Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from September 7, 1985

“Old man” John Dutton, age 34, appeared on the cover of the Sept. 7, 1985 issue

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on September 7, 1985.

Tex Schramm: Get Used to Television Screens at Stadiums

One reader noted that a bunch of fans at Texas Stadium spent more time watching the DiamondVision screen rather than the action on the field. The reader asked Tex Schramm whether this might be a distraction. Tex’s response:

Large television-type screens, whether DiamondVision or another product, are going to become standard features in most stadiums. Attending a game in person should be as entertaining and informative as staying at home and watching the television set….You are going to see the players, particularly those on the bench, glancing up to watch the replays….Once these large screens have become a routine enhancement at all sports events, I don’t believe it will prove to be a distraction to the players. It will just be something they will have to learn to live with and overcome.

[Can’t help but note that Tex never lived to see the screen at Cowboys Stadium, but he would hardly be surprised]

Undefeated Preseason

The Cowboys beat the Houston Oilers 17-10 in the final preseason game to give Dallas a perfect 4-0 preseason record. It was the third time in team history that the team had accomplished this feat (1966 and 1971 were the other two).

Jesse Penn continued to impress, picking off his second pass of the preseason. Running back Robert Lavette also looked good, gaining 61 yards on 9 carries.

Of the 50 players who suited up against the Oilers, 18 had never played in a playoff game.

Cowboys Gear Up to Face Redskins in Opener

For the second time in three seasons, the Cowboys would open their season against the Redskins. Washington had won three straight games, including two in a row at Texas Stadium. The three-game streak was the longest for the Redskins in the history of the rivalry.

Strength: Short Yardage Defense

The Cowboys were especially confident of their short-yardage defense heading into the 1985 season. According to Everson Walls,

The short yardage was the strongest thing we had, even last year. Not many people did very well against us. We stopped lots of people on third down, and sometimes fourth down. So that’s a carry over. We’ve always played well on short yardage and goal line.

John Dutton: “Elder Statesman”

John Dutton was the most experienced player on the 1985 Cowboys. He entered the league in 1974 with the Colts and joined the Cowboys in 1979.

His experience made him the team’s “elder statesman,” and the magazine said that we should “now praise older men.”

Dutton was 34 at the time.


Cowboys Crack the Top 10 in NFL Poll

The Cowboys Weekly published a poll of the top 10 teams heading into the 1985 season. Those polled included writers from a number of large newspapers across the country. Dallas ranked 9th, tied with the L.A. Rams.

The list was as follows:

1. San Francisco

2. Seattle

3. Miami

4. Washington

5. Denver

6. L.A. Raiders

7. Chicago

8. St. Louis Cardinals

9. (tie) Dallas

9. (tie) L.A. Rams

According to oddsmakers in Nevada, the Cowboys had between 10:1 and 12:1 odds to win the Super Bowl. The favorites were San Francisco (3:1) and Miami (4:1). Chicago had 10:1 odds in Las Vegas, while New England’s odds were 50:1.

  • fgoodwin

    Two observations:

    (1) Tex Schramm was prescient.  The man was a flat-out visionary.  One wonders what additional influence he might’ve had on the NFL and the game in general had he continued as GM.

    (2) If this issue is from 1985, then that season opener was unforgettable.  But I see your next article talks about that so I won’t steal your thunder here.

  • Anonymous

    I’m trying to imagine how big the DiamondVision televisions were in 1985. The only NFL games I got to go to in 1980s were at Busch Stadium, and there was nothing like what Schramm describes.