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How Badly Did the Cowboys Miss Mat McBriar? Quite a Bit.

Mat McBriar, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys’ loss to the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals on October 12 was costly for a number of reasons. First, Tony Romo broke his pinky at the end of the game, causing him to miss a month of the season and causing throwing problems that appeared to affect him all season. Second, the team lost rookie Felix Jones, who had been a big spark to the offense when the Cowboys started the season at 4-1. Third, had the Cowboys won the game, they would have qualified for the playoffs, assuming the same results in the subsequent games.

The other big loss was punter Mat McBriar, who broke his foot when the Cardinals blocked a punt in overtime. Arizona recovered the fumble in the end zone, giving the Cardinals the win.

Before the injury, McBriar averaged 49.0 yards per punt, which would have ranked second in the league had he played the entire season. McBriar’s net average of 38.8 was ranked lower in the league, but it was better than any of his previous seasons.

McBriar’s replacement, Sam Paulescu, only managed a 41.8 average, which ranked in the bottom six among full-time punters. Paulescu’s 35.2 net average was also ranked very low, though his average was better towards the end of the season than it was when he replaced McBriar in October.

The averages only tell part of the story. On McBriar’s 25 punt attempts (including the block against Arizona), the Cowboys had an average starting field position at their own 32. Their opponents’ average field position after a Dallas punt was their own 26. After McBriar’s injury, the Cowboys’ average starting position on punts moved up to their own 34, and the average starting field position of their opponents moved up to the 31. In other words, when Paulescu was punting, opponents had better field position by seven yards compared with opponents when McBriar was the punter. Given that Paulescu punted a total of 53 times, that is not an insignificant number of yards given up.

Another practical effect of the punting change: no opponent started a possession in Dallas territory following a McBriar punt in games 1 through 6. The closest was Washington in week 4, when the Redskins started one possession at their own 49. By comparison, Cowboys’ opponents began eight possessions in Dallas territory following punts by Paulescu in the final ten games of the season.

A big part of the problem was the simple matter that McBriar has one of the strongest legs in the NFL, and Paulescu could not come close to matching McBriar. Consider the distances of the punts by both punters:

McBriar, Punt Distance

60+ yds.= 3

50-59 yds.=10

40-49 yds.= 8

30-39 yds.=1

20-29 yds.=2

Blocked=1

Paulescu, Punt Distance

60+ yds.=2

50-59 yds.=5

40-49 yds.=24

30-39 yds.=19

20-29 yds.=3

Thus, 84% of McBriar’s punts travelled at least 40 yards, while only 58% of Paulescu’s punts travelled that distance. Granted, some of Paulescu’s shorter punts were downed inside the 20, but that certainly was not the case with all of them.

Net punting yards were also much better with McBriar than with Paulescu:

McBriar, Net Punting Yards

50+ yds.=1

40-49 yds= 13

30-39 yds.=8

20-29 yds.=2

Paulescu, Net Punting Yards

60+ yds.=1

50-59 yds.=2

40-49 yds.=16

30-39 yds.=19

20-29 yds.=10

10-19 yds.=4

1-10 yds.=1

Paulescu, to be sure, improved as the season wore on, and he downed several punts inside the 20. On the other hand, he had especially poor games against the Rams and Ravens. Against Baltimore, four of his six punts traveled less than 40 yards, and the Ravens started three of their possessions at, respectively, their own 49, the Dallas 46, and the Dallas 37. Baltimore scored on two of those drives.

The History of Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinators

Yesterday, it looked as if the St. Louis Rams were going to hire Jason Garrett to be their head coach. Today, however, stories revealed that the job would go to Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo. In all likelihood, Garrett will remain in Dallas.

I indicated in a post yesterday that I would list the offensive coordinators in team history. There have been more coaches who have held that title than has been the case on the defensive side of the ball, but the various coordinators have had different roles. None of the coordinators under Tom Landry had exclusive playcalling responsibilities, whereas all of the coordinators under Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer called the plays. Head coach Chan Gailey was the offensive coordinator, but coach Dave Campo had little to do with the offense. The coordinators under Bill Parcells shared playcalling and game-planning duties with others, while Garrett has called all the shots under Wade Phillips.

Here is a list of the team’s coordinators:

Tom Landry, Head Coach, 1960-1988

Landry devisted the multiple offense, and he retained responsibility over the offense for nearly all of his 29 years as head coach. The irony that most people note is that he was hired as a defensive expert but quickly developed into an offensive mastermind. It is not surprising that he was a capable offensive coach, though, given that he had a background as a quarterback and that he was in the best position to counter the 4-3 defense that he designed.

Jim Myers: Offensive Line (1962-72); Offensive Coordinator (1973-74); Offensive Coodinator/Offensive Line (1975-76); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line (1977-86)

Myers was the former coach at Iowa State and Texas A&M when he was hired by Dallas in 1962. He held the title of offensive coordinator, but his primary responsibility with Dallas was as offensive line coach and not as playcaller.

Dan Reeves: Offensive Backfield (1970-72, 1975); Special Teams (1974); Quarterbacks/Receivers (1976); Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Backs (1977-79); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers (1980)

Reeves focused on several positions during his time as an assistant with Dallas. Like Myers, however, Reeves never had playcalling duties with the Cowboys. On the other hand, he did install the Cowboys’ offensive system when he arrived in Denver in 1981.

Paul Hackett: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers (1986); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1987-88)

The Cowboys hired Hackett in 1986 to inject some new life into the team’s offense. This move was not initiated by Landry, who resisted the new offensive coach. Dallas had a little bit of success with the playcalling team of Landry and Hackett, but after the team’s collapse in 1986, Landry resumed control the offensive playcalling.

Dave Shula: Offensive Coordinator (1989); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1990)

The first offensive coodinator under Jimmy Johnson was Dave Shula, son of legendary coach Don Shula. The move was a disaster as the Cowboys finished near the bottom in yards gained and points scored in both 1989 and 1990.

Norv Turner: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1991-93)

In three seasons with Norv Turner as offensive coordinator, Dallas improved from the worst offense in the league to an offense ranked in the top five in most categories. It helped, of course, that the team’s talent got progressively better.

Ernie Zampese: Offensive Coordinator (1994-97)

Zampese was formerly with the Los Angeles Rams when he took over for Turner after the 1993 season. Little changed in the offensive philosophy between the Turner and Zampese eras, but the talent level started to decline after the 1995 season. By 1997, the offense needed a change in direction, leading to Zampese’s dismissal.

Chan Gailey: Head Coach (1998-1999)

Gailey assumed the role as both head coach and offensive coordinator when he arrived in 1998. He completely changed the offensive philosophy in Dallas, including the blocking scheme, and for the most part the transition was successful. Emmitt Smith had a resurgence in 1998, and the team improved from 6-10 in 1997 to 10-6 in 1998. Dallas started well in 1999, winning the first three games. However, an injury to Michael Irvin ended his career, and Gailey’s offense struggled for the rest of the season.

Jack Reilly: Quarterbacks (1997); Offensive Coordinator (2000-01)

With the success of the Rams’ timing-based offense in 1999, the Cowboys decided to reinstall a form of the offense that had been in place for most of the 1990s. It failed. Troy Aikman was but a shell of his former self, and the experiment of using Joey Galloway and Rocket Ismail blew up when Galloway was hurt during the first game of the season. Reilly remained as coordinator in 2001, but that season was also a failure.

Bruce Coslet: Offensive Coordinator (2002)

The Cowboys decided to install a West Coast offense in 2002 to take advantage of Quincy Carter’s skills. Former Cincinnati head coach Bruce Coslet was brought in to install the offense, but that season was largely a disaster. Carter was benched, and the team could only manage two wins in the final nine games unded Chad Hutchinson.

Maurice Carthon: Offensive Coordinator (2003-04)

When Bill Parcells arrived, he brought with him former Giant fullback Maurice Carthon to serve as offensive coordinator. Offensive playcalling duties were divided among several coaches, so it was difficult to tell how much Carthon was responsible for the improvements on offense in 2003 or the struggles in 2004. Carthon left in 2005 to become the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator.

Sean Payton: Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks (2003-04); Assistant Head Coach/Passing Game Coordinator (2005)

Payton never had the title of offensive coordinator per se, but he was the passing game coordinator for one season. He was a behind-the-scenes guy under Bill Parcells, but his talents as an offensive mind showed later when he was the head coach in New Orleans.

Tony Sparano: Tight Ends (2003-04); Running Game Coordinator/Offensive Line (2005); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line/Running Game (2006); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line (2007)

Like Payton, Sparano never had the offensive coordinator title, but he was heavily responsible for game-planning in 2005 and 2006. And like Payton, Sparano showed his talents when he moved on to become head coach of the Dolphins in 2008.

Jason Garrett: Offensive Coordinator (2007-present)

Even before the Cowboys hired Wade Phillips as head coach, Jerry Jones brought Jason Garrett in to run the offense. Garrett looked like like a genius in 2007, leading to offers for him to become a head coach. However, the Dallas offense struggled in 2008, and many blamed Garrett’s scheme and playcalling for the problems. Garrett interviewed for positions in Detroit, Denver, and St. Louis during the current offseason, but those jobs went to others.

Who’s the Best?

Who’s the Worst?

The History of Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinators

Yesterday, it looked as if the St. Louis Rams were going to hire Jason Garrett to be their head coach. Today, however, stories revealed that the job would go to Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo. In all likelihood, Garrett will remain in Dallas.

I indicated in a post yesterday that I would list the offensive coordinators in team history. There have been more coaches who have held that title than has been the case on the defensive side of the ball, but the various coordinators have had different roles. None of the coordinators under Tom Landry had exclusive playcalling responsibilities, whereas all of the coordinators under Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer called the plays. Head coach Chan Gailey was the offensive coordinator, but coach Dave Campo had little to do with the offense. The coordinators under Bill Parcells shared playcalling and game-planning duties with others, while Garrett has called all the shots under Wade Phillips.

Here is a list of the team’s coordinators:

Tom Landry, Head Coach, 1960-1988

Landry devisted the multiple offense, and he retained responsibility over the offense for nearly all of his 29 years as head coach. The irony that most people note is that he was hired as a defensive expert but quickly developed into an offensive mastermind. It is not surprising that he was a capable offensive coach, though, given that he had a background as a quarterback and that he was in the best position to counter the 4-3 defense that he designed.

Jim Myers: Offensive Line (1962-72); Offensive Coordinator (1973-74); Offensive Coodinator/Offensive Line (1975-76); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line (1977-86)

Myers was the former coach at Iowa State and Texas A&M when he was hired by Dallas in 1962. He held the title of offensive coordinator, but his primary responsibility with Dallas was as offensive line coach and not as playcaller.

Dan Reeves: Offensive Backfield (1970-72, 1975); Special Teams (1974); Quarterbacks/Receivers (1976); Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Backs (1977-79); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers (1980)

Reeves focused on several positions during his time as an assistant with Dallas. Like Myers, however, Reeves never had playcalling duties with the Cowboys. On the other hand, he did install the Cowboys’ offensive system when he arrived in Denver in 1981.

Paul Hackett: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers (1986); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1987-88)

The Cowboys hired Hackett in 1986 to inject some new life into the team’s offense. This move was not initiated by Landry, who resisted the new offensive coach. Dallas had a little bit of success with the playcalling team of Landry and Hackett, but after the team’s collapse in 1986, Landry resumed control the offensive playcalling.

Dave Shula: Offensive Coordinator (1989); Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1990)

The first offensive coodinator under Jimmy Johnson was Dave Shula, son of legendary coach Don Shula. The move was a disaster as the Cowboys finished near the bottom in yards gained and points scored in both 1989 and 1990.

Norv Turner: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1991-93)

In three seasons with Norv Turner as offensive coordinator, Dallas improved from the worst offense in the league to an offense ranked in the top five in most categories. It helped, of course, that the team’s talent got progressively better.

Ernie Zampese: Offensive Coordinator (1994-97)

Zampese was formerly with the Los Angeles Rams when he took over for Turner after the 1993 season. Little changed in the offensive philosophy between the Turner and Zampese eras, but the talent level started to decline after the 1995 season. By 1997, the offense needed a change in direction, leading to Zampese’s dismissal.

Chan Gailey: Head Coach (1998-1999)

Gailey assumed the role as both head coach and offensive coordinator when he arrived in 1998. He completely changed the offensive philosophy in Dallas, including the blocking scheme, and for the most part the transition was successful. Emmitt Smith had a resurgence in 1998, and the team improved from 6-10 in 1997 to 10-6 in 1998. Dallas started well in 1999, winning the first three games. However, an injury to Michael Irvin ended his career, and Gailey’s offense struggled for the rest of the season.

Jack Reilly: Quarterbacks (1997); Offensive Coordinator (2000-01)

With the success of the Rams’ timing-based offense in 1999, the Cowboys decided to reinstall a form of the offense that had been in place for most of the 1990s. It failed. Troy Aikman was but a shell of his former self, and the experiment of using Joey Galloway and Rocket Ismail blew up when Galloway was hurt during the first game of the season. Reilly remained as coordinator in 2001, but that season was also a failure.

Bruce Coslet: Offensive Coordinator (2002)

The Cowboys decided to install a West Coast offense in 2002 to take advantage of Quincy Carter’s skills. Former Cincinnati head coach Bruce Coslet was brought in to install the offense, but that season was largely a disaster. Carter was benched, and the team could only manage two wins in the final nine games unded Chad Hutchinson.

Maurice Carthon: Offensive Coordinator (2003-04)

When Bill Parcells arrived, he brought with him former Giant fullback Maurice Carthon to serve as offensive coordinator. Offensive playcalling duties were divided among several coaches, so it was difficult to tell how much Carthon was responsible for the improvements on offense in 2003 or the struggles in 2004. Carthon left in 2005 to become the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator.

Sean Payton: Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks (2003-04); Assistant Head Coach/Passing Game Coordinator (2005)

Payton never had the title of offensive coordinator per se, but he was the passing game coordinator for one season. He was a behind-the-scenes guy under Bill Parcells, but his talents as an offensive mind showed later when he was the head coach in New Orleans.

Tony Sparano: Tight Ends (2003-04); Running Game Coordinator/Offensive Line (2005); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line/Running Game (2006); Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line (2007)

Like Payton, Sparano never had the offensive coordinator title, but he was heavily responsible for game-planning in 2005 and 2006. And like Payton, Sparano showed his talents when he moved on to become head coach of the Dolphins in 2008.

Jason Garrett: Offensive Coordinator (2007-present)

Even before the Cowboys hired Wade Phillips as head coach, Jerry Jones brought Jason Garrett in to run the offense. Garrett looked like like a genius in 2007, leading to offers for him to become a head coach. However, the Dallas offense struggled in 2008, and many blamed Garrett’s scheme and playcalling for the problems. Garrett interviewed for positions in Detroit, Denver, and St. Louis during the current offseason, but those jobs went to others.

Who’s the Best?

Who’s the Worst?

The History of Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinators

The Cowboys had a big shakeup today with announcement that defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has been fired. There may be other changes in store as some reports indicate that the Rams are ready to name Jason Garrett as their head coach.

Neither items are shocking, given the statement about change around Valley Ranch. This would mark only the third time in team history that the Cowboys have had to replace both coordinators (or analogous titles) in the same season, though it will be the second time in three years that this has happened. Besides 2007, when Dallas hired Garrett and Stewart, the only other time that Dallas hired both coaches was 1989 after Tom Landry had been fired along with most of his assistants.

For the most part, the Cowboys have had stability in their coordinators throughout the team’s history. Tom Landry oversaw both the offense and defense during the 1960s and early 1970s with a staff that was tiny compared to today’s standards. The title of offensive or defensive coordinator in general was relatively rare. The Giants of the 1950s famously employed both Landry and Vince Lombardi, and both are now often labeled as having been coordinators with that team. However, neither held that specific title, as both were merely listed as assistant coaches. Moreover, in the NFL’s Official Encyclopedic History of Professional Football, the term is not used at all, for most assistant coaches were assigned to specific positions, such as the line.

Landry started to delegate more authority during the 1970s, and the coordinator titles first appeared during that time. However, Landry never gave up playcalling privileges easily, especially on offense, and so the title hardly had the same meaning as it does today.

The next two posts here will feature a summary of the defensive and offensive coordinators in team history. Given Stewart’s dismissal, we’ll begin with the defensive coordinators.

Defensive Coordinators

Tom Landry: Head Coach (1960-1988)

The Cowboys hired Landry as a defensive expert, and he brought to Dallas his version of the 4-3 defense. The early years were tough, as he struggled to put the pieces in place. During these struggles, his inside and outside 4-3 schemes were replaced with the flex defense, which became the staple of the Dallas defense.

Ernie Stautner: Defensive Line (1966-72); Defensive Coordinator (1973-74); Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line (1975-88)

Stautner was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a future hall-of-famer with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He joined the Dallas coaching staff in 1966 and became defensive coordinator in 1973. Unlike the offense, Landry reportedly was more willing to concede playcalling duties on defense, and Stautner had more control of the defense than his counterparts on offense. Most expected that Stautner would someday replace Landry as head coach, but with Landry’s firing in 1989, Stautner never coached in the NFL again.

Dave Wannstedt: Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (1989-92)

Wannstedt came to Dallas from the University of Miami when Jimmy Johnson arrived in 1989. The defensive philosophy of Johnson and Wannstedt relied on speed and quickness rather than size. The system worked in the NFL, as the Cowboys improved from 20th in the league in yards allowed to first by 1992, which was Wannstedt’s last season in Dallas.

Butch Davis: Defensive Line (1989-92); Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (1993); Defensive Coordinator (1994)

Wannstedt’s replacement was also a former Miami coach in Butch Davis, who continued to employ the same system. In 1994, Dallas again had the top-ranked defense in the league.

Dave Campo: Defensive Assistant (1989-90); Defensive Backs (1991-94); Defensive Coordinator (1995-99); Secondary (2008-present)

Campo rose through the ranks to take over as defensive coordinator in 1995. Although Dallas lost a ton of the team’s most talented defensive players during Campo’s tenure, his defensive units constantly ranked in the top 10 in yards and points allowed.

Mike Zimmer: Defensive Assistant (1994); Defensive Backs (1995-99); Defensive Coordinator (2000-2006)

When the Cowboys hired Campo as head coach, former defensive backs coach Mike Zimmer was elevated to the defensive coordinator position. Zimmer’s defense was often the lone bright spot on the team during the early 2000s, though the team struggled in giving up points. His defense led the league in yards allowed in 2003, but Bill Parcells’ arrival that season had marked the beginning of the team’s transition to the 3-4 defense. He remained as coach in 2005 and 2006, but the defense struggled after the transition.

Brian Stewart: Defensive Coordinator (2007-2008)

Dallas hired Wade Phillips in 2007 due to his defensive coaching experience, and Phillips brough Stewart along as the new defensive coordinator. The new coaching staff brought promises of more elaborate blitz schemes, which would create more pressure on the quarterback. However, during 2007 and part of 2008, the team often struggled to generate this pressure. Phillips took over the playcalling duties from Stewart, and the defense appeared to improve after the move as the Cowboys led the league in sacks. Many have called for Stewart’s removal as defensive coordinator, especially after Phillips started taking over the playcalling.

Who was the Best?

Who was the Worst?

The History of Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinators

The Cowboys had a big shakeup today with announcement that defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has been fired. There may be other changes in store as some reports indicate that the Rams are ready to name Jason Garrett as their head coach.

Neither items are shocking, given the statement about change around Valley Ranch. This would mark only the third time in team history that the Cowboys have had to replace both coordinators (or analogous titles) in the same season, though it will be the second time in three years that this has happened. Besides 2007, when Dallas hired Garrett and Stewart, the only other time that Dallas hired both coaches was 1989 after Tom Landry had been fired along with most of his assistants.

For the most part, the Cowboys have had stability in their coordinators throughout the team’s history. Tom Landry oversaw both the offense and defense during the 1960s and early 1970s with a staff that was tiny compared to today’s standards. The title of offensive or defensive coordinator in general was relatively rare. The Giants of the 1950s famously employed both Landry and Vince Lombardi, and both are now often labeled as having been coordinators with that team. However, neither held that specific title, as both were merely listed as assistant coaches. Moreover, in the NFL’s Official Encyclopedic History of Professional Football, the term is not used at all, for most assistant coaches were assigned to specific positions, such as the line.

Landry started to delegate more authority during the 1970s, and the coordinator titles first appeared during that time. However, Landry never gave up playcalling privileges easily, especially on offense, and so the title hardly had the same meaning as it does today.

The next two posts here will feature a summary of the defensive and offensive coordinators in team history. Given Stewart’s dismissal, we’ll begin with the defensive coordinators.

Defensive Coordinators

Tom Landry: Head Coach (1960-1988)

The Cowboys hired Landry as a defensive expert, and he brought to Dallas his version of the 4-3 defense. The early years were tough, as he struggled to put the pieces in place. During these struggles, his inside and outside 4-3 schemes were replaced with the flex defense, which became the staple of the Dallas defense.

Ernie Stautner: Defensive Line (1966-72); Defensive Coordinator (1973-74); Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line (1975-88)

Stautner was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a future hall-of-famer with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He joined the Dallas coaching staff in 1966 and became defensive coordinator in 1973. Unlike the offense, Landry reportedly was more willing to concede playcalling duties on defense, and Stautner had more control of the defense than his counterparts on offense. Most expected that Stautner would someday replace Landry as head coach, but with Landry’s firing in 1989, Stautner never coached in the NFL again.

Dave Wannstedt: Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (1989-92)

Wannstedt came to Dallas from the University of Miami when Jimmy Johnson arrived in 1989. The defensive philosophy of Johnson and Wannstedt relied on speed and quickness rather than size. The system worked in the NFL, as the Cowboys improved from 20th in the league in yards allowed to first by 1992, which was Wannstedt’s last season in Dallas.

Butch Davis: Defensive Line (1989-92); Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (1993); Defensive Coordinator (1994)

Wannstedt’s replacement was also a former Miami coach in Butch Davis, who continued to employ the same system. In 1994, Dallas again had the top-ranked defense in the league.

Dave Campo: Defensive Assistant (1989-90); Defensive Backs (1991-94); Defensive Coordinator (1995-99); Secondary (2008-present)

Campo rose through the ranks to take over as defensive coordinator in 1995. Although Dallas lost a ton of the team’s most talented defensive players during Campo’s tenure, his defensive units constantly ranked in the top 10 in yards and points allowed.

Mike Zimmer: Defensive Assistant (1994); Defensive Backs (1995-99); Defensive Coordinator (2000-2006)

When the Cowboys hired Campo as head coach, former defensive backs coach Mike Zimmer was elevated to the defensive coordinator position. Zimmer’s defense was often the lone bright spot on the team during the early 2000s, though the team struggled in giving up points. His defense led the league in yards allowed in 2003, but Bill Parcells’ arrival that season had marked the beginning of the team’s transition to the 3-4 defense. He remained as coach in 2005 and 2006, but the defense struggled after the transition.

Brian Stewart: Defensive Coordinator (2007-2008)

Dallas hired Wade Phillips in 2007 due to his defensive coaching experience, and Phillips brough Stewart along as the new defensive coordinator. The new coaching staff brought promises of more elaborate blitz schemes, which would create more pressure on the quarterback. However, during 2007 and part of 2008, the team often struggled to generate this pressure. Phillips took over the playcalling duties from Stewart, and the defense appeared to improve after the move as the Cowboys led the league in sacks. Many have called for Stewart’s removal as defensive coordinator, especially after Phillips started taking over the playcalling.

Who was the Best?

Who was the Worst?

Conference Title Games will be a Bad Reminder for the 2008 Cowboys

Of the seven losses by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, five came against playoff teams that were still playing on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Four of the teams that beat Dallas moved on to the conference championship games, which means that one of the Cowboys’ losses will have come against the team that wins the Super Bowl.

What makes it worse (if possible) is that Dallas had a good chance to win games against three of those teams, while the fourth game was a blowout loss when Dallas had a chance to make the playoffs.

Week 6 vs. Arizona: The Cowboys came back against the Cardinals to force overtime, but then tragedy struck in several forms. First, Tony Romo broke his pinky, rendering him ineffective. And second, when Dallas tried to punt from deep in its own end, Mat McBriar’s punt was blocked, and the Cardinals recovered the ball for a touchdown to give Arizona a 30-24 win. McBriar broke his foot on the play and was lost for the season.

Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh: The Cowboys led by 10 in the fourth quarter but gave up 17 points to lose, 20-13. Deshea Townsend’s interception for a touchdown won the game for Pittsburgh.

Week 16 vs. Baltimore: The Cowboys played an uninspired game in the final game at Texas Stadium, but Dallas still had a chance to win late. However, the defense gave up two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, as Dallas lost 33-24.

Week 17 vs. Philadelphia: The Cowboys decided that dominoes in the locker room sounded better than the playoffs and did not show up to play the Eagles in the season finale. Philadelphia won 44-6. This was a far cry from the 41-37 win that Dallas posted in week 2.

Historical Precedent

For the first time since 1999, all four teams playing in the conference title games have faced at least one common opponent. This has occurred because the Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins each faced the Eagles, Cardinals, Ravens, and Steelers during the regular season. Dallas, New York, and Washington are now among 16 teams since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to play all four conference finalists during the regular season.

1971 Rams (8-5-1)

vs. Miami, L 20-14

vs. Baltimore, L 24-17

vs. Dallas, L 28-21

vs. San Francisco, W 20-13, W 17-6

1972 Cardinals (4-9-1)

vs. Miami, L 31-10

vs. Pittsburgh, L 25-19

vs. Dallas, L 33-24, L 27-6

vs. Washington, L 24-10, L 33-3

1980 Redskins (6-10)

vs. Oakland, L 24-21

vs. San Diego, W 40-17

vs. Dallas, L 17-3, L 14-10

vs. Philadelphia, L 24-14, L 24-0

1980 Giants (4-12)

vs. Oakland, L 33-17

vs. San Diego, L 44-7

vs. Dallas, L 24-3, W 38-35

vs. Philadelphia, L 35-3, L 31-16

1983 Cowboys (12-4)

vs. L.A. Raiders, L 40-38

vs. Seattle, W 35-10

vs. Washington, W 31-30, L 31-10

vs. San Francisco, L 42-17

1985 Packers (8-8)

vs. New England, L 26-20

vs. Miami, L 34-24

vs. Chicago, L 23-7, L 16-10

vs. L.A. Rams, L 34-17

1986 Chargers (4-12)

vs. N.Y. Giants, L 20-7

vs. Washington, L 30-27

vs. Denver, L 31-14, W 9-3

vs. Cleveland, L 47-17

1986 Raiders (8-8)

vs. N.Y. Giants, L 14-9

vs. Washington, L 10-6

vs. Denver, L 38-36, L 21-10

vs. Cleveland, W 27-14

1989 Colts (8-8)

vs. Denver, L 14-3

vs. Cleveland, W 23-17

vs. San Francisco, L 30-24

vs. L.A. Rams, L 31-17

1992 Rams (6-10)

vs. Buffalo, L 40-7

vs. Miami, L 26-10

vs. Dallas, W 27-23

vs. San Francisco, L 27-24, L 27-10

1992 Falcons (6-10)

vs. Buffalo, L 41-14

vs. Miami, L 21-17

vs. Dallas, L 41-17

vs. San Francisco, L 56-17, L 41-3

1999 Saints (3-13)

vs. Tennessee, L 24-21

vs. Jacksonville, L 41-23

vs. St. Louis, L 43-12, L 30-14

vs. Tampa Bay, L 31-16

1999 Falcons (5-11)

vs. Tennessee, L 30-17

vs. Jacksonville, L 30-7

vs. St. Louis, L 35-7, L 41-13

vs. Tampa Bay, L 19-10

2008 Cowboys (9-7)

vs. Arizona, L 30-24

vs. Philadelphia, W 41-37, L 44-6

vs. Baltimore, L 33-24

vs. Pittsburgh, L 20-13

2008 Redskins (8-8)

vs. Arizona, W 24-17

vs. Philadelphia, W 23-17, W 10-3

vs. Baltimore, L 24-10

vs. Pittsburgh, L 23-6

2008 Giants (12-4)

vs. Arizona, W 37-29

vs. Philadelphia, W 36-31, L 20-14

vs. Baltimore, W 30-10

vs. Pittsburgh, W 21-14

Note: Between 1970 and 1977, interconference matchups were determined by record, not by division. When the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, interconference matchups were determined by division, except one team (i.e., the one that finished last the year before), would play different teams from the other conference than that other teams in the same division. The league moved to the current 32-team format in 2002, and until 2008, no two teams from the same division have played one another in a conference championship game.

Conference Title Games will be a Bad Reminder for the 2008 Cowboys

Of the seven losses by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, five came against playoff teams that were still playing on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Four of the teams that beat Dallas moved on to the conference championship games, which means that one of the Cowboys’ losses will have come against the team that wins the Super Bowl.

What makes it worse (if possible) is that Dallas had a good chance to win games against three of those teams, while the fourth game was a blowout loss when Dallas had a chance to make the playoffs.

Week 6 vs. Arizona: The Cowboys came back against the Cardinals to force overtime, but then tragedy struck in several forms. First, Tony Romo broke his pinky, rendering him ineffective. And second, when Dallas tried to punt from deep in its own end, Mat McBriar’s punt was blocked, and the Cardinals recovered the ball for a touchdown to give Arizona a 30-24 win. McBriar broke his foot on the play and was lost for the season.

Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh: The Cowboys led by 10 in the fourth quarter but gave up 17 points to lose, 20-13. Deshea Townsend’s interception for a touchdown won the game for Pittsburgh.

Week 16 vs. Baltimore: The Cowboys played an uninspired game in the final game at Texas Stadium, but Dallas still had a chance to win late. However, the defense gave up two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, as Dallas lost 33-24.

Week 17 vs. Philadelphia: The Cowboys decided that dominoes in the locker room sounded better than the playoffs and did not show up to play the Eagles in the season finale. Philadelphia won 44-6. This was a far cry from the 41-37 win that Dallas posted in week 2.

Historical Precedent

For the first time since 1999, all four teams playing in the conference title games have faced at least one common opponent. This has occurred because the Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins each faced the Eagles, Cardinals, Ravens, and Steelers during the regular season. Dallas, New York, and Washington are now among 16 teams since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to play all four conference finalists during the regular season.

1971 Rams (8-5-1)

vs. Miami, L 20-14

vs. Baltimore, L 24-17

vs. Dallas, L 28-21

vs. San Francisco, W 20-13, W 17-6

1972 Cardinals (4-9-1)

vs. Miami, L 31-10

vs. Pittsburgh, L 25-19

vs. Dallas, L 33-24, L 27-6

vs. Washington, L 24-10, L 33-3

1980 Redskins (6-10)

vs. Oakland, L 24-21

vs. San Diego, W 40-17

vs. Dallas, L 17-3, L 14-10

vs. Philadelphia, L 24-14, L 24-0

1980 Giants (4-12)

vs. Oakland, L 33-17

vs. San Diego, L 44-7

vs. Dallas, L 24-3, W 38-35

vs. Philadelphia, L 35-3, L 31-16

1983 Cowboys (12-4)

vs. L.A. Raiders, L 40-38

vs. Seattle, W 35-10

vs. Washington, W 31-30, L 31-10

vs. San Francisco, L 42-17

1985 Packers (8-8)

vs. New England, L 26-20

vs. Miami, L 34-24

vs. Chicago, L 23-7, L 16-10

vs. L.A. Rams, L 34-17

1986 Chargers (4-12)

vs. N.Y. Giants, L 20-7

vs. Washington, L 30-27

vs. Denver, L 31-14, W 9-3

vs. Cleveland, L 47-17

1986 Raiders (8-8)

vs. N.Y. Giants, L 14-9

vs. Washington, L 10-6

vs. Denver, L 38-36, L 21-10

vs. Cleveland, W 27-14

1989 Colts (8-8)

vs. Denver, L 14-3

vs. Cleveland, W 23-17

vs. San Francisco, L 30-24

vs. L.A. Rams, L 31-17

1992 Rams (6-10)

vs. Buffalo, L 40-7

vs. Miami, L 26-10

vs. Dallas, W 27-23

vs. San Francisco, L 27-24, L 27-10

1992 Falcons (6-10)

vs. Buffalo, L 41-14

vs. Miami, L 21-17

vs. Dallas, L 41-17

vs. San Francisco, L 56-17, L 41-3

1999 Saints (3-13)

vs. Tennessee, L 24-21

vs. Jacksonville, L 41-23

vs. St. Louis, L 43-12, L 30-14

vs. Tampa Bay, L 31-16

1999 Falcons (5-11)

vs. Tennessee, L 30-17

vs. Jacksonville, L 30-7

vs. St. Louis, L 35-7, L 41-13

vs. Tampa Bay, L 19-10

2008 Cowboys (9-7)

vs. Arizona, L 30-24

vs. Philadelphia, W 41-37, L 44-6

vs. Baltimore, L 33-24

vs. Pittsburgh, L 20-13

2008 Redskins (8-8)

vs. Arizona, W 24-17

vs. Philadelphia, W 23-17, W 10-3

vs. Baltimore, L 24-10

vs. Pittsburgh, L 23-6

2008 Giants (12-4)

vs. Arizona, W 37-29

vs. Philadelphia, W 36-31, L 20-14

vs. Baltimore, W 30-10

vs. Pittsburgh, W 21-14

Note: Between 1970 and 1977, interconference matchups were determined by record, not by division. When the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, interconference matchups were determined by division, except one team (i.e., the one that finished last the year before), would play different teams from the other conference than that other teams in the same division. The league moved to the current 32-team format in 2002, and until 2008, no two teams from the same division have played one another in a conference championship game.

Dallas Cowboys Trivia Answers

Thanks again to Wayne Martin for providing the 50 trivia questions I posted earlier this week. Here are some detailed answers to those questions:

1. WHO WAS THE STARTING QB IN THE FIRST SEASON ?
A. The first starting quarterback for the Cowboys was former Washington quarterback Eddie LeBaron. He started 26 games from 1960 to 1963, compiling a record of 4-21-1. He lost his job as primary starter in 1962 but continued to split time with Don Meredith. Ironically, it was in 1962 that he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.

2. WHAT DIVISION DID THEY PLAY IN THAT YEAR ?
A. The NFL consisted of 13 teams in 1960, and they were divided into two conferences. Dallas was in the Western Conference.

3. THEIR RECORD THAT YEAR WAS 0-11-1, WHO DID THEY TIE ?
A. The Cowboys tied the N.Y. Giants in week 11 on December 4, 1960.

4. WHO WAS THEIR FIRST ROUND DRAFT CHOICE THAT YEAR ?
A. The Cowboys did not participate in the 1960 draft. Dallas acquired several veterans through the expansion draft, and the Cowboys were able to acquire the rights to Don Meredith and Don Perkins from other teams.

5. WHAT WAS THE DECAL ?
A. The original helmet decal was a blue star with no outline.

6. WAS DON MEREDITH DRAFTED BY THE COWBOYS ? IF NOT HOW DID THEY GET HIM ?
A. Meredith was drafted in the third round of the 1960 draft by the Chicago Bears. Dallas traded future draft picks to Chicago to acquire Meredith’s rights, and then Dallas signed Meredith to a personal services contract.

7. THEIR FIRST WIN WAS AGAINST WHO ?
A. The first win in team in history was a 27-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 17, 1961.

8. IN THE 1961 DRAFT WHAT HALL-OF-FAMER WAS DRAFTED BY THE COWBOYS ?
A. The Cowboys had the 13th overall pick in the 1961 draft, and they took DT Bob Lilly with that pick.

9. WHAT RING OF HONOR PLAYER WAS THE STARTING RB IN 1961 ?
A. Don Perkins.

10. WHAT YEAR DID THEY CHANGE THEIR UNIFORMS ?
A. The Cowboys changed from their original double-star uniforms to the more traditional blue and silver uniforms in 1964.

11. WHO WAS THE STARTING MLB BEFORE LEE ROY JORDAN ?
A. The starting linebacker for the Cowboys from 1960 to 1965 was Jerry Tubbs, who later served as an assistant coach.

12. IN WHAT YEAR DID THE COWBOYS PLAY 14 GAMES ?
A. The first year that the Cowboys played a 14-game schedule was 1961. During that year, Dallas finished with a 4-9-1 record.

13. HOW MANY TD’S DID THE COWBOYS SCORE IN THEIR FIRST YEAR, LATER TO BE BROKEN BY EMMITT SMITH?
A. Awkward question, but the Cowboys scored a total of 23 touchdowns in 1960. Emmitt Smith alone scored 25 rushing touchdowns in 1995.

14. THE FIRST TIME A HOLDING PENALTY WAS CALLED AND A SAFETY WAS AWARDED WAS WHEN LEBARON THREW A 99 YARD TO TD PASS TO FRANK CLARKE.. T OR F
A. True. On September 23, 1962, LeBaron hit Clarke on what appeared to be a 99-yard touchdown. However, Dallas was called for holding in the end zone, and Pittsburgh was awarded as safety on the play.

15. IN 1961, THE COWBOYS WERE THE FIRST TEAM TO EVER HAVE 2 PLAYS OF 100 YARDS. HOW WAS IT DONE ?
A. This play did not take place in 1961. Amos Marsh returned a kickoff 101 yards, and Mike Gaechter returned an interception 100 yards in a 41-19 win over Philadelphia on October 14, 1962.

16. WHAT RECEIVER PLAYING FOR THE COWBOYS SET THE NFL RECORD FOR THE MOST RECEIVING YARDS IN A CAREER, BREAKING DON HUTSON’S CAREER RECORD ?
A.Billy Howton broke the record while playing for the Cowboys. He finished his career in 1963 with 503 career receptions for 8,459 yards.

17. IN THE 1964 DRAFT, THE COWBOYS DRAFTED 2 HALL OF FAMERS AND ANOTHER RING OF HONOR PLAYER. WHO WERE THEY AND WHAT ROUND WERE THEY CHOSEN ?
A. Mel Renfro (2nd round)
B. Bob Hayes (7th round)
C. Roger Staubach (10th round)

18. ALSO DURING THE 1964 DRAFT THE COWBOYS DRAFTER A QB OUT OF TULSA WHO IS CONSIDERED A QB COACH GURU AND SERVED AS OFF. CORD DURING HIS COACHING CAREER?
A. Jerry Rhome (13th round)

19. IN 1964, TOM LANDRY SIGNED A EXTENSION FOR HOW MANY YEARS ?
A. Landry signed a 10-year contract extension in 1964, even though Landry’s record up to that point was only 13-38-3.

20. WHO WAS THE COWBOY REC. WHO WROTE “ NORTH DALLAS 40 “ ?
A. The receiver was Pete Gent, who played for the Cowboys from 1964 to 1968.

21. IN THE 1965 DRAFT THE COWBOYS DRAFTED CRAIG MORTON AND JETHRO PUGH. WHERE DID THEY PLAY IN COLLEGE ?
A. Morton played at California.
B. Pugh played at Elizabeth City State.

22. ALSO THEY SIGNED AS A FREE AGENT OUT OF COLLEGE A QB FROM SOUTH CAROLINA AND HE BECAME A RUNNING BACK FOR THE COWBOYS. WHO WAS HE?
A. Dan Reeves was the former South Carolina quarterback who was converted to running back with Dallas.

23. IN 1965 THE COWBOYS FINISHED 7-7, FOR THEIR FIRST NON LOSING SEASON..WHO DID THEY PLAY IN THE PLAY-OFF BOWL? WHO WAS THE QB FOR THE OTHER TEAM THAT GAME?
A. The Cowboys played the Baltimore Colts in the Playoff Bowl after the 1965 season. Baltimore won 35-3.
B. Tom Matte, ordinarily a running back, started for the Colts that day.

24. IN 1965 THE COWBOYS HAD THEIR FIRST SELL-OUT, WHO WERE THEY PLAYING ?
A. The first sellout occurred on November 21, 1965 against the Cleveland Browns.

25. IN WHAT YEAR DID THE COWBOYS START GOING TO 1,000 OAKS, CAL FOR TRAINING CAMP?
A. The Cowboys first started attending training camp at California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks, California in 1963.

26. DURING THE 1966 NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME HOW FAR BEHIND WERE THE COWBOYS BEFORE RUNNING THEIR FIRST OFFENSIVE PLAY?
A. Dallas was behind 14-0 before the Cowboys had the ball. The Packers scored on a drive and then scored again 12 seconds later when Mel Renfro fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Jim Grabowski returned it for another score.

27. BEING BEHIND 34 -20 WITH 5:20 MINUTES TO GO, DON MEREDITH HIT WHAT RECEIVER FOR A 68 YD TD ?
A. Frank Clarke.

28. THE COWBOYS WERE AT GB 22 AND A PASS INTERFERENCE CALL WAS CALLED, PUTTING THE BALL AT GB’S 2. ON WHAT PLAY OF THAT DRIVE DID MEREDITH THROW THE INTERCEPTION ?
A. It was the seventh play of the drive counting a pass interference penalty but not counting a false start penalty. Dallas got the ball back trailing 34-27 with 2:19 to play. On two plays, Dallas moved the ball to the 22. The pass interference call on Frank Clarke moved the ball to the 3. Dan Reeves gained one yard to move the ball to the 1 on first down. A procedure penalty moved the ball back to the 6, and then Reeves dropped a pass on the next play. On third down, Meredith hit Pettis Norman to move the ball back to the 2. Meredith’s fourth-down pass was intercepted by Tom Brown.

29. IN 1967 THE NFL CHANGED THE PLAY-OFF FORMAT. WHAT TEAM DID THE COWBOYS PLAY FOR EASTERN DIVISION TITLE?
A. The Cowboys faced the Cleveland Browns in the divisional round of the 1967 playoffs. Dallas won 52-14.

30. IN 1966 DRAFT THE COWBOYS DRAFTED WALT GARRISON , WHO WAS ALSO DRAFTED BY THE OILERS OF THE AFL. WHAT DID HE GET FROM THE COWBOYS AS A SIGNING BONUS ?
A. His signing bonus consisted of a horse trailer.

31. IN THE 1967 NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, THE COWBOYS FELL BEHIND AGAIN 14-0, WHAT DEFENSIVE LINEMAN PICK UP A BART STARR FUMBLE AND RETURNED IT FOR A TD ?
A. Willie Townes caused the fumble, and George Andrie recovered and returned it for a seven-yard touchdown.

32. WITH THE SCORE 14-10, WHO THREW A TD PASS TO LANCE RENTZEL FOR 50 YDS PUTTING THE COWBOYS AHEAD 17-14 ?
A. Dan Reeves threw the touchdown pass to Rentzel.

33. DURING THIS GAME THERE WERE 6 HALL OF FAMERS FOR GB AND 3 FOR THE COWBOYS. WHO WERE THE COWBOYS?
A. Bob Lilly
B. Mel Renfro
C. Rayfield Wright (who was then a backup)

Another Hall-of-Famer: Tom Landry.

34. ON WHAT DOWN DID BART STARR SNEAK OVER FOR THE TD…WITH JERRY KRAMER CLEARLY OFFSIDE ON ?
A. The touchdown was on a third-and-goal play.

35. IN 1968 THE COWBOYS WERE BEATEN BY FOR THE EASTERN DIVISION TITLE BY ?
A. Cleveland beat Dallas on December 21, 1968, 31-20.

36. WHO WAS THE FIRST QB TO THROW FOR OVER 400 YDS IN A GAME FOR THE COWBOYS?
A. Meredith threw for 460 yards against San Francisco on November 10, 1963. It is still a record.

37. THE FIRST 1,000 RUSHER ?
A. Calvin Hill gained 1,036 yards in 1972.

38. WHAT YEAR DID TEXAS STADIUM OPEN ?
A. It opened in 1971. The first game played there was on October 24, 1971 against New England.

39. THE DEFENSIVE GOT THE NICK-NAME OF “ DOOMSDAY “ WHAT WAS THE SCHEME CALLED BY LANDRY ?
A. Landry’s 4-3 defense that he developed in Dallas was known as the flex. This defense evolved from the 4-3 Inside and 4-3 Outside defenses that Landry used with the New York Giants as their defensive coordinator.

40. IN 1970 THE COWBOYS WERE 5- 4, WON THEIR LAST 5 GAMES . IN THE OPENING PLAY-OFF GAME THEY BEAT WHAT TEAM? IT WAS THE LOWEST SCORING GAME IN PLAY-OFF HISTORY EVER. WHAT WAS THE SCORE ?
A. Dallas beat Detroit in the 1970 playoffs. It was the Cowboys’ first playoff win since 1967.
B. 5-0

41. WHO DID THEY BEAT FOR THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP ?
A. Dallas beat San Francisco to earn a spot in Super Bowl V.

42. WHO DID THEY PLAY IN THE SUPER BOWL?
A. Dallas played the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V.

43. WHO WAS THE MVP OF THIS GAME ?
A. Linebacker Chuck Howley.

44. WHEN MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL STARTED, WHO WERE IN THE BOOTH?
A. Keith Jackson
B. Howard Cosell
C. Don Meredith

45. DON MEREDITH WAS A CO-HOST ON WHO’S SHOW DURING THE 70’S ?
A. Meredith was a co-host on the Dinah Shore’s show Dinah and Friends in 1979.

46. WHO HOLDS THE COWBOY CAREER RECORD FOR INTERCEPTIONS?
A. Mel Renfro holds the record with 52 career interceptions.

47. WHO HOLDS THE RECORD HIGHEST AVERAGE FOR KICK-OFF RETURNS IN A SEASON ?
A. Among all kick returners, the highest average would be Gordon Banks, who had one kickoff return in 1986 for 56 yards. Mark Washington had five returns for 242 yards, or a 48.4 average, in 1970. Among those with at least 20 kickoff returns in a season, Mel Renfro gained 630 return yards on 21 kickoff returns, a 30.0 average, in 1965.

48. WHO HOLDS THE TEAM RECORD FOR PASSING YARDS IN A SEASON ?
A. Tony Romo broke this record in 2007 with 4,211 yards.

49. MOST INTERCEPTIONS IN A SEASON ?
A. Everson Walls recorded 11 picks in 1981.

50. THE MOST CAREER FGS ?
A. Rafael Septien made 162 field goals with the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys Trivia Answers

Thanks again to Wayne Martin for providing the 50 trivia questions I posted earlier this week. Here are some detailed answers to those questions:

1. WHO WAS THE STARTING QB IN THE FIRST SEASON ?
A. The first starting quarterback for the Cowboys was former Washington quarterback Eddie LeBaron. He started 26 games from 1960 to 1963, compiling a record of 4-21-1. He lost his job as primary starter in 1962 but continued to split time with Don Meredith. Ironically, it was in 1962 that he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.

2. WHAT DIVISION DID THEY PLAY IN THAT YEAR ?
A. The NFL consisted of 13 teams in 1960, and they were divided into two conferences. Dallas was in the Western Conference.

3. THEIR RECORD THAT YEAR WAS 0-11-1, WHO DID THEY TIE ?
A. The Cowboys tied the N.Y. Giants in week 11 on December 4, 1960.

4. WHO WAS THEIR FIRST ROUND DRAFT CHOICE THAT YEAR ?
A. The Cowboys did not participate in the 1960 draft. Dallas acquired several veterans through the expansion draft, and the Cowboys were able to acquire the rights to Don Meredith and Don Perkins from other teams.

5. WHAT WAS THE DECAL ?
A. The original helmet decal was a blue star with no outline.

6. WAS DON MEREDITH DRAFTED BY THE COWBOYS ? IF NOT HOW DID THEY GET HIM ?
A. Meredith was drafted in the third round of the 1960 draft by the Chicago Bears. Dallas traded future draft picks to Chicago to acquire Meredith’s rights, and then Dallas signed Meredith to a personal services contract.

7. THEIR FIRST WIN WAS AGAINST WHO ?
A. The first win in team in history was a 27-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 17, 1961.

8. IN THE 1961 DRAFT WHAT HALL-OF-FAMER WAS DRAFTED BY THE COWBOYS ?
A. The Cowboys had the 13th overall pick in the 1961 draft, and they took DT Bob Lilly with that pick.

9. WHAT RING OF HONOR PLAYER WAS THE STARTING RB IN 1961 ?
A. Don Perkins.

10. WHAT YEAR DID THEY CHANGE THEIR UNIFORMS ?
A. The Cowboys changed from their original double-star uniforms to the more traditional blue and silver uniforms in 1964.

11. WHO WAS THE STARTING MLB BEFORE LEE ROY JORDAN ?
A. The starting linebacker for the Cowboys from 1960 to 1965 was Jerry Tubbs, who later served as an assistant coach.

12. IN WHAT YEAR DID THE COWBOYS PLAY 14 GAMES ?
A. The first year that the Cowboys played a 14-game schedule was 1961. During that year, Dallas finished with a 4-9-1 record.

13. HOW MANY TD’S DID THE COWBOYS SCORE IN THEIR FIRST YEAR, LATER TO BE BROKEN BY EMMITT SMITH?
A. Awkward question, but the Cowboys scored a total of 23 touchdowns in 1960. Emmitt Smith alone scored 25 rushing touchdowns in 1995.

14. THE FIRST TIME A HOLDING PENALTY WAS CALLED AND A SAFETY WAS AWARDED WAS WHEN LEBARON THREW A 99 YARD TO TD PASS TO FRANK CLARKE.. T OR F
A. True. On September 23, 1962, LeBaron hit Clarke on what appeared to be a 99-yard touchdown. However, Dallas was called for holding in the end zone, and Pittsburgh was awarded as safety on the play.

15. IN 1961, THE COWBOYS WERE THE FIRST TEAM TO EVER HAVE 2 PLAYS OF 100 YARDS. HOW WAS IT DONE ?
A. This play did not take place in 1961. Amos Marsh returned a kickoff 101 yards, and Mike Gaechter returned an interception 100 yards in a 41-19 win over Philadelphia on October 14, 1962.

16. WHAT RECEIVER PLAYING FOR THE COWBOYS SET THE NFL RECORD FOR THE MOST RECEIVING YARDS IN A CAREER, BREAKING DON HUTSON’S CAREER RECORD ?
A.Billy Howton broke the record while playing for the Cowboys. He finished his career in 1963 with 503 career receptions for 8,459 yards.

17. IN THE 1964 DRAFT, THE COWBOYS DRAFTED 2 HALL OF FAMERS AND ANOTHER RING OF HONOR PLAYER. WHO WERE THEY AND WHAT ROUND WERE THEY CHOSEN ?
A. Mel Renfro (2nd round)
B. Bob Hayes (7th round)
C. Roger Staubach (10th round)

18. ALSO DURING THE 1964 DRAFT THE COWBOYS DRAFTER A QB OUT OF TULSA WHO IS CONSIDERED A QB COACH GURU AND SERVED AS OFF. CORD DURING HIS COACHING CAREER?
A. Jerry Rhome (13th round)

19. IN 1964, TOM LANDRY SIGNED A EXTENSION FOR HOW MANY YEARS ?
A. Landry signed a 10-year contract extension in 1964, even though Landry’s record up to that point was only 13-38-3.

20. WHO WAS THE COWBOY REC. WHO WROTE “ NORTH DALLAS 40 “ ?
A. The receiver was Pete Gent, who played for the Cowboys from 1964 to 1968.

21. IN THE 1965 DRAFT THE COWBOYS DRAFTED CRAIG MORTON AND JETHRO PUGH. WHERE DID THEY PLAY IN COLLEGE ?
A. Morton played at California.
B. Pugh played at Elizabeth City State.

22. ALSO THEY SIGNED AS A FREE AGENT OUT OF COLLEGE A QB FROM SOUTH CAROLINA AND HE BECAME A RUNNING BACK FOR THE COWBOYS. WHO WAS HE?
A. Dan Reeves was the former South Carolina quarterback who was converted to running back with Dallas.

23. IN 1965 THE COWBOYS FINISHED 7-7, FOR THEIR FIRST NON LOSING SEASON..WHO DID THEY PLAY IN THE PLAY-OFF BOWL? WHO WAS THE QB FOR THE OTHER TEAM THAT GAME?
A. The Cowboys played the Baltimore Colts in the Playoff Bowl after the 1965 season. Baltimore won 35-3.
B. Tom Matte, ordinarily a running back, started for the Colts that day.

24. IN 1965 THE COWBOYS HAD THEIR FIRST SELL-OUT, WHO WERE THEY PLAYING ?
A. The first sellout occurred on November 21, 1965 against the Cleveland Browns.

25. IN WHAT YEAR DID THE COWBOYS START GOING TO 1,000 OAKS, CAL FOR TRAINING CAMP?
A. The Cowboys first started attending training camp at California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks, California in 1963.

26. DURING THE 1966 NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME HOW FAR BEHIND WERE THE COWBOYS BEFORE RUNNING THEIR FIRST OFFENSIVE PLAY?
A. Dallas was behind 14-0 before the Cowboys had the ball. The Packers scored on a drive and then scored again 12 seconds later when Mel Renfro fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Jim Grabowski returned it for another score.

27. BEING BEHIND 34 -20 WITH 5:20 MINUTES TO GO, DON MEREDITH HIT WHAT RECEIVER FOR A 68 YD TD ?
A. Frank Clarke.

28. THE COWBOYS WERE AT GB 22 AND A PASS INTERFERENCE CALL WAS CALLED, PUTTING THE BALL AT GB’S 2. ON WHAT PLAY OF THAT DRIVE DID MEREDITH THROW THE INTERCEPTION ?
A. It was the seventh play of the drive counting a pass interference penalty but not counting a false start penalty. Dallas got the ball back trailing 34-27 with 2:19 to play. On two plays, Dallas moved the ball to the 22. The pass interference call on Frank Clarke moved the ball to the 3. Dan Reeves gained one yard to move the ball to the 1 on first down. A procedure penalty moved the ball back to the 6, and then Reeves dropped a pass on the next play. On third down, Meredith hit Pettis Norman to move the ball back to the 2. Meredith’s fourth-down pass was intercepted by Tom Brown.

29. IN 1967 THE NFL CHANGED THE PLAY-OFF FORMAT. WHAT TEAM DID THE COWBOYS PLAY FOR EASTERN DIVISION TITLE?
A. The Cowboys faced the Cleveland Browns in the divisional round of the 1967 playoffs. Dallas won 52-14.

30. IN 1966 DRAFT THE COWBOYS DRAFTED WALT GARRISON , WHO WAS ALSO DRAFTED BY THE OILERS OF THE AFL. WHAT DID HE GET FROM THE COWBOYS AS A SIGNING BONUS ?
A. His signing bonus consisted of a horse trailer.

31. IN THE 1967 NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, THE COWBOYS FELL BEHIND AGAIN 14-0, WHAT DEFENSIVE LINEMAN PICK UP A BART STARR FUMBLE AND RETURNED IT FOR A TD ?
A. Willie Townes caused the fumble, and George Andrie recovered and returned it for a seven-yard touchdown.

32. WITH THE SCORE 14-10, WHO THREW A TD PASS TO LANCE RENTZEL FOR 50 YDS PUTTING THE COWBOYS AHEAD 17-14 ?
A. Dan Reeves threw the touchdown pass to Rentzel.

33. DURING THIS GAME THERE WERE 6 HALL OF FAMERS FOR GB AND 3 FOR THE COWBOYS. WHO WERE THE COWBOYS?
A. Bob Lilly
B. Mel Renfro
C. Rayfield Wright (who was then a backup)

Another Hall-of-Famer: Tom Landry.

34. ON WHAT DOWN DID BART STARR SNEAK OVER FOR THE TD…WITH JERRY KRAMER CLEARLY OFFSIDE ON ?
A. The touchdown was on a third-and-goal play.

35. IN 1968 THE COWBOYS WERE BEATEN BY FOR THE EASTERN DIVISION TITLE BY ?
A. Cleveland beat Dallas on December 21, 1968, 31-20.

36. WHO WAS THE FIRST QB TO THROW FOR OVER 400 YDS IN A GAME FOR THE COWBOYS?
A. Meredith threw for 460 yards against San Francisco on November 10, 1963. It is still a record.

37. THE FIRST 1,000 RUSHER ?
A. Calvin Hill gained 1,036 yards in 1972.

38. WHAT YEAR DID TEXAS STADIUM OPEN ?
A. It opened in 1971. The first game played there was on October 24, 1971 against New England.

39. THE DEFENSIVE GOT THE NICK-NAME OF “ DOOMSDAY “ WHAT WAS THE SCHEME CALLED BY LANDRY ?
A. Landry’s 4-3 defense that he developed in Dallas was known as the flex. This defense evolved from the 4-3 Inside and 4-3 Outside defenses that Landry used with the New York Giants as their defensive coordinator.

40. IN 1970 THE COWBOYS WERE 5- 4, WON THEIR LAST 5 GAMES . IN THE OPENING PLAY-OFF GAME THEY BEAT WHAT TEAM? IT WAS THE LOWEST SCORING GAME IN PLAY-OFF HISTORY EVER. WHAT WAS THE SCORE ?
A. Dallas beat Detroit in the 1970 playoffs. It was the Cowboys’ first playoff win since 1967.
B. 5-0

41. WHO DID THEY BEAT FOR THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP ?
A. Dallas beat San Francisco to earn a spot in Super Bowl V.

42. WHO DID THEY PLAY IN THE SUPER BOWL?
A. Dallas played the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V.

43. WHO WAS THE MVP OF THIS GAME ?
A. Linebacker Chuck Howley.

44. WHEN MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL STARTED, WHO WERE IN THE BOOTH?
A. Keith Jackson
B. Howard Cosell
C. Don Meredith

45. DON MEREDITH WAS A CO-HOST ON WHO’S SHOW DURING THE 70’S ?
A. Meredith was a co-host on the Dinah Shore’s show Dinah and Friends in 1979.

46. WHO HOLDS THE COWBOY CAREER RECORD FOR INTERCEPTIONS?
A. Mel Renfro holds the record with 52 career interceptions.

47. WHO HOLDS THE RECORD HIGHEST AVERAGE FOR KICK-OFF RETURNS IN A SEASON ?
A. Among all kick returners, the highest average would be Gordon Banks, who had one kickoff return in 1986 for 56 yards. Mark Washington had five returns for 242 yards, or a 48.4 average, in 1970. Among those with at least 20 kickoff returns in a season, Mel Renfro gained 630 return yards on 21 kickoff returns, a 30.0 average, in 1965.

48. WHO HOLDS THE TEAM RECORD FOR PASSING YARDS IN A SEASON ?
A. Tony Romo broke this record in 2007 with 4,211 yards.

49. MOST INTERCEPTIONS IN A SEASON ?
A. Everson Walls recorded 11 picks in 1981.

50. THE MOST CAREER FGS ?
A. Rafael Septien made 162 field goals with the Cowboys.

Some Perspective on Wade Phillips’ Winless Playoff Record

Wade Phillips is certainly not the only NFL head coach who has had regular season success but who has struggled in the postseason. On the other hand, here are some facts about Phillips’ coaching record showing that his failures are worst than most.

Total Regular Season Games=119 (All-Time Rank: #68)

Phillips has coached a total of 119 games, including his interim stints in New Orleans and Atlanta. Phillips is currently tied with former Lions coach Monte Clark and former Falcons coach Leeman Bennett.

Regular Season Wins=70 (All-Time Rank: #56)

There are a few notable current coaches that are still behind Phillips in terms of total number of regular season wins, but not many. Carolina’s John Fox, who has made one Super Bowl appearance, has seven fewer wins than Phillips with 63.

Regular Season Winning Percentage= .588 (70-49) (All-Time Rank: #36)

It has certainly helped Phillips in the past that he has taken over teams that already have some talent. Thus, he had not had to build teams from scratch, which is why several coaches are behind Phillips in terms of winning percentage. Just a few of the coaches with a lower winning percentage: Bill Parcells (.570), Chuck Noll (.566), and Jimmy Johnson (.556).

Here is the stat that stands out: Of the 85 coaches who have coached at least 100 games during their careers, only 12 have never won a playoff game. Moreover, none of the coaches among the other 11 has had a regular season winning percentage as high as Phillips’.

1. Jim Mora (15 seasons between 1986-2001): 231 regular season games (125-106, .541), 0-6 playoff record.
2. Norm Van Brocklin (13 seasons between 1961-1974): 173 regular season games (66-100-7, .398), no playoff appearances.
3. Joe Kuharich (11 seasons between 1952-1968): 142 regular season games (58-81-3, .417), no playoff appearances.
4. Dick Jauron (9 seasons between 1999-2008): 133 regular season games (57-76, .429), 0-1 playoff record.
5. Bruce Coslet (9 seasons between 1990-2000): 124 regular season games (47-77, .379), 0-1 playoff record.
6. Monte Clark (8 seasons between 1976-1984): 119 regular season games (51-67-1, .432), 0-2 playoff record.
7. Wade Phillips (9 seasons between 1985-2008): 119 regular season games (70-49, .588), 0-4 playoff record.
8. Marion Campbell (9 seasons between 1974-1989): 115 regular season games (34-80-1, .298), no playoff appearances.
9. Dan Henning (7 seasons between 1983-1981): 112 regular season games (38-73-1, .342), no playoff appearances.
10. Allie Sherman (8 seasons between 1961-1968): 112 regular season games (57-51-4, .528), 0-3 playoff record.
11. Buddy Ryan (7 seasons between 1986-1995): 111 regular season games (55-55-1, .500), 0-3 playoff record.
12. Ron Meyer (9 Seasons between 1982-1992): 104 regular season games (54-50, .519), 0-2 playoff record.

Another notable fact: of 76 coaches who have coached at least four playoff games, only Phillips and Jim Mora have never won at least one.