New Series: 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks

The National Football League was created in 1920 as the American Professional Football Conference. The actual birth of the NFL was August 20, 1920, when owners voted in Canton, Ohio to approve the formation of the new league. Using this date, this would mean that the league turned 50 years old in 1970, 75 years old in 1995, and so forth.

Instead of using those dates, however, the league has had a somewhat odd tradition of celebrating anniversaries by the number of seasons, not by the dates. Thus, the league celebrated its 50th season in 1969 and its 75th season in 1994.


The Dallas Cowboys were officially “born” on January 28, 1960, when NFL owners at a meeting in Miami approved a new franchise in Dallas and awarded the franchise to Clint Murchison, Jr. Consistent with the NFL’s anniversary celebrations, the Cowboys have celebrated their 25th and 40th seasons in 1984 and 1999, respectively, even though the Cowboys turned 25 years old in 1985 and 40 years old in 2000. As noted in an earlier post, the Cowboys will celebrate their 50th season in 2009.


Last off-season, this blog featured a series on the greatest players organized by their jersey numbers, which provided a context to summarize every player in team history up to that point. Beginning one week from today (on January 28, the 49th anniversary of the team’s formation), this blog will begin to feature a long series entitled 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks. A few ideas for blog entries include the following:

  • A summary of each game in team history;
  • A summary of every draft;
  • A summary of every roster, including the starters for each season;
  • Year-by-year trivia.

If there are any other ideas, please leave a comment. The final week of the series will begin on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, with that week’s focus on the 2009 Cowboys. Hopefully, we will have more optimism about the Cowboys then than we do now.

  • Matt, I’m looking forward to it! It will be great to relive some of this team’s finest moments from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s (not too many in the new millenium).

  • Tim

    I’m all for it. It might be a good education for many who became fans later and need some perspective on the current situation. I remain optimistic about the team’s prospects for next year.

    If I think of something to help out, I will pass it on for sure.

  • Matt,
    I too am looking forward to this series. I need all the Dallas Cowboys history education I can get, so BRING IT ON!!! 😉

  • Sarge

    Matt,
    I just looked at the 10 greatest Dallas Cowboys games on DVD. Why not broaden it, to include losses, the Ice Bowl championship comes to mind, the Super Bowl Losses. There are some games that are trully heartbreaking but shape Cowboys History. Why not the 25 greatest plays in Cowboys History? Most heartbreaking plays?Lastly, the Cowboys all time records, Super Bowl, Playoff and regular season would help your website out tremendously. I can’t seem to find a current one anywhere.

  • Sarge: much of that info is available in the Cowboys media guide. Some teams (e.g., the Redskins) put their media guides online. Unfortunately for us, the Cowboys haven’t done so with theirs. You can buy one for about $10.

  • Thanks for the comments. Sarge– I had in mind to include a bunch of polls, and I think it would be a good idea to identify the greatest wins and worst losses, and I think it would also be interesting to include great and heartbreaking plays. Thank you for the ideas.

  • Davidh

    I think this is a great idea. Ideally, Jerry is paying someone good money to create a classy 50th anniversary book. I’m talking glossy color photos, about 300 pages, rare insight from players, etc.

    In the meantime, this will certainly do. I think maybe for each year you can include box scores and a short summary. Maybe a “One Shining Moment” player profile for each year, like Reggie Rucker in 1970 or Percy Howard in 1975 or Monty Hunter in 1982. Or a “Best Newcomer” for each year (free agent or rookie or trade). And a list of Top Ten rookie classes or best losses or best playoff rivalries or biggest draft busts or best rookie free agent signings. Or a couple “What might have been” stories about players the Cowboys drafted or had in camp who went on to solid careers elsewhere (Brig Owens, Ron Jessie, Todd Christensen, Jimmy Smith, etc), or how the 49ers screwed us out of drafting jerry rice.

  • Those are all great ideas, David. At one point on this blog I included profiles of some of the lesser-known contributors, and I like your idea of profiles of players with one shining moment.

    I plan to include a short summary of every game, including significant stats, but it would be much easier to link to pro-football-reference.com. This site has box scores for every game the Cowboys have every played and is a great resource for information.

    Thanks again. I’m looking forward to getting started.

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