Trivia and Stats
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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.
* * *
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.
Brandon Weeden looked decent in relief against the Washington Redskins last week, but he struggled nearly all day against Arizona on Sunday.
In light of Weeden’s performance, here is a look at ten of the worst performances by backup quarterbacks in team history, including Weeden’s.
10. Brandon Weeden, November 2, 2014
Filling in for an injured Tony Romo, Weeden struggled hitting anyone not named Jason Witten all day. He threw two costly fourth-quarter interceptions that killed any chance for a Dallas comeback.
Stats: 18-33, 183 yds., 1 TD, 2 Int.
9. Jon Kitna, October 31, 2010
When the Cowboys lost Romo for the year in 2010, they turned to Jon Kitna to salvage the season. And he did an admirable job that year, leading the Cowboys to four wins in nine starts. However, his first start against Jacksonville was a disaster, as Kitna threw four picks in a 35-17 Dallas loss.
Stats: 34-49, 379 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.
8. Randall Cunningham, November 5, 2000
Many fans wanted to see Cunningham start over Troy Aikman during the 2000 season, as he looked generally impressive in two starts against the Cardinals and Redskins. However, when he started his final game as a Cowboy against his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles, on November 5, 2000, the results were hardly positive. He completed just 14 passes for 109 yards in a 16-13 loss.
Stats: 14-22, 109 yds., 0 TD, 1 Int.
7. Ryan Leaf, November 18, 2001
Most fans would prefer to forget the Ryan Leaf experiment. It did not last long. He started three games, and the low point was his performance in a 36-3 loss to Philadelphia on November 18, 2001. He completed just 11 passes and threw two interceptions, both of which the Eagles returned for touchdowns.
Stats: 11-26, 102 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.
6. Kevin Sweeney, November 13, 1988
Kevin Sweeney became a fan favorite due to his performance as a replacement player in 1987. With the Cowboys’ record at 2-8, Tom Landry turned to Sweeney, looking for magic. Instead, Sweeney threw four picks in a 43-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Yuck.
Stats: 10-28, 93 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.
5. Steve Pelleur, November 9, 1986
The Cowboys lost quarterback Danny White on November 2, 1986. One week later, Pelleur got the start against the Los Angeles Raiders. Five interceptions later, the Cowboys lost 17-13.
Stats: 14-30, 168 yds., 0 TD, 5 Int.
4. Brad Johnson, October 19, 2008
The Cowboys seemed to have confidence in Brad Johnson, the former Super Bowl champion, as the backup in 2008. However, when the team lost Romo for several weeks, Johnson showed what he did not have left in a 34-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Although he threw for 234 yards, he struggled all day.
Stats: 17-34, 234 yds., 1 TD, 3 Int.
3. Clint Stoerner, November 4, 2001
Before Tony Romo, there was a no-name backup QB in Dallas named Clint Stoerner. After leading the Cowboys to a 17-3 win over Arizona (with a whopping 93 passing yards on 9 completions), he got off to a hot start at New York. He led the Cowboys to a 24-7 halftime lead. However, his four second-half interceptions killed the Cowboys, who fell in overtime, 27-24.
Stats: 13-23, 177 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.
2. Anthony Wright, December 25, 2000
Anthony Wright was not supposed to start a game for the Dallas Cowboys at quarterback in 2000. He proved that on Christmas night against the Tennessee Titans. Five completions. 35 yards. Passer rating of 0.0.
Stats: 5-20, 35 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.
1. Babe Laufenberg, December 23, 1990
The 1990 Cowboys were on the verge of making the playoffs, one year after the franchise had recorded a 1-15 record. But when Troy Aikman went down with an injury against the Eagles, Jimmy Johnson had to turn to Babe Laufenberg. The result: four interceptions in a 17-3 loss. Laufenberg was no better one week later in a loss to the Falcons, which knocked Dallas out of the playoffs.
Stats: 13-36, 140 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.