Many athletes get annoyed by the presence of the media in locker rooms after games. Reasonably so, especially after a tough loss it can’t be settling to see camera crews capturing your every move.
Former Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch even went as far as answering every question from the press with ‘I’m just here so I won’t get fined’ during Super Bowl media day in 2015.
But if not for the cameras and microphones in the locker room following a Cowboys game in 1993, the most famous phrase in the franchise’s history may have never existed.
In this article, we’ll give the origin story behind two phrases that have become synonymous with the Cowboys.
Creation of ‘How Bout Them Cowboys’
Jimmy Johnson took over as Cowboys head coach in 1989 and the team went 1-15 in his debut season as an NFL coach. At the time, if you asked Cowboys fans what they thought would become of Johnson’s career, it’s hard to imagine many would have predicted a hall of fame career.
Johnson earned his bust in Canton, Ohio thanks to how quickly he turned around the franchise. Just three seasons after that putrid one-win campaign, Johnson led the 1992 Cowboys to a 13-3 record and a date against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship.
After getting the win on the road in old Candlestick Park, Dallas’ players and coaches rushed to a cramped locker room that doubled as the visiting locker room for San Francisco Giants opponents. Then, Johnson jumped on a cooler and gathered the players to reflect on the success the team had to that point:
“I don’t mean to put a damper on anything. No, no, no, but you do understand we do have one game left to play. Hey, fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. Every single one of you. And I’m not just talking about these last 60 minutes. I’m talking about the quarterback schools, the minicamps, the offseason, the training camp down in Austin when it was hot and you were tired. The whole bit. Everybody, you did one helluva job and only thing else I got to say is, ‘How ’bout them Cowboys?”
According to an article on ESPN, the Cowboys public relations chief Rich Dalrymple went out on a limb allowing the media to bring cameras into the locker room to capture the team’s celebration.
“I kept thinking during the week of the game there would be a lighter moment and I’d ask [Johnson] if it was OK [to allow the media crew] because I was afraid he would say no. That moment never came. I was just rolling the dice. And that’s when ‘How ’bout them Cowboys?’ happened. Had we not had CBS in there, think of all the ink and T-shirts that would never have been printed.”
The slogan gained traction thanks to the success the Cowboys had afterward, as Dallas went on to win back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
Dak Prescott said the mantra has lived one, as he still gets requests to autograph it on fan’s memorabilia even though Johnson uttered the famous quote about five months before Prescott was born:
“Obviously, he said that after winning a big one, right? To me, that’s always stuck with me. When I sign autographs a lot of times, they ask me to put, ‘How ’bout them ‘Boys?’ on them. And I think that’s just kind of been a label to Cowboys fans. Every team kind of has their saying, and that stuck. And I think it means a lot.”
Creation of ‘We Dem Boyz’
This one has far less historical importance than ‘How Bout Them Cowboys’, but it’s still worth mentioning as it was the unofficial theme song for Dallas in the 2014 season and has stuck with the team to this day.
Created by Pittsburgh-born rapper Wiz Khalifa, the song’s lyrics have no ties to the Cowboys. Players just liked blasting it in the locker room after wins, which came in abundance that year.
Dallas held a 12-4 record thanks in large part to DeMarco Murray leading the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Murray’s dominance in the 2014 season helped earn him a spot as one of the best Cowboys running backs of all time.
Despite the regular season success, Dallas got bounced in the divisional round by the Green Bay Packers who were heard blaring We Dem Boyz in the locker room following the victory.
Even still, Cowboys fans have kept the motto alive. If you search #WeDemBoyz on social media, every post you’ll see will be about the Cowboys.