Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 30, 1985

Bill Bates: Taking on Another Speciality

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 November 30, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Use of Polaroid Pictures

One reader asked Tex about whether teams could you Polaroid pictures during games. For instance, a coach in the press box could take pictures of defensive alignments and send these pictures to coaches on the sidelines. Tex responded that this was acceptable. The only limitation was that coaches could not use video replays on the sidelines.

(We still see similar uses of photos today, though coaches essentially send the pictures via fax).

Cowboys Rebound vs. Eagles

The team’s 44-0 loss to the Bears did not create a hangover effect, as the Cowboys rebounded to beat the Eagles 34-17. Danny White threw three touchdown passes without an interception in the win.

One critical play was a touchdown pass to Doug Cosbie right before halftime. It gave Dallas a 21-10 lead.

Dallas remained tied with the Giants atop the NFC East with an 8-4 mark. Washington was still hovering at 7-5.

This was a must win for us if we want to win our division. Philadelphia is one of the most improved teams we have played….We are in the stretch drive now. We have a playoff chance with four games left. — Tom Landry

With the win, Dallas moved back up in the Top 10 NFL Poll, landing at #6. Chicago was the unanimous choice for #1.

Bill Bates: Punt Returner

All-purpose defensive back Bill Bates added duties as punt returner in 1985. Despite his lack of speed, the team was pleased with his efforts. He averaged 6.9 yards per return on 22 punts in 1985.

Future of the Dallas Offensive Line

Several offensive linemen were featured as possible starters for the 1986 season. Two familiar names showed up in this feature: Mark Tuinei, who was a strong candidate to play either center or tackle, and Brian Baldinger, who wanted more playing time at guard.

Baldinger (now an NFL Network analyst) started four games in 1984, but an injury sidelined him for the 1985 season. Tuinei, on the other hand, did become a starter at left tackle in 1986.

Waiting to Play: Steve Pelluer

Steve Pelluer was a second-year player in 1985 and was sitting behind Danny White and Gary Hogeboom on the depth chart. Tom Landry had said that he wanted to get Pelluer more playing time, though. The quarterback had set a record at the University of Washington with 4,365 yards of total offense in one season.

Brad Sham Interviews Jim Jeffcoat

Jim Jeffcoat had a breakout year in 1985. Against Washington on November 10, he set a team record with five sacks. Brad Sham asked him what Jeffcoat’s thoughts were when the Cowboys selected him with the #1 pick in 1983.

I came into the Cowboys organization feeling that I wanted to contribute in some way, whether it was through special teams or through the pass rush, whatever. Most young defensive linemen get the most chance by rushing the passer, because they’re not prepared to play against the run in the NFL.

Jeffcoat added that he learned the flex defense from Harvey Martin, which helped his development.