Dallas Cowboys History

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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.

Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: Super Bowl V

dallas cowboys history
Neither Chuck Howley (54) nor Mel Renfro (20) could get high enough to block Jim O’Brien’s game-winning field goal in Super Bowl V.

Few losses in Dallas Cowboys history were as frustrating as the team’s loss in Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts. Dallas held a 13-6 lead at halftime and should have increased that lead to 20-6 if not for a bad call on a goal line fumble. The Colts tied the game at 13 in the fourth quarter before winning it on a field goal by rookie Jim O’Brien.

Here are some quotes about that game:

“So it became the Stupor Bowl, with the new world champions giving up the football on seven turnovers–four lost fumbles and three interceptions–which theoretically should have meant a rout. And the losing Cowboys, obviously superior in personnel except in the vital offensive spot, turning over the ball four times themselves, getting nicked for 120 yards in penalties and even ticking the ball into the hands of alert John Mackey for one of the two Baltimore touchdowns.”

Columnist Murray Olderman, who did not think highly of Dallas QB Craig Morton. Other writers called the game the Blunder Bowl, which stuck.

Source: The Sumter (S.C.) Daily Item, Jan. 22, 1971

“My arm was the same as it has been the last few weeks.”

Morton after the loss.

Source: Toledo Blade, Jan. 18, 1971

“That would be something between inadequate and terrible.”

Ohio-based writer Tom Loomis about Morton’s comment.

Source: Toledo Blade, Jan. 18, 1971

“Frustration. I did it out of frustration.”

Bob Lilly about why he threw his helmet 25 yards though the air (some say it was more like 50 yards) after the Cowboys lost to the Colts.

Source: Toledo Blade, Jan. 18, 1971

Did You Know?

Morton completed just 12 of 26 passes for 127 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions against the Colts in Super Bowl V. Many put the blame on him for the loss. One year later, Roger Staubach earned MVP honors but completed the same number of passes (12) for fewer yards (119).

Of course, Staubach threw two key touchdown passes in the win and did not throw a pick. Moreover, Dallas rushed for 252 yards, which was a record at the time and remains the fourth highest total in Super Bowl history.

Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: The Story of the 1971 Dallas Cowboys


I recently wrote a review of Breakthrough ‘Boys: The Story of the 1971 Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys, written by Jaime Aron of the Associated Press. This is a very good book about the 1971 Dallas Cowboys, the first team in franchise history to win a Super Bowl title.

For Dallas Cowboys history in quotes today, here are some quotes from the book.

“I ain’t going back down there, I tell you that, folks.”

Don Meredith to the audience on a Monday Night Football game on November 16, 1970. The Cowboys lost 38-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals, and the crowd started chanting for Meredith’s return.

“Well, Walt, we took a look at you and you weren’t any good.”

University of Texas coach Darrell Royal to Walt Garrison, who only received one college football scholarship offer, and that was from Oklahoma State University. Despite his lack of size and speed, the Cowboys took Garrison in the fifth round of the 1966 draft.

“If somebody did one hundred sit-ups, Roger was going to do one hundred and one. If somebody ran a mile in six minutes, Roger would do it in five fifty-nine. If somebody threw the ball sixty yards, he wa going to throw it sixty one.”

Garrison about Roger Staubach and his work ethic. Bob Lilly added that Staubach would sometimes race Bob Hayes in 100-yard dashes.

“There’s not much difference between them.”

Tom Landry about Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters, who battled for one of the safety spots. Harris was the started opposite Cornell Green and also became the primary punt and kick returner.

“I could see him getting panicky, knowing he was so close to the end zone. He wanted to dump the ball, but he never had a chance.”

Lilly about his famous sack of Bob Griese, which cost the Dolphins 29 yards in Super Bowl VI. Miami only managed three points and remain the only team in Super Bowl history to fail to score a touchdown.

Did You Know?

Running back Duane Thomas caused so many problems in Dallas that the Cowboys traded him to New England. The trade sent Thomas, lineman Halvor Hagen,and receiver Honor Jackson to New England for a first-round pick and running back Carl Garrett. The Patriots nullified the trade just days later.

Garrett remained in New England and played there in 1971 and 1972. He later played with the Jets, Bears, and Raiders.

Hagen also remained in New England and played through the 1975 season with the Patriots and Bills.

Jackson played for the Patriots and Giants between 1972 and 1974.

 

Quote History: Marion Barber’s Career in Dallas

Marion Barber
Marion Barber has announced his retirement from the NFL.

Several fans repeated a sentiment throughout Marion Barber’s career in Dallas: physical runners like him do not usually last long in the NFL. He took a beating, even when he wasn’t a starter, and his productivity suffered. He became a starter in 2008 after the team parted ways with Julius Jones, but Barber frequently suffered through injuries. Dallas released him before the 2011 season.

Barber played one year in Chicago but announced his retirement today.

Barber’s 47 touchdowns rank third in team history behind Emmitt Smith (153) and Tony Dorsett (72). Barber finished his Dallas career with 4,358 yards, ranking sixth in team history in that category.

Here are some quotes about Barber, whom the Cowboys took in the fourth round of the 2005 draft.

“It wasn’t something that popped into my head. I’m strong in my decision. It’s been a very difficult process, and the support I’ve had throughout has gotten my through it.”

Barber about his decision to forego his senior season at Minnesota to enter the NFL draft in 2005. Barber left as the all-time leading rusher with the Golden Gophers with 3,276 yards.

Source: ESPN.com, Jan. 17, 2005

“I know he is a well-prepared player. Plus, his experience of having pro football in his family was another thing that kind of made me think this kid will be down the road further than the average rookie. And really he is.”

Bill Parcells about Barber, whose father played with the Jets for seven years in the 1980s. Barber’s brother Dominique is a defensive back with the Houston Texans.

Source: Associated Press, 2005

“He ran so hard. I’m shocked we couldn’t execute in the second half.”

Guard Leonard Davis about Barber’s performance against the Giants in the 2007 playoffs. Barber rushed for 129 yards on 27 carries and appeared to be unstoppable in the first half. However, Dallas fell to the Giants 21-17.

Source: New York Times, January 14, 2008

Poll: Ranking Marion Barber

Here is what may be a tough question: where does Marion Barber rank among running backs in Dallas Cowboys history?

Consider a few facts before completing the poll. Barber ranks sixth in rushing in team history, trailing Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Don Perkins, Calvin Hill, and Robert Newhouse. Hill rushed for more than 1,000 yards twice, which was an accomplishment that Barber never had. Newhouse never exceeded 1,000 but had 930 yards in 1975, which was a Super Bowl season. Barber also never went over 1,000 yards and also never came close to a Super Bowl.

The other players in the top 10 in rushing yards include Walt Garrison, Herschel Walker, Julius Jones, and Felix Jones