Trivia and Stats
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We shall not soon forget that Tony Romo threw five interceptions last night. That’s for sure.
Defensive backs for the Chicago Bears picked off four of those passes. This idea—defensive backs intercepting passes thrown by the quarterback— presents a concept about which the Cowboys are unfamiliar.
Dallas has had one interception this year, and that was by Sean Lee. Thus, we already know that neither of the former first-round picks nor the $50 million shut-down corner has had a pick this year.
Anyone want to take a guess about the last time a Dallas defensive back recorded an interception?
The last time the Cowboys forced an interception in 2011 was against the Giants on December 11. Who recorded the pick?
The Cowboys went 1-4 to finish the 2011 season, and Lee’s interception against the Giants was the only one during those five games. Moreover, the Cowboys did not have an interception on Thanksgiving Day against Miami, either.
The answer to my question above is Orlando Scandrick, who intercepted a Rex Grossman pass on November 20, 2011.
Thus, in the past ten games, the Cowboys have managed two interceptions, and both were by Sean Lee.
The Cowboys did manage three picks against the Bills in week 10 last year. Terence Newman made two of those picks, while Frank Walker made the other. Of course, neither is still playing for Dallas.
Mike Jenkins had five interceptions in 2009. Since then, he has had a total of two. Brandon Carr has had a total of eight career interceptions, all while playing for Kansas City. Of course, Morris Claiborne is still waiting for his first career interception.
Most would acknowledge that the most famous member of the Dallas Cowboys to serve as an television announcer was Don Meredith with Monday Night Football (as well as NBC during a time after he left ABC).
While Meredith was at the height of his popularity, however, few other former Cowboys appeared on television. Don Perkins was a color commentator for a year in the early 1970s, as was Roger Staubach in the early 1980s.
(Staubach is and will always be my hero, but his announcing was awful.)
Charlie Waters and Drew Pearson were on some broadcast teams during the 1980s, but neither was memorable. In fact, I would bet that some long-time Dallas fans would not have guessed that Waters or Pearson ever appeared as color-commentators on television.
Fast-forward to today, when you can barely turn on a football program without seeing a former member of the Cowboys. You’ll see Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnson, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, Darren Woodson, Mike Ditka, Bill Parcells, Brian Baldinger (yes, a former Cowboy), and Martellus Wiley (yes, a former Cowboy).
So I did some digging and tried to come up with a complete list of former Cowboy player and coaches who have served as television commentators. I did not attempt to find those who appeared on radio. I am fairly sure I’ve missed a name or two (or more), but below is what I know/found. Let me know who I am missing.
Brian Baldinger (NFL Network studio analyst)
Frank Clarke (CBS color commentator)
Mike Ditka (NBC, ESPN commentator/studio analyst)
Jean Fugett (CBS color commentator)
Butch Johnson (NBC color commentator)
Eddie LeBaron (CBS color commentator)
Harvey Martin (NBC color commentator)
Don Meredith (ABC, NBC color commentator)
Drew Pearson (CBS color commentator)
Don Perkins (CBS color commentator)
Dan Reeves (NFL Network studio analyst)
Roger Staubach (CBS color commentator)
Charlie Waters (CBS color commentator)
Troy Aikman (Fox color commentator)
Steve Beuerlein (CBS color commentator)
Butch Davis (NFL Network analyst)
Michael Irvin (ESPN, NFL Network studio analyst)
Jimmy Johnson (Fox studio analyst)
Keyshawn Johnson (ESPN studio analyst)
Daryl Johnston (Fox color commentator, NFL Network analyst)
Ken Norton, Jr. (NFL Network analyst)
Bill Parcells (NBC color commentator, ESPN studio analyst)
Deion Sanders (CBS, NFL Network studio analyst)
Emmitt Smith (NFL Network analyst)
Marcellus Wiley (ESPN studio analyst)
Darren Woodson (ESPN studio analyst)
The early history of the Dallas Cowboys is partially intertwined with the Chicago Bears. Chicago selected SMU quarterback Don Meredith in the third round of the 1960 NFL Draft and, thanks to an agreement between George Halas and the Dallas franchise, the Bears traded Meredith to Dallas for a third-round pick in 1962.
Dallas faced the Bears at Wrigley Field in 1960 and lost 17-7. Meredith did not play in that game, and third-stringer Don Heinrich threw the Cowboys’ only touchdown pass.
Two years later, Meredith did play when the Cowboys hosted the Bears for the first time. The game played at the Cotton Bowl turned into a bit of a wild affair. Chicago’s Billy Wade threw for 466 yards, 201 of which went to receiver Johnny Morris, but the Bears could not convert yards into points.
Dallas held a 13-10 lead at halftime thanks to two touchdown passes by Don Meredith. However, the Bears’ Joe Fortunato blocked Allen Green’s first extra-point attempt, which turned out to be critical at game’s end.
Rookie Amos Bullocks gave Dallas a 33-24 lead on a 73-yard touchdown run with nine minutes left in the game. At the time, it was the longest run from scrimmage in the team’s short history.
However, the Bears clawed their way back into the game, as Wade hit Morris on a 45-yard touchdown pass to cut the Dallas lead to 33-31. Then, with just 31 seconds left in the game, Roger LeClerc hit a 15-yard field goal to give Chicago the win.
Had the Cowboys won, they might have pulled out a winning record in 1962. However, the team slid down the stretch, losing five of their last six games to finish with a 5-8-1 record.
The Cowboys have faced the Bears 20 times and have an overall record of 11-9. The teams last played in 2010, when Chicago frustrated Dallas in a 27-20 win for the Bears.
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Incidentally, total attendance for the Cowboys’ opener against Tampa Bay was 81,984, and the numbers may be a bit higher on Monday night.
Total attendance for the 1962 game? 12,692.
After their opening-game win over the Giants, the Cowboys could boast about some nice offensive and defensive statistics. One week and a poor showing later, and the Cowboys’ stats are not looking so gaudy.
Dallas fell to #11 in total offense, averaging 364.5 over two games. In 2011, the Cowboys finished the season ranked #11 with an average of 375.5 yards per game. Those numbers alone aren’t horrible, but the 2011 statistics are, of course, from an 8-8 season.
Want something horrible? The Cowboys rank #29 in points scored, averaging 15.5 points per game. The only teams with fewer points are the Jaguars, Raiders, and Titans. Of course, keep in mind that Washington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, and San Diego averaged 30 or more points in two games, but three of those teams have the same 1-1 record as Dallas.
Thanks largely to the Giants game, the Cowboys rank #28 in penalties, having committed 18 in two games. Those high-scoring Redskins have 23, which is the most after two weeks.
Defensively, the Cowboys rank #9 in yards allowed, giving up 292.0 yards in two games. Not bad.
What’s not good is that the Cowboys are among nine teams without an interception after two games. I know it’s largely only coincidence, but the overall record of those nine teams?
Combined record of the four teams leading the league with 5 interceptions?
As far as individual statistics, few Cowboys really stand out. One big name that shows up is Sean Lee, who leads the league in tackles with 26.
None of the Dallas receivers are in the top 20 in terms of receptions or receiving yards.
Jason Witten’s injury has obviously affected his play, and he is off to the slowest start in several years. He has only 6 receptions for 68 yards, marking his slowest start since he had 5 receptions for 47 yards in the first two games of the 2005 season.
Here’s a quick look at some Dallas Cowboys statistics.
Week #1 of the NFL season featured plenty of offense. Teams averaged a total of 342.2 yards per game, which was just below the league’s average of 346.8 yards per game in 2011 and higher than the average of 336.0 yards per game in 2010.
Ranking high on the list of total yards, for one week at least, were the Cowboys. The team ranked #11 in 2011 with an average of 375.5 yards per game. Against the Giants, the Cowboys finished with 433 total yards, which ranked third among all teams. Only Washington and Philadelphia had higher numbers.
Dallas finished the week with the highest statistics in yards per play, averaging 7.6 yards for each play. Only the Baltimore Ravens averaged at least 7 yards per play last week. In 16 games in 2011, the Cowboys averaged 5.9 yards per play, which ranked #10.
Offensive line remains a concern, of course. Here’s a noteworthy stat: The Dallas line ranks 30th in terms of total experience, as its five starters have started a total of 144 games. The two teams below the Cowboys are the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks, the latter of which the Cowboys play on Sunday. Seattle’s starters have started a total of 89 games. Ranking #1 in the experience category is the Detroit line, which features players who have started a total of 528 games.
The Cowboys’ defense gave up only 269 yards on Wednesday and rank #7 in total defense after one week.
I addressed this briefly before, but Tony Romo is going to wind up owning several team passing records by the time he is finished. The next major mark in his reach is the career record for most TD passes.
Of course, each of those QBs played in many more games than Romo—165 for Aikman, 166 for White, and 131 for Staubach.
But, of course, Romo played in different era with very different rules than those three.
Below is a complete list of the 45 players who have thrown at least one touchdown pass.
Tony Romo's QB rating vs. the Giants was 129.5. That is the 8th best game of his career in those terms. http://t.co/0be2YhO7
— kickholder (@kickholder) September 8, 2012
That ranks as his 8th best game in terms of passer rating. Here is a list of those 8 games.
148.9 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2006: 22-29, 306 Yds., 5 TD, 0 Int.)
148.4 (vs. Buffalo, 2011: 23-26, 270 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
141.7 (vs. Philadelphia, 2007: 20-25, 324 Yds., 3 TD, 1 Int.)
141.6 (vs. Atlanta, 2009: 21-29, 311 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
141.3 (vs. New York Giants, 2011: 21-31, 321 Yds., 4 TD, 0 Int.)
140.6 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2009: 16-27, 353 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
133.9 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2011: 23-30, 249 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
129.5 (vs. New York Giants, 2012: 22-29, 307 Yds., 3 TD, 1 Int.)
Interestingly, it is not his best game against the Giants in this regard. His performance on December 11, 2011 at home against New York was better on paper.
The difference: when the game was on the line against the Giants in 2011, Romo and Miles Austin could not hook up on a pass that would have put the game away.
On Wednesday, with the game on the line, Romo made a great throw to Kevin Ogletree on third down to secure the win.
This list gives us reason to look forward to September 23, when the Cowboys host Tampa Bay. In three starts against the Buccaneers, his total numbers have been 61 completions on 86 attempts for 908 yards with 11 TDs and 0 interceptions. That’s good enough for a three-game passer rating of 144.7.
Dallas receiver Kevin Ogletree managed to change the focus of conversations from “The Cowboys don’t have a third receiver” to “This Ogletree kid looked awfully good. Should I pick him up on waivers for my fantasy team?”
Anyway, the point of this post isn’t really about Ogletree. It’s about one of the greatest opening-day performances not only in Cowboys history but also in league history. A certain receiver once opened as season by catching 10 passes for 241 yards with 3 TDs, two of which were on pass plays of longer than 50 yards. For those scoring at home, that’s 42.1 fantasy points in most standard leagues and 52.1 points in PPR leagues.
The player was Frank Clarke. His 3 TDs helped the Cowboys to a 35-35 tie with the Washington Redskins on opening day in 1962. Those 241 receiving yards are the most by any receiver on opening day in league history, according to a post today at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Of course, without the fantasy football implications of today, reference to Clarke’s performance did not appear until the ninth paragraph of Charles Burton’s story in the Dallas Morning News:
The tie score obscured a brilliant day of pass receiving and running by Frank Clarke, the veteran wingback, who caught the ball 10 times, made the catches worth 241 yards and three touchdowns.
Incidentally, Clarke had some other monster games for the Cowboys. He had two games in 1963 alone where he had more than 150 receiving yards, including an 8-reception, 190-yard performance against the San Francisco 49ers.
While awaiting Wednesday’s game against the Giants, here are a few trivia items about past and current Cowboy quarterbacks.
The Cowboys went through a number of backup quarterbacks during the 1990s, but the team also enjoyed the lengthy service of starter Troy Aikman and a backup named Jason Garrett. Although he was often the third-stringer, Garrett lasted in Dallas for seven years, playing in 25 games and starting 9. He had a 6-3 record as a starter.
Do you know how many Dallas quarterbacks have played more than four seasons since 2000, which was Aikman’s last year in the NFL?
One. Tony Romo is entering his 8th year with Dallas. Thirteen other quarterbacks have played at least one game for the Cowboys since 2000, and only Romo has lasted longer than four seasons. Clint Stoerner was a backup during four seasons but only played in six games.
The only other QB to last at least three seasons during that time was Quincy Carter.
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New backup QB Kyle Orton is playing for his fourth NFL team in 2012. He has not lasted more than three season at any previous stop (Chicago, Denver, Kansas City).
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Barring injury, Romo will move up to #2 on the team’s all-time list for passing yards. He needs 1,125 yards to pass Danny White and 1,866 to pass Roger Staubach.
Do you know what his career QB rating is compared with the other Cowboy greats?
With Romo’s career rating of 96.9, it’s not even close. Staubach’s career rating was 83.4, which was better than White (81.7), Aikman (81.6), or any of the others. Romo’s is 96.9.
In fact, Romo had the highest rating of his career in 2011, posting a mark of 102.5 despite the team’s numerous problems.
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It is very possible that Romo will finish the season with the most career TDs in team history. He has 149 right now and will need 17 to surpass Aikman. He needs only 7 to surpass both White and Staubach.
Click here for more posts featuring quote trivia and history of the team in quotes.
New idea for an off-season series: Quote Trivia.
The idea is that I will find various quotes and will post quizzes about those quotes.
I don’t have Fred Goodwin’s collection of Cowboys books (see his Dallas Cowboys Books Blog on Facebook or his Q&A pieces on AllExperts.com), but mine isn’t bad. My sources for today’s quizzes are old issues of the Dallas Morning News, but I will get into the books soon.