Dallas Cowboys History

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1976: Expansion Seahawks Give Cowboys a Scare

Former Cowboy Jack Patera was the first head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Don’t confuse Jack with brother Ken Patera, the former two-time Continental Wrestling Association international heavyweight champion.

The NFL welcomed two expansion teams in 1976. Tampa Bay was the more notable of the two, as the Buccaneers went 0-14. Dallas did not get to face Tampa Bay until 1977.

Dallas did, however, face the other expansion team, which was the Seattle Seahawks. The head coach was Jack Patera, who was a member of the original Dallas Cowboys in 1960. The quarterback was Jim Zorn, whom the Cowboys cut at the end of training camp in 1975.

Nobody gave the 0-3 Seahawks a chance against the 3-0 Cowboys, but in the second quarter, Seattle had jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to two Zorn touchdown passes.

The Cowboys woke up to score 28 unanswered points and came away with a 28-13 win. Dallas finished the year at 12-2, while Seattle only managed a 2-12 mark.

Here’s the video, which features some nice plays by Golden Richards, Charley Young, and “stumpy” Robert Newhouse.

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Recalling the 2006 Playoff Loss. Again.

Tony Romo may never have a positive legacy because of The Botch during the 2006 playoffs.

The 2006 season was the first one I covered for this blog. The Cowboys looked very mediocre early that season as Drew Bledsoe continued to earn a “statue” nickname and Terrell Owens did little to help the Cowboys stand out.

Then came the emergence of a new quarterback. He played college in Charleston, Illinois, which is where I was born. The college was Eastern Illinois University, which is where my father received two degrees. The new QB was also the kick holder, which is the nickname I used on here because I couldn’t think of anything else.

I’m not sure what all of that was supposed to mean, but none of it turned out to be good luck in the end. The Cowboys made the playoffs as a wildcard but had to travel to Seattle to face the defending NFC Champions.

Though Dallas fell behind in the second half, a 93-yard kickoff return by an unknown receiver named Miles Austin gave the Cowboys a lead. In the fourth quarter, that lead was 20-13.

Then came what amounted to an implosion. Dallas had the ball at its own 2 with 6:42 remaining. Romo threw a short pass to Terry Glenn, who fumbled. This lead to a safety (after a review), and the Dallas lead shrank to 20-15.

Though Seattle regained the lead, the Cowboys were still in a position to win the game. Many tend to forgot that with just under two minutes left to play, Romo hit Jason Witten on a 3rd-and-7 play, and the original mark gave Dallas a first down at the Seattle 1. Had the spot held up up, the Cowboys would have run down the clock and probably kicked on third down. Had there been an error on the snap, the Cowboys would have had a second chance.

Instead, the replay moved the ball to the 2, and Dallas faced a fourth down. Here’s the play that everyone does remember:

My comments after the game:

How is it that I use the name kickholder on here even though I haven’t actually been a kick holder since high school (er… I guess I did hold some kicks on the practice squad in college, but that is beside the point)? And how does the Cowboys season end? On a dropped snap by Tony Romo when he served as a kick holder.

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Anyway, I well beyond sick right now and hope that the shock keeps me numb for a couple of days. Nothing good can possibly come from this loss or this season as a whole, unless you want to prove the Dallas Cowboy franchise is one that has no clue how to win in this league on a consistent basis. Enjoy the off-season, boys.

 

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Rest in Peace, Jerry Tubbs

There was sad news today as former linebacker and assistant coach Jerry Tubbs died at the age of 77.

He played during a time before many of us were around to watch the Cowboys. He was, though, associated with the team for just as long as Tex Schramm and Tom Landry, and more should be familiar with who he was.

He was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cardinals in 1957 but did little to stand out during his first three years in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers left him unprotected in the 1960 expansion draft, and the Dallas Cowboys acquired him.

Tubbs played middle linebacker in Tom Landry‘s 4-3 defense. Anyone who has heard of Sam Huff knows the importance of the MLB in this system.

He was part of the first core group of players for the Cowboys. In 1962, he earned a berth in the Pro Bowl along side Bob Lilly and Don Bishop. That marked the first year that a defensive player for Dallas made the Pro Bowl.

He remained a starter until 1966, when Lee Roy Jordan moved over to the middle. Tubbs suffered a back injury in 1966 and played in only four games.

Tubbs joined the Dallas coaching staff in 1968 and remained as an assistant until the end of the Tom Landry era in 1989.

He was survived by his wife, Marlene.

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A Look Back: Cowboys vs. Giants in 2007

It’s hard to believe, but it has been five years since the Cowboys opened their 2007 season against the Giants at Texas Stadium. Dallas was coming off a playoff season after going 9-7, while the Giants had finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Dallas came into the game favored by as many as six points.

In one of the great opening games in franchise history, Dallas continued to find ways to score points and came away with a 45-35 win. Led by new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Dallas amassed 478 yards of total offense, including 345 passing yards on just 15 completions.

Here is a summary provided by CBS:

Dallas picked up another win over the Giants later in 2007 and finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. The Cowboys were 7.5-point favorites when Dallas hosted the Giants in the playoffs. As most know, though, the Cowboys lost 21-17, and the Giants went on to win Super Bowl XLII.

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Incidentally, news about the Cowboys is hard to come by these days. One of the leading Cowboys stories is about former coach Jimmy Johnson peddling medically ineffective penis pills. Ahem.

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Great Moment in Dallas Cowboys History: Clinching the NFC East in 1973

The year 1973 was not a great one in Dallas Cowboys history, but it is notable for a few reasons.

It was the last time that the old guard from the late 1960s reached the playoffs. That team still featured the likes of Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, Walt Garrison, Calvin Hill, and Cornell Green.

Some new blood had arrived at that point, most notably in the form of rookie wide receiver Drew Pearson and rookie tight end Billy Joe DuPree.

Dallas entered the final game of the season with a 9-4 record. The Cowboys had defeated Washington in week 13, and win over the Cardinals in week 14 would give Dallas the NFC East title.

Here is a video from that game:

Pearson had a huge game with 140 yards and two touchdown reception. It marked the first time he had gained more than 100 receiving yards.

Dallas moved on to defeat the Rams in the NFC playoffs before losing to Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game.

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Rest in Peace, Joe Avezzano

Avezzano

Joe Avezzano served as the Cowboys special teams coach from 1990 to 2002. He died on Thursday, April 5. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sad news today was that former Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano died at the age of 68. He was coaching in Italy at the time.

He served as special teams coach from 1990 to 2002. He also served as head coach of the now-defunct Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League.

He appeared as an analyst on the Cowboys post-game show last season. He offered unfiltered insights about the team, and his comments were typically a highlight after both wins and losses.

In honor of Avezzano, here are three quotes as part of the Dallas Cowboys history in quotes series.

“He’ll get blamed for things he can’t control, like injuries. But as far as decisions? He came in and said, ‘You guys have been very successful. Go to work.’ That’s a helluva decision right there. The correct one.”

Avezzano about former head coach Barry Switzer, who joined the Cowboys in 1994 after Jimmy Johnson resigned. Switzer and Avezzano had known each other for years.

Source: Sports Illustrated, Aug. 1, 1994

“They are legislating mediocrity. The attempt, in my mind, is to devalue the kicking game. I marvel at the amount of time that’s spent trying to mess with the kicking game. You’re going to be penalized for having a strong kicker.”

Avezzano about a proposal to move the ball to the 25-yard line after touchbacks. The proposal fell through.

Source: Sports Illustrated, March 14, 1999

“What kind of [expletive] question is that? Can you show me the [expletive] stats that show punt returners get hurt more frequently than any other [expletive] player?

“This is [expletive] pro football. Players get hurt all the [expletive] time no matter what they’re doing.”

Avezzano to reporter Jean-Jacques Taylor, who had asked the coach in 1995 why the team was using receiver Kevin Williams as a punt returner.

Source: ESPN, April 5, 2012

Did You Know?

Avezzano was a three-year letterman at Florida State, where he played guard. The website Nolefan.org included this comment:

Offensive Guard from Miami…big, tough and capable…an excellent pass blocker with good speed…good at pulling to trap and lead sweeps…along with tackle Del Williams, provided tremendous pass protection for Steve Tensi for three years…played one year in the AFL for the Boston Patriots in 1966.

The site also includes a picture of Avezzano during his college playing days. Great stuff:

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Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: The Leon Lett Incidents

Leon Lett
Leon Lett gave the Dolphins second life in 1993 by trying to recover the ball after a blocked field goal attempt.

The Dallas Cowboys announced this week that former defensive lineman Leon Lett will join the staff as assistant defensive line coach. He previously helped the Cowboys during training camp in 2011.

Of course, none of us have forgotten about the Leon Lett stories of the 1990s. Although Lett was very important to the team’s success in 1995, his gaffes remain legendary.

As part of the Dallas Cowboys history in quotes series, here are three quotes about these gaffes.

“How could I hear someone that small and that fast. I was the one making all the noise.”

Lett about Don Beebe, who stripped Lett of the football in Super Bowl XXVII before Lett could score. Had Lett scored, the Cowboys would have won 59-17 and set a Super Bowl record for points scored.

Source: New York Times, Feb. 1, 1993

“After that play, I kind of felt if we didn’t make it [to the Super Bowl], it would’ve been my fault.”

Lett in his first meeting with the press after he cost the Cowboys a win over the Miami Dolphins by trying to recover the ball after Dallas blocked a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of the Thanksgiving Day game. Dolphin kicker Pete Stoyanovich got a second chance and kicked a 19-yard field goal to give Miami the win.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 26, 1994

“This is a time of concern for Leon Lett the person. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we will continue to offer our help and support in any way we can.”

Jerry Jones in a statement after the NFL suspended Lett for a year for testing positive for cocaine. Lett missed parts of the 1996 and 1997 seasons because of the suspension.

Did You Know?

Although Lett was a vital member of the Dallas defensive lines of the 1990s, his contributions did not show up in the stat columns. He never recorded more than four sacks or 36 tackles in a single season. Other defensive tackles of the era, including Jimmie Jones, Chad Hennings, and Hurvin McCormack (yes, that Hurvin McCormack) had better numbers on paper.

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Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: Cowboys vs. Giants

Herschel Walker
The New York Giants had no interest in trading for Herschel Walker in 1989.

In light of the NFL’s announcement that the Cowboys will face the New York Giants to open the 2012 season, here is a Dallas Cowboys history in quotes entry focusing on the Cowboys and Giants.

“The understatement of the year would be that Dallas just has a pretty good defense. It’s the best defense I’ve ever seen them play.”

Giant QB Fran Tarkenton after the Cowboys routed the Giants 25-3 on October 27, 1969. The Giants only managed 166 yards in the loss.

Source: Associated Press, October 28, 1969

“When you play like this and win, it makes everybody feel good. It’s nothing to jump up and down about though, because we’re still in second place and we’ve got to go play the division leader next week.”

Dallas RB Tony Dorsett after the Cowboys beat the Giants 28-7 on December 3, 1979. Dallas beat the Eagles a week later to set up a season finale for all the marbles against the Redskins.

Source: Associated Press, Dec. 4, 1979

“We’re always appreciative of anyone who feels that way, but our focus is on our team.”

Giants general manager George Young, who said his team had no interest in acquiring Herschel Walker in 1989 after Walker expressed interest in playing for New York. The Giants eventually signed Walker in 1995. Dallas traded Walker to the Minnesota Vikings just one day later.

Source: New York Times, Oct. 12, 1989

“All you have to do to stop Emmitt is keep going to the ball. Keep him from cutting back.”

Giant LB Mike Croel before the Cowboys faced the Giants on Monday Night Football to open the 1995 season. Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-0 Dallas win.

 

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Cowboys Will Visit the Giants to Open the 2012 Season

Emmitt Smith 1995
Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards and four touchdowns in 1995, the last time Dallas faced the Giants in New Jersey for the opening game.

The big news this week is that the Cowboys will open their 2012 season at Met Life Stadium. The teams will play on a Wednesday night (September 5) because President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak before the Democratic National Convention on Thursday that week.

The 2012 season marks the sixth time that Dallas has faced the Giants in the opening week. Here is a summary of those other five games:

September 19, 1965: at Cowboys 31, Giants 2

Only two opponents in Dallas history have scored a total of two points (obviously from a safety). The first time this happened was in a 31-2 blowout win for Dallas.

September 18, 1966: at Cowboys 52, Giants 7

The Giants did not have better luck in 1966. Dallas has scored 50 or more points in only eight regular season games. Three of those games came in 1966 alone.

September 8, 1986: at Cowboys 31, Giants 28

This game marked Herschel Walker’s debut with Dallas. He scored the game-winner with a 10-yard run late in the fourth quarter of this Monday Night classic.

September 4, 1995: Cowboys 35, at Giants 0

The only other time the Cowboys opened a season by visiting the Giants was in 1995. Emmitt Smith kick-started the season with a 60-yard touchdown run. This was the Cowboys’ first shutout win over the Giants in their long history.

September 9, 2007: Cowboys 45, Giants 35

The Cowboys stormed out of the gate in 2007 by scoring 45 against the Giants at Texas Stadium. Dallas beat the Giants again later in the season en route to a 13-3 record. However, New York beat Dallas in the playoffs and went on to win the Super Bowl.

 

Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: Early Team History

Dallas Cowboys history Cornell Green
One of today’s quotes is about former defensive back Cornell Green (34).

Continuing to focus on early Dallas Cowboys history. Today’s quotes are about players from the 1960s and early 1970s.

“I hope I can hit him. I’ve been throwing to LeBaron, and you can’t hardly throw any lower than that.”

Don Meredith about throwing to receiver Cleveland (Smiley) Jones, who was three inches shorter than Eddie LeBaron, who was 5’7″. Jones did not play for the Cowboys outside of training camp.

Source: Sports Illustrated, July 16, 1961

“This ought to teach us one thing: if we ever trade any more ballplayers, we sure don’t want to send any silver-tongued orators.”

Defensive end George Andrie regarding inspirational talks given by former teammates Tommy McDonald and Jerry Rhome.

Source: Sports Illustrated, November 17, 1969

“He told me I was one of the best defensive backs he had ever coached or had ever sen. That really made me feel good.”

Defensive back Cornell Green about what Tom Landry said to him after Green retired following the 1974 season.

Source: I Remember Tom Landry (2001).

More on Cornell Green…

Green is one of the most underappreciated players in team history. I played both cornerback and strong safety and made the Pro Bowl at both positions. He was also named All-Pro three times in the 1960s.

If that occurred today, he would be at the top of any list for Ring of Honor consideration, and he would have a good chance to make the Hall of Fame.