“A Roman’s Appetite for Victory, but Never a Spartan’s Will to Suffer for It”

It’s November. Disappointed by two straight seasons in which the Cowboys lost their first game in the playoffs, Dallas entered the year with high hopes. Sure, beating the Eagles was satisfying, but the Cowboys were stung by losses to St. Louis and the New York Giants. The 5-4 Cowboys travel to Washington desperately needing a win to have any realistic playoff hopes.

In this circumstance, how would you like to know that the following could be heard on the team’s highlight film at the end of the season?

The Cowboys have always had a Roman’s appetite for victory, but never a Spartan’s will to suffer for it.

Against Washington, not only a new philosophy, but a new attitude won.

Victory came from [a rookie’s] willowly strides. Victory came from the offensive line . . . .

It came from three [rushing] touchdowns. It came from a team, working and playing as one, not from the individual brilliance of one or two players.

Sounds pretty good, except the rookie in this instance was Mark Washington. The offensive linemen were Tony Liscio, Blaine Nye, John Niland, Ralph Neely, Rayfield Wright, and Dave Manders. And the running back was Duane Thomas.

If you read this blog a little bit less than a month ago, you might have seen the post looking back at the 1970 Cowboys, who were blown out 38-0 by the St. Louis Cardinals to fall to 5-4. The team headed into its November 22 game at Washington, with Dallas needing to win its final five games to have a shot at the NFC East title.

Dallas pulled out a 45-21 win. By season’s end, Dallas was 10-4 and would reach the Super Bowl.

Here is a video clip of the win over the Redskins:

Bob St. John began his story on this game with the following:

It remains undecided whether the burial of the Dallas Cowboys Monday night was or was not premature. Anyway, to whom it may concern, the Cowboys can still kick on a given day. Here on a bright Sunday afternoon was a given day and the Cowboys ripped the Washington Redskins.

This probably only proves one of two things, however: It either proves that the Cowboys can still beat the Redskins or that the Redskins still can’t beat the Cowboys.

So, there’s some glimmer of hope, but some sort of run has to begin this Sunday at Washington. And I couldn’t state anything more obvious right now . . . .

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Check out the picture below, which is from the end of the clip above:

The sign below the scoreboard reads, “Bring Instant Replay to the Field.” Anyone know that fans were advocating for instant replay for officials as early as 1970? I didn’t.

  • PHEW!!! VERY deep statement:

    “The Cowboys have always had a Roman’s appetite for victory, but never a Spartan’s will to suffer for it.”

    After reading that I instantly thought of the movie “Spartacus” where Kirk Douglas knows DAMN well he will die when he admits…


    Thats what the Cowboys need to do. Grow balls and have NO FEAR. Put their best fight into every game from this week forward. It IS “Life or Death” for the Cowboys in 2008 starting from this day forward.

  • As cheesy as these old highlight films are, whoever wrote the scripts were often amazing writers. The war analogies are good, but this is one of the best lines I’ve heard.

  • Matt, I believe that clip is from “This Week in Pro Football”, a weekly NFL hi-lite show that was produced by Steve Sabol & NFL Films.

    Sabol was always big on the football-is-war analogy, stirring background music, and larger-than-life narrative. This clip has all the earmarks of an NFL Films production; its brevity leads me to believe it was from the weekly hi-lite show.

    Great find!

  • Tim

    Hi Fred and to Matt

    Fred is exactly right about the highlight series. There was a similar named show (and perhaps the same one) by NFL films called “NFL action” which was longer in terms of highlights.

    Anyway, it brought back memories and was apt for the current situation Dallas is in.

    Thanks for all of your research and effort on this website. I forwarded this to all of my brothers (5 of them!) who watched this very game with a lot of skepticism at first, and a lot of hope afterwards.


  • Thanks to both Fred and Tim for their comments. I had really hoped that NFL Network would show more of the old series, including This Week in Pro Football (i.e., the show with Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshire). I’ve seen a few of these, but they are never on very regularly. Something else I’d really like to see are old versions of Inside the NFL. I used to watch that religiously on HBO on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, given that it was the first time I ever saw highlights from some of the games.

  • Kick: you can get old copies of the weekly NFL hilites here:


    Beware, they are very expensive ($50 each).

  • Thanks, Fred. And I see that the silent versions are available for the low price of $35.

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  • Derrick

    pretty sure that Steve Sabol wrote most the scripts too