White went on to have a stellar career as a quarterback and punter, compiling a 33-4 record, winning 3 Fiesta Bowls, setting 7 NCAA passing records and being named All-America in 1973, when he led the nation's second rated total offense. He finished with 6,717 passing yards, 64 touchdowns, 42 interceptions and averaged 41.7 yards per punt.
White shared the quarterback position with John Huarte, helping his team reach the semifinals as a rookie and a second place finish in 1975. During these two years, he passed for 2,635 yards and 21 touchdowns in 30 games, and also led the league in punting his last year.
White's most famous game as a pro was undoubtedly a 1980 playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, in which he led the Cowboys to a come-from-behind 30-27 win in a Staubach-like fashion. He also played in one of the Cowboys' most painful playoff losses against the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, famous for the Joe Montana-to-Dwight Clark game-winning play, which would simply come to be known as "The Catch". White almost brought the Cowboys back to win the game, but his pass to Drew Pearson came a finger tackle away from winning the game in the final seconds. He received Pro Bowl and second team All-Pro honors in 1982.
White led the Cowboys to three consecutive NFC Championship Games (1980-1982), but was criticized after the Cowboys lost each of the three games despite having been favored in all of them. White also received criticism for publicly siding with the owners during the 1982 NFL Players Strike. Fans and teammates alike began to show support for White to be replaced as the Cowboys quarterback by Gary Hogeboom, who was coming off an impressive performance in the 1982NFC Championship Game (which they lost to the archrival Washington Redskins) after White was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Even White's statistically career-best 1983 season wasn't even enough to quiet the critics, after ending it with consecutive blowout losses to the Redskins (at home) and the 49ers after a 12-2 start. To add insult to injury, the Cowboys lost the NFC Wildcard Playoff game to the Los Angeles Rams. That apparently was enough for White to lose his starting job to Hogeboom at the start of the 1984 season. Under Hogeboom, the Cowboys looked impressive with a 4-1 start, but then a loss to division rival St. Louis and ineffective plays by Hogeboom convinced coach Tom Landry to reinstate White as his starter. The Cowboys finished 9-7, but missed the playoffs in 1984 for the first time in a decade; but with White as quarterback, the Cowboys made it back in 1985 with a 10-6 record. However, they lost again to the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs.
In 1986 the Cowboys started 6-2, had the #1 offense in the NFL, were tied for the lead in the NFC Eastern Division and White was also the number one rated passer in the NFC at that point in the season. During an away game against Bill Parcells’s New York Giants, however, a blind-side sack by Giants linebackerCarl Banks broke White's throwing wrist, knocking him out of the game and ending his season. Dallas lost the game, 17-14, and without White the team faded badly, finishing the year 7-9 and the Cowboys first losing season since 1965.
White returned as the starter at the beginning of 1987, but after inconsistent play, he was benched in favor of Steve Pelluer for 4 of the final 6 games. In 1988 Pelluer won the starting job in training camp, relegating White as a backup. White appeared briefly in only two games, and in his second game he suffered a season-ending knee injury. An option on his contract was not picked up in April 1989 and he retired, paving the way for Troy Aikman to take the reins of the struggling franchise.
White had 1,761 completions on 2,950 attempts for 21,959 yards, 155 touchdowns, and 132 interceptions in his career. He also gained 482 yards and scored 8 touchdowns rushing. Unusual for a quarterback, he had two pass receptions for touchdowns, both from a halfback option pass. On special teams he punted 610 times for 24,509 yards, an average of 40.4 yards per punt, with 144 punts inside the 20 and 77 touchbacks. His record as the Cowboys' starting quarterback was 62-32 (.659 winning percentage) during the regular season, and 5-5 in the playoffs.
Being Roger Staubach's successor and never reaching a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback, contributed to White's being an unappreciated player, even considering all of the successes he achieved for the Cowboys and the NFL during the decade of the eighties. "I don't think anybody could have followed Roger and done as well as Danny," Coach Tom Landry remarked. "Danny was a solid winner".
His career as a coach began shortly after his playing days ended. This is appropriate considering that, while an active player, he was widely regarded—like Staubach before him—as knowledgeable of the game and as something of a coach on the field.
On October 29, 2010, White was honored, along with all Sun Devil Quarterbacks, at a Legends Luncheon hosted by the Arizona State University Alumni Association and Sun Devil Club. Other honorees included John F. Goodman, Andrew Walter, Jake Plummer, and Jeff van Raaphorst. Inaugural member of Dunham and Miller Hall of Fame.