members to their Ring–several Cowboys were inducted into Canton before they were added to the Ring–has hurt the team’s players with Hall voters.

Still, as Nick Eatman notes in the updated DallasCowboys.com feature on this Ring, one hopes this does not mean that some deserving members of the 1970’s era team that went to five Super Bowls are never getting in.

Aikman, Emmitt, Irvin Heading Into Ring Of Honor

For 10 consecutive seasons, they were linked synonymously as the Cowboys enjoyed their most successful run in franchise history. In any order, it was always Troy, Emmitt and Michael, not a last name required to identify any in this trio of superstars.

While the glory days might have passed for Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, all retiring over the past five years, including Smith who just called it quits at this year’s past Super Bowl, the Cowboys apparently have decided they will be linked together at least one more time.

In what should be an unprecedented move, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is expected to announce plans to induct three of the greatest players in franchise history simultaneously into the team’s hallowed Ring of Honor during a game-to-be-announced this season. The trio not only becomes the 13th, 14th and 15th members of the exclusive group, but will be the first players sent to the Ring of Honor identified with the Jones Era, which began in 1989.

Jones will officially make the announcement at a 6 p.m. press conference Wednesday at the Stadium Club in Texas Stadium. He will also announce the game at which the induction takes place. It would seem likely Jones would pick one of the early-season home games against either Washington (Sept. 19), Philadelphia (Oct. 9) or the New York Giants (Oct. 16). With Aikman’s obligations to Fox and Irvin’s to ESPN, this will be a fine juggling act to get all three players at Texas Stadium at the same time.

But when Jones does, this will mean that, with last year’s inductions of Rayfield Wright and Cliff Harris into the Ring of Honor, five former players will have been added to the Ring in the past two years. Only seven players, along with former head coach Tom Landry and former president Tex Schramm, resided in this exclusive club over the franchise’s first 44 years.

The team has won five and been to eight Super Bowls and well over a dozen conference championship games. It has had a lot of very talented players. One doesn’t want to hand out honors like candy; on the other hand, one doesn’t want to reserve them only for first ballot Hall of Famers.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. ICallMasICM says:

    What about the guys who blocked for them?

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  2. James Joyner says:

    Offensive linemen have longer careers, typically. I suspect Larry Allen and fullback Darryl “Moose” Johnson will be joining them at some point. I’m not sure the Cowboys had any other Hall of Fame caliber O-line guys from that era.

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  3. ICallMasICM says:

    MARK STEPNOSKI C
    1989-94, present
    Pro Bowls: five (three with Cowboys)

    JOHN NILAND G
    1966-74
    Pro Bowls: six

    Nate Newton
    Newton was a six time Pro Bowler

    Erik Williams
    Williams was a four time Pro Bowler

    Try running with no holes or passing when you’re getting creamed on every play.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    Forgot about Step–it’s been a while.

    Newton was great for a short time but then fell off after injury.

    Niland was a different era.

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  5. ICallMasICM says:

    I know when Niland played but it’s the same thing. You win when you control the line and push the other team back and protest the pocket. Then the hotdogs get to run in and spike the ball.

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