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San Francisco 28, Dallas 17: Plenty of Shame to Go Around

One of the few highlights from Sunday was Dwayne Harris's 56-yard reception, which set up a Dallas touchdown.

One of the few highlights from Sunday was Dwayne Harris’s 56-yard reception, which set up a Dallas touchdown.

The Dallas Cowboys’ 2014 season was 43 seconds old when they fell behind for the first time against San Francisco on Sunday.

The season was less than 10 minutes old when the 49ers easily drove 80 yards in 4 plays to score their second touchdown. At that point, San Francisco led 14-3.

The season was 10 minutes and 8 seconds old when Tony Romo threw his first interception of the year. One play later, the Cowboys were behind 21-3.

Romo threw two more interceptions in the second quarter.  The 49ers turned around after one of those picks and drove for another score.

It took less than 30 minutes to witness an implosion.

* * *

DeMarco Murray had a good game overall, rushing for 118 yards on 22 carries. However, San Francisco’s Chris Culliver returned Murray’s fumble on the opening drive of the game for a score.

When the Cowboys needed to rely on Murray, they didn’t.

The Cowboys had a 2nd and 1 from the 49er 2 on the Cowboys’ second drive of the game. Dallas tried a play-action pass, but Justin Smith sacked Romo for a nine-yard loss. Dallas settled for a field goal and trailed 7-3. The team would never get close tying the game after that.

Romo threw all three of his interceptions into double coverage. The second of the two occurred when Dallas, while trailing 21-3, moved the ball to the 49er 5 and had a first and goal.

Run Murray? Oh, of course not. Romo rolled to his right, did not see a wide open Dwayne Harris, and threw a lob pass into a group of 49er defenders. Patrick Willis picked off the pass in the end zone, and Dallas did not score again in the first half.

Romo threw one more interception after trying to force the ball into double coverage. San Francisco again moved downfield rather easily, scoring another touchdown with less than 40 seconds left.

* * *

Yes, the Cowboys scored two touchdowns in the second half, but the game was not close. Dez Bryant left the game after apparently suffering dehydration. He was not much of factor before that.

 

The drubbing thrilled the crowd, which apparently consisted of more Niner fans than Cowboy fans. Not surprising, but still disappointing.

The Redskins lost to the Texans, but the Eagles came back to beat the Jaguars. The Cowboys are going to be in an uphill battle for the division. If today is any indication, battle is not the right word.

Simulations and Predictions All Favor 49ers

The Dallas Cowboys host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Nearly all simulations and predictions favor the 49ers.

Cowboys vs. 49ers: Their First Meetings

Don McIlhenny picks up a short gain in a 16-10 loss to San Francisco during the preseason on August 6, 1960.

Don McIlhenny picks up a short gain in a 16-10 loss to San Francisco during the preseason on August 6, 1960.

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers will face one another for the 34th time, including playoffs, since 1960 on September 7. It will mark the first time since 2011 that the teams have played.

The rivalry dates back to the Cowboys’ inaugural season of 1960. In fact, the 49ers were the first team the Cowboys ever played during preseason. On a hot afternoon in Seattle on August 6, 1960, the Cowboys fell just short of a win. Trailing 16-10 late in the game, Dallas took over the ball at its own 37. Eddie LeBaron moved the team to the San Francisco 28 with about a minute left. However, Dave Baker picked off a LeBaron pass to end the drive and secure the win for San Francisco.

More than three months later, the teams played again during the regular season at the Cotton Bowl. LeBaron struggled in the contest, throwing three interceptions. However, his 76-yard touchdown pass to Frank Clarke early in the fourth quarter gave Dallas a 14-9 lead.

Nevertheless, the 49ers roared back and scored 17 unanswered points to win the game 26-14.

Dallas secured its first win over the 49ers on November 7, 1965.

During regular season matchups, Dallas has a 11-14-1 record against San Francisco. The Cowboys’ playoff record against the 49ers is 5-2. Thus, both teams are 16-16-1 in combined regular season and playoff games.

30 Years Ago: Tom Landry Names Gary Hogeboom as the Starter

Ah, the legend of Gary Hogeboom, whom Tom Landry named as the team’s starting QB 30 years ago this week.

During various times in the 1960s and early 1970s, Tom Landry was rather notorious for swapping starting quarterbacks. Whether it was Eddie LeBaron vs. Don Meredith, Don Meredith vs. Craig Morton, or Craig Morton vs. Roger Staubach, Landry did not seem to shy from quarterback controversies.

Of course, once Staubach led the team to the promised land in 1971, those controversies ended. And when Staubach retired after the 1979 season, Danny White took over without any real competition.

By 1984, the Cowboys had lost in the playoffs during four consecutive seasons. The focus of the news during training camp in 1984 was on the QB position, where Gary Hogeboom was trying to unseat White as the starter.

Landry made a decision 30 years ago to move Hogeboom into the starting position. Landry hardly gave Hogeboom a full vote of confidence.

Landry said the Cowboys’ quarterback position, like all others on the team, would be evaluated on a game- by-game basis as part of what he called a ”reshaping” process. That process begins at Anaheim, Calif., Monday night, when the Cowboys open against the Los Angeles Rams.

”This is not like quarterback decisions I’ve made in the past,” said Landry, who was visibly nervous during the Dallas news conference at which he announced the change. ”If we were going to rebuild this team, we would not be thinking about making the playoffs. But we are going to be reshaping this team. We still have the players to make it to the playoffs. We can be in contention this year. But it is going to take a lot of hard work.”

Landry would give no specific reasons for switching from the 32-year- old White, a starter in the last four seasons, to the 26-year-old Hogeboom, who has never started a regular-season game in the N.F.L. but who said earlier this summer that he would seek a trade if he were not given the starter’s role.

”For my own reasons,” the coach said, ”I have a feeling that Gary is right for this game. My feeling is the same about Danny White. He is an excellent quarterback and will continue to be an excellent quarterback. I have coached this game. I have played this game. I have to go on my feelings.”

Of course, White was angry, while Hogeboom had to look over his shoulder. Both players saw action throughout the first half of the season, during which the Cowboys went 5-3. White eventually returned to the starting role. The team was 9-5 heading into the final two weeks of the season, and the Cowboys could have made the playoffs with wins in either week. But Dallas lost both games and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1974.

* * *

Something that really caught my attention in the N.Y. Times article was this blurb about Franco Harris:

The Dallas Morning News reported that Bart Beier, the agent for Franco Harris, had called the Cowboys and told them that the accomplished running back was available to play for them at an annual salary of as little as $330,000. That is about $50,000 less than what Harris would have earned this season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who waived him last week because of a contract impasse. According to the Dallas newspaper account, Gil Brandt, the Cowboys’ vice president for personnel development, rejected the offer out of hand, without even discussing it with Landry.

Hmmm…

The Most Infamous Nickname You’ve Never Heard

The year was 1961. The Dallas Cowboys were preparing for their second year in the league after going 0-11-1 in 1960.

The Cowboys had their training camp at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. The team was looking for some talent.

Found it did they (Yoda speak) in a little receiver from Oregon.  Standing at just 5’4″ and weighing only 147 pounds, this player looked “like a loose helmet on the ground until he starts moving,” according to Dallas Morning News writer Charles Burton.

Moreover, Tom Landry called him a key to the Cowboys’ chances that year. More on that below.

The player caught everyone’s attention in camp with a 71-yard touchdown reception from Don Meredith during a scrimmage.

The player? Cleveland “Pussyfoot” Jones.

Cleveland "Pussyfoot" Jones. A career that just wasn't meant to be.

Cleveland “Pussyfoot” Jones. A career that just wasn’t meant to be.

The DMN later noted that Pussyfoot’s legend grew “rather large” during training camp. But alas, the team cut him on August 28, 1961. He played in two preseason games but never touched the ball.

Apparently, news of Pussyfoot’s release travelled quite slowly. On September 6, 1961, more than a week after the Cowboys cut Pussyfoot, the Miami News published a piece entitled “‘Pussyfoot’ Key to Dallas Hopes.” The author of the piece was, of course, head coach Tom Landry.

An excerpt:

Two of our biggest weaknesses last season were an inexperienced defensive secondary and lack of speed on offense.

We traded for veteran Dick Moegle during the off-season. Dicky has been a big help to us through training camp, although he was out of action for neary a month with an injured leg.

He has given our young defensive halfbacks and safeties some valuable pointers and has helped get them in a keen competitive frame of mind.

Offensively, we’ve found some pleasant surprises. Two of them are free agents we signed from Oregon State. [MC: Marsh played at Oregon State, but Jones played at the University of Oregon]

One is Amos Marsh, who was an end and sprint champion in college. We put him at fullback the first day of camp and nobody’s been able to get him out of that position yet.

The other is Cleveland (Pussyfoot) Jones, who towers 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 147 pounds. He’s a quick, clever pass receiver as a wingback and he’s willing to take on any big man his blocking assignment calls for. He’s a real key to our chances.

Perhaps needless to say, Pussyfoot never played in the NFL.

The other players did have decent careers. Marsh played in Dallas from 1961 to 1964, plus another three years in Detroit. Moegle started 14 games in Dallas in 1961, but that was his final season in the NFL.

Animated Trivia: James Hanna’s Touchdown vs. San Diego

Brandon Weeden found James Hanna for the Cowboys' only score against San Diego.

Brandon Weeden found James Hanna for the Cowboys’ only score against San Diego.

The Dallas Cowboys did not play starters Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, or Jason Witten against the San Diego Chargers. That meant we saw Brandon Weeden, Joseph Randle, Terrance Williams, and James Hanna.

The Cowboys lost 27-7 in a game featuring no defense by the Cowboys. San Diego did not have a single incomplete pass until the beginning of the fourth quarter.

As you can see from the GIF, Hanna scored the Cowboys’ lone touchdown. Given the lack of other highlights, here is some trivia about Hanna:

  • Hanna is one of two players from the University of Oklahoma on the Cowboys’ roster. The other is, of course, Murray. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have six players who played at Oklahoma State on the roster right now.
  • The Cowboys selected Hanna in the 6th round (#186 overall) of the 2012 draft. He was among 12 tight ends taken in that year’s draft. Another of those tight ends was Ladarius Green, who had two receptions for the Chargers tonight.
  • Hanna has never scored a touchdown in a regular season game, having caught just 20 career passes in two seasons. However, he did score seven touchdowns for the Sooners in 2010. That was the year that Weeden threw 34 touchdowns to the likes of Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State.
  • This was Weeden’s first game since starting for the Cleveland Browns against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 1, 2013 in a 32-28 loss for the Browns.
  • True or False? This was Hanna’s first preseason touchdown of his career.
  • True or False? Hanna did not catch a single pass during the 2013 preseason.

The Franchise Career Record Tony Romo Might Break in 2014

Tony Romo can set his sights on a new team passing record in 2014.

Tony Romo can set his sights on a new team passing record in 2014.

Tony Romo is not likely to play in the Cowboys’ first preseason game on Thursday night as he tries to stay healthy for the team’s season-opener.

If he can stay healthy during his eighth full season as a starter, Romo could break a significant franchise career record.

He already has the most career touchdown passes, and his career 95.8 passer rating his higher than any other starter in team history.

The next mark would be career passing yards. He currently has thrown for 29,565 yards, putting him 3,377 behind Troy Aikman. The only time Romo has thrown fewer than that since 2007 was 2010, when he was limited to six games because of an injury.

Here is a list of the top 10 Dallas passers by career passing yards.

It will take Romo at least two seasons to surpass Aikman for most career attempts and completions.

Cowboys’ Odds to Win Super Bowl XLIX: About 50 to 1

The Dallas Cowboys are just below the middle of the pack regarding their odds to win Super Bowl XLIX.

English: Vector image of the Las Vegas sign. P...

The odds of the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl are about 50 to 1.

According to one site (no affiliation), the Cowboys’ odds are 50 to 1.  According to another site, the odds are 55 to 1.

Below is a list of all teams. Predictably, most oddsmakers think the Seahawks and Broncos will play again.

Denver Broncos 13/2
Seattle Seahawks 13/2
San Francisco 49ers 7/1
New England Patriots 9/1
Green Bay Packers 11/1
New Orleans Saints 14/1
Chicago Bears 16/1
Indianapolis Colts 16/1
Philadelphia Eagles 25/1
Atlanta Falcons 33/1
Carolina Panthers 33/1
Detroit Lions 33/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 33/1
Arizona Cardinals 40/1
Baltimore Ravens 40/1
Cincinnati Bengals 40/1
New York Giants 40/1
San Diego Chargers 40/1
Dallas Cowboys 50/1
Kansas City Chiefs 50/1
Miami Dolphins 50/1
St. Louis Rams 50/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 50/1
Washington Redskins 50/1
Cleveland Browns 66/1
Houston Texans 66/1
New York Jets 66/1
Buffalo Bills 75/1
Minnesota Vikings 75/1
Oakland Raiders 100/1
Tennessee Titans 100/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 200/1

The Cowboys’ chances of winning the NFC are 26 to 1.  Dallas shares those odds with the Giants, Rams, and Lions.

The Seahawks are 16/5 favorites to win the NFC title, while San Francisco’s odds are 21/5.

Training Camp, 1960: Meredith and Perkins Fail the “Landry Mile”

Tom Landry, former head coach of the Dallas Co...

Tom Landry’s first requirement of his players in 1960 was to have them run a mile in six minutes or less.

The Dallas Cowboys opened their first training camp in Forest Grove, Oregon in July 1960. The team was a mix of cast-off veterans from other teams along with free-agent rookies that other teams did not want.

The two prized rookies on the roster were quarterback Don Meredith and running back Don Perkins. When the team arrived at camp, players had to run a mile in six minutes. He gave linemen an extra 30 seconds.

Total number of players who met this goal: zero.

Of course, keep in mind this was long before the days where players had year-round training programs.

Here is part of an article published on July 12, 1960.

Cowboys Greeted by Landry’s Mile

by Charles Burton
News Staff Writer

The six minute standard survived the stubborn assault of the Dallas Cowboys Monday in the Tom Landry Mile.

The race which will become a fixture in the annual training camps of the National Football League club was run and sometimes staggered over a grass course laid out around the Pacific University gridiron. Landry had warned his athletes by mail that he would expect backs and ends to gallop the distance in a flat six minutes with linemen granted an additional thirty seconds for a satisfactory rating. None met the goal.

* * *

Don Meredith, the stork-legged first-year quarterback from Southern Methodist, finished with a weak spurt and a strong smile at 7:43….Don Perkins, the highly regarded halfback from the University of New Mexico, a reputed 10 second man in the 100-yard dash, was the only player who was given no time. He collapsed just after starting the fifth lap of the six lap endurance grind but after resting for a few minutes he regained his wind and walked and trotted to the finish.

“If they had been in better condition I believe they could have made it in six minutes,” commented Coach Landry.

* * *

Some trivia:

* Landry’s reason for a six-minute mile? Roger Bannister had broken the four-minute mark in 1954, and track runners were still aiming to break that mark by 1960. Landry said he just added two minutes.

* The player with the fastest time (6:19) was Greg Altenhofen, a rookie end from the University of Oregon. He did not make the team and never played in the NFL.

* The article notes the center Bob Griffin “would have to be timed with a calendar” because he was so slow. Griffin also did not make the team in 1960 after having played five years with the Rams during the mid-1960s. He did, however, play in five games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1961.

* Three players failed to show up for camp and were cut. The players were Norman Denny (North Texas State), Larry Deuitt (Rice), and Leon Manley (West Texas State).

 

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