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Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from January 4, 1986

Rafael Septien: Primed for Playoffs

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 January 4, 1986. Sorry that I’m a day late on this one.

Ask Tex Schramm: Preference of Numbers

In 1982, the Cowboys made a subtle change to the numbers on home jerseys. Between 1974 and 1981, the numbers used a serif font, while beginning in 1982, the numbers did not have the serif font.

One reader preferred the old jerseys and asked Tex to reinstate the old numbers. Tex obliged by running a poll in the January 4 issue.

See the comparison below to see the difference. The jersey on the left is a replica of the jerseys used from 1974 to 1981. The jersey on the right is similar to the ones used starting in 1982.

1985: A “Hazy, Crazy Daze”

The January 4 issue came out during an off week while the Cowboys were preparing for their divisional round matchup with the Rams. The 1985 season began with a thorough beating of the Redskins. However, the team was destroyed by the Bears and Bengals later in the season, and the team did not ensure its trip to the playoffs until the team beat the Giants in week 15.

Dorsett: Still a Premier Running Back

According to a poll run in Sporting News, Tony Dorsett was still considered one of the game’s premier running backs. However, he only finished fifth, following Walter Payton, Roger Craig, Marcus Allen, and James Wilder.

Cowboys Had a Long History of Success in the Divisional Round

The Cowboys had good reason to like their chances in the divisional round of the playoffs. Between 1970 and 1981, the Cowboys appeared in the divisional round 11 times and had a record of 9-2.

The negative? The two losses were to the Rams (1976 and 1979).

Danny White Suffers Through Injuries

QB Danny White suffered through more injuries in 1985 than he had in any other season. Those injuries: (1) a sprained right hand; (2) a fractured rib; (3) a bruised rib; (4) a concussion; (5) a neck sprain; (6) a bruised left shoulder; (7) separated rib cartilage; and (8) a sprained left ankle.

On the Cover: Rafael Septien

Rafael Septien appeared on the cover of the January 4 issue, and at that point, he was largely considered as the team’s best kicker of all-time. This was before his arrest for indecency with a minor, which cost him his career.

In the piece on January 4, Septien said he gave up a career in acting to become an NFL kicker.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from December 28, 1985

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 December 28, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Stealing Hand Signals

A growing trend among college and NFL teams in the 1980s was to send in plays through use of hand signals. A reader asked Tex Schramm about whether the opposing team could steal these hand signals. Tex replied that though teams had tried it, it was difficult to relay information to the defense in a timely manner. Moreover, he found that teams that tried to focus on stealing signs didn’t focus enough on playing football.

Cowboys Fall Apart at San Francisco

At one point, the Cowboys led the San Francisco 49ers 13-0 and nearly made it 20-0 in the first half. However, the team barely played after that, and the 49ers outscored Dallas 31-3 in the final two and a half quarters. The Cowboys rested several starters, including QB Danny White, receiver Tony Hill, and lineman Jim Cooper.

With the loss, Dallas was set to travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Top Ten NFL Poll: Dallas Finishes 7th

The Cowboys remained among the top 10 NFL teams for most of the 1985 season, and with the loss the 49ers, the team finished ranked 7th. The Rams were one spot ahead.

Biggest Problem with No. 3 QBs: Frustration

Third-string QB Steve Pelleur helped the Cowboys to win the NFC East by leading the team on a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter of the team’s win over the Giants.

Up to that point, most of the team’s third-string QBs had been “lost souls.” These players included the likes of Sonny Gibbs, John Roach, Bob Belden, and Glenn Carano. A few others, including Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, and Gary Hogeboom, were listed as the #3 QBs but later became backups and then starters.

Most of these third-stringers said the same thing about their time on the team: it was frustrating, which partially explains why few lasted long.

Some Question Whether Landry Would Retire

Frank Luska ran a piece pondering whether Tom Landry would retire, especially if the team won the Super Bowl. According to Landry, “People say, ‘Surely you want to go out on top and win another Super Bowl.’ No, that’s not it. When I go, I’ll go regardless of where I am.”

(For the record, he was playing golf three years later when told he was let go).

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from December 21, 1985

Randy White: Time to Tee Off

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 December 21, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Cowboys Have No Special Diet

A reader asked whether the Cowboys had a special diet. Tex Schramm responded that the diet was left to individual players. In general, players had eaten steak and a baked potato before games, though some teams also served eggs, toast, and a type of pasta. Players usually ate about four hours before games.

Cowboys Win a Wild One to Take the East

The Cowboys won their first NFC East title since 1981 by beating the Giants in a week 15 battle. It was not a pretty game—Dallas really won as much on luck as anything else—but it was an important win.

Said Tom Landry: “This has to rank among the big wins. Not among the wins that get you to the Super Bowl, but it has to rank very, very high in our important games over the years. I am very proud of this team.”

Both Danny White and Gary Hogeboom were knocked out of the game. In fact, White had to the leave the game twice and threw a costly interception in the second quarter after returning to the game. The pick led to a New York touchdown that put the Giants ahead 14-7.

Jim Jeffcoat snagged a pass that was tipped by Too Tall Jones, and Jeffcoat returned the ball 65 yards for a touchdown. White followed up with a touchdown pass to Mike Renfro, giving Dallas a 21-14 lead at halftime.

White suffered another injury in the third quarter, and Hogeboom was hurt later in the half. That left the Cowboys with Steve Pelluer. The second-year quarterback led the Cowboys on a drive that resulted in a Timmy Newsome touchdown run. That was enough to give Dallas the win and the division title.

No matter what happened in Week 16, Dallas would face the L.A. Rams in the playoffs. There was a chance that Dallas would host the Rams, but that would require a Dallas win coupled with a Ram loss to the Raiders.

Randy White: Destined for the Hall of Fame

The cover player for the December 21 issue was Randy White, who was named to his ninth consecutive (albeit, his last) Pro Bowl in 1985. He was also named All-Pro  for the seventh time in his career.

In the article, White said that he would have never survived in the league if he had remained at linebacker, which he played in 1975 and 1976. Once Landry moved White to tackle, the rest was history.

Crawford Ker Manages to do Housework Despite Injury

Rookie guard Crawford Ker impressed the Cowboys with both his strength and his athleticism. He benched at least 540 pounds while he was a player at Florida. He also ran the 40 in 4.8 seconds while weighing 293 pounds.

He spent much of the 1985 season on injured reserve. He wasn’t able to work out during that time, but that didn’t stop him from doing housework. The article features him pushing a canister vacuum cleaner.

(No, I’m not going to post that picture.)

Late-Season Woes

Between 1975 and 1979, the Cowboys had a combined record of 9-1 in their final two games of those seasons. However, the Cowboys only went a combined 2-8 in their final two games between 1980 and 1984. Before 1985, Dallas had not won one if its final two games since 1981.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from December 14, 1985

Tom Landry: The 20-Year Winner

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 December 14, 1985.

Another Blowout Loss

For only the third time in its history, Dallas gave up 50 points in a game. And for the second time in four weeks, the Cowboys suffered a blowout loss.

Cincinnati routed the Cowboys, 50-24. The defense gave up 274 yards on the ground, along with another 296 passing yards.

Dallas fell behind early thanks to a safety, followed by a Bengal touchdown. By the end of the first quarter, it was 22-0 in favor of Cincinnati.

Ray Horton (a future Cowboy) said, “The Cowboys are like Coca-Cola. They think they’re the real thing.”

Tough words, Ray. Tough words.

NFC East Up for Grabs

The Dallas loss left the Cowboys at 9-5, and the Cowboys were scheduled to face the Giants at Texas Stadium the following week. With both teams entering at 9-5, the winner would take the division title.

At that point, the Cowboys had not secured a playoff berth, which would have happened with a win over the Bengals. Nevertheless, Dallas could still secure a playoff spot even if the team finished at 9-7.

Tom Landry: A Winner for 20 Seasons

The Cowboys’ win over the Cardinals on Thanksgiving Day gave Dallas nine wins, guaranteeing the team its 20th consecutive winning season. Despite the team’s loss to the Bengals, the cover of the Dec. 14 issue featured Landry.

Tex Schramm said the ninth win had great significance.

I’ve been thinking about it for some time, because it is a game that represents a very important milestone for the organization.

At that time, the Cowboys’ streak was the longest active streak in professional sports. In terms of all-time records, only the New York Yankees (39 consecutive seasons) and Montreal Canadians (32 consecutive seasons) had longer streaks.

Madden: Bears are the Best Team by Far

CBS analyst and former Raider coach John Madden sat down to talk to Brad Sham. According to Madden, the Bears were the best team and that a large gap separated Chicago from the rest of the league.

Madden grouped Dallas with such teams as the Giants, the 49ers, and the Rams.

Robert Lavette: A Long-Time Cowboys Fan

Rookie Robert Lavette waited a long time to join the Cowboys. He had been a fan since he was eight years old.

He suffered an injury that ended his 1985 season. He had served as a kickoff returner, a role he had not had since his freshman year in college.

How did the rookie live during his first year as a pro? He had a two-bedroom apartment, had purchased a stereo, and planned to buy a few albums.

(Lavette spent one more full season with Dallas in 1986. He played four games with the team in 1987 as well).

Hollywood Henderson Not Happy About Omission

Hollywood Henderson had not been a member of the Cowboys for six years by 1985. The Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly had published a list of former first-round picks and inadvertently omitted Henderson from the list.

Henderson wrote to the magazine, saying he assumed “contempt” for the omission.

(He wrote this letter two years after being convicted for threatening and sexually assaulting two teenage girls. He remained sober after the 1983 incident.)

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from December 7, 1985

Mike Renfro: The Offense Comes Alive

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 December 7, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Origin of the Word “Sack”

A reader asked Tex Schramm, “Why do they call it “sacking” the quarterback?”

Schramm had to ask around, and he finally found the answer from Los Angeles-based writer Bob Oates. Oates said that the player who first used the phrase was Deacon Jones, who himself wasn’t sure what it meant. Two options: (1) the sack refers to a defensive player draping over a quarterback, much like sacking something at a grocery store; and (2) sack may refer to a word used in the context of “sacking, pillaging, looting, or plundering a village.”

Cowboys Thump Cardinals on Thanksgiving

The Cowboys continued to put their 44-0 loss to the Bears behind them by beating up on the Cardinals in a 35-17 win on Thanksgiving. Dallas took advantage of three St. Louis fumbles in the win, which improved the Cowboys’ record to 9-4. Dallas was tied with the Rams for the second-best record in the NFC at that point.

After 13 games, Dallas was ranked #4 in the magazine’s Top 10 NFL Poll.

Wager Between Too Tall and Jeffcoat

Too Tall Jones and Jim Jeffcoat had a wager going in 1985 focusing on who would record the most sacks. After 13 games, Jones had the lead at 11-9. The winner would receive a six-pack of something or other.

Renfro at His Peak

A player who continued to stand out in 1985 was receiver Mike Renfro, who had come to Dallas via a trade in 1984. The former TCU star had 43 receptions for 634 yards and 5 TDs in the first 13 games that year.

Chris Collinsworth on the Cowboys

Today, Chris Collinsworth is a color commentator on NBC’s Sunday night games. In 1985, he was a receiver for the Bengals. His comment about the Cowboys then:

I always think of the Cowboys as the team I thought I would play for. A lot of draft experts were saying that they would take me with the 27th pick in the first round. Until the draft I was preparing to spend my pro career in the Dallas sun.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 30, 1985

Bill Bates: Taking on Another Speciality

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 November 30, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Use of Polaroid Pictures

One reader asked Tex about whether teams could you Polaroid pictures during games. For instance, a coach in the press box could take pictures of defensive alignments and send these pictures to coaches on the sidelines. Tex responded that this was acceptable. The only limitation was that coaches could not use video replays on the sidelines.

(We still see similar uses of photos today, though coaches essentially send the pictures via fax).

Cowboys Rebound vs. Eagles

The team’s 44-0 loss to the Bears did not create a hangover effect, as the Cowboys rebounded to beat the Eagles 34-17. Danny White threw three touchdown passes without an interception in the win.

One critical play was a touchdown pass to Doug Cosbie right before halftime. It gave Dallas a 21-10 lead.

Dallas remained tied with the Giants atop the NFC East with an 8-4 mark. Washington was still hovering at 7-5.

This was a must win for us if we want to win our division. Philadelphia is one of the most improved teams we have played….We are in the stretch drive now. We have a playoff chance with four games left. — Tom Landry

With the win, Dallas moved back up in the Top 10 NFL Poll, landing at #6. Chicago was the unanimous choice for #1.

Bill Bates: Punt Returner

All-purpose defensive back Bill Bates added duties as punt returner in 1985. Despite his lack of speed, the team was pleased with his efforts. He averaged 6.9 yards per return on 22 punts in 1985.

Future of the Dallas Offensive Line

Several offensive linemen were featured as possible starters for the 1986 season. Two familiar names showed up in this feature: Mark Tuinei, who was a strong candidate to play either center or tackle, and Brian Baldinger, who wanted more playing time at guard.

Baldinger (now an NFL Network analyst) started four games in 1984, but an injury sidelined him for the 1985 season. Tuinei, on the other hand, did become a starter at left tackle in 1986.

Waiting to Play: Steve Pelluer

Steve Pelluer was a second-year player in 1985 and was sitting behind Danny White and Gary Hogeboom on the depth chart. Tom Landry had said that he wanted to get Pelluer more playing time, though. The quarterback had set a record at the University of Washington with 4,365 yards of total offense in one season.

Brad Sham Interviews Jim Jeffcoat

Jim Jeffcoat had a breakout year in 1985. Against Washington on November 10, he set a team record with five sacks. Brad Sham asked him what Jeffcoat’s thoughts were when the Cowboys selected him with the #1 pick in 1983.

I came into the Cowboys organization feeling that I wanted to contribute in some way, whether it was through special teams or through the pass rush, whatever. Most young defensive linemen get the most chance by rushing the passer, because they’re not prepared to play against the run in the NFL.

Jeffcoat added that he learned the flex defense from Harvey Martin, which helped his development.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 23, 1985

Danny White: Rounding into Former Form?

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 November 23, 1985.

Demolition at the Hands of the Bears

It was not a good week after the Cowboys played the Chicago Bears on November 17. Chicago rolled into town and demolished the Cowboys in a 44-0 shutout. It remains one of the ugliest losses in franchise history.

Tom Landry’s comment:

What we had here today was a real old-fashioned whipping.


What many forget (including this writer) is that Dallas had a decent start to the game, picking up five first downs on three possessions compared to just one first down for Chicago. It was not the Dallas defense that caused the rout but rather the Dallas offense. Chicago scored 14 of its 24 first-half points off interception returns, and the Bears knocked starter Danny White out of the game early in the second half. White had been injured earlier in the game but had returned.

One accomplishment for the Cowboys— William “The Refrigerator” Perry did not score at the goal line late in the first half. Otherwise, this one was one of the worst games ever for Dallas fans.

Danny White Resumes Leadership Role

White was the cover boy for the November 23 issue. He had been elected as a captain for the 1985 season and was pivotal as the team tried to claim the NFC East title.

According to Mike Renfro:

Danny’s more relaxed now. He’s gotten back into the leadership role…

Everson Walls and His Grambling Spirit

Another player having a solid season in 1985 was cornerback Everson Walls. He  had seven interceptions by Week 11 (and a total of 9 for the entire season).

Nevertheless, he had a chip on his shoulder for not being drafted after coming from Grambling University. Instead, Dallas signed him as a free agent in 1981.

All I know is, guys that are not anywhere as accomplished as me got picked, but they aren’t around anymore.

Feature on Defensive Back Victor Scott

The November 23 issue featured defensive back Victor Scott, who had a child in September 1985. Scott had survived growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois and was a standout at the University of Colorado. The 1985 season was his best, when had two interceptions, scored a touchdown, and recorded three sacks.

[Scott’s story didn’t turn out to be a good one, though. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in Texas]

Clint Murchison Visits Valley Ranch

Former team owner Clint Murchison got to visit the team’s new facility in Valley Ranch. He was giving a guided tour by team president Tex Schramm.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 16, 1985

Jeff Rohrer: Escaping the Stereotype

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 November 16, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Tom Rafferty’s Secret

One reader noticed that center Tom Rafferty wore an older style of white jersey while the rest of the team wore a more modern version. Tex Schramm seemed impressed that the reader noticed the difference.

[You] are pretty observant. Tom Rafferty does wear a slightly different jersey than the other players. This is because he plays center, and therefore, has different requirements of his jersey than other offensive linemen. The jerseys wore by the regular linemen are normally worn as tight as possible. This, of course, is done to make them more difficult for the defensive linemen to grab. The defensive linemen can use their hands to grab the offensive linemen in an attempt to throw him one way or the other.

Rafferty, playing center, must have the flexibility of being able to snap the ball. Therefore, his jersey is custom designed and produced by a special company. The arms are made of a different material, which is probably what is most noticeable. Our secret is out.

Cowboys Edge Redskins in Rematch

The Cowboys would have preferred to manhandle the Redskins in another 44-14 blowout when Dallas visited Washington in week 10. Nevertheless, the team managed to pick Joe Theismann off three times in a 13-7 win. Though Dallas only managed the 13 points, the team outgained Washington 338 to 267.

Dallas was able to take a 13-0 lead in the third quarter thanks to a 48-yard pass from Danny White to Tony Dorsett. Washington came back early in the fourth when Theismann hit Gary Clark on an 11-yard score. However, the defense made several stops late in the game to help the Cowboys secure the win.

Bears Showdown Awaits

The Cowboys and Bears were considered the top two teams in the NFL heading into their week 11 showdown. Dallas had won six straight over Chicago, including a 23-14 win at Soldier Field in 1984.

According to Chicago linebacker Mike Singletary:

I”m just looking forward to playing against a great football team—and going against a great coach and a great offense.

Cowboys Announce Christmas Video

Several Cowboys participated in what resulted in the first of two infamous Christmas videos. You might recall that this blog posted a few from the 1986 edition.

In 1985, two of the “hit” songs included “12th Day of Christmas” and “I Don’t Want to Be Home for Christmas.” A sampling of the lyrics:

12th Day of Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

Twelve surfing Cowgirls (Mike Saxon, Fred Cornwell), 

Eleven quarterback sacks (Ed Jones),

Ten thousand yards (Tony Dorsett),

Nine million fans (Tony Hill),

Eight touchdown passes (Danny White),

Seven one-hand catches (Mike Renfro),

Six interceptions (Everson Walls),

Five Super Bowl rings (several players)…

Four big hits (Bill Bates), 

Three down the middle (Rafael Septien),

Two turf shoes (Phil Pozderac),

And a new hat for Coach Landry (various players).

I Don’t Want to Be Home for Christmas (Chorus)

I don’t want to be home for Christmas

It’s that playoff time of year.

I’d rather be on the sideline., 

with the Gatorade and the gear.

Someday the chestnuts by the fire

would be perfect at Christmas time.

But I don’t want to be home for Christmas this year.

Jeff Rohrer: Shaking the Ivy League Image

The cover boy for the November 16 issue was Jeff Rohrer, who starred at Yale before joining the Cowboys. He was trying to overcome the stigma of playing for an Ivy League school.

“Stigma” in this case means, according to the article, “smart-enough-but-not-tough-enough.”

Rohrer started 13 games in 1985.

John Dutton Has a Fan

With a line that featured Ed Jones, Randy White, and Jim Jeffcoat, it was easy to forget defensive tackle John Dutton. He had at least one fan, though—Carlos Bocanega of Corpus Christi. He wrote:

I’m writing to say a few words about John Dutton. It seems like he is mentioned only when he is called for a penalty. I think John Dutton is a good defensive tackle, because quietly he always does his job and is always in the line-up week in and week out So I hope you don’t overlook his great part of the team.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 9, 1985

Ed Jones and Mike Hegman were longtime teammates and were featured in the November 9, 1985 issue of Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly.

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 November 9, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: NFL Teams Picking Their Own Schedules

Someone asked Tex Schramm why NFL teams weren’t given a date or two per season to schedule their own games.


Schramm responded that teams did so during the preseason but that teams would be so focused on winning that they would schedule games that would put them in the best position to win. And this would not include scheduling tough, emotional rivalries.

Cowboys Blow a 10-Point Lead at St. Louis

The Cowboys did not have an easy schedule in weeks 9 and 10 of the 1985 season. They had to travel to St. Louis on a Monday night, followed six days later by a trip to Washington.

The St. Louis trip could have at least gone better.

Even playing in what Tom Landry called “the dullest first half I’ve ever seen,” the Cowboys led 10-0 at halftime.  However, the Cardinals rallied behind two Neil Lomax touchdown passes, and St. Louis won 21-10. The loss dropped Dallas to 6-3 and into a first-place tie with the Giants.

Jones and Hegman: Longtime Teammates

By 1985, Too Tall Jones was in his 11th season with the Cowboys. For 10 of those seasons, one of his teammates was Mike Hegman, who was drafted by the Cowboys one year after the team had picked Jones. The two had also been teammates at Tennessee State, where Jones was an All-American and Hegman was among the team leaders in tackles.

Both were still going strong in 1985. Jones already had seven sacks at the midway point of the season, and Hegman ranked fourth in the team list of tackles.

Players Talk about Cowboys-Redskins Rivalry

The issue included a number of comments from current (then) and former players and coaches about the rivalry between the Cowboys and Redskins. A few of the better ones are below.

Harvey Martin, on the Cowboys’ 35-34 win over Washington in 1979, keeping Washington out of the playoffs: “They got nothing; they deserve to go home for Christmas.”

George Allen, on Tex Schramm: “Tex and Dallas are always carrying the Holy Grail.”

Roger Staubach, on George Allen: “You go golfing with him and he’s diagramming plays on a napkin.”

Ed Jones, on trailing the Redskins 28-0 in 1974: “I was thinking if I were home watching this thing on TV, I would have thrown something through the set.”

Clint Murchison, to President Jimmy Carter after Carter told everyone how “great” the Redskins’ win over Dallas was in 1978: “It was lousy.”

Roger Staubach Thought the Jury was Still Out on the Chicago Bears

Heading into week 10, the Chicago Bears were 9-0 and looked unstoppable. Roger Staubach thought, however, that nobody had really tested the Bears. “(Y)ou don’t really know if they can keep this pace.”

(We’ll get to a certain game against the Cowboys in a couple of weeks…)

New Punter Having a Solid Season

The Cowboys had a new punter in 1985. He was cut by the Detroit Lions in 1984 but made the Cowboys’ 1985 squad as a free agent. By midseason, he had a 45.0-yard average.

At the time of this issue, Saxon was dating a model named Sheri Monson from California. The couple liked to go out with Steve and Diana DeOssie after games.

(No idea whether Saxon married Monson, though. They planned to get married in 1987).

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 2, 1985

Jim Jeffcoat: New Force Up Front

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 November 2, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: The Shovel Pass Could Emerge Again

A reader asked Tex Schramm why the team didn’t use the shovel pass, which was popular during the days of Preston Pearson.

Tex’s response:

In our offense, the shovel pass has generally been used when we are in the shotgun formation. The ball is centered directly to the quarterback and he will then flip the ball forward to a running back coming across just behind the line of scrimmage. If the offensive linemen have charged when they should, the runner will cut upfield in the space that the defensive linemen left.

Since you generally go into the shotgun on long yardage situations, trick running plays or even a draw play, are a gamble because if they don’t break clean, you might make a few yars but not enough for the first down. A pass can be a better percentage play.

I’m sure we still have the shovel pass in our arsenal. You’ll probably see it before the season is over.

Cowboys Beat Atlanta on Big Plays by Dorsett and Hill

Dallas improved to 6-2 by beating the Atlanta Falcons, 24-10. Dallas trailed 10-0 early, but big plays by Tony Hill and Tony Dorsett gave the Cowboys the lead. Hill’s 35-yard touchdown reception cut the lead to 10-7. Then, midway through the second quarter, Dallas lined up at its own 40. Dorsett found a huge hole up the middle and ran 60 yards for a touchdown.

Tom Landry on the Dorsett touchdown:

It was a draw play (fake pass) and they came on a blitz. One of their guys came so hard he ran right by Dorsett. He could really have nailed him. And downfield they were playing man-to-man so he just ran between everybody.

With the win, the Cowboys improved to #2 on the Top Ten NFL Poll. Chicago remained #1, while Denver moved up to #3. That meant that teams coached by Mike Ditka, Tom Landry, and Dan Reeves were #1, #2, and #3. Ditka and Reeves, of course, played and coached under Landry.

Legends Play Flag Football Game

A number of Cowboy legends showed up at halftime of the Dallas-Atlanta game to play flag football. It was supposed to be a matchup of quarterbacks Roger Staubach (white team) and Craig Morton (blue team), but Morton injured his knee the night before at a party. Blue team captain Bob Lilly had to rely on Charlie Waters, Cliff Harris, and Mike Montgomery to play QB, and their performances gave the white team a distinct advantage. Staubach led his team to three touchdowns in a 21-7 win.

Staubach’s white team consisted of Harvey Martin, Don McIlhenny, Robert Newhouse, Drew Pearson, Jethro Pugh, and Duane Thomas. The blue team consisted of Waters, Harris, Montgomery, Billy Joe DuPree, Preston Pearson, Mel Renfro, and Larry Cole.

A real treat: Tex Schramm served as the referee. Proof:

According to Drew Pearson, Schramm’s gig as  referee was terrible. “The only good thing about him was his uniform.”

Before the real game between the Cowboys and Falcons, Staubach received his Hall of Fame ring.

Run Defense a Key to Success

The cover story featured Jim Jeffcoat, a key member of a defense that had improved considerably between 1984 and 1985. By the midway point of the 1985 season, Dallas was giving up only 87 rushing yards per game at 3.2 yards per attempt. Those numbers were better than any Dallas defense over more than a decade.

David Ponder Likes Living in the Suburbs

This issue featured a rookie defensive tackle named David Ponder, who had been cut in training camp in 1984 but made the team in 1985. His fascinating story: he leased an apartment in Arlington, planned to buy a television stand and a vacuum cleaner, and likes to watch TV and listen to the stereo. He also spent the previous summer playing water volleyball at some of the nearby apartment swimming pools.

(This just isn’t the kind of stuff you get from the Dallas Morning News, now is it? At any rate, Ponder played in four games in 1985 and registered a half-sack. He never played in the NFL again.)