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The 1990 season was the Dallas Cowboys' 31st season in NFL. The
Cowboys rebounded from a 1-15 season in 1989 to a 7-9 record. Jimmy
Johnson won AP's NFL coach of the year honors.
The season began with a win over San Diego, breaking a 14 game
home losing streak. The Cowboys showed some early season fight with
two wins over Tampa Bay and a near-miss against Philadelphia, but
still stood only 3-7 after ten weeks, and were seemingly out of
playoff contention. However, the team caught fire in late November,
winning four games in a row (including impressive wins over the
Redskins and Saints, and a blowout win over the Cardinals). The
Cowboys entered the season's final two weeks needing only one win
or Saints' loss to make the playoffs as a wildcard. However, in
game 15 quarterback Troy Aikman separated his shoulder early
against the Eagles and was replaced by Babe Laufenberg (The Cowboys
had traded backup Steve Walsh early in the season and Lauferberg
was elevated from 3rd string to backup). With Aikman injured, the
Cowboys mustered little offense against the Eagles and lost, 17-3.
Meanwhile the Saints upset the 49ers (handing the Niners only their
second loss) to keep the Cowboys from clinching in game 15. The
next week, with Laufenberg again leading the offense, the Cowboys
were thoroughly beaten, 26-7, by the 4-11 Atlanta Falcons. When the
Saints beat the Rams the next night, the Cowboys were eliminated
from playoff contention.
This season featured the debut of running back Emmitt Smith.
Smith held out during training camp and was only a minimal
contributor in the season's early games, but began to show his
future greatness with a 100-plus performance in a week 5 win
against Tampa Bay and had a few other outstanding games during the
The Porkchop Bowl was the NFL matchup between
the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys
which followed the infamous Bounty Bowl II.
Even though almost a year had transpired since the notorious "Bounty Bowl" games, the
vitriolic rivalry between the two teams was still firmly in Cowboys
fans' memories. And this was the first encounter since Cowboys
players and coaches were relentlessly pelted by snowballs during
that last meeting at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.
The week before game day in Dallas, Philadelphia head coach Buddy Ryan and Ted Plumb,
his offensive coordinator were out for dinner. Coach Ryan was
dining on pork chops and started to choke. Fortunately, Plumb
quickly initiated the Heimlich maneuver
and saved Ryan's life. Word of the incident spread in Dallas, and
hatred by Dallas fans was so fevered towards Ryan that former
Cowboys' president Tex
Schramm dubbed the pending game on October 28 the "Porkchop
Bowl." When the game began, Dallas fans tossed pork chops and
similar simulated meat products from the stands toward the Eagles
The final score was 21-20 in favor of the Eagles.