Trivia and Stats
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As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, most eyes have been on how Dallas will handle former Cowboy DeMarco Murray. He, of course, led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,845 yards and set a franchise record in doing so.
A Dallas running back has gained at least 1,000 yards 25 times during the past, including the 2014 season with Murray. A total of six running backs have accomplished this, including Murray, Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, Calvin Hill, and Julius Jones.
Among these players, the Cowboys later had to face Smith, Walker, Hill, and Jones when those backs played for other teams. Like Murray, two of these players joined division rivals. Here is a short review of how those backs fared against the Cowboys.
Hill played with the Cowboys from 1969 to 1974 before joining the World Football League. He returned to the NFL in 1976 and joined the Washington Redskins. He played there until 1978, when he joined the Cleveland Browns.
In five games against Dallas, Hill was never a factor. He never rushed for more than 44 yards, and in five games only gained a total of 108 yards on 20 carries (for an average of 21.6 yards and 4 carries per game).
The Cowboys were able to build a dynasty thanks in part to their trade of Walker to the Minnesota Vikings in 1989. He gained 1,514 rushing yards in Dallas in 1988.
Walker never played against Dallas as a Viking. He later joined the Eagles, though, and also played for the Giants. In nine games against Dallas (including a playoff game), he ran the ball 79 times for 314 yards. He was most effective against the Cowboys in 1992, when he scored three touchdowns in two regular-season games.
Smith’s return to Dallas in 2003 was as anticipated as the game this Sunday. He did not last long at Texas Stadium. He carried the ball 6 times for -1 yard, and a hit by Roy Williams put Emmitt out of the game.
Jones is probably the forgotten one of this group of backs. He gained 1,084 yards in 2005, but Marion Barber had become the dominant back in Dallas by the end of 2007.
Jones played in Seattle in 2008 and 2009 before joining the Saints in 2010. He faced Dallas twice as a Seahawk and once as a Saint. In those three games, he gained 138 yards on 36 carries.
Below is a table of the 1,000-yard rushing performances in team history:
As training camp for the Dallas Cowboys begins, here are a few potential career milestones. (And yes, we are stretching a few of these.)
Wins as a Starter: Tony Romo
By leading the Cowboys to at least 11 wins in 2015, Tony Romo will surpass Roger Staubach in regular-season wins as a starter. Romo’s record is now 75-48, while Staubach’s was 85-29.
Staubach also led Dallas to 11 playoff wins and 2 Super Bowl titles. Romo’s playoff record is 2-4.
Career Touchdown Receptions: Jason Witten and Dez Bryant
Jason Witten has 57 career touchdowns, just eight shy of Michael Irvin’s mark of 65. It’s more likely that Dez Bryant will catch Irvin, though, as Bryant enters this season with 56 career TDs.
Bob Hayes holds the franchise record with 71 TDs.
Career Rushing Marks (Pitiful)
We all know that the Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray and his 4,526 career rushing yards. He left ranked sixth in team history in career rushing yards.
That leaves Tony Romo as the current franchise leader in rushing yards with 607. Romo ranks 30th in team history, just 31 yards behind Charley Young.
Among quarterbacks, Romo probably won’t catch Roger Staubach in career rushing yards. Staubach rushed for 2,264 yards, best in team history among quarterbacks and 12th among all players.
Joseph Randle is exactly 100 yards behind Romo with 507 career rushing yards.
Meanwhile, Darren McFadden had 4,247 career rushing yards with Oakland. He surpassed 1,000 yards only once (in 2010).
Field Goals: Dan Bailey
Dan Bailey has the highest career field-goal percentage with 89.8%. Chris Boniol connected on 87.1% in three seasons with Dallas.
At his current pace, Bailey will eventually surpass Rafael Septien in career field goals made, but not in 2015. Septien had 162, while Bailey has 114.
Punting: Chris Jones
Chris Jones’s average punt traveled 45.4 yards in 2014, and his career average is 45.0. Mat McBriar holds the franchise mark for best career average, with 45.3 yards per punt.
Tackles: Orlando Scandrick
Orlando Scandrick has 282 career tackles and ranks 17th on the franchise’s all-time list. Players just ahead of him on that list include Robert Jones (283), Jack Del Rio (292), and Kevin Smith (334). Scandrick has averaged just over 40 tackles per year since 2008.
We all know that Dez Bryant displays his emotions. Now that he has signed a five-year, $70 million contract, we also know he is not just doing anything for a payday.
So in honor of Dez’s new contract, here is an animated GIF featuring Dez and his emotions.
The trivia questions:
(1) During which season did this take place?
(2) Against which team was Dallas playing when this happened?
(3) Who won that game?
The 1976 Dallas Cowboys provided images that we can always use on July 4. That is, we can always admire the red-white-and-blue stripes on the 1976 helmets.
Anyway, those 1976 Dallas Cowboys and their patriotic helmets are kind of a forgotten team. The Cowboys rebounded from their loss in Super Bowl X to record an 11-3 record and reclaim the NFC East title. Dallas struggled in the playoffs, however, losing to L.A. Rams.
Below is a quiz with five questions about those 1976 Cowboys.
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Video highlights from the 1976 season are available on YouTube, but only the second part is online.
When you solve the puzzle above, you will see two Cowboys players attempting to block a field goal by Tom Dempsey during the 1975 NFC Championship Game. The Cowboys won the game, of course, 37-7 to earn a spot in Super Bowl X.
Here are the trivia questions related to this picture:
(1) Who are the Dallas players in the picture, and what did each of them accomplish in the game? (Hint: one played on offense and the other on defense.)
(2) Neither player blocked this kick, but another Dallas player blocked a field-goal attempt in the second half. Who was this player?
(3) Dempsey is best known for what?
Who is the holder?
Below is an animated GIF showing Randy White sacking Ron Jaworski. Questions about this play are below the image.
(1) During which season did this play take place?
(2) Did Dallas win this game?
(3) White forced Jaworski to fumble. Who recovered the fumble to score a touchdown?
In five years with the Dallas Cowboys between 1995 and 1999, Deion Sanders returned four punts for touchdowns. The animated GIF below shows one of them:
(1) Kind of hard to tell, but the opponent here was the Chicago Bears. During which season did this play occur?
(2) Who won this game?
(3) Deion scored his final touchdown as a Cowboy in 1999. Against which team did this occur?
Emmitt Smith faced the Carolina Panthers five times as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Here is an animated GIF from one of those games:
Trivia: During which season did this play take place? Did the Cowboys win?
The 1984 Dallas Cowboys were 9-6 entering the season finale against the 13-2 Miami Dolphins. A Dallas win would ensure the team’s tenth consecutive playoff appearance. However, the Cowboys fell behind 21-14 late in game.
Someone last summer posted this video clip showing a touchdown reception by Tony Hill. I vaguely remember this play. It took place after the two-minute warning. Dallas had the ball at its own 34 with a first and ten.
Here’s a trivia question for today: what happened after this play? The answer is significant for a couple of reasons.
A big debate for at least part of his offseason is whether the Cowboys should or will sign free-agent running back DeMarco Murray. A significant part of that conversation will focus on Murray’s workload in 2014 and the effect it could have on him moving forward.
He had 449 touches in 2014, which is the most for any running back in team history during a regular season. Here are the numbers:
Murray had another 48 touches in two games to give him 497. By comparison, Emmitt Smith had 439 regular-season touches in 1995 and added another 80 in three playoff games. Smith also exceeded 500 touches in 1992, when he had 432 regular-season touches plus another 84 in three playoff games.
Smith was one of the most durable running backs in NFL history, but his numbers did decline after his record-breaking 1995 season. He played nine more season but never rushed for more than 1,400 yards again. Of course, part of that had to do with an aging offensive line during the late 1990s, but he was never quite the same back after 1995.
Murray ranks 6th in NFL history for touches in a regular season (Smith now ranks 10th). Of the five players with 450 or more touches, here is a quick summary of the rest of their careers.
5. Edgerrin James (Indianapolis, 450 touches, 2000): James had five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons between 2003 and 2007. However, following his 450-touch season in 2000, he played in only six games in 2001 and 14 games in 2002.
4. LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego, 451 touches, 2006): Tomlilnson was the back who could have challenged Smith’s all-time rushing title, but Tomlinson had only two more seasons with more than 1,000 yards after touching the ball 451 times in 2006.
3. Eddie George (Tennessee, 453 touches, 2000): George had two more 1,000-yard seasons after 2000, but he never averaged more than 3.4 yards per carry after touching the ball 453 times that year.
2. Larry Johnson (Kansas City, 457 touches, 2006): Johnson played in all 16 games only twice during his career, including the 2006 season when he touched the ball 457 times. He never played a full season again and never came close to matching his rushing totals from 2005 (1,750 yards) or 2006 (1,789 yards).
1. James Wilder (Tampa Bay, 492 touches, 1984): Wilder had never rushed for 1,000 yards until he carried the ball 407 times and caught another 85 passes in 1984. He had only one more 1,000-yard season after 1984 before he started suffering injuries.