50 Seasons Series: How the Cowboys Once Scrimmaged

2009-02-19_182411.gifThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

Imagine if this were the case today: a professional football team with championship aspirations running up 562 yards of offense (289 passing, 273 rushing) against a combination of three semi-pro teams during training camp.

That is what the Cowboys did during training camp in July 1963. Fortunately, the Dallas players got a “real good workout” according to coach Tom Landry. Don Meredith completed 10 of 13 passes for 183 yards. The defensive standout was rookie defensive back Nat Whitmyer, who was later cut and the picked up by the Rams.Dallas won the scrimmage 44-3.

Here is the most obscure trivia I could ever possibly provide on this blog:

The player who kicked the field goal to prevent a Dallas shutout over the three semipro teams was Jack Summers of the Montebello Vikings.

More Notes from the 1963 Training Camp and Preseason

* Third-round draft pick Jim Price (see yesterday’s post) was a huge disappointment and never came close to making the squad. Landry said Price was one of the biggest misses in the draft up to that point. In fact, Landry said he didn’t think Price was trying very hard. Price spent two years in the AFL before his career ended.
* Cornerback Cornell Green game into camp 10 pounds overweight, but Landry liked the way Green looked in camp. Landry still demanded that the second-year player drop from 224 to 215. The Dallas Morning News referred to Green as the “big cat.”
* The 1963 team was clearly Don Meredith’s, even with the return of Eddie LeBaron. The team’s third quarterback was Sonny Gibbs, who had been drafted in the second round of the 1962 draft. Gibbs saw action during the preseason but never played a down during a regular season game for the Cowboys.

The shot below shows the 6’7″ Gibbs standing over the 5’7″ LeBaron during training camp. An apparently unhappy Tom Landry is to the right.


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