50 Seasons Series

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Review each year in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, starting with the planning stages in 1959 and through the present day.


1971 Dallas Cowboys Draft: Worst of the Decade

This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

Thanks to trades with St. Louis and New Orleans, the Cowboys had extra picks in the third and fourth rounds of the 1971 draft. That gave Dallas seven picks in the first five rounds.

The result: Awful. First-round pick Tody Smith held out for most of training camp and was left on the taxi squad for much of the 1971 season. He was best known as the brother of Baltimore defensive lineman Bubba Smith, but he never did anything in Dallas.

Ike Thomas, who played at Bishop College in Dallas, was supposed to be some sort of steal in the second round. After started one game as a rookie in place of an injured Herb Adderley, but Thomas was burned often. He seldom played after that and was shipped off to Green Bay in 1972.

The best player on this list who actually played in Dallas was Bill Gregory (#77, shown above). He was a backup for seven years on the defensive line.

The best player overall was Ron Jessie, whom the Cowboys traded in July to Detroit. Jessie later played for the Rams and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.





1 Tody Smith DE USC Dallas, 1971-1972; Houston,
1973-1976; Buffalo, 1976
2 Ike Thomas DB Bishop Dallas, 1971; Green Bay,
1972-1973; Buffalo, 1976
3 Sam Scarber RB New Mexico San Diego, 1975-1976
3 Bill Gregory DE Wisconsin Dallas 1971-1977; Seattle,
4 Joe Carter TE Grambling State n/a
4 Adam Mitchell T Mississippi n/a
5 Ron Kadziel LB Stanford New England, 1972
6 Steve Maier WR Northern Arizona n/a
7 Bill Griffin T Catawba n/a
8 Ron Jessie WR Kansas Detroit, 1971-1974; Los
Angeles, 1975-1979; Buffalo, 1980-1981
9 Honor Jackson DB Pacific New England, 1972-1973; New
York Giants, 1973-1974
10 Rodney Wallace T New Mexico Dallas, 1971-1973
11 Ernest Bonwell DT Lane n/a
12 Steve Goepel QB Colgate n/a
13 James Ford RB Texas Southern New Orleans, 1971-1972
14 Tyrone Covey DB Utah State n/a
15 Bob Young TE Delaware n/a
16 John Brennan T Boston College n/a
17 John Bomer C Memphis n/a

My grade: F.

The third, fourth, and fifth rounds of the 1971 draft featured a bunch of long-time starters. Who could the Cowboys have had instead of Tody Smith in the first round?

Julius Adams (New England, 2nd round), a 12-year starter in New England.

Jack Ham (Pittsburgh, 2nd round), a Hall-of-Famer with the Steelers.

Dan Dierdorf (St. Louis, 2nd round), a Hall-of-Famer with the Cardinals.

As for the slew of picks the Cowboys had in rounds 2 through 5, Dallas could have taken Lyle Alzado (Denver, 4th round); tackle Larry Brown (Pittsburgh, 5th round); or quarterbacks Ken Anderson (Cincinnati, 3rd round) or Joe Theismann (Miami, 4th round).

Fortunately, better drafts would come in the years that followed.

The Dallas Cowboy Soap Operas of 1971


This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys had firmly entrenched themselves as “Next Year’s Champions” by the time they had lost Super Bowl V, but the loss to the Colts proved almost conclusively that the Cowboys were cursed.

Dallas players had been the subject of media attention before 1970, but during 1970 and 1971, little of the attention was positive.

Renzel’s Problems Lead to the Acquisition of Another Lance

One of the team’s storylines focused on troubled receiver Lance Rentzel. In four seasons in Dallas, Rentzel had compiled 3,521 receiving yards and had become the third player in team history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season (nearly accomplishing the feat in two other seasons). He was married to famous across and singer Joey Heatherton and had become something of a celebrity himself.

That all came crashing down on Thursday, November 19, 1970. On that day, he went to a movie and then drove by a schoolyard in the Dallas area. When a young girl approached Rentzel’s car, he exposed himself to her. He was charged with indecent exposure and was forced to quit the team while he focused on his legal problems. When he was indicted in December 1970, his season was over, and he never played with the Cowboys in either of the two Super Bowls of the early 1970s.

Rookie Reggie Rucker took over for Rentzel late in the 1970 season. Although Rucker lasted several seasons in the NFL with the Patriots and Browns, he did not accomplish much in 1970. Rentzel’s absense was especially apparent in the playoffs, as Craig Morton struggled in all three games.

During the 1971 offseason, the Cowboys pulled off the biggest trade in its history up to that point. Dallas sent Rentzel to Los Angeles in exchange for tight end Billy Truax and receiver Wendell Tucker. Truax played two years in Dallas, but Tucker never played a down with the Cowboys. Rentzel had three fairly productive seasons with the Rams before retiring after the 1974 season.

The Cowboys also brought in future Hall of Famer Lance Alworth from the Chargers. The cost seemed huge: Dallas sent tight end Pettis Norman, tackle Tony Liscio, and defensive lineman Ron East to San Diego for Alworth, who was coming off a subpar season in 1970.

The trade favored Dallas, as it turned out. Norman had been a quality blocking tight end with Dallas, but he caught only six passes for 70 yards in 1970. Liscio never played in San Diego, and in fact returned to Dallas late in the 1971 season when Ralph Neely broke his leg. East played several more seasons in San Diego and elsewhere.

The Duane Thomas Ordeal

There have been several stories elsewhere about the Duane Thomas saga of 1971. In fact, much of the America’s Game episode about the 1971 Cowboys focuses on Thomas. By July, Thomas had announced his retirement from football after one season, though he said he would come back at the right price.

One of the most anticipated competitions during the 1971 training camp was the one between Thomas and Calvin Hill, who was returning from a foot injury suffered in 1970.

However, after weeks of public debate, Dallas traded Thomas to New England for running back Carl Garrett and two backups.

By September, commissioner Pete Rozelle had negated the trade and sent Thomas back to the Cowboys. Once Thomas returned, he rather infamously began a season-long effort not to speak to anyone.

Additional Contract Squabbles

Thomas was not the only player who had contract troubles in 1971. Disgruntled players included stars Bob Hayes, Mel Renfro, George Andrie, and Calvin Hill.

Other Competitions

There were several other competitions for jobs that dominated the focus of the 1971 training camp. The most significant of these was the one between quarterbacks Craig Morton and Roger Staubach. Other positions open to competition included tight end (Mike Ditka vs. Billy Truax) and free safety (Cliff Harris vs. Charlie Waters).

More Trivialities About Super Bowl V


This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys most certainly looked like a cursed team when Dallas lost Super Bowl V. Five consecutive years in the playoffs, with five consecutive years of heartbreaking losses.

Cowboys fans can watch the thrill of the team’s five Super Bowl wins and relive the agony of two of the losses. However, as far as I know, the entire replay of the broadcast of Super Bowl V is not available anywhere. I know that the second quarter is available in bootleg copies, but the rest is apparently lost. The clip that appeared in yesterday’s post is the only other part of the game I’ve ever seen or heard about.

The lack of a game tape is rather surprising, given the number of best game cameras that were positioned in the Orange Bowl. According to an article posted a week before the Super Bowl, producer Lou Kusserow positioned 11 cameras for the game, which was far more than an ordinary game at the time. Cameras were isolated on running backs, receivers, quarterbacks, and certain defensive players.

Apparently, NBC did not bother to record any of these camera shots to tape, meaning that we are left with the NFL Films’ version of Jim O’Brien leaping like a goon towards the Colts’ sideline.

NBC touted the Super Bowl as the “most thoroughly covered football game” up to that time. There were a number of specials about the game, featuring interviews with Tom Landry, Baltimore coach Don McCafferty, and many of the key players. A local show hosted by former radio announcer Verne Lundquist was entitled “Eleven Years to Super Sunday.” It was a 30-minute show that featured a series of interviews.

TV repair shops in Dallas reported a huge surge in business during the week before the Super Bowl, but owners were not sure they would be able to repair all of the sets before the game. That meant, according to a Dallas Morning News, that owners would be forced to listen to the game on the radio, since no ordinary household had two television sets in 1971.

[I wasn’t alive just yet, but I know we didn’t have two television sets until about 1978. Not sure what the TV-per-household ratio in Dallas was then, though.]

As it turns out, the game set a record with a 39.9 Nielson rating, breaking the record set durign the fourth game of the 1963 World Series between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Coverage After the Loss

A survey of headlines after Dallas lost Super Bowl V tell a big part of the story:

Blooper Bowl a Lesson in Futility

Landry: “We Beat Ourselves”

No Cowboy Moon Over Miami

Howley Answered Critics

Regarding Howley, he remains the only player in Super Bowl history to win an MVP as the member of the losing team. He received a car given by Sport Magazine. Howley earned the award by intercepting two passes and helping to force a fumble.

The Referees’ Biggest Blown Call

Dallas led Baltimore 13-6 at the half.  Dallas kicked off to Baltimore to open the second half, but Baltimore’s Jim Duncan fumbled the ball. Richmond Flowers recovered for Dallas, setting up a drive. The Cowboys moved into position to score, but on a first-and-goal play from the 1, Duane Thomas fumbled.

The replays clearly show that Dallas center Dave Manders picked up the ball, but Balitmore’s Billy Ray Smith was screaming to referees that the Colts had recovered. The referees gave Baltimore the ball on a call that had a huge impact on the game.

Balitmore defensive tackle Bubba Smith (later of Police Academy fame) told a reporter in Beaumont several weeks later that the referees had blown the call. No kidding.

Smith retired after the game and moved to Plano. He would not admit that the referees had blown the call, but he acknowledged that he may have helped make up the referees minds. He summed up Super Bowl V with:


You can cut it 500 different ways, but when you look at it 10 years from now it will still say Baltimore 16, Dallas 13.

And the same is still true 38 years after the game. Dammit.

Super Bowl V: One to Forget in Dallas


This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys overcame all sorts of adversity just to reach Super Bowl V, which was played in Miami on January 17, 1971. The loss was still one of the most painful in team history.

[Note: I won’t say I’m speaking from experience in terms of the pain. I was born 19 days later.]

Dallas took an early 6-0 lead on two Mike Clark field goals. A fluke touchdown play in the second quarter allowed Baltimore to tie the game. A pass from Johnny Unitas tipped off both a Dallas player and a Baltimore player (who tipped it last has been the subject of a 38-year debate) and landed in the hands of tight end John Mackey. Mackey’s 75-yard touchdown was the longest in Super Bowl history for quite some time.

The Cowboys later took a 13-6 lead when Craig Morton hit Duane Thomas on a screen pass. Thomas scored from seven yards out.

Dallas held the lead until the fourth quarter, which was one of the most miserable in team history. With just over eight minutes remaining, Morton tried to hit Garrison, but the ball was tipped into the air. Safety Rick Volk intercepted the ball and returned it to the Dallas 3. Two plays later, the game was tied.

Neither team could move the ball until late in the game. Another Morton pass was tipped and intercepted, this time by linebacker Mike Curtis. The pick set up the game-winning field goal by rookie Jim O’Brien.

Here is a video clip of the field goal:

Bob Lilly famously threw his helmet across half the field after the Cowboys lost the game, 16-13. Most remember the Dallas turnovers (especially Morton’s interceptions), but the real killer for Dallas was the team’s inability to take advantage of Baltimore mistakes. The Colts turned the ball over seven times, including four fumbles.

Another big loss; another very long off-season.

More resources:

Box Score (Pro Football Reference)

Play by Play (USA Today)

Box Score (NFL.com)

DMN: Super Day Dribbles Away

YouTube: Super Bowl V Highlights

Cowboys Earn Trip to Super Bowl V with 17-10 Win over 49ers


This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

In the first of six NFC Championship Games between the Cowboys and 49ers, Dallas earned its first trip to the Super Bowl by beating San Francisco 17-10 at old Kezar Stadium.

One key to the win was the Cowboys’ real strength: the Doomsday Defense. The Cowboys forced two key turnovers– interceptions by Lee Roy Jordan and Mel Renfro. Both resulted in Dallas touchdowns.

The second key was new in 1970: the running of Duane Thomas (as well as Walt Garrison). Thomas and Garrison combined for 214 rushing yards.

In the clip below, the teams were still tied 3-3 early in the second half. San Francisco quarterback John Brodie was sacked on the previous play and tried to throw again. Jordan came up with the pick, setting up a 13-yard touchdown run by Thomas.

The Dallas Morning News said that the Jordan pick was the key play of the game.

On the next series for San Francisco, Renfro picked off a pass intended for Gene Washington. Dallas moved the ball 62 yards on the ensuing drive, thanks in part to a 49er pass interference penalty that moved the ball to the San Francisco 5. In the clip below, Craig Morton hit Garrison in the flat for a touchdown, giving Dallas a 17-3 lead.

Morton only completed 7 of 22 passes for 101 yards. However, he threw no interceptions. In three playoff games, the Cowboys managed a combined total of 225 passing yards.

Baltimore’s 27-17 win over Oakland set up the matchup for Super Bowl V in Miami.

More references:

Box Score (Pro Football Reference)

DMN: Cowboys Do It . . . In the Big One!

1970 Cowboys Post a 5-0 Playoff Win over Detroit


This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys hosted the Detroit Lions in the divisional round of the 1970 playoffs. Though Dallas managed 209 yards on the ground, it was not a day for the offense. The Cowboys held a 3-0 lead throughout most of the game.

In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys backed Detroit up to its own goalline. Linemen George Andrie, Jethro Pugh, and Larry Cole converged on Lion quarterback Greg Landry, scoring a safety for Dallas to give the Cowboys a 5-0 lead.

Detroit failed to move the ball most of the day, managing only 156 total yards. However, quarterback Bill Munson replaced Landry on the final drive of the game and completed a 39-yard pass to Earl McCullouch. The completion gave Detroit the ball at the Dallas 29.

On a third down play, though, Munson overthrew McCullough, and the ball ended up in the hands of Mel Renfro. The interception sealed the win for the Cowboys, who had to travel to San Francisco to earn the NFC title and a trip to Super Bowl V.

Here is a video clip of the post-game show for the Dallas-Detroit game. Not great quality, but it is well worth watching.

More on the game:

Box Score (Pro Football Reference)

DMN: Renfro Theft Clinches 5-0 Thriller

1970 Cowboys Rise from the Ashes to Win the NFC East

2009-04-16_214511.gifThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The 1970 Dallas Cowboys highlight film opened as follows:

History has seen the Dallas Cowboys never starve for victories, but overripe for championships.

Like the gradual changes in football climate, the Cowboys’ 1970 season unfolded shyly.

In 1970, summer’s . . . strength was worn by winter’s wind, and not until December did the Cowboys come in from the cold.

By the middle of November, it appeared that the Cowboys were finished. The St. Louis Cardinals on November 16 destroyed the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. At that point, Dallas had fallen to 5-4 and was two full games behind the Cardinals. Worse yet, St. Louis had swept the series, meaning that Dallas nearly needed a miracle to come back to win the NFC East.

It happened.

2009-04-16_215606.gifWeek 1: Dallas 17, Philadelphia 7

Dallas record: 1-0

The Cowboys showed off their grind-it-out offense against the Eagles in the opening week. Calvin Hill rushed for 117  yards on 25 carries, while Roger Staubach only threw for 115. One hundred of those yards went to Lance Rentzel, who also caught a touchdown pass.

Week 2: Dallas 28, New York Giants 10

Dallas record: 2-0

The Cowboys overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to beat the Giants in week 2. Calvin Hill and Walt Garrison scored rushing touchdowns, while Bob Hayes caught touchdown passes from Roger Staubach and receiver Lance Rentzel. An interception by Cliff Harris on the first play of the second half helped to spark the turnaround.

Week 3: St. Louis 20, Dallas 7.

Dallas record: 2-1

The Cowboys failed to score until late in the game, as Dallas lost to St. Louis, 20-7. Dallas completed only nine passes in the loss.

Week 4: Dallas 13, Atlanta 0

Dallas record: 3-1

Dallas rushed the ball 54 times for 218 yards in a shutout win over Atlanta. Starter Craig Morton only completed three of ten passes on the day for 37 yards.

This was only the second shutout in the history of the Cowboys, with the first coming against Minnesota in 1961.

Week 5: Minnesota 54, Dallas 13

Dallas record: 3-2

By the time the Cowboys blinked in the first half, they were down 34-6. The end result was the worst defeat in team history up to that point. The Vikings played like they were still a Super Bowl team. Dallas was very far away.

Calvin Hill suffered an injury against the Vikings and would be nagged by injuries for the rest of the 1970 season.

Week 6: Dallas 27, Kansas City 16

Dallas record: 4-2

Thanks to two Duane Thomas touchdowns and an 89-yard TD reception from Craig Morton to Bob Hayes, the Cowboys managed to beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs.

2009-04-16_220752.gifWeek 7: Dallas 21, Philadelphia 17

Dallas record: 5-2

The winless Eagles shut down the Dallas rushing game, forcing the Cowboys to the air. Craig Morton threw three touchdowns, including two to Lance Rentzel and one to Bob Hayes. The win allowed Dallas to keep pace with the Cardinals at 5-2.

NFC East: Midseason Standings

St. Louis 5-2
Dallas 5-2
New York Giants 4-3
Washington 4-3
Philadelphia 0-7

Week 8: New York Giants 23, Dallas 20

Dallas record: 5-3

Two touchdown passes from Craig Morton to Bob Hayes helped to give Dallas a 17-6 lead against the Giants. However, New York came back to beat the Cowboys, dropping Dallas into a second place tie with the Giants in the NFL East.

Week 9: St. Louis 38, Dallas 0

Dallas record: 5-4

It might have been the worst loss in team history. In the Cowboys’ first appearance on Monday Night Football, the Cowboys turned the ball over six times and were never really in the game. St. Louis improved to 7-2, while Dallas fell to 5-4. The season looked lost for the Cowboys.

From the DMN:

The shaky world of the Dallas Cowboys, that club which was once the
apple of pro football’s eye, came tumbling down on a cold Monday night
in the Cotton Bowl.

You remember the Cowboys, of course … those 40 outstanding individuals
without a team, which is somewhat like a man without a country.

St. Louis, heir, apparent to the Eastern Division title, stomped the
Cowboys, 38-0, as 69,233 fans gathered at the funeral. The rest of the
country interested in professional football watched in living color — So
color the Cowboys red.

Week 10: Dallas 45, Washington 21

Dallas record: 6-4

The Cowboys had a sudden rebound against the Redskins in week 10. Duane Thomas rushed for three touchdowns, and rookie Mark Washington returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score. St. Louis could only manage a tie with the Chiefs, meaning that Dallas trailed the Cardinals by a game and a half.

Here is a clip of that game:

Week 11: Dallas 16, Green Bay 3

Dallas record: 7-4

The Cowboys recorded their first win in team history over the Green Bay Packers in week 11. Dallas held Bart Starr to 89 yards passing in the win.

Week 12: Dallas 34, Washington 0

Dallas record: 8-4

The Cowboys recorded their second shutout of the season by destroying the Redskins. Walt Garrison and Dan Reeves scored two touchdowns each.

With the Cardinals (8-3-1) losing to Detroit, the Cowboys (8-4) were only a half game behind St. Louis with two games left. The Giants were also still in the picture at 8-4, meaning that the Cowboys needed to keep winning to have a shot at the NFC East title.

Week 13: Dallas 6, Cleveland 2

Dallas record: 9-4

In the last meaningful game of the Dallas-Cleveland rivalry, the Cowboys beat the Browns in the mud at Cleveland. Mike Clark’s two field goals were all that Dallas needed to pull out the 6-2 win.

A St. Louis loss dropped the Cardinals to 8-4-1, but the Giants stayed even with Dallas at 9-4.

Week 14: Dallas 52, Houston 10

Dallas record: 10-4

Dallas traveled to Houston to face the Oilers in the final week of the season, but it was no contest. Craig Morton threw five touchdown passes, including four to Bob Hayes, as the Cowboys ran away with a 52-10 win.

Both the Cardinals and the Giants lost, meaning that Dallas had clinched the NFC East title.

NFC East: Final Standings

Dallas 10-4
N.Y. Giants 9-5
St. Louis 8-5-1
Washington 6-8
Philadelphia 3-10-1

More resources:

Dallas Morning News

Pro Football Reference


More Significant Personnel Moves Shape the 1970 Cowboys


This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

One glaring omission from the post Building the 1970 Dallas Cowboys was the signing of a rookie free agent from Ouachita Baptist College in Arkansas. Until 1977, the draft continued to consist of 17 rounds, so very few rookie free agents made NFL teams, let alone became starters. Cliff Harris did a little bit more than that: six-time Pro Bowler, four All-Pro selections, NFL all-decade team for the 1970s, Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. He has been a Hall of Fame finalists and should already be there.

The defensive backfield had several changes heading into the 1970 season, and Harris was a big part of those changes. Mike Gaechter had been a mainstay on the Dallas defense for most of the 1960s, but he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the Playoff Bowl following the 1969 season. He never played again. The other safety in 1969 was Mel Renfro.

With Gaechter gone, and with a cornerback spot needing an upgrade, Tom Landry moved Renfro to play corner. Given that Renfro was an All-Pro in 1969 at safety, the move may have seemed to be an odd one, but Renfro was matched with Herb Adderley. The duo of Renfro and Adderley was much better than Cornell Green and Phil Clark. Green moved from corner to the strong safety position, and the battle for the free safety position was came down to third-round pick Charlie Waters and the rookie free agent Harris.

Harris won the job, but he had to miss half of the 1970 season due to military obligations. Waters took over and started the rest of the season, including the playoffs.

On the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line saw several changes. The most significant was the addition of Rayfield Wright at right tackle. He had played three seasons as a backup tight end, but once he became an offensive lineman, he developed into a hall-of-famer. Ralph Neely started the season at right guard, but soon took over for Tony Liscio at left tackle. The Cowboys traded John Wilbur to Los Angeles, given Blaine Nye a chance to earn the starting job at right guard once Neely moved to left tackle. Dave Manders and John Niland remained starters at center and left guard, respectively.

Building the 1970 Dallas Cowboys

duane.jpgEven though the Cowboys had a rookie-of-the-year running back named Calvin Hill returning in 1970, Dallas went for another back in the first round of the 1970 draft. The pick was an enigmatic soul named Duane Thomas.

The Cowboys have had their share of characters during the team’s history, but nobody matches Thomas in terms of bizarre behavior. Nevertheless, Thomas was instrumental in the Cowboys finally climbing the NFL mountain, so his selection was important.

Besides Thomas, the Cowboys picked up long-time starters in Charlie Waters, John Fitzgerald, Mark Washington, and Pat Toomay.

The most interesting pick was perhaps Zenon Andrusyshyn. After the Cowboys drafted him, he spent eight seasons in the Canadian Football League before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 1978. He returned to the CFL in 1979, then played in the USFL for three seasons. He finished his career after playing in Montreal in 1986. He has his own Wikipedia entry.

Margene Adkins was another CFL player, only he played in Canada prior to the Cowboys selecting him.





1 Duane Thomas RB West Texas A&M Dallas, 1970-71; San Diego,
1972; Washington, 1973-74
2 Bob Asher T Vanderbilt Dallas, 1970; Chicago,
2 Margene Adkins WR Trinity Valley Community
Dallas, 1970-71; New
Orleans, 1972; New York Jets, 1973
3 Charlie Waters DB Clemson Dallas 1970-81
3 Steve Kiner LB Tennessee Dallas 1970; New England,
1971, 1973; Houston, 1974-1978
3 Denton Fox DB Texas Tech n/a
4 John Fitzgerald C Boston College Dallas, 1971-1980
6 Pat Toomay DE Vanderbilt Dallas, 1970-74; Buffalo,
1975; Tampa Bay, 1976; Oakland, 1977-79
7 Don Abbey LB Penn State n/a
8 Jerry Dossey G Arkansas n/a
9 Zenon Andrusyshyn P UCLA Kansas City, 1978
10 Pete Athas DB Tennessee New York Giants, 1971-1974;
Cleveland, 1975; Minnesota, 1975; New Orleans, 1976
11 Ivan Southerland T Clemson n/a
12 Joe Williams RB Wyoming Dallas, 1971; New Orleans,
13 Mark Washington DB Morgan State Dallas, 1970-1978; New
England, 1979
14 Julian Martin WR North Carolina Central n/a
15 Ken DeLong TE Tennessee n/a
16 Seabern Hill HB Arizona State n/a
17 Glenn Peterson C Nebraska n/a

Grade the 1970 Cowboys Draft

My Vote: A-

This was a solid draft. The Cowboys missed out on Mel Blount (3rd round, Pittsburgh) and Jake Scott (7th round, Miami), but Dallas had more hits in the 1970 draft than in several of the previous drafts of the 1960s.

A Big Acquisition

One of the biggest acquisitions of the 1970 offseason was not through the draft. The Cowboys traded center Malcom Walker and DE Clarence Williams for future Hall of Famer Herb Adderley, who improved the Dallas secondary immediately.

How the 1970 Merger Affected Rivalries of the Dallas Cowboys

Thumbnail image for 4715.gifThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

In 1970, the Dallas Cowboys moved from the Capital Division of the old NFL to the NFC East of the now merged NFL. Three old NFL teams agreed to move to the newly-established American Football Conference to help balance the number of teams in each conference. Those teams included the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Colts.

In the new NFC East, the league placed the Cowboys in a division with the Giants, Redskins, Eagles, and Cardinals. Because of the shifting, rivalries between Dallas and some clubs faded, while others heated up. Here is a summary of those rivalries:

Division Rivalries

Cowboys vs. Redskins

Because of the problems between Clint Murchison and George Preston Marshall prior to the league accepting the Cowboys, Washington and Dallas had a rivalry from day one. The teams were both part of the Capital Division and had faced each other a total of 19 times during the 1960s.

Edge: Dallas. The Cowboys held a 10-7-2 edge over Washington heading into the 1970s, including a four-game winning streak.

Cowboys vs. Giants

Due to Tom Landry’s background with the Giants, New York was another early rivalry. The Giants had the early edge, winning five of the first eight matchups. However, Dallas won eight of the last nine games between the teams.

Edge: Dallas. The Cowboys had a 9-6-2 record against New York.

Cowboys vs. Eagles

Between 1960 and 1965, the Eagles went 8-2 against Dallas. Between 1966 and 1969, Dallas went 7-2, including five straight heading into the 1970 season.

Edge: Even. Although the Eagles had a 10-9 record against the Cowboys, most of the wins came when the Cowboys were still a young team. Dallas did not lose to the Eagles after the merge until 1973.

Cowboys vs. Cardinals

The Cardinals gave the Cowboys fits for several years. St. Louis won eight of the first ten games between the squads between 1960 and 1965. The Cowboys did better in later years, though.

Edge: Even. St. Louis had an 8-7-1 record against Dallas during the 1960s. More importantly, the Cardinals had dealt Dallas some huge losses during the middle part of the decade. The Cowboys struck back, though, winning four of last five games.

Faded Rivalries

Cowboys vs. Browns

The Cowboys and Browns faced each other 19 times during the 1960s, including playoff games. Dallas won only five of those games. Dallas and Cleveland faced off in an important matchup in 1970, but the rivalry has since died. Since 1970, the teams have played only nine times.

Cowboys vs. Steelers

This rivalry reignited thanks to two great Super Bowls. During the 1960s, the teams faced each other 16 times, with the Cowboys winning nine. After the merge, the teams played only once before meeting in Super Bowl X.

Cowboys vs. Saints

The Cowboys and Saints had both been in the Capital Division, so they played each other five times during the latter part of the 1960s. Dallas won all five. Despite being relatively close to one another geographically, this rivalry never evolved. After the Saints moved to the NFC West, the teams did not play regularly.

Cowboys vs. Colts

The Cowboys and Colts did not have much of a rivalry when the Colts played on the old NFL. Dallas faced Baltimore only three times during the 1960s (or four by including the Playoff Bowl of 1965). The most memorable game between the clubs came after the merge in 1970, when the teams met in Super Bowl V.