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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.)

2008 Draft Class Isn’t Living Up to the Hype

After two underwhelming drafts in 2006 and 2007, the team needed a solid draft in 2008 to help give the team a boost for what was supposed to be a Super Bowl run. That Super Bowl run never happened, of course, and now that 2008 draft isn’t looking very strong.

The 2008 draft marked the second time in four years that Dallas had two first-round picks. In 2005, the team had one of its strongest drafts in year, picking up the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Marion Barber, Jay Ratfliff, and Marcus Spears.

Dallas went with both offense and defense in the first round of the 2008 draft, picking RB Felix Jones (#22 overall) and cornerback Mike Jenkins (#25). The Cowboys took a chance on talented tight end Martellus Bennett in the second round and then snagged running back Tashard Choice in the fourth. DB Orlando Scandrick and DE Erik Walden were the final two picks.

Jones and Jenkins have shown flashes during their time here, as Jenkins has been a starter since 2009 and Jones took over the lead running back duties this year. However, neither has turned the corner to become a great player. Jenkins has talent, but he is nothing close to a shutdown corner, while Jones hasn’t proven that his body can handled the pounding associated with 20 touches a game.

Bennett has turned out to be a notorious underachiever. Scandrick is a good nickel corner, but he hasn’t been the key playmaker that some said he would be coming from Boise State. Walden had bounced around a bit, playing for four teams. He is now a starter in Green Bay.

Choice looked at times like he could become a feature back, but he made too many mistakes in the last couple of seasons. He had one very good performance in 2010 (100 rushing yards vs. Indianapolis), but he otherwise has not looked like the player we thought he might be when he rushed for 472 yards with a 5.1 average as a rookie in 2008.

Dallas decided to cut ties with Choice today, ending his time with the team after less than four seasons. Some speculated that the team might also release Bennett, but that may not come until later.

So what looked like a solid draft now doesn’t look quite as good. And if DeMarco Murray ends up taking the reins from Jones, and if Jenkins continues to decline, the 2008 draft class as a whole might be considered nothing more than disappointing.

Remember When…? Cowboys Avoid 1-4 Start in 1996 by Beating Eagles

Sherman Williams had 27 rushing yards in the Cowboys 23-19 win over Philadelphia in 1996.

The Cowboys’ 1-7 start to the 2010 season was the most disappointing in team history, but it was not the first time that a Dallas team with Super Bowl aspirations had struggled out the gate.

In 1996, the Cowboys were defending Super Bowl champions and were trying to become the first team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls in five years. A 1-3 start wasn’t going to help.

Of course, that was the season that Michael Irvin had to serve a five-game suspension, and the team looked lost without him. The Cowboys had lost a dreadful 10-7 game at Buffalo in week 4 and were heading into a Monday Night Football game at Philadelphia. The Eagles were 3-1 and looking to put the Cowboys away early in the season.

Things went from bad to worse in the first quarter, as the Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Somebody needed to give the team a spark, and that somebody was…

Herschel Walker. The former Viking, Eagle, and Giant had returned to Dallas in 1996 and served as a kickoff returner. His 49-yard return in the first quarter set up a Dallas touchdown, and the Cowboys went on to score 20 consecutive points.

From there, the Dallas defense stood tall, forcing five turnovers and knocking starter Rodney Peete out the game. The only Philly points a return of a Troy Aikman fumble by defensive lineman Rhett Hall and a deliberate safety taken by Dallas punter John Jett with eight seconds left in the game.

The Cowboys won three more straight games after the win, putting the team back in contention for the NFC East.

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.

The Greatest Rushing Game in Team History?

When Cowboys fans think of the greatest rushing game in team history, most probably remember Tony Dorsett’s 206 yards against the Eagles in 1977 or Emmitt Smith’s 237 yards against the Eagles in 1993.

Of course, DeMarco Murray yesterday shattered Smith’s all-time record as well as Dorsett’s rookie record. Those three are the only players in team history to surpass 200 rushing yards in a game.

Murray also made history with a 91-yard touchdown run, which was the second longest after Dorsett’s 99 yarder in 1982.

As far as team rushing, the highest total came on December 6, 1981, when the Cowboys had 354 rushing yards on 66 total carries in a 37-13 win over the Baltimore Colts. Dorsett led the team with 175 yards on 30 carries, while James Jones and Ron Springs added 86 and 40 respectively.

On Sunday, Dallas finished with 294 rushing yards, which was the fourth highest total ever. The Cowboys have surpassed 275 rushing yards just nine times, and the last time it happened was 1982. Here is the list:

Rushing
Rk Tm Year Date Opp W# G# Day Result OT Att Yds ? Y/A TD
1 DAL 1981 1981-12-06 @ BAL 14 14 Sun W 37-13 66 354 5.36 3
2 DAL 1978 1978-11-12 @ GNB 11 11 Sun W 42-14 58 313 5.40 4
3 DAL 1982 1982-11-25 CLE 4 4 Thu W 31-14 52 299 5.75 2
4 DAL 2011 2011-10-23 STL 7 6 Sun W 34-7 34 294 8.65 2
5 DAL 1978 1978-11-23 WAS 13 13 Thu W 37-10 54 289 5.35 3
6 DAL 1973 1973-11-18 PHI 10 10 Sun W 31-10 40 286 7.15 2
7 DAL 1979 1979-10-07 @ MIN 6 6 Sun W 36-20 46 279 6.07 4
8 DAL 1978 1978-09-04 BAL 1 1 Mon W 38-0 45 278 6.18 1
9 DAL 1970 1970-12-06 WAS 12 12 Sun W 34-0 48 276 5.75 3
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2011.

Additionally, the team has averaged 8.0 yards per rushing attempt only three times. The 8.65 yards per attempt against the Rams missed the team’s record of 8.66 set against the Giants in 2009.

Rushing
Rk Tm Year Date Opp W# G# Day Result OT Att Yds Y/A ? TD
1 DAL 2009 2009-09-20 NYG 2 2 Sun L 31-33 29 251 8.66 3
2 DAL 2011 2011-10-23 STL 7 6 Sun W 34-7 34 294 8.65 2
3 DAL 1999 1999-11-08 @ MIN 9 8 Mon L 17-27 24 205 8.54 2
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2011.

Overall, no, I don’t think that Sunday was the greatest rushing game of all time, but it was an exceptional performance. The performance is even more noteworthy given that the team had previously averaged just 84.8 yards per game in the first five games with an average of just 3.39 yards per attempt.

Remember When? Cowboys Unveil the Shotgun Against the Rams in 1975

One of the great rivalries in the history of the Dallas Cowboys was the one between the Cowboys and Rams. Between the 1973 and 1985 seasons, these teams faced each other eight times in the playoffs, with each team winning four games. The Cowboys won two NFC Championship games at Los Angeles, but the Rams gave the Cowboys some of the most heartbreaking home playoff losses, ending three Cowboys’ seasons while playing at Texas Stadium.

The teams had some pretty good games during the regular season as well. Between 1970 and 1989, they played 11 times, with Dallas winning 6 of those 11 games.

One of those wins came in the opening week of the 1975 season. The Cowboys were rebounding from an 8-6 season in 1974, and many thought the young team would struggle again in ’75.  The Rams had been a playoff team in 1974 and would go on to post a 12-2 record.

However, Dallas unveiled a new look to its offense by having Roger Staubach take some snaps out of the shotgun formation. Staubach only threw for 106 yards on the day, but he ran 7 times for 56 yards.

Here is a clip showing the highlights of the game.

Below is the story from the Dallas Morning News:

 

Doomsday blitz polls Rams, 18-7

9/22/1975

By BOB ST. JOHN / The Dallas Morning News

The feeling had begun to build up last week, against rather large odds. But amid strike talk, the fact that Los Angeles had certainly seemed to establish itself as the best club in the NFL at this time and despite their lack of any consistent offense, the Dallas Cowboys had actually felt they could win. It wasn’t like a false reaction, like a recording meaning nothing, but a solid feeling.

And it happened to the surprise of about everybody but the team itself on a gray, rainy first Sunday of NFL football. On the surface of the game, perhaps you would think it was a very large upset.

However, looking deeper it did not seem that way. Frankly, Dallas knocked the Rams into the ground, or Tartan turf if you will. The final margin of 18-7 did not come close to telling the dominance of the Cowboy defense over the Rams.

There was controversy, remindful of last, season, when Charlie Waters was not given a fumble he obviously recovered and certainly some doubt Ram quarterback Ron Jaworski got over the goal line on a fourth-down play and other things. But ….

“We weren’t going to let anything stop us this time.” said middle linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. “It should have been much worse. I told an official 1 was going to send him film footage, that they were going too far to make it close.”

Los Angeles, the NFC’s best offensive team, was destroyed to such an extant that the Rams only netted 135 yards and much of this came near the end. The Rams never crossed their own 46 until midway of the final period and once, after recovering a fumble at the Dallas 49, failed to make an inch.

The Cowboys felt, in order to win, the offense must cut down mistakes (Dallas suffered no interceptions and lost the one fumble) and the defense must stop LA’s ball-control game. To do this, Dallas hoped to keep the Rams from making big gains on first down. This was accomplished. LA, used to a lot of second and-2’s and second-and 3’s, faced mostly second and longs.

Jordan, linebacker Dave Edwards, and cornerback Mel Renfro, who lost 20 pounds and got into shape and rediscovered the fountain of youth, could not remember the team playing a better defensive game, considering the potency of the Ram offense. They mentioned Green Bay in 1965, the Cleveland and Detroit games of’ 1970 but threw this one in there.

“It has to be one of our top three or four defensive games,” said Jordan.

Quarterback James Harris was destroyed, hitting just 1 of 10 and suffering three interceptions. Jaworski hit 3 of 7 for 36 yards but was nailed twice behind the line. Asked if the Cowboys had confused the inexperienced Ram quarterbacks, as they had Terry Bradshaw in the final preseason game, Renfro said, “If you call a good rush and good coverage confusing, then they were confused.”

Offensively, Dallas resorted to its formative years as Tom l.andry looked in the depths of the closet to pull some zingers out. There was a reverse pass, end around, hitch screen, two shuttle passes and use of the spread formation 17 times.

“The Rams have a great defense,” said Landry. “So we pulled the stopper out. We’re at the stage now where we need to do those things.”

Dallas even resorted to some things which weren’t planned, especially in what turned out the games first points to the utter delight of a small crowd of 49,091. Facing a fourth-and-13 at his own 49, rookie punter Mitch Hoopes, reading the run, decided to take off on his own. He ran around left end, was hit and squirmed for two extra yards, just enough for a first down.

This was most important, though all Dallas got was Toni Fritsch’s first of four field goals, tying a club record. It helped Dallas keep the ball an unbelievable 8:01 of the first and second periods. A problem thus far is that the Cowboys have not been able to keep the ball.

Roger Staubach, using the spread some 17 times, has not looked better running. Coming out of the deep position, he was cutting, twisting and looked like a college tailback, gaining 56 yards on seven tries. An indication of the danger he posed was that on third-and-4, third-and-7 and third-and-9, he was able to run for gains of 15, 17 and 13 yards.

Passing (Staubach hit 10 of 23) was not that good but close … two were dropped and a 4-yard TD pass to tight end Billy Joe DuPree was called bad on center John Fitzgerald’s infraction. But there was exceptional offensive help from fullback Robert Newhouse who overshadowed the more heralded Ram names as he gained 88 yards on 22 attempts.

“I had that bad game against Pittsburgh and I made up my mind 1 was going to do the job this time, no matter what.” said Staubach. “Whether I had to run or pass or what. No, Coach Landry didn’t tell me to stop running. He doesn’t when I gain yardage.”

Fritsch killed Dallas early, missing field goals of 32 and 28 yards and an extra point in the first half. However, to his credit, he did come back to nail kicks of 25, 39, 19 and 31 yards. “I try too hard,” said Toni. “Just too hard. Finally, I relax and do the job.”

Renfro slowed down last season and teams began to come at him. But, during the offseason, he worked harder than ever and seems to have regained his old form, his old speed. He looked like the 1965 Renfro, who was even shifted to halfback for awhile that year.

Harris tested him and it killed the Rams quarterback. Mel stepped in front of wide receiver Ron Jessie, on a sideline pattern, and returned the ball 12 yards to the Rams’ 24. Wide receiver Drew Pearson carried a hitch screen 18 yards and Doug Dennison finally bore in from the 1 on fourth down.

Near the end of the third period Harris bombed to wide receiver Harold Jackson, Renfro left the sidelines, crossed over the middle, made a stumbling interception and weaved his way 22 yards to set up a field goal. “I feel great, ” said Mel. “After that run I made them promise me they wouldn’t put me at halfback.”

Defensive plays set up all but three of the club’s points, and, had Fritsch been on target, had the penalty against Fitzgerald not occurred and had split end Golden Richards been able to hold onto what would have been an 11-yard TD pass (when he was clobbered at the moment of reception) Dallas would have across the river and into the trees before LA ever knew what happened.

Another fine interception be cornerback Mark Washington, who stole one in front of Jackson and ran it back 55 yards, was called back because of a personal foul by end Harvey Martin, which had nothing to do with the play.

This would have stopped what turned out to be LA’s 74-yard touchdown drive of nine plays, two penalties and questionable call when free safety Cliff Harris crashed into Jaworsky at the 1 on the fourth-and-4.

“The ball never crossed the goalline,” said Harris.

The replay wasn’t clear. Jaworsky’s head was across but the ball might not have been.

“But again, that doesn’t stop us … things like bad calls,” said Jordan, who also had an interception. “We played great ball with a lot of enthusiasm and that’s what it takes. We’ve got a lot of young guys who make mistakes but they keep coming at you and make up for them. Hell, I’m young myself, I feel younger than I have in years.”

And the Rams, the NFC favorites, feel older, much older.

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.

Tuesday Trivia: Blowing Leads, Revisited

Until 2011, the Cowboys had never blown a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. That streak came to an end when Dallas lost to the Jets in week 1.

Until last weekend, the worst lead the Cowboys had ever surrendered was 21 points. That came against the Redskins on November 28, 1965. Dallas was 4-6 and looking to take second place in the Eastern Division. The Cowboys led 21-0 in the first half and 24-6 in the third quarter. However, Washington went on drives of 75, 64 and 80 in the fourth quarter to pull out a 34-30 win, dropping the Cowboys’ record to 4-7.

The good news: Dallas rebounded, winning its final three games to finish at .500.

Anyway, here is today’s question:

The Cowboys led the Lions 20-3 at the half. This marked the 63rd time in franchise history that Dallas has led a game by at least 17 at the half. Dallas has won 61 of those games.

One loss was to the Lions last Sunday. Against which team and in which year did the Cowboys suffer the other loss?