The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football team based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in North Texas. The team currently plays their home games in Irving, but they are scheduled to move to a new stadium in nearby Arlington in 2009.
The Cowboys are members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League, and joined the NFL as a 1960 expansion team. The team is sometimes referred to colloquially as America's Team due to its having a large fan base that lives outside its immediate local area. The team's national following might best be represented by its NFL record of consecutive games in front of sold out stadiums. The streak of 160 sold-out regular and post-season games began in 1990 and included 79 straight sell-outs at Texas Stadium and 81 straight sell-outs on the road.
The Cowboys are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NFL, holding the league records for most consecutive winning seasons (20, from 1966 to 1985) and most seasons with at least 10 wins (24). The team has earned the most postseason appearances (27, as of 2004, which includes another league record of 54 postseason games, winning 32 of them), the most appearances in the NFC Championship Game (14), and the most Super Bowl appearances (8), two more than any other NFL team.
The Cowboys also played in 2 NFL championship games before the NFL-AFL merger. The Cowboys became the first team in NFL history to win 3 Super Bowls in just 4 years (a feat that has been matched only once since, by the New England Patriots). They are also tied with the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers for having the most Super Bowl wins (5).
Historically, the Cowboys were particularly successful during a 30-year period from 1966 to 1996. They qualified for the playoffs 24 times (80%), played in 14 NFC Championship Games (over half of all of the conference title games played during that time), won 19 division titles, and took the field for 8 Super Bowls.