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The First Official Dallas Cowboys Historian

Here is a trivia question that I bet nobody could answer: who was the first official historian of the Dallas Cowboys?

For the answer, check out this story from May 28, 1961:

Teen-Ager Named Cowboy Historian

May 28, 1961

Judith McKinna, a 16-year-old National Football League fan, Saturday was named official historian of the Dallas Cowboys.

Miss McKinna, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William McKinna, 6964 Bob-O-Links Drive, was appoitned by Gen. Mgr. Tex Schramm when he discovered she had a better set of scrapbooks on the team and the league than the club itself.

Here is an image of the article itself:

Dallas Cowboys historian

I am seriously considering a title change around here– Know Your Dallas Cowboys: The Search for Judith McKinna’s Scrapbook.

How’s that for obscurity?

History Lesson: Jim Zorn as a Cowboy

The Redskins this week hired Jim Zorn as their new head coach. This move was rather surprising, given that Zorn has had little experience with the type of head coaching duties that he will assume, but I don’t exactly feel sorry for Washington.

Some know this, but Zorn originally tried to latch on with the Cowboys in 1975 before getting his break the following year with the upstart Seattle Seahawks. Zorn had a good preseason in 1975 and very nearly made the Dallas team as the third-string quarterback. However, just before the regular season began, Zorn was cut to make room for running back Preston Pearson after the Steelers cut the versatile back. As it turns out, Pearson was a starter with Dallas for a couple of seasons and continued to contribute until the 1980 season, while Zorn was the starter for the Seahawks from 1976 through 1982.

Here is a classic article about Zorn’s chances of making the team in Dallas (the headline kind of gives it away):

Chances Slim for Jim Zorn

July 28, 1975

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.– If your last name start with “Z,” being last in line or at the bottom of a list is as natural as snow on Kilimanjaro.

So of the four quarterbacks remaining in the Dallas Cowboys camp here, Jim Zorn is, of course, number four.

He not only realizes he’s last, but sort of expects it . . . for now, anyway. He is, you see, the only survivor among the several rookie quarterbacks that charged up one of pro football’s aspiration hills here. And since there is only only Roger Staubach, Clint Longley and Leo Gasienieca in line in front of him and there are a million or more passes to be lofted before this training camp breaks, Zorn awakes daily telling himself he can overcome the seemingly impossible odds.

Weighing in those odds– depending on how one looks at it– is the fact that the 6-2, 195-pound free agent from Cal Poly Poma is a lefthander. Between Frankie Albert and Ken Stabler, successful NFL quarterbacks who fired from port have been about as numerous as declarations of war in Switzerland.

“Most teams are right-handed,” Zorn rationalized. “They have righthanded quarterbacks and defenses are used to working against them. A lefthander can confuse defenses. We bring the ball back a little differently before we throw. They can’t tell as early where we are going to put it.”

Zorn made Dallas’ list of desirable free agents because he is an all-around athlete. There is talk of trying him at other positions here– most natural for converted quarterbacks seems to be the defensive backfield– if the scythe man decides he must wield the blade on him as a QB.

There were words and looks of disbelief when the youngster from Artesia, Calif. finished so far ahead of his rookie mates in the cross-country that was part of the first day of orientation and testing here.

“When I was in high school,” Zorn grinned, “I was a skinny runt and hadn’t planned to go out for any sports. A good friend of mine was running in the cross-country and he finally got me to run with him just for the company.”

“To participate in athletics at our school, you couldn’t have long hair. I hated it, but it got a butch and wore it teh rest of the time in high school.”

He played football and basketball, too. At Cerritos Junior College for two years, he also was a multi-sport participant. By the time he entered Cal Poly, he was no longer a skinny runt.

He had a good junior year, but not as much as a senior,” recalled Gil Brandt, club vice president and scouting director. “He didn’t have much of a team to work with his senior year. He was a good athlete and that’s the way we’ve usually drafted, or selected free agents . . . by their athletic ability and potential.”

Zorn was into such sports as speed skating, badminton and javelin throwing at Cal Poly. He gained 1300 yards on the ground as a collegiate quarterback, which may be the reason he identifies more readily with Bobby Douglass than the most famous lefty, Stabler.

Zorn’s handicap is a lack of experience, of course. He is a rookie while Gasienieca is not “pure.” Leo has been with other NFL teams the past two years, although only briefly.

“You can’t tell about Zorn,” Coach Tom Landry said. “He shows promise. He could be the type of prospect Clint Longley was a year ago. And right now Longley is looking very good out there.”

“Of course,” Landry went on,” Gasieniesca has it on him now a bit of experience. We aren’t sure yet our third quarterback will come from either of them but, if so, Leo is ahead of Jim.”

Classic Article: ‘Ray for the New Name (1960)

dallas_logo.gifA couple of weeks ago, I posted a story entitled “Rangers Hire Tom Landry,” noting that the Dallas franchise had originally borrowed the name of a minor league baseball team with the name “Dallas Rangers.” By March 1960, the new Dallas team had selected a new name, the Dallas Cowboys, even though the city of Dallas was known more for its banking and skyscrapers than for its cattle. The name, of course, stuck.

Bill Rives, then editor of the Dallas Morning News, applauded the name change. However, he apparently thought that “Dallas Cowboys” was too long of a name for those in the newspaper industry. Here is his post:

‘Ray for the New Name

by Bill Rives, Dallas Morning News Sports Editor, March 22, 1960

Thank goodness the National Football League team here has changed its name. There would have been constant confusion with two teams, in different sports, being called “Dallas Rangers.”

Although Dallas isn’t exactly the center of the livestock world, there’s a catchy name which has been chosen to replace “Rangers” — “Cowboys”

The Dallas Cowboys will get some mileage out of that, particularly in the East. There is still glamour and excitement in the Western connotations, and both the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Texans will be able to capitalize on them.

The Cowboys are likely to run into some problems from time to time with newspaper headline writers. Short names are always at a premium with those men who push pencils over copy paper. In order to get the news into the headline, it often is necessary to use contractions or similes of briefer length, or short nicknames, like Ike Eisenhower, Steers for Texas Longhorns, etc.

Sure as shootin’, a headline like this is going to show up in some paper this fall:


. . .

I suppose this is the origin for referring to the team as the ‘Boys, but I am not sure I follow the problem here. “Rangers” has as many letters as “Cowboys,” and “Cowboys” has only one more letter than “Texans,” “Eagles,” “Browns,” or “Giants.” And I am quite sure that the 13-letter Dallas Cowboys also faced the 18-letter Pittsburgh Steelers and the 18-letter Washington Redskins in 1960, and neither name gave rise to too much trouble.


The Biggest Collection of Cowboys Books

I started to become slightly impressed with my collection of 36 (and growing) books about the Dallas Cowboys, but then I came across a recent post on the forums of Cowboy Cards that stopped me from being so impressed. A Cowboys historian named Fred Goodwin, who has posted several comments on this blog recently, has a list of more than 200 titles about the Cowboys, including more than 170 that he owns personally. So if you want a checklist of Dallas Cowboys books that you can use in building your own collection, this would be the place to get it.

You will need to register for the forums. Once you do, here are the links to the specific post pages:


Tom Landry Era

Jerry Jones Era

Children’s Books

Mr. Goodwin is also one of the Dallas Cowboys experts on AllExperts.

Here is a list of the books that I own personally, stressing (probably only to myself!) that I have a long way to go.

Tom Landry Era

1. 1981 Whittingham, Richard. The Dallas Cowboys: An Illustrated History. NY: Harper & Row. 1st “coffee-table” sized hardback. Reviews each year from ’60-’80, including ’52 Dallas Texans (later Balt. Colts) (L)(OP).

2. 1984 Stowers, Carlton. Dallas Cowboys: The First Twenty-Five Years. Dallas: Taylor Publishing. 25th anniversary album; also looks at team organization and management; has a trivia section; and covers fans, Cheerleaders, and media (L)(OP).

3. 2005. Golenbock, Peter. Landry’s Boys: An Oral History Of A Team And An Era. Triumph Books. Compilation of player interviews spanning from 1958 to 1989.

4. 1969 Perkins, Steve. Next Year’s Champions: The Story of the Dallas Cowboys. NY: World Publishing. 1st published account of the Cowboys; covers 1968 season (OP).

5. 1972 Perkins, Steve. Winning the Big One. NY: Grosset & Dunlap. Followup to “Next Year’s Champions”; reviews 1971 season and Super Bowl VI victory (OP).

6. 1997 Gruver, Ed. The Ice Bowl: The Cold Truth about Football’s Most Unforgettable Game. Ithaca, NY: McBooks Press. Much better than the Shropshire book, the author is a member of the Pro Football Researchers Association (PFRA).

7. 1986 Perkins, Steve. The Official 1986 Dallas Cowboys Bluebook, Vol. VII. Dallas: Taylor Publishing (L)(OP).

8. 1972 Rentzel, Lance. When All the Laughter Died in Sorrow. NY: Saturday Review Press. Poignant auto-bio of former wide receiver; 1st (non-juvenile) player bio (OP).

9. 1974 Staubach, Roger, Sam Blair & Bob St. John. Staubach: First Down, Lifetime To Go. Waco, TX: Word Books. 1st of two non-juvenile bios; not his favorite (OP).

10. 1975 Toomay, Pat. The Crunch. NY: W. W. Norton. By a former defensive lineman, covers his 5-year career with Dallas (OP).

11. 1982 Stowers, Carlton. Journey to Triumph: 110 Dallas Cowboys Tell Their Stories. Dallas: Taylor Publishing. Series of player vignettes (OP).

12. 1985 Pearson, Preston. Hearing the Noise: My Life in the NFL. NY: William Morrow. Pearson is a former Cowboys running back and 3rd-down specialist; also played for Baltimore (led NFL in KO returns ’69) and Pittsburgh; played in 5 SBs (3, 9, 10, 12 and 13)(OP).

13. 1988 Garrison, Walt & John Tullus. Once a Cowboy. NY: Random House. Walt is a former Cowboys fullback, and a cowboy in real-life (OP).

14. 1990 Klein, Dave. Tom and the ‘Boys. NY: Kensington Publishing. Opinions of players (Lilly, Staubach, Dorsett, et al.) about Landry and his firing, as well as local reporters Blackie Sherrod and Frank Luksa.

15. 1988 St. John, Bob. Tex! The Man Who Built the Dallas Cowboys. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Only bio of former GM Tex Schramm.

16. 1990 Bayless, Skip. God’s Coach: The Hymns, Hype, and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry’s Cowboys. NY: Simon & Schuster. An irreverent view of the “man in the funny hat”.

17. 1990 Landry, Tom & Gregg Lewis. Tom Landry: An Autobiography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 4th bio overall; 3rd “post-JJ”

18. 1986 Stratton, Gary & Robert Krug. Dallas Cowboys Trivia Challenge. Dallas: Taylor Publishing. Prize was $10,000! Krug wrote a column on Cowboy collectibles for the Dallas Cowboys Weekly team newspaper (OP)(P).

19. 1973 Gent, Peter. North Dallas Forty. NY: William Morrow. Best known fictional work loosely based on the Cowboys; Gent is an ex-Cowboys receiver (OP).

20. 2003. Harris, Cliff and Charlie Waters. Tales from the Dallas Cowboys. Sports Publishing. The former Dallas stars offer up a hilarious collection of stories and memories spanning nearly two decades of Cowboys history, from the “Dirty Dozen” to the “Doomsday Defense.”

21. 2002. Towle, Mike. Roger Staubach Captain America: Captain America Personal Memories and Anecdotes About the Super Bowl-Winning Quarterback of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. Cumberland House Publishing

22. 2003. Sham, Brad. Stadium Stories: Dallas Cowboys: Colorful Tales of America’s Team. Globe Pequot. Description: “For forty years, the Dallas Cowboys have been one of the most glamorous and fascinating teams in the NFL and all of American sport. In this book, author Brad Sham, the Voice of the Cowboys and a member of the team’s radio broadcasts for 25 years, shares behind-the-scenes insights from his unique bird’s eye view.”

23. 2006. Burton, Alan. Dallas Cowboys: Quips & Quotes. State House Press. A compilation of quotes from coaches and players.

24. 2006. Buchanan, Buck. Glory Days: Life with the Dallas Cowboys, 1972-1998. Taylor Trade Publishing. Buck Buchanan was the beloved equipment manager for the Dallas Cowboys for 25 years, during which time the Cowboys won four Super Bowls. Written with the consent and support of the Dallas Cowboys organization, Buchanan provides a unique behind-the-scenes look–from the logistics of moving equipment for away games, to the proclivities and needs of individual players. On the sidelines for every Cowboys game, he also describes how the coaches and players interacted during some of the team’s most legendary moments.

25. 2000. Kasai, Jennifer B. The Book of Landry. “Book is rich with inspirational Landry quotes, stories and testimonials from former assistant coaches and players such as Dan Reeves, Roger Staubach, Bob Lilly, and Drew Pearson.”

Jerry Jones Era

26. 1996 Guinn, Jeff. Dallas Cowboys — Our Story: The Authorized Pictorial History. Arlington, TX: Summit Publishing. Coffee-table sized and massively illustrated; only the second official history of the Cowboys. (Note: appendix lists ’62 roster of the Dallas TEXANS, not the Cowboys!) (L)

27. 1993 Fisher, Mike. Stars and Strife: Inside the Dallas Cowboys Reemergence as America’s Team. Ft. Worth, TX: Summit Group. Review of ’92 season by a reporter for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.

28. 1998 Aikman, Troy. Aikman: Mind, Body and Soul. Hollywood, FL: EGI Productions. Coffee-table sized pictorial (L).

29. 1993 Johnson, Jimmy & Ed Hinton. Turning the Thing Around: Pulling America’s Team Out of the Dumps – And Myself Out of the Doghouse. NY: Hyperion. Traces his career from Port Arthur, to Arkansas, to Miami and to Dallas; probably not the last we’ll hear from Johnson.

30. 1994 Novacek, Yvette, ed. The Dallas Cowboys Wives’ Family Cookbook and Photo Album: Southwestern Cuisine Edition. Ft. Worth, TX: Branch-Smith (P).

31. 1996 Donovan, Jim, Ken Sins & Frank Coffey. The Dallas Cowboys Encyclopedia: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Team. Seacaucus, NJ: Citadel Press. From A-to-Z, covers most players and answers almost every question about the Cowboys (P).

32. 1996 Stratton, Gary. Dallas Cowboys Facts & Trivia. South Bend, IN: E.B. Houchin Co. This book is littered with mistakes and typos. Beware (P).

33. 2007. Hitzges, Norm and Ron St. Angelo. Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s. Thomas Nelson. An illustrated book that chronicles the 1990s Cowboys, arguing that the Dallas dynasty was the greatest ever.

34. 2006. Taylor, Jean-Jacques. Game of My Life: Dallas Cowboys. Sports Publishing. Written by a Dallas Morning News beat writer, this title follows some of the more famous stories in team history.

Children’s Books

35. 1995 Aikman, Troy with Greg Brown. Things Change. Dallas: Taylor Publishing.

36. 1971 Lipman, David & Ed Wilks. The Speed King: Bob Hayes of the Dallas Cowboys. Putnam (OP).

Video: Cowboys Through the Years

Here is a video set to Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best”:

What Happens to NFL Dynasties

DynastyAs we all know very well, the Cowboys are in the middle of an era the follows its dynasty of the 1990s. And as we all know, the time that has passed since the team’s last title in 1995 seems like an eternity.

The bad news: the time that elapses between dynasties and subsequent championships by the same franchise is usually longer than what we’ve experienced so far.

I’m making these points with the thought that the Patriots could begin to see a decline, given how difficult it would seem to be for New England to rebound for another title run next year (Gary Myers of the the New York Daily News predicts Dallas vs. Jacksonville in 2008). The Patriots certainly have enough talent in place to contend for a few more years, but when the magic is finally gone (i.e., Tom Brady is gone), history suggests that the Patriots could have a wait as long as the one for the Cowboys.

Here is a history of dynasties (and mini-dynasties), with a focus on what happened after the championship years. We’ll start with the 1950s, given that the league had fewer than 12 teams for most of the years prior to that.

1950s Cleveland Browns

The Title Years: After winning all four championships of the AAFC, Cleveland dominated much of the 1950s, winning titles in 1950, 1954, and 1955.

What Ended Their Dynasty? Quarterback Otto Graham retired after the 1955 championship, and with Tommy O’Connell as quarterback, Cleveland fell to 5-7 in 1956. The Browns returned to the title game in 1957, losing 59-14 to the Detroit Lions.

Rebuilding Years: The Browns picked up running back Jim Brown in 1957 and had a streak of 13 winning seasons after the losing effort in 1956. Led by Frank Ryan and coach Blanton Collier, Cleveland won another title in 1964. After going 7-7 in 1970 in their first year in the new AFC, the Browns had playoff seasons in 1971 and 1972.

What Happened to the Franchise? Although the Browns have had a number of playoff appearances during the Super Bowl era, Cleveland has never made the Super Bowl.

1950s Detroit Lions

The Title Years: Like the Browns, the Lions won three titles in the 1950s, including championships in 1952, 1953, and 1957.

What Ended Their Dynasty? The Lions rather infamously traded Bobby Layne to Pittsburgh during the 1958 season, prompting Layne to predict that Detroit would “not win for 50 years.”

Rebuilding Years: Detroit had four winning seasons in the decade that followed the 1957 titles, but the Lions had no playoff appearances. They did not return to the playoffs until 1970.

What Happened to the Franchise? In 1991, Detroit won its first playoff game since 1957, beating the pre-dynasty Cowboys. Running back Barry Sanders led Detroit to five playoff appearances in the 1990s, but the 1991 win over Dallas was the team’s only playoff victory in the decade.

1960s Green Bay Packers

The Title Years: The modern championships for Green Bay began before the Super Bowl era, as the Packers won in 1961, 1962, and 1965. The berths in Super Bowls I and II resulted from Green Bay’s NFL titles in 1966 and 1967.

What Ended Their Dynasty? Age and the retirement of Vince Lombardi finally ended the Packers’ run following the 1967 season.

Rebuilding Years: Green Bay had a short resurgence in the early 1970s with the emergence of running back John Brockington. However, between 1967 and 1993, Green Bay had only two playoff appearances.

What Happened to the Franchise? The emergence of quarterback Brett Favre revitalized the Packer franchise in the 1990s, and Favre led the Packers to a title in 1996. However, after losing Super Bowl XXXII to Denver in 1997, the Packers have not returned to the Super Bowl.

1970s Dallas Cowboys

The Title Years: Dallas won titles in 1971 and 1977 and appeared in three other Super Bowls during the decade.

What Ended Their Dynasty? Heartbreaking playoff losses in 1979 through 1983 kept the Cowboys from reaching the Super Bowl again during the Tom Landry era.

Rebuilding Years: The Cowboys declined rapidly during the mid- to late-1980s, reaching a nadir in 1988 and 1989 when the franchise managed a total of four wins in two seasons.

What Happened to the Franchise? See 1990s Cowboys.

1970s Miami Dolphins

The Title Years: The Dolphins rebounded from their loss to the Cowboys in Super Bowl VI by winning Super Bowls VII and VIII. Miami’s undefeated season in 1972 remains unprecedented.

What Ended Their Dynasty? After the Dolphins lost to the Oakland Raiders in the 1974 playoffs, running backs Larry Czonka and Jim Kiick, along with receiver Paul Warfield, left Miami for the World Football League.

Rebuilding Years: Although the Dolphins were competitive for the rest of the 1970s, they never seriously contended for another Super Bowl title.

What Happened to the Franchise? The Dolphins won the AFC twice in the 1980s but lost in Super Bowls XVII (vs. Washington) and XIX (vs. San Francisco). Since 1984, Miami has made the playoffs ten times and has appeared in two AFC Championships games, but the Dolphins have not returned to the Super Bowl.

1970s Pittsburgh Steelers

The Title Years: The Steelers emerged as the dominant franchise in the 1970s by winning titles in 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979.

What Ended Their Dynasty? Pittsburgh was built from the ground up, and when the star players (Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Joe Greene, Mel Blount, and so forth) started to decline, so did the franchise.

Rebuilding Years: Led by such quarterbacks as Mark Malone, Cliff Stoudt, and Bubby Brister, Pittsburgh made the playoffs four times in the 1980s, including an appearance in the AFC title game in 1984.

What Happened to the Franchise? With the hiring of head coach Bill Cowher in 1992, the Steelers became one of the more consistent winners in the NFL during the 1990s and 2000s. However, the franchise suffered a number of notable playoff losses, including a 27-17 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in 1995. The misery ended for Steeler fans in 2005 when Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL.

1980s Washington Redskins

The Title Years: Washington won two Super Bowls in the 1980s (1982 and 1987) and a third in 1991. The Redskins, though, lost in the biggest Super Bowl upset of the 1980s when they were beaten by the L.A. Raiders in 1983.

What Ended Their Dynasty? Joe Gibbs retired (for the first time) after the 1992 season, ending a remarkable run. Gibbs won Super Bowls win three different starting quarterbacks (Joe Theisman, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien) and also reached the NFC title game with a fourth quarterback (Jay Schroeder). After Gibbs retired, Washington’s good fortune with quarterbacks ended.

Rebuilding Years: With six head coaches in fifteen seasons, including a return of Joe Gibbs, the Redskins have struggled to win consistently. Between 1993 and 2004, Washington had one playoff appearance.

What Happened to the Franchise? The Redskins managed to make the playoffs in 2007, but Gibbs retired for a second time.

1980s San Francisco 49ers

The Title Years: San Francisco won four Super Bowl titles in the 1980s and added a fifth title in 1994.

What Ended Their Dynasty? The 49ers were contenders more often than not between 1981 and 1998. However, when quarterback Steve Young was forced to retire due to an injury suffered in 1999, the team’s fortunes sank.

Rebuilding Years: The 49ers rebounded in 2001 and 2002 to make the playoffs, but they were not serious Super Bowl contenders.

What Happened to the Franchise? Between 1999 and 2007, San Francisco has had seven losing seasons. It is still in a state of rebuilding.

1990s Dallas Cowboys

The Title Years: The Cowboys became the first franchise to win three Super Bowls in four seasons in 1992, 1993, and 1995.

What Ended Their Dynasty? Dallas was the first casualty of the system of free agency in the NFL, along with the new salary cap. In addition, architect Jimmy Johnson left (resigned/fired, depending) after the 1993 season, and replacement Barry Switzer could not maintain status quo after the team’s win in Super Bowl XXX.

Rebuilding Years: The Cowboys remained competitive for the rest of the 1990s, but then fell on hard times once the team’s stars finally retired.

What Happened to the Franchise? Dallas has had four losing seasons in the 2000s, but the Cowboys have reached the playoffs in three of the past five years. The 2007 squad recorded 13 wins, tying a franchise best.

1990s Denver Broncos

The Title Years: Denver stunned the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII and then won a second straight title by beating Atlanta in Super Bowl XXXIII.

What Ended Their Dynasty? The retirement of quarterback John Elway ended the Broncos’ title runs for the most part.

Rebuilding Years: Denver has had some very good teams since 1998, including a 13-3 campaign in 2005. However, the success of the late 1990s has eluded the Broncos.

What Happened to the Franchise? Denver slumped to 9-7 in 2006 and 7-9 in 2007.

2000s New England Patriots

The Title Years: The Patriots equaled the Cowboys’ performance by winning three titles in four seasons, in 2001, 2003, and 2004.

What Might End Their Dynasty? New England has been outstanding in its ability to restock through the draft and through free agency. Some of their top players have left (Lawyer Milloy, Deon Branch), but they have been replaced very well. Nevertheless, the team’s defense features an aging linebacker corps, but these leaders appear to be the heart and soul of this team. Losing one or more of these players (Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel) to retirement could be damaging. The most significant loss, of course, would be Brady, but he is still young enough that it could be some time before his decline would end New England’s title hopes.

Giants Wreck More Than Cowboy Dreams

Cowboy DreamsThis is the first time in the history of the Cowboys that Dallas swept the eventual Super Bowl champions. And as painful as it may be to say, champions the Giants are (my version of Yoda talk). Just a few thoughts:

* If this wasn’t destiny, I don’t know what would be. The Giants beat the 13-3 Cowboys to end the finest season for Dallas in more than a decade. New York followed this by taking care of Green Bay at Lambeau Field, in the cold, and against Brett Favre, who was having a fairy tale season where he broke several of the most important career passing records that exist. The Giants then topped it off by ruining the Patriots’ bid for a perfect season.

* In other words, we shouldn’t feel quite so bad about the Dallas loss . . . but I do anyway.

* If the Cowboys were playing the Patriots tonight, however, I objectively and honestly think that Dallas would have had more trouble than the Giants had. The Cowboys struggled to generate pressure part of this season, and New York had success getting to Brady tonight with their front four. Jacques Reeves simply could not cover Wes Welker, and who knows how Roy Williams might screw something up.

* The Giant win may have helped the Cowboys’ franchise in terms of how the Dallas dynasty ranks to other squads. In a Fox poll, Dallas was second to the 1970s Steelers in terms of the greatest dynasties during the Super Bowl era. I wouldn’t take anything away from what the Patriots have done this decade, but of the dynasty teams, the Patriots are the only one to have lost a Super Bowl during their dynasty decade.

* I strongly disagree that tonight’s Super Bowl was the greatest upset in sports history. That has to go to Buster Douglas in his knockout win over Mike Tyson. Villanova’s win over Georgetown in 1985 is pretty close.

* As far as NFL upsets, the big one predates me: the Jets over the Colts. I think that the Patriots’ win over the Rams in 2001 was at least as shocking as the Giants’ win this year.

Video: Randy White Tribute

Here is a great video tribute to Randy White:

Comparing and Contrasting 2007 with 1966

The Dallas Morning News ran a story today indicating that Cowboys players are still haunted by the dreadful loss to the Giants in the playoffs. They ain’t alone, of course. Here’s a bit from that story:

For three Dallas Cowboys players who showed up for Super Bowl XLII festivities, this has been a difficult week.

All over town, they see huge pictures of Michael Strahan and the New York Giants’ logo is on every street corner. Try as they might, they can’t escape the disappointing loss in the divisional round of the playoffs to their NFC East rival.

“It does wear off, but now it’s back because you see the Giants and where they are in the game coming up,” said tight end Jason Witten, who is in town as a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. “Getting these opportunities, having the No. 1 seed and the bye, we had it all set up to be in this situation. It’s tough. It’s tough to be a part of it because you see it. They earned it, going on the road and winning, they did earn it.”

Making it worse, the Cowboys beat the Giants twice in the regular season by 10 and 11 points, although those games were decided by a handful of plays in the second half. In the playoff game, Witten, linebackers Akin Ayodele and DeMarcus Ware said they made more mental mistakes than they had in any other game.

There are more than a couple of similarities between the end of the season for the 2007 Cowboys and the end of the campaign for the 1966 Cowboys. One is the most obvious: both ended on interceptions in the end zone. But the others are also worth noting as we prepare to watch Super Bowl XLII.

Compare: The Regular Seasons


The Cowboys in 1965 overcame a slow start to finish 7-7 and qualify for their first ever playoff appearance in the Playoff Bowl. Though the team lost that game, Dallas was obviously a franchise on the rise. The 1966 season marked the first time that Dallas finished with a winning record, as the Cowboys won five of their last six and went 10-3-1 to capture the Eastern Conference title.


The Cowboys in 2006 showed signs that they were contenders in the NFC. However, an 8-4 record turned into a 9-7 record, only good enough for a spot as a wildcard team in the playoffs. The team’s first playoff appearance in three years ended in disaster, as quarterback/holder Tony Romo dropped the ball on a field goal attempt that would have given Dallas the lead against Seattle. The team changed coaches, and new leader Wade Phillips led the squad to a 13-3 record that tied the club mark for wins in a season. Dallas won its first NFC East title since 1998.

Compare and Contrast: The Coaches


Tom Landry had a long-standing rivalry with Green Bay head coach Vince Lombardi that dated back to the days of the 1950s Giants teams. Lombardi took over the hapless Packers in 1959 and converted the franchise into a dynasty. Landry became the first head coach of the Dallas franchise for the inaugural season of 1960 and saw the team make steady improvements that led to the 1966 season.


Former Dallas coach Bill Parcells had a closer relationship with the current Giants staff than current Dallas coach Wade Phillips. Tom Coughlin was an assistant with Parcells and has a coaching style similar to the Big Tuna. Phillips, on the other hand, has a coaching philosophy that is the complete opposite of either.

Compare and Contrast: The Rivalries


The Cowboys and Packers hardly had a rivalry prior to the 1966 NFL Championship Game, given that Dallas had never won a regular season game over the Packers. On the other hand, Landry to a large degree failed in his chase to beat Lombardi during the 1960s.


As division rivals, the Cowboys and Giants are natural enemies, and the rivalry has heated up in recent years. Dallas swept the Giants in the regular season of 2007.

Compare: The Settings


The 1966 title game marked the first time that Dallas hosted a playoff matchup. It was considered the game of the decade at the time.


The divisional playoff game between the Cowboys and Giants was the first held at Texas Stadium since 1998.

Compare and Contrast: The Games


Green Bay jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after scoring on offense and then recovering a Mel Renfro fumble and returning it for a score. Dallas rallied to tie the game at 14 in the first quarter, but trailed 21-17 at the half. The Packers appeared to have taken a commanding 34-20 lead in the fourth quarter after Bart Starr threw his third touchdown pass of the day, but Dallas stormed back. A 68-yard touchdown pass from Don Meredith to Frank Clarke cut the Packer lead to 34-27, and after the Dallas defense held the Packer offense, the Cowboys had one last chance to tie the game in regulation.


Dallas fell behind early after Giant quarterback Eli Manning hit Amani Toomer on a 52-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter. Dallas regained its composure and tied the score early in the second. Later in the quarter, Dallas embarked on what appeared to be a season-defining drive, going 90 yards on 20 plays to take a 14-7 lead. The Giants, though, recovered to score a tying touchdown in the final seconds of the first half, and the Cowboys lost their momentum. After holding Dallas to a field goal in the third quarter, New York’s defense stepped up its pressure, and the Cowboys had a difficult time moving the ball for the rest of the game. A touchdown run by Brandon Jacobs gave the Giants a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

Compare: The Final Drives


After the Cowboys held the Packers late in the fourth quarter, Green Bay punted. Don Chandler’s kick went off the side of his foot, and Dallas had the ball at the Green Bay 47 with 2:19 remaining. Two plays later, the Cowboys had moved the ball to the Green Bay 22, and a few plays after that, the Packers were called for interfering with Clarke near the end zone, giving Dallas the ball at the 2. This set up the final plays:

* 1st Down: Dan Reeves ran a dive that gained a yard. He was poked in the eye on the play and was having trouble seeing.
* 2nd Down: Tackle Jim Boeke was called for movement, pushing the ball back to the 6.
* 2nd Down: Meredith tried to hit Reeves on a swing pass that likely would have resulted in a score, but Reeves dropped the ball. Reeves probably should not have been in the game since he was seeing double as a result of his run from two plays earlier.
* 3rd Down: Pettis Norman caught a four-yard pass from Meredith to move the ball back to the 2.
* 4th Down: Bob Hayes was sent into the game to line up at tight end, a position he had never played. Linebacker Dave Robinson blew by Hayes to get to Meredith, who was forced into a desperation throw. Tom Brown of the Packers picked off the pass, ending the Cowboys’ season.


The Cowboys squandered a number of opportunities against the Giants but still only trailed by four late in the game. The Dallas defense forced a punt just after the two-minute warning, giving the Cowboys the ball at the Giant 48 with 1:50 remaining. Three plays later, the Cowboys moved the ball to the Giant 22. This set up the final plays:

* 1st Down: Tackle Marc Columbo was called for a false start, pushing the Cowboys back to the 27.
* 1st Down: Tony Romo hit tight end Jason Witten for a four-yard gain.
* 2nd Down: Romo’s pass to Witten is incomplete.
* 3rd Down: Romo lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone, where receiver Patrick Crayton appeared to have a step on cornerback Corey Webster. However, Crayton hesitated for a moment on the pattern, and he was unable to get under the ball.
* 4th Down: Romo’s desperation pass on fourth down was intercepted by R.W. McQuarters. The pass was intended for receiver Terry Glenn, who had only played in part of one game during the 2007 season, rather than Terrell Owens or Jason Witten.

Compare and Contrast: Who To Blame


NFL Films captured Boeke’s penalty, and the tackle was blamed for the loss. Meredith also took his share of the heat, as the replay of his failed 4th down attempt has become part of Cowboy infamy. Landry claimed that the team had blown it, but there is plenty of evidence that he had panicked at the end by sending Hayes into the game for Clarke at tight end. Reeves’ drop was another big factor, given that he should have scored.


Columbo has received little of the blame for his first-down penalty that backed Dallas up to the 27. Crayton has received heat along with cornerback Jacques Reeves, who was largely responsible for New York’s drive at the end of the first half. Romo has received blame much like Meredith, and the replay of his pass attempt to Glenn will probably be the one that is most remembered. What will likely be forgotten, though, is why the pass was not directed at Owens, who was clearly the go-to man all year.

The Legacies


This win was part of the Packer dynasty of the 1960s, as Green Bay went on to win the first Super Bowl. Dallas returned to the title game a year later, only to lose to Green Bay in the Ice Bowl. A number of the legends of that team– Don Meredith, Don Perkins, Frank Clarke– were not around when Dallas finally won its elusive title in 1971.


Here’s the little bit of irony in this loss, especially as it relates to that 1966 squad: If Dallas had beaten the Giants (Landry’s old team, no less), the Cowboys would have hosted Green Bay for the right to play the team that is in the middle of a dynasty.

At any rate, in two seasons, Tony Romo has nearly as many heartbreaking playoff losses as Don Meredith did in the latter’s entire career. Should history repeat itself, there is a good chance that a number of the big-name players — Owens, Roy Williams, Flozell Adams, Terry Glenn– won’t be around long enough to see Dallas finally break through to win its first title since 1995.

Cowboy Assistants with Prior Head Coaching Experience

Dave CampoOne of the big news items this week is that the Cowboys hired Dave Campo to serve as secondary coach. I’ve always wondered: how exactly could Campo have played defensive back at Central Connecticut State when he stands at somewhere around 5’4″?

Anyway, Campo’s defenses in the 1990s were solid, thanks largely to the unit’s speed and the presence of Deion Sanders. He has coached some great defensive backs (Bennie Blades at Miami, Kevin Smith at Dallas), so this move may turn out to be a good one.

Campo is one of only two men who served as assistant coaches for the Cowboys both before and after serving as an NFL head coach. The other was Dick Nolan, who left the Cowboys in 1968 to coach the 49ers and then the Saints, only to return to Dallas in 1982. Nolan has the distinction of coaching under both Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson.

If the Cowboys also hire Dom Capers, he will become the eighth assistant in team history who had prior experience as a head coach.

Below are three lists: (1) assistant coaches who were head coaches prior to arriving in Dallas; (2) assistants who became head coaches after leaving Dallas; and (3) a complete list of assistant coaches in the history of the team.

Assistants Who Were Head Coaches Prior to Their Arrival in Dallas

Neill Armstrong (with Cowboys, 1982-89): Head Coach, Chicago Bears (1978-1981), 30-34 record.

Dave Campo (with Cowboys, 1989-2002, 2008-present): Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys (2000-2002), 15-33 record.

Bruce Coslet (with Cowboys, 2002): Head Coach, New York Jets (1990-1993); Head Coach, Cincinnati Bengals (1996-2000); 44-77 record.

Sid Gillman (with Cowboys, 1972): Head Coach, L.A. Rams (1955-1959); Head Coach, L.A. Chargers (AFL) (1960); Head Coach, San Diego Chargers (AFL) (1961-1970); Head Coach, Houston Oilers (1973-1974); 122-99-7 record.

Red Hickey (with Cowboys, 1964-65): Head Coach, San Francisco 49ers (1959-1963), 27-27-1 record.

Dick Nolan (with Cowboys, 1962-1967, 1982-1990): Head Coach, San Francisco 49ers (1968-1975); Head Coach, New Orleans Saints (1978-1980); 69-82-5 record.

Chris Palmer (with Cowboys, 2005): Head Coach, Cleveland Browns (1999-2000), 5-27 record.

Assistants Who Became Head Coaches After Leaving Dallas

Raymond Berry (with Cowboys, 1968-69): Head Coach, New England Patriots (1984-1989), 48-39 record.

Dave Campo (with Cowboys, 1989-2002, 2008-present): Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys (2000-2002), 15-33 record.

Butch Davis (with Cowboys, 1989-1994): Head Coach, Cleveland Browns (2001-2004), 24-34 record.

Mike Ditka (with Cowboys, 1973-1981): Head Coach, Chicago Bears (1982-1992); Head Coach, New Orleans Saints (1997-1999); 121-95 record.

Sid Gillman (with Cowboys, 1972): Head Coach, L.A. Rams (1955-1959); Head Coach, L.A. Chargers (AFL) (1960); Head Coach, San Diego Chargers (AFL) (1961-1970); Head Coach, Houston Oilers (1973-1974); 122-99-7 record.

John Mackovic (with Cowboys, 1981-82): Head Coach, Kansas City Chiefs (1983-1986), 30-34 record.

Dick Nolan (with Cowboys, 1962-1967, 1982-1990): Head Coach, San Francisco 49ers (1968-1975); Head Coach, New Orleans Saints (1978-1980); 69-82-5 record.

Sean Payton (with Cowboys, 2003-2005): Head Coach, New Orleans Saints (2006-present)

Dan Reeves (with Cowboys, 1970-1972, 1974-1980): Head Coach, Denver Broncos (1981-1992); Head Coach, N.Y. Giants (1993-1997); Head Coach, Atlanta Falcons (1997-2003); 192-166-2 record.

Dave Shula (with Cowboys, 1989-1990): Head Coach, Cincinnati Bengals (1992-1996), 19-52 record.

Gene Stallings : (with Cowboys, 1972-85): Head Coach, St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1986-1989), 23-34-1 record.

Tony Sparano (with Cowboys, 2003-2007): Head Coach, Miami Dolphins (2008-present)

Norv Turner (with Cowboys, 1991-93): Head Coach, Washington Redskins (1994-2000); Head Coach, Oakland Raiders (2004-2005); Head Coach, San Diego Chargers (2007-present).

Dave Wannstedt (with Cowboys, 1989-92): Head Coach, Chicago Bears (1993-1998); Head Coach, Miami Dolphins (2000-2004); 82-87 record.

Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coaches

Hubbard Alexander: Receivers (1989-97)
Ermal Allen: Offensive Backfield (1962-69); Special Assistant (1970-79); Research and Development (1980-83)
Neill Armstrong: Research and Development (1982-89)
Joe Avezzano: Special Teams (1990-2000); Special Teams/Tight Ends (2001); Special Teams (2002)

Bill Bates: Special Teams/Defensive Assistant (1998-99); Defensive Backs (2000); Defensive Nickel Package/Assistant Special Teams (2001-02)
Jim Bates: Linebackers (1996-97); Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line (1998-99)
Raymond Berry: Offensive Ends (1968-69)
John Blake: Defensive Line (1993-95)
Craig Boiler: Defensive Tackles (1996-97)
Todd Bowles: Secondary (2005-07)
Joe Brodsky: Running Backs (1989-97)
Vincent Brown: Inside Linebackers (2006)

Dave Campo: Defensive Assistant (1989-90); Defensive Backs (1991-94); Defensive Coordinator (1995-99); Secondary (2008-present)
Maurice Carthon: Offensive Coordinator (2003-04)
Wes Chandler: Receivers (2000-02)
Bruce Coslet: Offensive Coordinator (2002)

Tom Dahms: Defensive Line (1960-62)
Butch Davis: Defensive Line (1989-92); Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (1993); Defensive Coordinator (1994)
Bruce DeHaven: Special Teams (2003-2006)
Babe Dimancheff: Backfield (1960-61)
Mike Ditka: Receivers/Tight Ends (1973-74); Special Teams/Tight Ends (1975-76, 1980); Special Teams/Receivers (1977-79, 1981)

Brad Ecklund: Offensive Line (1960-61); Defensive Line (1962-63)
Jim Eddy: Defensive Assistant (1993); Linebackers (1994-95)
George Edwards: Linebackers (1998-01)
Jim Erkenbeck: Offensive Line (1987-88)

Robert Ford: Tight Ends (1991-97)
Bobby Franklin: Defensive Backfield (1968-71); Special Teams (1972)

Jason Garrett: Offensive Coordinator (2007-present)
John Garrett: Tight Ends (2007-present)
Buddy Geis: Quarterbacks (1998-99); Offensive Nickel Package (2000)
Gary Gibbs: Linebackers (2002-05)
Sid Gillman: Special Assistant (1972)
Todd Grantham: Defensive Line (2008-present)

Paul Hackett: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers (1986); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1987-88)
Todd Haley: Receivers (2004-2005); Receivers/Passing Game (2006)
Galen Hall: Running Backs (2002)
Tommy Hart: Defensive Ends (1996-97)
Red Hickey: Offensive Ends (1964-65)
Steve Hoffman: Kickers/Quality Control (1989-2004)
Hudson Houck: Offensive Line (1993-01, 2008-present)
Ed Hughes: Offensive Backfield (1973-74, 1976); Quarterbacks/Receivers (1975)

Jim Jeffcoat: Defensive Line Assistant (1998-99); Defensive Ends (2000-04)
Joe Juraszek: Strength and Conditioning (1997-present)

Freddie Kitchens: Tight Ends (2006)

Al Lavan: Running Backs (1980-88)
David Lee: Offensive Assistant/Quality Control (2003-04); Quarterbacks/Offensive Quality Control (2005); Offensive Quality Control (2006)
Alan Lowry: Special Teams (1982-86); Receivers (1987-88); Special Teams/Tight Ends (1989); Tight Ends (1990)
Anthony Lynn: Running Backs (2005-06)

Mike MacIntyre: Assistant Secondary (2003-04); Assistant Secondary/Defensive Quality Control (2005); Safeties (2006)
John Mackovic: Quarterbacks (1981-82)
John McNulty: Wide Receivers (2003)
Ron Meeks: Defensive Assistant (1991)
Les Miles: Tight Ends (1998-2000)
Jim Myers: Offensive Line (1962-72); Offensive Coordinator (1973-74); Offensive Coodinator/Offensive Line (1975-76); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line (1977-86)

Dat Nguyen: Assistant Linebackers/Defensive Quality Control (2007)
Dick Nolan: Defensive Backfield (1962-67); Receivers (1982-85); Defensive Backs (1986-90)

Dwain Painter: Receivers (1998-99)
Chris Palmer: Quarterbacks (2006)
Paul Pasqualoni: Tight Ends (2005); Linebackers (2006-07)
Andre Patterson: Defensive Tackles (2000-02)
Sean Payton: Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks (2003-04); Assistant Head Coach/Passing Game Coordinator (2005)
Skip Peete: Running Backs (2007)
Clancy Pendergast: Defensive Assistant/Quality Control (1996-99); Defensive Nickel Package (2000); Defensive Backs (2001-02)
Wes Phillips: Offensive Assistant/Offensive Quality Control (2007)

Bruce Read: Special Teams (2007)
Dan Reeves: Offensive Backfield (1970-72, 1975); Special Teams (1974); Quarterbacks/Receivers (1976); Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Backs (1977-79); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers (1980)
Jack Reilly: Quarterbacks (1997); Offensive Coordinator (2000-01)
Ray Renfro: Passing Offense (1968-72)
Jerry Rhome: Quarterbacks (1989)
Tommie Robinson: Offensive Assistant (1998-99); Special Teams Assistant (2000)
Kacy Rodgers: Defensive Tackles (2003-04); Defensive Line (2005-07)
Alvin Roy: Strength and Conditioning (1973-75)

Greg Seamon: Tight Ends (2002)
Clarence Shelmon: Running Backs (1998-2001)
Ray Sherman: Wide Receivers (2007)
Jim Shofner: Quarterbacks (1983-85)
Dave Shula: Offensive Coordinator (1989); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1990)
Bob Slowik: Defensive Assistant (1992)
Glenn Smith: Offensive Assistant (2000-01)
Mike Solari: Special Teams (1987-88)
Tony Sparano: Tight Ends (2003-04); Running Game Coordinator/Offensive Line (2005); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line/Running Game (2006); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line (2007)
Ernie Stautner: Defensive Line (1966-72); Defensive Coordinator (1973-74); Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line (1975-88)
Brian Stewart: Defensive Coordinator (2007)

Jerry Tubbs: Linebackers (1966-88)
Norv Turner: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1991-93)

Frank Verducci: Offensive Line (2002)

Dave Wannstedt: Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (1989-92)
Bob Ward: Strength and Conditioning (1976-89)
George Warhop: Offensive Line (2003-04)
Wade Wilson: Quarterbacks (2000-02, 2007)
Tony Wise: Offensive Line (1989-92)
Mike Woicik: Strength and Conditioning (1990-96)

Ernie Zampese: Offensive Coordinator (1994-97)
Mike Zimmer: Defensive Assistant (1994); Defensive Backs (1995-99); Defensive Coordinator (2000-2006)