Troy Aikman
Troy-aikman 1996.jpg
Aikman playing for the Cowboys
No. 8
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: November 21 1966 (1966-11-21) (age 54)
Place of birth: West Covina, California
Height: 6 ft 4 in Weight: 220 lbs
National Football League debut
Debut: 1989 for the Dallas Cowboys
Last game: 2000 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career information
High school: Henryetta (Oklahoma)
College: Oklahoma (1984-1985)
UCLA (1985-1988)
NFL Draft: 1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • 3× Super Bowl champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX),
  • Super Bowl MVP (XXVII)
  • 6× Pro Bowl (1991–1996)
  • First-team All-Pro (1993)
  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (1997)
  • Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor
  • National champion (1985)
  • Davey O'Brien Award (1989)
  • Consensus All-American (1988)
  • UCLA Bruins No. 8 retired
Pro Football Hall of Fame
HOF Induction: 2006

Troy Kenneth Aikman (born November 21, 1966, in West Covina, California) is a former American football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, and currently a television sportscaster for the Fox network. He is formerly a joint owner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup racing team, Hall of Fame Racing, along with fellow former Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach. He is referred to as one of "The Triplets" with Cowboys teammates Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

Aikman was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and to the College Football Hall of Fame on December 9, 2008.


The New York Mets offered Aikman a contract out of high school, but instead of playing baseball he chose to pursue football and attended the University of Oklahoma under head coach Barry Switzer.

In 1984, his first season as a collegiate starter, Aikman led the Sooners to wins over Minnesota, Kansas State, and #17 Texas in the Red River Shootout before hosting the Miami Hurricanes and his future head coach Jimmy Johnson.

On October 19, Miami's Jerome Brown broke through the offensive line, sacked Aikman on the Sooner 29-yard line and broke Aikman's ankle. Aikman, who had been six of eight passing for 131 yards, would be lost for the season. Switzer and offensive coordinator Jim Donnan were forced to switch back to the wishbone offense under freshman quarterback Jamelle Holieway. The team went on to win the 1985 National Championship by beating Penn State in the 1986 Orange Bowl. With Holieway established as the starting quarterback at OU, Aikman decided to transfer to UCLA.

Switzer oversaw Aikman's transfer to UCLA, a program under Terry Donahue that was more conducive to a passing quarterback. He had to redshirt one year due to college transfer rules but went on to lead the Bruins to a 20-4 record over two seasons.

As a junior, Aikman led the Bruins to a 10–2 record and the 1987 Aloha Bowl, where they beat the Florida Gators 20-16.

As a senior, Aikman won the 1988 Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback, a first for UCLA. He was a Consensus All-American, the UPI West Coast Player of the Year, the Washington DC Club QB of the Year, a finalist for the 1988 AFCA "Coaches Choice" Player of the year award, and he finished third for the 1988 Heisman Trophy. UCLA matched the victory total from the previous season under Aikman, going 10-2 and losing only to USC and Washington State. The 1988 season culminated with a 17-3 Bruin victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 1989 Cotton Bowl, which was played in Dallas. The Dallas media spent most of the Cotton Bowl week promoting Aikman as the "next quarterback of the Cowboys," and much was made of Tom Landry watching Troy Aikman practice during the Bruins' workouts at Texas Stadium. Aikman finished his career as the number two career passing leader in UCLA history. In 2008 he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

For a brief period of time, Aikman considered going into a career in his first love, marine biology. However, he found the allure of the NFL to be too much.

Joining Dallas' crew

Aikman was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, by the Dallas Cowboys. On February 25, 1989, new owner Jerry Jones fired head coach Tom Landry, and replaced him with Jimmy Johnson. A few months later in the NFL's supplemental draft, Johnson drafted Steve Walsh, who played for Johnson at the University of Miami. Aikman won the starting quarterback job, and Walsh was traded early in the 1990 season.

Aikman's NFL career started with a 28–0 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The following week, Aikman threw his first touchdown pass, a 65-yard completion to Michael Irvin, but the Atlanta Falcons intercepted two passes and won. In a game against the Phoenix Cardinals he threw for 379 yards to set an NFL rookie record.[3] He finished 1989 with an 0-11 record as a starter, completing 155 of 293 passes for 1,749 yards, 9 TDs, 18 INTs.

Following his rookie season, Dallas selected Florida Gators RB Emmitt Smith in the 1st round of the 1990 NFL Draft. With Emmitt Smith and WR Michael Irvin, Aikman nearly led the Cowboys to the playoffs in the 1990 season.

In 1991, Aikman led the Cowboys to a 6-5 record in the first 11 games and had the Cowboys ahead in week 12 against undefeated Washington when he was injured. Steve Beuerlein replaced Aikman. Beuerlein went on to lead the Cowboys to a Wild Card playoff win over the Chicago Bears. Aikman played in a NFC Divisional Playoff game the following week against the Detroit Lions, but lost, 38-6. Aikman was selected to the first of six consecutive Pro Bowls.

In 1992, Aikman set career highs in completions (302), passing yards (3,445) and touchdown passes (23), and led the Cowboys to a team record 13 regular season victories and the 2nd best record in the NFC. During the playoffs Aikman broke Joe Montana's record of 83 passes without an interception by throwing 89.[3] The Cowboys defeated the Eagles at home in the Division Playoffs and squared off against the 49ers in the NFC Title Game, a matchup that featured the 2 best teams in the NFC. The Cowboys won 30-20, with Aikman completing 2 game changing completions to send the Cowboys to their 1st Super Bowl appeance since 1979. In Super Bowl XXVII against the Buffalo Bills, Aikman lead the Cowboys a blowout victory, 52–17. Aikman was named Super Bowl MVP after completing 22-of-30 passes for 273 yards and 4 TDs.

In 1993, Aikman posted a 125.0 passer rating, despite missing playing time due to a hamstring injury. Dallas finished 12–4, the best record in the NFC. In the playoffs, Aikman again guided Dallas to home playoff victory, this time over a young, upstart Green Bay Packers squad lead by QB Brett Favre, who was in his first full season as a starting QB. Aikman then shredded the 49er secondary in the NFC Title game 38-21, before leaving the game with a concussion after 49er DT Dana Stubblefield's knee hit Aikman's head. In Super Bowl XXVIII, Aikman was kept out of the endzone, but a combination of key turnovers by the Bills offense and the running of Emmitt Smith helped lead to a 30-13 victory for the Cowboys.

Following Super Bowl XXVIII, Aikman spoke of still feeling the ill effects of the concussion he suffered against the 49ers in the NFC Title game. Aikman spoke afterwards how he did not remember anything about Super Bowl XXVIII, let alone playing in the game.

Head Coach Jimmy Johnson left the team on March 29, 1994, and Jerry Jones hired Barry Switzer, Aikman's former college coach at Oklahoma. The Cowboys finished with the 2nd best record in the NFC, (behind the 49ers) and Aikman again missed playing time due to injuries. Dallas won the Division playoff game against Green Bay 38-9, but fell to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, 38-28. Aikman was battered and bruised all day long, yet showed the resiliance that earned the respect of fans, coaches, and players alike.

In 1995, Aikman passed for over 8,300 yards passing as the Cowboys once again finished with the best record in the NFC, with the 49ers having the second best record. Aikman was knocked out of a highly anticpated rematch between Dallas and San Francisco when 49er DT Dana Stubblefield landed on Aikman, forcing his knee to hit the turf. After a stunning playoff loss at home by the 49ers to the Packers, the Cowboys hosted the Packers in the NFC Title Game and, for the third straight season, knocked the Green Bay Packers out of the playoffs to earn their 3rd Super Bowl appearance in the last four years. Dallas won Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17, with Aikman throwing 1 TD pass.

In 1996, despite offensive troubles, Aikman again helped lead Dallas to another NFC East Division title and a home game for the Wild Card playoff round, a 40-15 drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings. The win ironically, is the last playoff victory for the Dallas Cowboys franchise. Dallas fell in the Divisional Playoffs to Carolina 26-17.

In 1997, Aikman became the first quarterback in Cowboys' history to have three straight 3,000-yard seasons, but the team finished 6–10 and missed the playoffs for the 1st time since 1992. Switzer suffered the first losing season of his career. He resigned in 1997.

1998 was a rebound year for Aikman and Cowboys, and despite missing 5 games, Aikman again helped lead Dallas back to the NFC East title and the playoffs. Dallas was stunned at home in the Wild Card game as the Arizona Cardinals won 20-7.

The 1999 season started off with a bang for Aikman and the Cowboys as they squared off against the Washington Redskins. Aikman fired a career high 5 TD passes, including the game winner in OT to beat Washinton. 1999 also marked the final playoff appearance for Troy Aikman, and the final season the big three (Aikman, Irvin, Emmitt Smith) would play together. Dallas finished 8-8 and lost in the Wild Card playoff game to Minnesota, 27-10.

The 2000 season was Aikman's final season as a professional football player. Aikman suffered from several concussions during the season, and a revolving door at QB took place between Aikman and former Eagles QB Randall Cunningham. Aikman's final game was a home game to the Washington Redskins. Aikman was hit by linebacker LaVar Arrington and suffered the 10th concussion of his career. The hit not only ended Aikman's season, but ultimately, his career.

After he was waived a day before he was due a $70 million/7-year contract extension, Aikman announced his retirement on April 9, 2001 after failing to find another team. He ended his career as the Cowboys' all-time leading passer (32,942 yards). 90 of his 94 career wins were in the 1990s and were the most by any quarterback in any decade until Peyton Manning surpassed him in the 2000s with 101.

Post-retirement activities

After his retirement as a player, Aikman joined Fox's NFC telecasts as a color commentator for the 2001 season. A year later, he was named to the network's lead announcing crew, teaming with Joe Buck and (from 2002–2004) Cris Collinsworth. Aikman received an Emmy Award nomination for his television work in 2004 and has helped broadcast 5 Super Bowls (XXXIX, XLII, XLV, XLVIII, and LI) to date.

Aikman also hosts a weekly sports radio show which airs on Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. ET on Sporting News Radio, and appears weekly during the football season on the Dunham & Miller morning show on Dallas sports talk radio station 1310 The Ticket. He was a public spokesman for Acme Brick throughout his career. He is also the chairman of the Troy Aikman Foundation, a charity to benefit children that has recently focused on building playplaces for children's hospitals. The Agency Sports Management & Marketing handles Aikman's marketing activities, where Jordan Bazant is his lead agent.

Aikman, who in 1999 was ranked No. 95 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, has been the official Wing Stop spokesman for several years. He appeared in the Simpsons episode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" alongside former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, he participated in the 2001 and 2011 videos honoring Billy Graham's 83rd and 93rd birthdays, and he was invited to be on Dancing with the Stars but turned it down.

On September 19, 2005, at halftime of the Cowboys-Redskins game (broadcast on Monday Night Football), Aikman was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor with his longtime teammates Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. On August 5, 2006, Aikman was one of six players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When he accepted the honor, the ever-modest Aikman commented that he was merely a beneficiary of the Cowboys' system and being tripled with subsequent Hall-of-Famers Irvin and Smith.

At another halftime ceremony, this one on February 7, 2009 at the UCLA-Notre Dame basketball game, Aikman's induction into the College Hall of Fame was honored. Aikman announced he had completed course work to finish his degree in sociology. He participated in UCLA's 2009 Sociology Department commencement ceremony with current quarterback Kevin Craft and former linebacker Marcus Reece, who also came back to finish his college education. Former UCLA quarterback John Sciarra was keynote speaker at the ceremony.[13]

On February 9, 2010, Aikman became a member of the National Football Foundation Board of Directors.

As of fall 2010, Aikman is a co-spokesman for Rent-a-Center, along with Hulk Hogan.

In fall 2011, Aikman became a part of the Oxford Preparatory Academy Charter School Advisory Board in Southern California.

In November 2013, Aikman was named as a 2014 recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, given annually to six former college athletes 25 years after the end of their college athletics careers.[14]

In March 2014, Aikman was announced as a partner and spokesman for IDLife.

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