Aikman was the triggerman in an offense that also featured running back Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin.
Known as the Triplets, the trio propelled Dallas to the top of the NFL three seasons after it was on the bottom. The Cowboys won an unprecedented three Super Bowls in four years, including consecutive titles in 1992-93.
Aikman was the MVP of the first one, a 52-17 victory over Buffalo. He later joined Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with at least three Super Bowl victories.
Records and statistics were incidental to Aikman, who liked to joke about being a horrible fantasy football quarterback.
Still, his numbers are impressive: 2,898-of-4,715 for 32,942 yards, 165 touchdowns and 141 interceptions.
A strong-armed, accurate passer, Aikman was often considered a "Robo-QB," which was mostly a compliment but sometimes a complaint.
Coaches loved his precise, fundamental style and he was at his best when the Cowboys were loaded with young players reaching their prime. As he and the team aged and rough times hit, some fans grumbled that Aikman was too rigid and lacked the playmaking ability of someone like Brett Favre.
Since Dallas' last Super Bowl championship, the Cowboys are 39-41 in the regular season and 1-3 in the playoffs. They were 5-11 last season.
Aikman understood the marketing opportunities and media obligations that went along with being the starting quarterback of the Cowboys.
He also took advantage of his status to do charity work, mostly through his Troy Aikman Foundation, which helps children's hospitals. In 1997, he was named the NFL Man of the Year.