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Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from October 26, 1985

Glen Titensor: The Cowboy Nobody Knows

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on October 26, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Did Tex Originally Have a Timetable for Success?

One reader asked if Tex Schramm had a timetable for success when he took over as the Cowboys’ general manager in 1959. His response:

I had no timetable, but I had confidence that we would eventually be successful. The methods and philosophies I had learned during my ten years with the Los Angeles Rams had provided me with what I felt was a pretty good formula for success. And I had the opportunity to look at the operations of other NFL teams during the three years I spent with CBS. Probably those three years were very important because they enabled me to step back from being involved in just one pro football operation and judge the things others were doing.

Schramm also noted the importance of the scouting system and the use of computers.

Cowboys Blow Game at Philadelphia

The Cowboys had been on a roll when they traveled to Philadelphia for a week 7 matchup. The 5-1 Cowboys held a 14-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter against the 3-3 Eagles, but Philadelphia scored twice in the final quarter to pull out a 16-14 win. Ron Jaworski’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Jackson proved to be the game-winner. Jaworski finished with 380 passing yards.

Gary Hogeboom filled in for the injured Danny White. Tom Landry later said that White could have played but that the team didn’t want to take a chance with White’s injured ribs.

Dorsett Chases Payton and Brown

The player many thought might end up with the record for most career rushing yards was Tony Dorsett. He surpassed the 10,000-yard mark faster than any player other than Walter Payton and Jim Brown. By the middle of the 1985 season, Dorsett ranked #6 on the all-time list.

The Unknown Starting Lineman Named Titensor

The cover boy for the October 26 issue was guard Glen Titensor (TIGHT-en-sir). He was a third-round pick in 1981 and had become a starter by 1984. At the age of 27, he was hitting his prime, but few outside Dallas knew who he was.

What we learned in the Oct. 26, 1985 issue: Titensor modeled a fur coat at a fund-raiser with other Cowboys; he married his wife Sherry in 1984 and lived in Carrollton; he had a golden retriever named Bubba; and his wife gave him a model airplane as a birthday present.

(As it turned out, he only started one more season before suffering an injury and sitting out the 1987 season. He now owns a golf course.)

Cowboy Connections with the Falcons

The Cowboys were getting reading to face the Atlanta Falcons on October 27. Atlanta had three executives with connections to the Cowboys: Eddie LeBaron, the former Dallas QB, was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Tom Braatz, a former Dallas LB, was the General Manager; and Bob Fry, a former Dallas tackle, was a scout.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from October 19, 1985

Dexter Clinkscale: Who the Bleep is This Guy?

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on October 19, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Explain the Hole in the Roof at Texas Stadium

A reader asked Tex Schramm to explain the hole in the roof at Texas Stadium. Schramm explained the design as follows:

When Clint Murchison originally conceived and designed the stadium, he felt that football was a game to be played outdoors. He also envisioned the comfort that would be afforded the fans by domed stadiums that would be built in the future. The Astrodome had already set the pace. So, Clint attempted to split the difference. He would protect the fans from the elements with a roof, but would leave the center open so the game could be played with fresh air and a view of the sky.

There were also preliminary plans to provide a retractable roof, even possibly using the balloon type covering you see now. The technology, however, was not perfected in time so the hold remained as you see it today.

Cowboys Dominate Steelers

The Cowboys improved to 5-1 after beating Pittsburgh 27-13 at Texas Stadium. The defense forced three interceptions, while Tony Dorsett rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown.

With the win, Dallas moved up to #4 on the Top Ten NFL Poll, trailing Chicago, Miami, and the L.A. Rams.

Fur Show for Fun

Ten members of the Cowboys and their wives participated in a showcase of fur fashions. Among the models were Phil Pozderac, Mark Tuinei, Everson Walls, Dennis Thurman, Gary Hogeboom, Jim Cooper, Tom Rafferty, Kurt Peterson, Eugene Lockhart, and Michael Downs. I’ll spare you from having to see the pictures.

Cover Story: Dexter Clinkscale

The cover story featured defensive back Dexter Clinkscale. He overcome long odds to become a starter with the Cowboys, and the story focused on his childhood with four brother in South Carolina.

Big New Fullback

A fullback named John Williams saw some playing time against the Steelers, gaining 15 yards on six carries. The magazine included a story on him and even displayed his picture on the cover. The caption: “Fullback with a future.”

(Bad title: He never ran the ball again for the Cowboys and was released before the end of the 1985 season. He wound up in Seattle).

Ed Jones: Best Season in Several Years

“Too Tall” Jones told Brad Sham that he was off to his best season in several years.

…I still enjoy the game. I look forward to Sundays. Last year [1984] was very frustrating, after not making the playoffs, which is only the second time during my entire career that we didn’t make the playoffs. And I certainly don’t want to have anything to do with us not making the playoffs this year…

Jones finished the 1985 season with 13 sacks, a career high.

Reader: Compare Hogeboom and Terry Bradshaw

A reader named Roger Robins of Filer, Idaho (formerly of Irving, Texas) asked the magazine to compare statistics of Gary Hogeboom and Pittsburgh QB Terry Bradshaw. Robins thought the two quarterbacks shared similarities.

As it turns out, Hogeboom’s statistics as a starter in 1984 (his fourth season in the league) compared favorably with those of Bradshaw in 1973 (also his fourth season in the league). In fact, Hogeboom’s passer rating was actually higher than Bradshaw’s.

(Of course, Bradshaw led the Steelers to a title in 1974. Hogeboom was gone from Dallas by 1986).

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from October 12, 1985

White and Dorsett: Chasing Immortality in the NFL Records

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on October 12, 1985.

Cowboys Come from Behind to Beat Giants, 30-29

The Cowboys had another wild game in a week 5 win against the Giants at the Meadowlands. Rafael Septien overcame a poor performance in week 4 to kick three field goals in the fourth quarter. His 31-yarder with 2:19 left was enough to give Dallas the win.

The Cowboys trailed at one point 26-14 in the third quarter. Though QB Danny White finished with 342 yards and three touchdowns, he also threw four interceptions (though one came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half). Giant QB Phil Simms fumbled twice in the fourth quarter, and both were costly.

Said head coach Tom Landry, “We feel good right now at 4-1—I don’t care how you win to get there.”

Dallas Ranked #5

Chicago held on to the #1 sport in the magazine’s top 10 poll, while the Cowboys climbed to #5. Here is the list:

1. Chicago (5-0)
2. Miami (4-1)
3. L.A. Rams (5-0)
4. San Francisco (3-2)
5. Dallas (4-1)
6. St. Louis (3-1)
7. Denver (3-2)
8. L.A. Raiders (3-2)
9. N.Y. Giants (3-2)
10. N.Y. Jets (4-1)

Two-Way Player

The early Cowboys had some player who played both offense and defense, including Gene Babb, Mike Rowdle, and Mel Renfro. In 1985, the team added a new two-way player in tight end/linebacker Brian Salonen. He was then the University of Montana’s all-time greatest receiver and had made the Cowboys’ roster in 1984.

Questioning Tom Landry

Writer Frank Luska summarized several callers’ questions about Tom Landry’s playcalling during the team’s win over the Oilers in week 4. Luska then commented,

The consensus is obvious. Landry doesn’t have a clue. Behind those piercing blue eyes lies an empty attic.

However, there are plausible explanations for each of the above questions. A four-in-one answer goes like this: If Rafael Septien didn’t miss four field goals and Tony Hill didn’t drop one of two touchdowns passes that struck his hands, none of this would have come up.

Luska noted that the concerns over the play-calling needed further analysis and understand Landry’s logic. However, it does show that Landry was subject to harsh criticism.

Former Cowboys Successful in Business

Several former members of the Cowboys had experienced success in business after their pro careers ended. The players include the likes of…

Chuck Howley (owner of a uniform rental firm)

Lee Roy Jordan (owner of a lumber company)

Charlie Waters (owner of a real estate business)

Billy Joe DuPreee (owner of  construction firm)

Larry Cole (residential development)

Walt Garrison (vice president of accounts for United States Tobacco)

Harvey Martin (real estate)

D.D. Lewis (owner of a swimming-pool business)

Robert Newhouse (owner of several business ventures)

Cliff Harris (oil business)

Preston Pearson (founder of a marketing firm)

Jethro Pugh (land investments)

Roger Staubach (president of a commercial real-estate business and employer of Bob Breunig, Bob Hayes, and Bob Shaw)

Danny White and Tony Dorsett Rank High on All-Time Lists

Both White and RB Tony Dorsett ranked very high in respective all-time statistical lists.

As of 1985, White had a career QB rating of 82.7, which was just behind Roger Staubach and ranked fourth all-time. The top two QBs then were Joe Montana and Otto Graham.

Dorsett was getting closer to the 10,000-yard mark. He ranked #7 on the list with 9,525 yards at the time of publication.


Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from October 5, 1985

Mike Hegman: “The” Veteran at Linebacker

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on October 5, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Why the Blackouts? 

A reader who was bedridden after an automobile accident asked Tex Schramm why the NFL blacks out home games. Schramm commented that the league had the blackout policy in place since the early 1970s and that he thought it was necessary to boost attendance. He also noted that the Cowboys had 15 consecutive sellouts at the time but that the last home game against Cleveland did not sell out until the morning of the game.

Cowboys Overcome Bad Day by Rafael Septien

Most considered Rafael Septien to be a reliable kicker, but he had all sorts of problems against Houston. He missed on kicks from 33, 36, 36, and 47 yards and called the name a “nightmare.” Fortunately for Dallas, the defense beat up on new QB Warren Moon, and the Cowboys came away with a 17-10 win. Tony Dorsett led the team with 159 rushing yards on 23 carries.

Dallas moved up to the #7 spot in the magazine’s Top 10 NFL Poll. Chicago took over the #1 position.

Thurman’s Band of Thieves

“Thurman’s Thieves” was off to a fast start in 1985, picking off nine passes in four games.

Dennis Thurman was only 170 pounds, but he had a knack for finding football. Between 1978 and 1985, he had picked off a total of 31 passes, returning three of them for touchdowns.

The magazine labeled the defense “Thurman’s Band of Thieves,” which was often shortened to Thurman’s Thieves.

As of week 4 of the 1985 season, Dallas led the league in interceptions with nine, including six against the Redskins in the opening game.

Old Man of the Linebacker Corps

Mike Hegman was a second-year player on the Super Bowl Champion Cowboys in 1977. At the age of 32, he was the old man of the 1985 group. One year earlier, he had one of his best seasons, recording 71 tackles, three and a half sacks, and three interceptions.

Hegman said the 1985 team reminded him of the 1977 squad because both teams played aggressively.

Fans Still Calling for Gary Hogeboom

Two fans sent letters to the editor arguing that Tom Landry had made a mistake by turning to Danny White instead of Gary Hogeboom. The editor’s reply: “Gary Hogeboom had ample opportunity to establish himself in the pre-season and didn’t do so.”

Danny White’s Father Held a Dubious Record

Danny White’s father was name Wilford White and went by the nickname “Whizzer” (not to be confused with Byron “Whizzer” White, who later held some sort of position as a judge or justice). Wilford last played in 1954, and during that season, he set an NFL mark that would be tough to duplicate.

White played for the Chicago Bears, and the play took place against the L.A. Rams. From the Ram 46, he took a snap out of the shotgun and immediately avoided the rush. He eventually ran backwards all the way to the other goal line, where he fumbled. A player named Andy Robustelli picked up the ball and scored. White therefore lost 54 yards on a single play, along with the fumble.

According to White, Chicago coach George Halas put his arm around his shoulder. Although some thought Halas was consoling White, the player said that was most certainly not the case.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from September 28, 1985

Doug Cosbie: Hard Road to the Top

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on September 28, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: What’s the Deal with the Line Shift?

A readers asked Tex Schramm about the Cowboys’ line shift, where the linemen stand up at the line before getting into their stances. Schramm called this the Cowboys’ trademark and noted that the shift is legal and that there is a reason behind it.

When the Cowboys come up to the line of scrimmage, they assume the semi-crouching two-point stance, and then on a command such as “set,” they stand up and then go down to a three-point stance. This is not considered illegal motion or false start because it precedes the player assuming the three-point stance. The original purpose for this was to obscure the shifting of the backs, which occurs at the same time. That reason still prevails.

Danny White Catches a Touchdown in a 20-7 Win Over Cleveland

The Cowboys did not have a big passing day against the Browns in a week 3 win, but the passes were effective. QB Danny White turned into a receiver on one play when Tom Landry called the old “Quarterback Throwback.” Halfback James Jones took a handoff and rolled right. Jones then threw the ball across the field to White, who caught the pass for a touchdown. It was White’s third reception of his career and second touchdown catch.

With the win, Dallas moved back into the Top 10 NFL Poll at the #10 spot. Seattle remained at #1 with a 2-1 record, while San Francisco and Chicago had the #2 and #3 spots, respectively.

Doug Cosbie: Hard Times and Discipline Shaped His Football Life

The cover story focused on tight end Doug Cosbie. He grew up in the lower-class town of East Palo Alto, California, near San Jose. His mother had to support his family when his parents divorced, and his older brother was in and out of jail. He did not appear to have all-pro potential when he played at Santa Clara or when he joined the league in 1979. However, by 1985, he had been a member of two consecutive Pro Bowl teams.

Herschel Walker Isn’t Coming to Dallas Anytime Soon

Some wondered whether Herschel Walker might join the Cowboys sooner rather than later. But the USFL star told radio host Norm Hitzges that he was committed to Donald Trump and the New Jersey Generals. In three USFL seasons, he had gained 5,562 yards.

Kevin Brooks Wants to Play

First-round draft pick Kevin Brooks wanted to break into the staring lineup, but defensive coach Ernie Stautner said Brook wasn’t quite ready. Said Stautner, “He needs to find a way to escape a pass blocker that holds and grabs.” However, Stautner also said he thought Brooks was “going to be a good one.”

Jim Jeffcoat Gets Engaged

Third-year defensive end Jim Jeffcoat was the focus on a story about his recent engagement to Tammy Young, a flight attendant for American Airlines. Groomsmen in the wedding included Too Tall Jones and Mark Tuinei, along with one-time Cowboys Kirk Phillips and Chuck McSwain. At the time, Jeffcoat owned a home in Carrollton.

[Fast forward a few years, and the couple’s children were making news. Jacqueline Jeffcoat plays basketball for the University of Oklahoma, while twin brother Jackson plays football at the University of Texas. Jim and Tammy still live in Plano]


Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from September 21, 1985

Sept. 21, 1985 issue: “Michael Downs: Co-Captain, Defense”

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on September 21, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm

One reader asked which former player had been injured in a farm accident about five years earlier. Schramm replied that it was Burton Lawless, who had been part of the “Dirty Dozen” draft of 1975. Lawless was not expected to walk again, but by 1985, he was on his feet and living in Waco, Texas.

Ugly Day in Detroit

The 1985 Detroit Lions were on the rebound from a 4-11-1 season in 1984. Dallas helped the Lions to a 2-0 start by committing five turnovers in a 26-21 Detroit win. Though Dallas had 33 first downs to Detroit’s 13, the Lions jumped out to a 26-0 lead. Danny White and Gary Hogeboom combined for 62 pass attempts and 481 yards in the loss. Both Tony Hill and Doug Cosbie had 11 receptions.

Top 10 NFL Poll

With the loss, the Cowboys slipped out of the Top 10 NFL Poll run by the magazine. The top team after week 2 was Seattle, which was out to a 2-0 start.

Cowboys Elect Captains

The team voted on captains for the 1985 season. For the first time in his career, center Tom Rafferty was selected. He was joined as offensive co-captain by quarterback Danny White. On defense, the team selected Randy White and safety Michael Downs, while Bill Bates earned the nod as the special-teams captain.

Football Writers Round Table

A popular show on Monday nights was the Football Writers Round Table, which featured several prominent Cowboys beat writers. Included on the show were Jim Dent of the Dallas Times Herald; Gary Myers of the Dallas Morning News; Gil LeBreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; and Steve Perkins of the Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly. The moderator was KRLD sports director Brad Sham.

Moving Away from the Flex?

Sham interviewed Dallas cornerback Dennis Thurman. In the interview, Sham asked of the scheme were moving away from the traditional flex.

[Yes.] We’re trying to do some things with Randy White that the New York Giants have done with Lawrence Taylor. Move him around like a chess piece, never let the offense know where he’s coming from. If we can do this and not tip our hand, in the places that he lines up that we’re playing a certain defense, I think we can be successful.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from September 14, 1985

Tony Hill: Always the Threat

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on September 14, 1985.

On the cover…

Tony Hill made the cover of the September 14 issue. He was in his ninth season in 1985. He became the team’s #1 threat the year before with the retirement of Drew Pearson and the team’s trading of Butch Johnson.

Happy Birthday, Joe

Washington QB Joe Theismann celebrated his 36th birthday by losing big to the resurgent Cowboys. Dallas snagged six interceptions along with a fumble in a 44-14 win. Tom Landry commented that the game was “[o]ne of the best opening nights we’ve had. It was a hot night and we were hotter.” According to Theismann,

This was a bad experience. It was a bad learning experience. But there’s a reason for a lot of things to happen….[The Cowboys] play smart football—tough football. If you give up the ball as many times as we did, you don’t deserve to win. It really got out of hand in the third quarter.

Dallas only held a 17-7 lead at the half, but by the end of the third quarter, the lead was 30-7.

Haggar Player of the Game

Mike Renfro was named player of the game against Washington. He caught five passes for a career-high 99 yards.

Veterans Cut

Before their win over Washington, Dallas had to make its final roster cuts. Two veterans did not make the team, including fullback Ron Springs and receiver Duriel Harris. Dallas had tried to work out a trade with Buffalo for Springs, but that fell through.

Frank Luska wrote a piece noting that Springs had become too big (225 pounds) to spell Tony Dorsett at halfback, but Spring still did not block well enough to fill in effectively at fullback.

Evolution of the Front Four

The magazine considered whether the front four of the 1985 Cowboys might be the best ever.

(No, seriously).

The team opened the season with a defensive line consisting of Randy White, Too Tall Jones, Jim Jeffcoat, and John Dutton. Coming off the bench was first-round draft choice Kevin Brooks.

A New Punter

Dallas had used John Warren as a punter in 1983 and 1984, but Danny White still handled the bulk of the punting duties. That changed in 1985 when Dallas brought in Mike Saxon, who had been an 11th-round pick by Detroit in 1984 before being released in training camp that year.

The Dodger

Here’s a comment that football historians (and only football historians) will enjoy. The magazine included some miscellaneous notes near the back. One of them focused on Roger Staubach.

Okay, we all goof now and then. USA Today noted recently that when Roger (The Dodger) Staubach was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a Dallas bank took out a full-page newspaper ad praising the Cowboys—with a baseball twis: “Congratulations to the only Dodger ever to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To all those Giants, Bears, Redskins, and Browns…add the only Dodger: Number 12, Roger Staubach.” They forgot there was once an NFL team called the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1930 to 1943 and that three of its players—quarterback Ace Parker, end Red Badgro, and tackle Frank (Bruiser) Kinard—are full-fledged members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Danny White” Tapes

A reader named Hugh McCollum from Virginia Beach, Virginia sent a letter to the editor regarding his collection of Danny White video tapes.

Many fans of the Cowboys often write and ask for video cassettes of past games from across the country. I’ve got a good collection of Danny White’s greatest failures: Dallas-Philadelphia in ’81, Dallas-San Francisco in ’82, Dallas Washington in ’83, and Dallas-L.A. Rams in ’84. In each of these games White can be seen missing wide open receivers, throwing interceptions, and fumbling the football away during crucial two-minute drills. I’ve watched these films many,  many times and these game failures always point to a quarterback who cannot win the pressure ballgames. But, Danny White is still a “Proven Winner” in some Cowboys fans’ opinions? It would seem that these fans have very short memories, especially about the true FACTS.

[Okay, so substitute the name Tony Romo and change a few games, and you have…?]

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from September 7, 1985

“Old man” John Dutton, age 34, appeared on the cover of the Sept. 7, 1985 issue

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on September 7, 1985.

Tex Schramm: Get Used to Television Screens at Stadiums

One reader noted that a bunch of fans at Texas Stadium spent more time watching the DiamondVision screen rather than the action on the field. The reader asked Tex Schramm whether this might be a distraction. Tex’s response:

Large television-type screens, whether DiamondVision or another product, are going to become standard features in most stadiums. Attending a game in person should be as entertaining and informative as staying at home and watching the television set….You are going to see the players, particularly those on the bench, glancing up to watch the replays….Once these large screens have become a routine enhancement at all sports events, I don’t believe it will prove to be a distraction to the players. It will just be something they will have to learn to live with and overcome.

[Can’t help but note that Tex never lived to see the screen at Cowboys Stadium, but he would hardly be surprised]

Undefeated Preseason

The Cowboys beat the Houston Oilers 17-10 in the final preseason game to give Dallas a perfect 4-0 preseason record. It was the third time in team history that the team had accomplished this feat (1966 and 1971 were the other two).

Jesse Penn continued to impress, picking off his second pass of the preseason. Running back Robert Lavette also looked good, gaining 61 yards on 9 carries.

Of the 50 players who suited up against the Oilers, 18 had never played in a playoff game.

Cowboys Gear Up to Face Redskins in Opener

For the second time in three seasons, the Cowboys would open their season against the Redskins. Washington had won three straight games, including two in a row at Texas Stadium. The three-game streak was the longest for the Redskins in the history of the rivalry.

Strength: Short Yardage Defense

The Cowboys were especially confident of their short-yardage defense heading into the 1985 season. According to Everson Walls,

The short yardage was the strongest thing we had, even last year. Not many people did very well against us. We stopped lots of people on third down, and sometimes fourth down. So that’s a carry over. We’ve always played well on short yardage and goal line.

John Dutton: “Elder Statesman”

John Dutton was the most experienced player on the 1985 Cowboys. He entered the league in 1974 with the Colts and joined the Cowboys in 1979.

His experience made him the team’s “elder statesman,” and the magazine said that we should “now praise older men.”

Dutton was 34 at the time.


Cowboys Crack the Top 10 in NFL Poll

The Cowboys Weekly published a poll of the top 10 teams heading into the 1985 season. Those polled included writers from a number of large newspapers across the country. Dallas ranked 9th, tied with the L.A. Rams.

The list was as follows:

1. San Francisco

2. Seattle

3. Miami

4. Washington

5. Denver

6. L.A. Raiders

7. Chicago

8. St. Louis Cardinals

9. (tie) Dallas

9. (tie) L.A. Rams

According to oddsmakers in Nevada, the Cowboys had between 10:1 and 12:1 odds to win the Super Bowl. The favorites were San Francisco (3:1) and Miami (4:1). Chicago had 10:1 odds in Las Vegas, while New England’s odds were 50:1.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from August 31, 1985

Randy White made the cover of the Aug. 31, 1985 issue.

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on August 31, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm

A reader asked Tex Schramm what his opinion was about illegal college recruitment. Schramm offered a few ideas, but he generally thought that it would be difficult to stop the practice.

The desire to win and the pressure to win is so great! I was talking not long ago to a new president of a small but established college in the midwest. After being named president, he took a tour of the state. When he returned, he told me, the first thing he did was call in his football coach and inquire, “What kind of team are we going to have this year?” He said wherever he went, nobody wanted to discuss the new library, or the status or calibre of the professors in this department or that. They wanted to know if the football team was going to win.

So long as that was the case, Schramm wrote, it would be tough to stop illegal recruiting.

Dallas 15, Chicago 13

Rafael Septien’s 24-yard field goal with three seconds left lifted the Cowboys to a 15-13 win over the Chicago Bears. Gary Hogeboom started in place of an injured Danny White and helped the Cowboys gain 256 yard through the air. Tony Dorsett saw his first action of the summer, gaining 36 yards on nine carries.

The game was marred by several fights. Per Tom Landry:

It was an interesting night. I don’t think I’ve seen that many fights in one game, but it was competitive. Everybody was out after everybody.

Randy White

In an effort to stop opponents from double-teaming Randy White, Dallas planned to modify its defense so that White lined up in different places. In fact, he lined up in an upright stance in the first preseason game against San Diego, which confused commentators Pat Summerall and John Madden. Some wondered whether Dallas had installed the “Manster Defense.”

Still Talking About Jesse Penn

Rookie linebacker Jesse Penn was still turning heads. Linebackers coach Jerry Tubbs said Penn was the best athlete at the position since Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson.

Suicide Joke in a Letter to the Editor

John Creicar of Manitowoc, Wisconsin apparently had a dry sense of humor. He wrote the following to the editor:

I was thinking commiting (sic) suicide the other day; but then I remembered I’d never again see the Cowboys win another Super Bowl, let alone another game. Needless to say, I changed my mind in a second. I guess I literally do live for the Cowboys.

Seriously now, I can’t remember ever being as anxious for the season to start as I am this year. It must be because we missed the play-offs last season. If not for the vacation in Buffalo and the unbelievable happenings in the second Redskin game, we would have been right there. So let’s start this year off right and do a hatchet-job on those nasty ‘Skins.

My 2011 response to John: I hope you survived not only the 1985 season, but also the down years that followed. If you were going to kill yourself over the 1984 Cowboys, the 1989 team would probably lead you to bury yourself alive.