Cowboys Champions: Chad Hennings
Tom Landry’s very last draft pick to ever make an NFL roster, Chad Hennings won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys during the 1990’s while serving in a variety of roles from his defensive tackle position.
The Cowboys took a chance on Hennings in the eleventh round of the 1988 draft, even though the 6-6, 290-pounder was facing a lengthy commitment to the Air Force. By the time Hennings had fulfilled his tour of duty Landry was long gone and a new regime and a new era was firmly in place. The year was 1992 and the Cowboys were on the cusp of greatness under head coach Jimmy Johnson.
Hennings won his first two championships in ’92 and ‘93 while playing mostly on special teams. But when he earned a spot in the defensive line rotation in 1994 Hennings quickly left an impression, notching his first career sack in Dallas’ season-opening win at Pittsburgh. He finished the year with seven sacks.
Hennings moved into the starting role in 1995, helping Dallas get back to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years. Against Pittsburgh, Hennings had two takedowns of Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell in the Cowboys’ 27-17 triumph.
And though the team slowly went downhill over the decade’s latter half, the play of Hennings proved to be a valued source of consistency. In Week 2 of the 1997 season, the big defensive lineman scooped up a Cardinals fumble and returned it for his first – and only – career touchdown.
Hennings’ best campaign came in 1999, when he tallied 48 tackles and five sacks to help the Cowboys reach the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years. But, despite his strong performance against Minnesota in the Wild-Card round, the Cowboys lost 27-10.
Hennings’ final go-around in the NFL was in 2000, when he managed to post 18 tackles over eight games, before succumbing to a host of injuries.