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.

 

50 Seasons Series: The Word on Tom Landry in 1962

2009-02-18_215108.gifThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

Through the first three years of his tenure as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry only managed an overall regular season record of 9-28-3. Though the team had improved in both 1961 and 1962, it must have been difficult for Dallas fans to watch Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers win two consecutive NFL titles. Lombardi was, of course, an  assistant with the New York Giants at the same time as Landry, and the two men were already being compared early in their head coaching careers.

Following the end of the regular season in 1962, the Dallas Morning News ran a short piece entitled “Landry a Perfectionist.” The lead sentence made the comparison between Landry and Lombardi.

The criticism that has been aimed at [Tom] Landry is that he is unemotional. Some people want him to be a fiery, passionate leader like Lombardi. They figure that anybody who’s winning is bound to have the proper outlook.

Former Giant coach Jim Lee Howell sort of came to Landry’s defense.

“Tom is a warm person,” said Howell, “but not with the players. He gets impatient with them. He doesn’t pat them on the back. He expects them to go out their and do their jobs. . . .

“Tom’s a perfectionist, and that’s what you want. Paul Brown is the cold type, too, and he did plenty of winning when he had the horses.

Dallas fans were going to need more patience in 1963. We will get started on that season tomorrow.

Here are a few more photos from the 1962 season.

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50 Seasons Series: Don Perkins’ Finest Season

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

Unlike Frank Clarke, running back Don Perkins is still widely remembered as one of the great early members of the Dallas Cowboys, thanks largely to Perkins’ induction in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.

Perkins’ career numbers– 6,217 yards on 1,500 carries with 42 touchdowns– are weak in comparison with the likes of Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, but at the time of Perkins’ retirement, he ranked fifth on the all-time rushing list.

His best season was 1962, which was his second in the league. He was steady all season, gaining 945 yards on 222 carries with seven touchdowns. Although he made the Pro Bowl six times during his career, including the 1962 Pro Bowl, the 1962 season marked the only time in which he was named first-team all-pro by the Associated Press. He was also named first-team all-NFL by the Newspaper Enterprise Association, and he made the second-team all-NFL team named by UPI.

Other Pro Bowlers

Perkins was among five members of the Cowboys who were named to the Pro Bowl in 1962. The others included the following:

  • Eddie LeBaron: LeBaron lost his starting job to Don Meredith in 1962, but thanks to LeBaron’s 16 TD passes and 1,436 yards, he made the Pro Bowl that year. This marked his fourth, and last, Pro Bowl appearance.
  • Don Bishop: After missing the Pro Bowl in 1961 (having picked off eight passes that season), Bishop earned the honor in 1962 by recording six interceptions. He also scored his lone career touchdown in 1962, returning  a pick 84 yards in a loss to St. Louis.
  • Bob Lilly: Lilly earned the first of his 11 Pro Bowl berths in 1962, a season during which he still played defensive end. Better years were yet to come, though.
  • Jerry Tubbs: Tubbs was one of the first true leaders on the Cowboys, and he earned his only career Pro Bowl honor in 1962. As a middle linebacker, he picked off four passes.

One of Those Obscure Players

Fullback Amos Marsh is one of those names that has become obscure, but he had a good season as the starting fullback in 1962. He gained 802 yards on only 144 carries, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. His production declined after that year, but his 1962 season is worth remembering.

50 Seasons Series: The First Great Individual Season by a Dallas Cowboy

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

Although the Cowboys had Pro Bowl players in 1960 and 1961, the player who produced the first great individual performance in a season was receiver Frank Clarke.

As a member of the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1959, Clarke only caught a total of 10 passes. He did not make an immediate impression in Dallas either, catching only nine passes in 1960. However, he moved into the starting role in 1961 and finished the season with 919 yards.

Clarke’s opening-day performance against the Washington Redskins was one for the ages. His ten-reception, 241-yard performance remains the best opening day performance of any receiver during the modern era of pro football. During the course of the first six games of the 1962 season, Clarke continued his fast past, catching a touchdown in each game and running his total up to 11. At the time, Clarke was well on pace to break the NFL record for touchdowns in a season, which was then 17 (tied by Don Hutson in 1942 and “Crazy Legs” Hirsch in 1951, along with Bill Groman of the AFL in 1961).

Clarke slowed down in the second half of the ’62 season, catching only three touchdowns in the final eight games. He recorded his fourth 100-yard performance in the season finale against the Giants, though, enough to give Clarke 1,043 yards for the season on 47 receptions, a 22.2-yard average. Clarke’s 14 touchdowns remained a Dallas record until 2007, when Terrell Owens recorded 15.

In 2008, the Dallas Morning News ran a story about Clarke’s current career as a nanny.

50 Seasons Series: 1962 Regular Season, Part 2

scan0007.jpgThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

During the second half of the 1962 season, the Cowboys had two huge wins but suffered five losses that ended the team’s chance to finish at or above .500. The Cowboys continued to struggle against the St. Louis Cardinals, but Dallas finally found a way to beat the Cleveland Browns.

Week 8: Dallas 38, Washington 10

Eddie LeBaron and Don Meredith alternated at quarterback and combined for four touchdowns, as the Cowboys routed the Redskins, 38-10. Five different Cowboys scored touchdowns, including Amos Marsh, Amos Bullocks, J.W. Lockett, Frank Clarke, and Lee Folkins. The win gave Dallas a 4-3-1 record, good enough for third place in the Eastern Division.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Thrash Skins | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 9: New York Giants 41, Dallas 10

The Cowboys began a three-game slide with a blowout loss to the Giants. Y.A. Tittle completed 20 of 29 for 315 yards and three touchdowns in the New York win. Frank Gifford and Del Shofner combined to score five touchdowns. Dallas did not score until the team trailed 27-0 in the third quarter.

Dallas Morning News: Tittle, Giants Bomb Cowboys, 41 to 10 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 10: Chicago 34, Dallas 33

Roger LeClerc kicked a 15-yard field goal with 31 seconds left, giving Chicago a 34-33 win over Dallas in week 10. Dallas led most of the game, taking a 26-17 lead into the fourth quarter thanks in part to a touchdown pass from Don Meredith to Billy Howton. After Chicago cut the lead to two, Amos Bullocks scored on a 73-yard run, giving the Cowboys a 33-24 lead with nine minutes left in the game. However, the Bears scored twice thereafter, and the LeClerc field goal gave Chicago the win.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Fall, 34-33 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 11: Philadelphia 28, Dallas 14

Sonny Jurgensen threw for 342 yards on only 13 completions, as the Eagles beat the Cowboys 28-14. Amos Marsh scored on touchdown runs for the Cowboys in the second and third quarters, cutting the Eagle lead to 21-14. However, Timmy Brown scored on a 22-yard touchdown run with four minutes remaining, securing the win for Philadelphia.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Stumble | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 12: Dallas 45, Cleveland 21

In perhaps the best game the Cowboys played during their first six years of existence, the Cowboys routed the Cleveland Browns, 45-21, in week 12 of the 1962 season. Five different Cowboys scored a total of six touchdowns for the Cowboys, who pulled away from the Browns after leading Cleveland 17-14 at the half. The win gave Dallas a 5-6-1 record, meaning that the team still had a shot at a .500 record if the Cowboys could win their last two.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Crumble Browns, 45-21 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 13: St. Louis 52, Dallas 20

Dallas jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Cardinals in week 13, but the Cowboys had no answer for Charley Johnson. The second-year quarterback threw for five touchdowns and ran for another, as St. Louis destroyed Dallas, 52-20. Dallas turned the ball over five times in the loss, which dropped the team’s record to 5-7-1.

Dallas Morning News: Johnson’s 5 TD Shots Freeze Cowboys, 52-20 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 14: New York Giants 41, Dallas 31

The Cowboys scored more than 30 points for the seventh time during the 1962 season, but the defense continued to struggle against the Giants in the season finale. Y.A. Tittle threw for 341 yards and six touchdowns in the win. With 33 touchdown passes that year, Tittle broke the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season, breaking the record set by Johnny Unitas and Sonny Jurgensen.

Frank Clarke ended the season on a high note, catching five passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. He became the first receiver in team history to gain more than 1,000 yards receiving and also set a team mark with 14 touchdown receptions.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Bow, 41-31, as Tittle Sets Record | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

50 Seasons Series: 1962 Regular Season, Part 1

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

After recording four wins in 1961, the Cowboys entered the 1962 season with some optimism. The team had one more year of experience with Tom Landry’s complex offensive and defensive systems, and the roster continued to become more talented.

The big news during the offseason, though, was the insertion of Don Meredith as the team’s primary starter at quarterback. Eddie LeBaron had been hired at the Wynne Law Firm (which was the law firm of Bedford Wynne’s father, Angus Sr.) in Dallas and did not have a contract until the summer before the season started. The team resigned LeBaron with the hope that he could serve as an insurance policy for Meredith, but as it turned out, LeBaron earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in his final season as a pro.

Week 1: Dallas 35, Washington 35

Sam Baker missed a field goal with 13 seconds to play, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a tie against the Redskins in the first week of the 1962 season. Receiver Frank Clarke had a huge game, catching 10 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. Meredith and LeBaron combined for 351 passing yards, though LeBaron turned out to be the more effective of the two.The Dallas defense had trouble stopping Bobby Mitchell, the former Brown who had been traded to Washington.

Dallas Morning News: Redskins Fight Cowboys to 35-35 Tie | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 2: Pittsburgh 30, Dallas 28

With the Cowboys trailing 21-14 in the third quarter, LeBaron hit Clarke on what appeared to be a 99-yard touchdown pass. However, referees called the Cowboys for holding in the end zone, negating the touchdown and resulting in a safety. Though the Cowboys were able to fight back with two fourth quarter touchdowns, the two points from the safety turned out to be the margin of victory for the Steelers.

Dallas Morning News: Rarely-Called Safety Beats Cowboys | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 3: Dallas 27, Los Angeles 17

Dallas came into its game with the Rams as 11-point underdogs. A strong first half, however, gave Dallas a 10-3 lead, and then LeBaron went to work. He hit running back Amos Marsh on an 85-yard catch-and-run, and then he found Clarke for a 66-yard score. Dallas had a strong game on the ground, rushing for 177 yards.

Dallas Morning News: LeBaron’s Bombs Upset Rams | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 4: Cleveland 19, Dallas 10

For the fourth consecutive game, Clarke caught a touchdown pass, but it was not enough to beat the Browns. Jim Brown scored two touchdowns, including a 50-yard TD reception in the third quarter, as Dallas fell to Cleveland, 19-10.

Dallas Morning News: Cleveland Trims Cowboys, 19 to 10 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 5: Dallas 41, Philadelphia 19

The Cowboys made history on October 14, 1962 when the team scored two touchdowns of more than spanned more than 100 yards each. Amos Marsh scored on a 101-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter, giving Dallas a 34-12 lead. After the Eagles cut the lead to 34-19, they drove again into Dallas territory. However, safety Mike Gaetcher (shown in the photo above) picked off King Hill’s pass and returned it for a touchdown.

Clarke had yet another big day, catching four passes for 118 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

Dallas Morning News: Bird Season Opens for Cowboys, 41-19 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 6: Dallas 42, Pittsburgh 27

LeBaron became the first quarterback in team history to throw for five touchdown passes, as the Cowboys dominated the Steelers, 42-27. Three of those touchdowns went to Clarke. Although the offense came up big, the defense made the plays it needed to make, forcing four Steeler turnovers.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Jolt Steelers, 42-27 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 7: St. Louis 28, Dallas 24

Cornerback Don Bishop recovered a fumble 84 yards for a touchdown to give Dallas a 17-14 lead in the third quarter. However, the Cowboys were not able to hang on to the lead. St. Louis safety Larry Wilson returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown later in the third quarter, and the Cardinals never relinquished the lead. The loss ruined a good day by Don Perkins, who rushed for 137 yards on 24 carries.

Dallas Morning News: Fast-Shuffling Cards Ace Out Dallas, 28-24

| Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

First Half Synopsis

During the 1961 season, the Cowboys never scored more than 30 points. In fact, the only time the team had ever scored that many points was when Dallas tied New York 31-31 in 1960. It was a different story in 1962, when Dallas scored more than 30 points three times in the first seven games, including back-to-back 40-point efforts.

At 3-3-1, the Cowboys were in fourth place in the Eastern Conference of the NFL.

50 Seasons Series: Building the 1962 Dallas Cowboys

roster_full_1962.jpgThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Dallas Cowboys entered the offseason in 1962 hoping to continue to improve the talent on their roster. To a large extent, though, the 1962 roster ended up looking very much like the 1961 version.

1962 Draft

The Dallas Cowboys lost several of their early draft picks thanks to trades to obtain quarterback Don Meredith and running back Don Perkins. Most of the picks the Cowboys did make were forgettable. In fact, only five out of the team’s fifteen picks ever played for the Cowboys.

Round Player Position/College Career
2 Sonny Gibbs QB 1964, Detroit Lions
3 Bobby Plummer T n/a
6 Donnie Davis WR 1962, Dallas Cowboys; 1970,
Houston Oilers
6 George Andrie DE 1962-1972, Dallas Cowboys
8 Ken Tureaud DB n/a
10 John Longmeyer G n/a
11 Larry Hudas E n/a
13 Bob Moses E n/a
14 Harold Hayes LB 1963-1967, Dallas Cowboys;
1968-1969, San Francisco 49ers
15 Guy Reese DT 1962-1963, Dallas Cowboys;
1964-1965, Baltimore Colts; 1966, Atlanta Falcons
16 Bob Johnston T n/a
17 Ray Jacobs DT 1963-1966, Denver Broncos;
1967-1968, Miami Dolphins; 1969, Boston Patriots
18 Dave Cloutier DB 1964, Boston Patriots
19 Paul Holmes T n/a
20 Amos Bullocks HB 1962-1964, Dallas Cowboys;
1966, Pittsburgh Steelers

Andrie was, of course, the best of this bunch. He played 11 seasons in Dallas, earning five Pro Bowl selections and being named All-Pro once. He was the first great pass-rushing defensive end in team history. Unofficially, he was credited with 97 career sacks (known then as quarterback traps), including 18.5 in 1966.

The highest draft picks turned out to be disappointments. Quarterback Sonny Gibbs and lineman Bobby Plummer played at local Texas Christian University, but neither made the squad. The team had better luck with late round picks Harold Hayes, Guy Reese, and Amos Bullocks, each of whom was serviceable.

Poll: Grade the 1962 Draft

 

Players the Cowboys Missed

Although the Cowboys did not have a first-round pick in 1962, they had the opportunity to pick up some quality players in the draft. Here are a few, excluding those who played primarily in the AFL:

  • DB Bennie McRae (2nd round, Chicago): Played 10 seasons in the league and recorded 27 total interceptions.
  • LB Roy Winston (4th round, Minnesota): 13 years as a starter with the Vikings.
  • K Jim Bakken (7th round, L.A. Rams): Tom Landry and company would have never taken a kicker in the draft, but Bakken could have solved many of the kicking problems during the 1960s. He made four Pro Bowls.
  • DT Fred Miller (7th round, Baltimore): Three Pro Bowls in 10 years with the Colts.
  • WR Gary Ballman (8th round, Pittsburgh): Two Pro Bowls.
  • RB Ernie Green (14th round, Green Bay): Green was a backup for the Cleveland Browns, and he eventually replaced the great Jim Brown after Brown retired early.

Trades

The Cowboys made one big trade during the 1962 offseason. In a three-team deal, Dallas sent tight end Dick Bielski to Baltimore. The Colts then sent a high draft pick to St. Louis, and in return, the Cardinals sent safety Jerry Norton to the Cowboys. Dallas then traded a draft pick to Green Bay to pick up tight end Lee Folkins, who replaced Bielski.

The trade for Norton was largely a disappointment. Norton had made five consecutive Pro Bowls prior to joining the Cowboys, but that streak came to an end in 1962 with Dallas. The Cowboys may have misused him, for he was a very good punter. When Dallas traded him to Green Bay, he became a full-time punter and averaged about 43 yards per punt.

On the other hand, Folkins proved to be more productive as a tight end than Bielski, and Folkins made the Pro Bowl with the Cowboys following the 1963 season.

Other Personnel Moves

One of the biggest additions to the 1962 Cowboys was rookie free agent safety Mike Gaechter, who was a solid contributor on the Cowboys throughout the rest of the 1960s. Dallas also picked up a few players off of waivers, and two of these players started for the Cowboys in 1962. This included guard Dale Memmelaar and defensive tackle John Meyers.

Two players for the 1962 Cowboys eventually became head coaches in the NFL:

The first was Dick Nolan, who was first hired as a coach for the Cowboys, but due to injuries, he was forced to suit up. The 1962 season was his last as a player, but he remained with the team as a coach until 1968.

The other player was tackle Monte Clark, whom the Cowboys picked up via trade with San Francisco early in the 1962 season. Clark played one season in Dallas before the Cowboys traded him to Cleveland. He later became the head coach of the 49ers for one season and then led the Detroit Lions for seven years.

50 Seasons Series: 1960 vs. 1961 for the Dallas Cowboys

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

Prior to the 1961 season, Tom Landry wrote a piece for the Dallas Morning News. In the piece, he wrote:

I believe we’ll win several games; I believe we’ll be a much-improved team over 1960; and I believe the 1961 season will bring Dallas an exciting, sound, and representative National Football League team.

The Cowboys indeed improved in nearly every category in 1961 compared with the team’s inaugural season of 1960. The table below shows the difference in several statistical categories.

Category


1960 (Rank)

1961 (Rank)

Points/Game

14.8 (13/13)

16.9 (13/14)

Points Allowed

30.8 (13/13)

27.1 (12/14)

Total Offense

3153 yds.
(12/13)

4480 yds.
(8/14)

Pass Offense

2104 yds.
(5/13)

163-354

17 TD, 23 Int.

2661 yds.
(6/14)

215-422

23 TD, 27 Int.

Rush Offense

1049 yds.
(13/13)

312 att., 6 TD

1819 yds.
(10/14)

416 att., 6 TD

Total Defense

4372 yds.
(13/13)

4592 yds.
(10/14)

Pass Defense

2130 yds.
(8/13)

146-293

22 TD, 15 Int.

2431 yds.
(7/14)

168-326

21 TD, 25 Int.

Rush Defense

2242 (13/13)

447 att., 20
TD

2161 (12/14)

454 att., 20 TD

Turnovers

50 (13/13)

48 (13/14)

Turnovers
Caused

26 (12/13)

43 (6/14)

Turnover Ratio

-24 (13/13)

-5 (10/14)

Quarterbacks

After starting only one game in 1960, Don Meredith split duties with Eddie LeBaron (shown in the photo above along with owner Clint Murchison, Jr.). Each quarterback technically won two games as starters, though coach Tom Landry tended to alternate both in the same game. LeBaron had slightly better statistics, finishing with a passer rating of 66.7 compared with Meredith’s 63.0 rating. Both were much better than LeBaron’s 53.5 rating posted in 1960.

Running Backs

The biggest offensive addition to the 1961 Cowboys was Don Perkins, who missed all of the 1960 season with an injury.  Perkins rushed for 815 yards on 200 carries, which was not far from the entire team’s 12-game total of 1049 yards in 1960. He was named to the Pro Bowl after his first season. Fullbacks Amos Marsh (379 yards) and J.W. Lockett (280 yards plus two receiving touchdowns) also contributed.

After leading the team in rushing in 1960, L.G. Dupre had only 60 yards in 1961.

Receivers

Tight end Jim Doran could not duplicate his Pro Bowl season of 1960, but others stepped up. Billy Howton caught a career-high 56 passes, while Frank Clarke gained 919 yards through the air and scored nine touchdowns. Tight end Dick Bielski was another solid contributor, catching 26 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns, which earned him a Pro Bowl berth. Bielski was also a good fill-in kicker, making six of nine field goals during the season.

Fred Dugan caught 29 passes for 461 yards for the Cowboys in 1960. He was traded to the Redskins in the offseason, and Washington converted him to a tight end. During the 1961 season, he caught 53 passes for 817 yards and four touchdowns, including a touchdown against Dallas.

Offensive Line

The offensive line saw a number of changes between 1960 and 1961. These included:

  • Mike Connelly moved into the starting center spot, replacing John Houser.
  • Houser started several games at both left guard and right tackle in 1961.
  • Paul Dickson was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 1961, where he was converted to a defensive lineman. He played 11 years in the league after leaving Dallas.
  • Andy Cvercko started several games at left guard. Dallas picked him up from Green Bay before the 1961 season.
  • Rookie Charlie Granger started a number of games at right tackle.

The two returning starters from 1960 included left tackle Bob Fry and right guard Mike Falls. The 1961 season, however, was Falls’ last.

Defense

The 1961 defense featured several new starters. The biggest name was, of course, rookie Bob Lilly, but he struggled as a defensive end during his rookie season. Another big pickup was linebacker Chuck Howley, who was acquired via trade from Chicago. In his first season in Dallas, Howley picked off three passes. Veteran linebacker Jerry Tubbs also picked off three passes.

In the interception department, though, nobody was bigger in 1961 than Don Bishop. He intercepted eight passes, which trailed league leaders Dick Lynch by only one. Safety Dicky Moegle, who was acquired from Pittsburgh during the offseason, intercepted two passes.

Special Teams

Allen Green replaced both Fred Cone and Dave Sherer as both kicker and punter. He only managed to make five of 15 field goals, though, which was far worse than Bielski. Green’s punting average of 36.7 was poor as well.

50 Seasons Series: 1961 Regular Season, Part 2

bobbin-head-doll.jpgThis post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

After a promising 4-3 start, the Cowboys entered into the second half of the 1961 season ready to face the 3-4 St. Louis Cardinals. The loss to St. Louis set in motion a downward slide, as Dallas finished the season at 0-6-1.

Week 8: St. Louis 31, Dallas 17

St. Louis defensive back Billy Stacy picked off two Eddie LeBaron passes and returned both for touchdowns, as the Cardinals jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead. Two touchdown passes from Eddie LeBaron to Frank Clarke closed the gap to 21-17, but the Cardinals put the game away with 10 fourth quarter points.

Dallas Morning News: Cards Intercept Five, Spank Cowboys, 31-17 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 9: Pittsburgh 37, Dallas  7

The Steelers avenged their week 2 loss to the Cowboys by routing Dallas 37-7 in week 9. The Cowboys only trailed 10-7 in the second quarter, thanks to a touchdown run by Don Perkins, but Dallas lost both Perkins and fullback Amos Marsh in the second half. The offense struggled for the rest of the way, as Pittsburgh scored 17 second half points. Former Cowboy Bill Butler returned an interception 71 yards in the third quarter. The Cowboys managed only 185 yards in total offense.

Dallas Morning News: Sad Day in Steel City for Cowboys, 37-7 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 10: Dallas 28, Washington 28

Eddie LeBaron and Don Meredith combined for three touchdown passes against the Redskins in week 10, but the Cowboys were only able to rally for a tie. Dallas overcame a 21-7 halftime deficit but trailed 28-21 in the fourth quarter due to a Norm Snead run. But LeBaron hit Dick Bielski on a three-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Dallas had a shot to win at the end of regulation, but a late holding penalty put the ball out of field goal range.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys, Skins Tie  | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 11: Philadelphia 35, Dallas 13

Quarterback  Sonny Jurgenson threw four first-half touchdowns, including two to Tommy McDonald, as the Eagles routed the Cowboys, 35-13. Billy Howton caught 11 passes for 102 yards in the loss, which was one of the lone highlights for the Cowboys in this game. The loss dropped Dallas to 4-6-1.

Dallas Morning News: Eagles Demolish Cowboys, 35-13 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 12: Cleveland 38, Dallas 17

Running back Bobby Mitchell again proved too much for the Cowboys as he gained 140 yards on only 12 carries in a 38-17 Cleveland route. It was the final home game for the Cowboys, and the crowd got to see Don Perkins’ second 100-yard rushing performance of his young career.

Dallas Morning News: Browns Dump Cowboys

| Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 13: St. Louis 31, Dallas 13

Dallas jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half at St. Louis, but the Cowboys gave up 31 unanswered points in a 31-13 blowout loss to the Cardinals. The Cowboys manged 110 yards on the ground but completed only six of 16 passes for 49 yards while the Cardinals managed 282.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Frozen By Cards | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 14: Washington 34, Dallas 24

The Redskins’ only win of 1960 came against the Cowboys in week 2, and Washington did not win another until the week 14 matchup with Dallas at Washington. Dallas put on an aerial circus, as Clarke scored on touchdown passes of 80 and 66 yards. However, Washington’s Dick James rushed for four touchdowns, including three in the third quarter alone, and the Redskins built an insurmountable 34-17 lead. A late Dallas touchdown closed the gap, but it was not enough.

Dallas Morning News: Redskins Whip Friendly Cowboys, 34-24 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Final Synopsis of the 1961 Regular Season

The Cowboys’ 4-3 start was their best until the 1966 season, so the end of the 1961 season must have been frustrating. The good news during the season was the emergence of Don Perkins (815 rushing yards) and Frank Clarke (919 receiving yards), along with strong play by Billy Howton (a career-high 56 receptions).

50 Seasons Series: 1961 Regular Season, Part 1

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

Unlike the 1960 season, the 1961 season for the Dallas Cowboys started very well, with Dallas winning three of their first four games. With the addition of the Minnesota Vikings as the 14th franchise in the NFL, the Cowboys moved to the NFL’s Eastern Division. Due to this change in alignment, the Cowboys faced the Giants, Eagles, Browns, Cardinals, Steelers, and Redskins twice.

The other change to the 1961 schedule was that teams played 14 games instead of 12.

Week 1: Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 24

The Cowboys opened the 1961 season against the Steelers, against whom the Cowboys had lost their season opener in 1960. The results were quite different, however. The Steelers had little difficulty stopping quarterback Don Meredith, but Pittsburgh had no answer for Eddie LeBaron. The veteran quarterback came off the bench to lead Dallas to 10 points in the final minute of the game, aided by a Jerry Tubbs interception late in the game. Allen Green’s 27-yard field goal gave the Cowboys their first win in franchise history.

Billy Howton recorded his first 100-yard receiving game as a Cowboy, catching six passes for 138 yards.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Win, 27-24, in Final Second | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 2: Dallas 21, Minnesota 7

Don Perkins, who missed all of the 1960 season with an injury, rushed for 107 yards against the upstart Minnesota Vikings. Rookie fullback Amos Marsh scored two touchdowns, including a 20-yard pass from Don Meredith in the fourth quarter, putting the game away. With the win, the team that had gone winless in 1960 improved to 2-0.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Defeat Minnesota, 21-7 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 3: Cleveland 25, Dallas 7

The Cowboys faced a solid opponent in the Cleveland Browns in week 3 of the 1961 season, and the Dallas struggled on defense against the Browns’ rushing attack. On a rain-soaked, muddy field in Cleveland, the Browns gained 216 yards on 41 attempts and held Dallas without a score until the fourth quarter.

Dallas Morning News: Browns Bottle Cowboys | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 4: Dallas 28, Minnesota 0

The Cowboys faced the Vikings for the second time in three weeks and beat Minnesota more handily than in the week 2 matchup. Dallas held Minnesota to 183 total yards in total offense and forced five turnovers. Frank Clarke showed his big-play capability, catching two touchdown passes. With the 28-0 win, the Cowboys posted their first shutout in team history.

Dallas Morning News: Cowboys Blast Vikings | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 5: N.Y. Giants 31, Dallas 10

The Cowboys looked strong early in their week 5 matchup with the Giants, jumping out to a 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass from Don Meredith to newly-acquired fullback J.W. Lockett.  The teams thereafter fought to a 10-10 tie at halftime. The Giants took a 17-10 lead in the third quarter, but the Cowboys drove deep into Giant territory. LeBaron tried to get a pass to Jim Doran, but Giant Jim Patton intercepted the pass and returned it 101 yards for a touchdown. The score gave New York a 24-10 lead, and Dallas did not score again. The teams combined for 13 turnovers, including seven by the Cowboys.

Dallas Morning News: 101-Yard Interception Helps Trip Cowboys | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 6: Philadelphia 43, Dallas 7

The running back legion of Billy Barnes, Ted Dean, Tim Brown and Clarence Peaks  combined for 289 yards as the Eagles routed the Cowboys. The Cowboys did not manage to score until the third quarter on a five-yard pass from Meredith to Lockett, and at that point, Dallas still trailed 22-7. With the loss, the Cowboys fell to .500 at 3-3.

Dallas Morning News: Eagles Bombard Cowboys, 43 to 7 | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Week 7: Dallas 17, N.Y. Giants 16

The Cowboys were 13 1/2-point underdogs when they traveled to Yankee Stadium for a rematch with the Giants in week 7. Tom Landry decided to go with LeBaron at quarterback rather than Meredith, who had played the entire game against the Giants in week 5. The Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead thanks to two LeBaron touchdown passes to Clarke and Dick Bielski. However, the Giants came back, and thanks to three Pat Summerall field goals, New York held a 16-14 lead late in the game. With a little more than a minute to play, though, Allen Green hit a 32-yard field goal, giving Dallas a 17-16 upset win.

Dallas Morning News: A Big Point (17-16) For the Cowboys | Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)

Synopsis of the First Half of the 1961 Season

The Cowboys’ 1961 schedule certainly helped their strong showing in the first half of the 1961 season, but few could be disappointed with the 4-3 start. Like the tie against New York in 1960, the win over the Giants at Yankee Stadium proved to be the big highlight of the 1961 season.

Coming Up

The Cowboys struggled during the final seven games of the 1961 season, managing no wins and only one tie.

50 Seasons Series: The Cowboys’ First Collegiate Draft

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

The Cowboys did not have the opportunity to participate in the draft held at the end of the 1959 NFL season, so the collegiate draft held on December 28 and 29, 1960 was the team’s first.

The team had previously traded its first- and sixth-round picks to Washington to pick up quarterback Eddie LeBaron. However, the team was able to acquire the 13th pick of the first round, which was Cleveland’s position.

The first round that year was extraordinarily stacked. Four of the 14 players selected were eventually elected to the Hall of Fame. This included tight end Mike Ditka (selected by Chicago), defensive back Jimmy Johnson (selected by San Francisco), defensive back Herb Adderley (selected by Green Bay), and defensive tackle Bob Lilly (selected by Dallas). Ditka and Adderley eventually joined the Cowboys, as they teamed up with Lilly to help Dallas win Super Bowl VI.

This draft is remembered, of course, for Lilly. He was a concensus All-American at TCU, and both the Cowboys and the Dallas Texans took him in the drafts that year.

The Cowboys’ draft would have been outstanding if all of the draft picks had played for the Cowboys. Two of the first three picks- E.J. Holub and Stew Barber- played in the AFL, and both went to the AFL Pro Bowl multiple times. Dallas also selected Billy Shaw, who had a Hall of Fame career with the Buffalo Bills.

Tackle Don Talbert (Texas), the Cowboys’ eighth round pick, played three seasons with the Cowboys, though they were scattered over the course of nearly a decade. He played for Dallas in 1962, 1965, and 1971. He played for the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints from 1966 to 1970.

The other picks who stayed on the team were not well known. This included receiver Sonny Davis, end Glenn Gregory, and center Lynn Hoyem. None of the three ever developed into a starter, in Dallas or otherwise.

The table below shows the full results of the 1961 draft.

Results of the 1961 NFL Draft for the Dallas Cowboys.

Held Dec. 28-29, 1960.

No.
Player
Pos.
Experience
1a Traded in 1960 to Washington for Eddie LeBaron
1b Bob Lilly DT Dallas Cowboys, 1961-74.
2 E.J. Holub (went to Dallas of the AFL) LB Dallas Texans, 1961-62; Kansas City Chiefs, 1963-70.
3 Stew Barber (went to Buffalo of the AFL) G Buffalo Bills, 1961-69.
4 Arnold Allen “Sonny” Davis WR Dallas Cowboys, 1961
5 Traded to San Francisco for Gene Babb
6 Traded along with first round choice to Washington for LeBaron
7 Art Gilmore HB DNP
8 Don Talbert T Dallas Cowboys, 1962, 1965, 1971, Atlanta Falcons, 1966-68; New Orleans Saints, 1969-70,
9 Glynn Gregory HB Dallas Cowboys, 1961-62.
10 Traded to Green Bay for Fred Cone
11 Norris Stevenson HB DNP
12 Lowndes Shingler QB DNP
13 Don Goodman HB DNP
14 Bill Shaw (went to Buffalo of the AFL) G Buffalo Bills, 1961-69.
15 Julius Varnado (went to AFL) T DNP?
16 Jerry Steffen HB DNP
17 Everett Cloud HB DNP
18 Randy Williams HB DNP
19 Lynn Hoyem C Dallas Cowboys, 1962-63; Philadelphia Eagles, 1964-67.
20 Jerry Morgan QB DNP

Players the Cowboys Missed

In addition to the players the Cowboys lost to the AFL, there were other players Dallas could have taken during the 20-round (!) 1961 draft. Excluding those who played for the AFL, here are some notable names:

  • LB Myron Pottios, 2nd round, Pittsburgh: 3 Pro Bowls
  • FB Bill Brown, 2nd round, Chicago: 4 Pro Bowls with Minnesota
  • QB Fran Tarkenton, 3rd round, Minnesota: Inducted into the Hall of Fame
  • Pat Fischer, 17th round, St. Louis: 3 Pro Bowls with the Cardinals and Redskins.

Grade This Draft

Here is your chance to grade the 1961 draft for the Dallas Cowboys:

My Grade: B

I originally gave this draft a low score, since it yielded so few quality players other than Lilly. However, Lilly’s selection alone is worth some points, and had some of the other players stuck with the NFL instead of the AFL, this draft could have been great.