Trivia and Stats
now browsing by category
In November, National Football Post had an article describing dead money disasters. And wouldn’t you know it, our underachieving Dallas Cowboys were among those disasters. The bit about the Cowboys:
The Cowboys are paying for contract mistakes made several years ago. Most notably are the contracts that were signed by Roy Williams and Marion Barber.
At least Marion Barber (above) produced while he was with the Cowboys. That’s more than you can say about Roy Williams.
Williams signed a six-year, $54 million contract extension (with $19.5 million guaranteed) in 2008 after being acquired from the Detroit Lions for 2009 first, third and sixth round picks. Williams never came close to duplicating his 2006 Pro Bowl season with Detroit (82 catches, 1,310 receiving yards) while with the Cowboys. In fact, Williams only had 12 more receptions and 10 more receiving yards than his 2006 season during his almost three seasons in Dallas.
Barber received a seven-year, $45 million contract (with $16 million guaranteed) in 2008 as a restricted free agent without having a 1,000-yard rushing season or being an every-down running back. Even though Williams and Barber haven’t played for the Cowboys since the 2010 season, they are currently counting $8.75 million and $4 million, respectively, towards Dallas’ cap. The same holds true for Leonard Davis ($4,166,670) and Marc Colombo ($4.05 million), who was also part of the 2011 roster purge once the lockout ended.
The Cowboys were still able to be a major player in the first wave of free agency despite 22.6% of their adjusted cap being devoted to dead money and their penalty for violating the spirit of unwritten spending rules during the uncapped 2010 season. Brandon Carr received a five-year, $50.1 million deal (including $26.5 million in guarantees). His $3.2 million first year cap number is low for such a lucrative deal. Carr’s cap number jumps to $16.3 million next year which makes him a prime candidate to restructure his contract since the Cowboys will have a $6.5 million cap deficit because of those penalties and approximately $134 million committed towards next year’s cap with only 43 players under contract.
In 2013, the situation is different but by no means better. The Cowboys reportedly only have $194,440 in dead money, yet the team is still $20 million over the salary cap. The Cowboys have a total commitment of $143,073,082 in 2013, and only the Jets and the Saints face a worse salary cap situation.
The cause? $103,257,533 in base salaries. Only the Eagles franchise has a higher figure of base salaries. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the Cowboys or Eagles made the playoffs last year. Or the year before. Or (in the case of the Cowboys) the year before that.
You know who makes the playoffs every year? The Patriots, who have the sixth lowest salary number in the league with a total commitment of $106,497,111. That’s $36.5 million less than the 8-8 Cowboys.
And who won the Super Bowl last year? The Ravens, with a total commitment of $107,482,179.
This is even more disheartening: the two teams with the lowest salary cap numbers are the Bengals (total commitment of $75,584,664) and Colts (total commitment of $77,510,714). I seem to remember them competing in the playoffs last year.
The Cowboys, of course, weren’t.
The 1962 Dallas Texans finished the regular season at 11-3 and won the AFL championship. The Dallas Cowboys of the NFL finished the same season at 5-8-1 and would not reach the playoffs for another four years.
Nevertheless, the Cowboys were the ones who remained in Dallas after the Texans lost money in each of the years they were in Dallas. By the week of February 10, 1963 (or 50 years ago this week), word was that the Texans were on their way to Kansas City.
Here was a cartoon that appeared in the February 10 issue of the Dallas Morning News:
As of February, though, the move wasn’t final. The top article in the sport section of the February 10 issue stated:
Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Texans, threatened Saturday to move his American Football League franchise to Dallas if Kansas City doesn’t buy 25,000 season tickets.
What this meant was that the move to Kansas City was not yet complete, which meant the former Dallas Texans, who were briefly known as the Kansas City Texans, would return to become the Dallas Texans once again. Got it?
Of course, the Texans became the Chiefs. It only took the Kansas City community eight weeks to sell the required number of seats, and Dallas has been a one-pro-team town since then.
Several stories indicated that Dallas leaders thought the move by the Texans would be good in the long run because Dallas could not support two franchises.
Another article noted that many in the Dallas area often confused the two teams, noting when asked that they would miss “Coach Schramm and his boys.” (!!!)
This is becoming rather peculiar. For the seventh consecutive year, the Dallas Cowboys have faced the team that eventually won the Super Bowl.
This year, Dallas lost to the Baltimore Ravens 31-29 on October 14. Baltimore, of course, beat San Francisco to win Super Bowl XLVII.
The Cowboys have now faced the team that eventually won the Super Bowl a total of 39 times. Dallas has a record of 9-32 in those games.
1960– vs. Philadelphia, L 25-27
1964– vs. Cleveland, L 16-20
1965– vs. Green Bay, L 3-13
1973– vs. Miami, L 7-14
1979– vs. Pittsburgh, L 3-14
1980– vs. Oakland, W 19-13
1981– vs. San Francisco, L 14-45
1982– vs. Washington, W 24-10
1983– vs. L.A. Raiders, L 38-40
1985– vs. Chicago, L 0-44
1986– vs. N.Y. Giants, W 31-28
1986– vs. N.Y. Giants, L 14-17
1987– vs. Washington, L 7-13
1987– vs. Washington, L 20-24
1989– vs. San Francisco, L 14-31
1990– vs. N.Y. Giants, L 7-28
1990– vs. N.Y. Giants, L 17-31
1991– vs. Washington, L 31-33
1991– vs. Washington, W 24-21
1994– vs. San Francisco, L 14-21
1996– vs. Green Bay, W 21-6
1998– vs. Denver, L 23-42
2000– vs. Baltimore Ravens, L 0-27
2003– vs. New England, L 0-12
2006– vs. Indianapolis, W 21-14
2007- vs. N.Y. Giants, W 45-35
2007- vs. N.Y. Giants, W 31-20
2008- vs. Pittsburgh, L 13-20
2009- vs. New Orleans, W 24-17
2010- vs. Green Bay, L 7-45
2011- vs. N.Y. Giants, L 34-37
2011- vs. N.Y. Giants, L 14-31
2012- vs. Baltimore, L 29-31
1966– vs. Green Bay (NFL Championship), L 27-34
1967– vs. Green Bay (NFL Championship), L 17-21
1970– vs. Baltimore Colts (Super Bowl V), L 13-16
1975– vs. Pittsburgh (Super Bowl X), L 17-21
1978– vs. Pittsburgh (SuperBowl XIII), L 31-35
1981– vs. San Francisco (NFC Championship), L 27-28
1982– vs. Washington (NFC Championship), L 17-31
1994– vs. San Francisco (NFC Championship), L 28-38
2007- vs. N.Y. Giants (Divisional Round), L 21-17
The Dallas Cowboys have not taken many guards early in previous NFL drafts. When the team has gone in that direction, it has been a hit-or-miss effort.
Hits, for example: Larry Allen (2nd round, 46th overall, 1994); Andre Gurode (2nd round, 37th overall, 2002).
Of course, Gurode had much greater success as a center.
Misses, for example: Stephen Peterman (3rd round, 83rd overall, 2004); Solomon Page (2nd round, 55th overall, 1999); Scott Scifres (3rd round, 83rd overall, 1997); Shane Hannah (2nd round, 63rd overall, 1995).
Here’s a trivia question: Which two guards have the Cowboys taken in the first round?
These players may be joined by a guard in the 2013 draft. Mel Kiper predicts that the Cowboys could take North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, and several others have predicted guards as well.
* * *
Here’s another trivial matter.
Did you know that the first guard the Cowboys ever selected in a draft wound up in the Hall of Fame?
In 1961, the Cowboys selected Georgia Tech guard Billy Shaw in the 14th round (184th overall). The AFL’s Buffalo Bills took Shaw in the second round of the AFL Draft, and he signed with the Bills. He played nine years in the NFL and made eight trips to the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro honors five times.
The other guard the Cowboys selected in 1961 was Lynn Hoyem of Long Beach State. He played two years in Dallas before moving on to Philadelphia.
When Jimmy Johnson became head coach in 1989, he retained the 4-3 but discarded the flex defense that Landry had used for many years. Johnson’s defense relied on speed more than size. The Cowboys continued to use a version of this 4-3 until the third year of Bill Parcells‘ tenure.
Since 2005, Dallas has run the 3-4, which features larger linemen and larger linebackers. The Cowboys have spent a number of draft picks trying to find inside and outside linebackers as well as defensive linemen to fit the system.
Trivia question for the day: who were the last defensive linemen drafted when the Cowboys still used the 4-3?
Here’s a hint: The Cowboys did not draft a single defensive lineman between 2002 and 2004.
Check out the Facebook page for the answer.
* * *
More about the Cowboys’ use of the 4-3:
In 2004, the Cowboys’ starters along the defensive line included DE Greg Ellis, DE Marcellus Wiley, DT Leonardo Carson, and DT La’Roi Glover. Glover moved to nose tackle in 2005, while Ellis remained at end. Ellis then moved to outside linebacker in 2006.
On Sunday night, the Cowboys and Redskins will face off in a season finale for the sixth time in history. Here is a review of the previous five games.
1979—Dallas 35, Washington 34
Many fans remember the first time the teams met to end a regular season. Dallas and Washington were both 10-5 when they faced off at Texas Stadium on December 16, 1979. The winner would win the NFC East, while a Dallas loss would have sent the Cowboys to the wildcard game one week later to play the Eagles.
Washington took a 34-21 lead in the fourth quarter and had the ball with about four minutes left.
Nothing looked good for the Cowboys until a series of plays that allowed Roger Staubach to pull off one last miracle.
- On a 3rd and 5 play with just under 4 minutes left, Clarence Harmon fumbled the ball, and Randy White recovered.
- Staubach went to work right after the fumble, hitting Butch Johnson, Tony Hill, and Ron Springs on consecutive passes. The 26-yard pass to Springs for a touchdown cut the Washington lead to 34-28.
- Washington faced a critical 3rd-and-2 with 2 minutes left. John Riggins tried to run outside, but Larry Cole burst through the hole and caught Riggins for a loss.
- The Cowboys got the ball back with 1:46 at their own 25. Hill came up with another huge reception, picking up 20 yards on the first play of the drive.
- On the next play, Staubach evaded the rush and hit Preston Pearson over the middle for another 23-yard gain.
- Pearson’s second reception of the drive moved the ball to the Washington 8, which set up Staubach’s game-winning pass to Hill.
Here’s a video worth watching:
1996—Washington 37, Dallas 10
The Cowboys had nothing to gain when they faced the Redskins in the season finale in 1996. This was the last game ever played at RFK Stadium, and the Cowboys barely showed up in a 37-10 loss.
1998—Dallas 23, Washington 7
Two years later, the Cowboys hosted Washington with a chance to sweep the entire division. Dallas beat the Redskins but then turned around and lost to division rival Arizona one week later.
2002—Washington 20, Dallas 14
There was nothing on the line when the teams faced off in 2002. The game proved to be Emmitt Smith’s last with Dallas. He entered the game needing 38 yards to reach 1,000 for the 12th consecutive year. He managed just 13 yards on 18 carries.
2007—Washington 27, Dallas 6
Many thought the Cowboys needed momentum heading into the 2007 playoffs. Instead, the Redskins thumped Dallas, and two weeks later, Dallas lost to the Giants in the playoffs.
Though the Cincinnati Bengals became a franchise in 1968, the Dallas Cowboys did not face the new Cincinnati team until 1973. That was because the Bengals were part of the AFL until 1970, and the teams were in different conferences when the leagues merged in 1970.
The teams finally met on November 4, 1973 at Texas Stadium. It was Cincinnati head coach Paul Brown’s first visit to Dallas since he coached the Browns in 1962 and turned out to be his last visit to Dallas during his 25-year NFL career.
In 1962, his Browns lost in a 45-21 blowout to the Cowboys, who were two years removed from their inaugural year. In 1973, the Dallas team was two years removed from its first Super Bowl title, and the result of the game was another blowout win for the Cowboys.
The video highlights and story of the game are below. Interesting note: the loss to Dallas dropped the Bengals to 4-4. Nevertheless, the team rebounded with six consecutive wins to finish the season at 10-4. They made the playoffs but eventually lost to the Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins.
As for the Cowboys, they also finished at 10-4 and made it to the NFC championship game before losing to the Minnesota Vikings.
By BOB ST. JOHN / The Dallas Morning News
Actually, it all started earlier in the week, though the records will show it ended very impressively for the Dallas Cowboys on a mostly gray Sunday afternoon at Texas Stadium.
“We started working with the right kind of attitude last Wednesday,” said middle linebacker Lee Roy Jordan, shortly after he’d made a tour of the Cowboys dressing room, shaking hands with every member of the team.
“Since we lost to Washington we really hadn’t had the consistent attitude and concentration. This week we made up our minds. We played well in practice. We were making interceptions and so that meant we were moving better. We felt the same thing would continue in the game.”
It did … in the game, Jordan intercepted three passes in the first period off the arm of Cincinnati quarterback Ken Anderson, ran one 31 yards for a touchdown and set up a score with anther one. These interceptions sent the Bengals reeling and they never really recovered as Dallas stormed off with an impressive 38-10 victory over a good team before a crowd of 54,944. There were 3,658 no shows.
So Dallas, perhaps, has turned the corner once again, heading for another playoff berth. Anyway, the Cowboys can do worse than remain a single game behind Washington in the NFC Eastern race and could move into a tie for the lead, should Pittsburgh top the Redskins on Monday night.
“We’ve got it started and we’re not going to do the same thing we did after beating the Giants a couple of weeks ago,” continued Jordan. “We were up for that one and then came back in practice the following week and let it get away. So the Eagles beat us. This time we’ll go back out there this week and keep it going.
“We’re not even thinking about a wild card berth. We’re going for the championship.”
The most impressive thing was the Cowboy defense, which did everything it had not been doing. What happened basically was that they had their collars loosened, Cowboy linemen were turned loose more, instead of reading so much and then rushing the passer. Thus there was more pressure than there had been since the Redskin game. And Dallas blitzed 7-3 times, very un-Cowboy like. Conservatism was thrown to the wind.
“They turned us loose, let us go and we went after them,” said cornerback Mel Renfro. “I hope we do it from now on.”
The Cowboy defense was so impressive that Dallas had such fine field positions on the Cincinnati 42, 17, 42, 44 and 7 yard lines. The Cowboy offense only had to go 42, 44, 55, and 7 yards for touchdowns.
“It wasn’t an offensive day,” said quarterback Roger Staubach, who had a fine personal day with 14 hits on 18 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. And he threw no interceptions, the thing that had killed Anderson … killed the Bengals. “Our defense just gave us great field position all day.
“Cincinnati has a fine defense and we needed everything we could get. I’d rate the Bengals on defense right up there next to Washington.”
Jordan first struck with Dallas leading 3-0 on Toni Fritsch’s 34-yard field goal and with neither team seeming able to move. But Anderson threw for wide receiver Chip Myers on the sideline and Lee Roy, whose man was blocking and didn’t go out, ran across field and picked off the throw, following practically the entire defensive entourage to the end zone. The second interception was tipped as free safety Cliff Harris crunched into tight end Bob Trumpy, causing him to cough up a ball he never had control of in the first place. Jordan got the third one by reaching up, one-handing it, and bringing it into control and setting up Dallas in TD business at the Cincy 42.
“On the first interception we blitzed,” said Lee Roy, “I just looked up and he was throwing a down-and-out. It was so hard I didn’t think I could hold it.”
“Jordan has range, experience and is a fine player,” said Anderson. “The first interception was very impressive because he ran a long way to get there. He just seemed to get to the right place at the right time. But that’s what it takes to make a good linebacker.”
Renfro and tackle Jethro Pugh combined to set up the final Cowboy TD. Renfro jarred running back Essex Johnson loose from the ball as Anderson, in trouble, dropped the football off to his back. Pugh picked up the ball and ran 30 yards in about 30 minutes to the Cincy seven, from which Dallas scored. Pugh has never scored a touchdown and was zooming in on the end zone but just couldn’t make it. “If it had been downhill I believe I’d have scored,” said Pugh.
The defense also held the Bengals out of the end zone on four downs from the Dallas four just before the half when a TD could have put them back into the game. Tackle Bob Lilly led two of the charges and Jordan, Pugh, Cole, Rodrigo Burnes and others stopped a final play from a half yard out.
Cincinnati got 10 points in the third period, the big one being much like big ones of recent weeks. Wide receiver Isaac Curtis got behind cornerback Charlie Waters and took a perfect throw for a 50-yard touchdown. A less than perfect throw and Waters of Harrison would have knocked it down.
Anderson was also not pressured on the bomb after faking play action. This was not what he became accustomed to during this day. He was trapped five times for 45 yards in losses. End Larry Cole got him twice and assisted tackle Bill Gregory on another trap, rookie end Harvey Martin banged him down once and Cornell Green got him on a safety blitz.
Cincinnati shut down Calvin Hill which was one of their prime purposes. Hill had a season low of just 39 yards on 16 carries and Dallas wasn’t able to run that well, netting 119 yards.
Split end Bobby Hayes and tight end Billy Joe DuPree each caught five passes, each scoring a touchdown as did flanker Mike Montgomery, taking a Staubach pass over the middle and racing 32 yards for a TD.
But there was a long one to Hayes. Staubach had been blitzed a great deal on this afternoon and this time he spotted it coming with the Cowboys at the Cincy 39. Roger called an audible, which meant Hayes streaked deep. Bobby ran between the two Bengal safeties and took the throw on his finger tips for six.
The specialty teams, a great source of embarrassment for Dallas in recent weeks, perked up greatly. Montgomery’s fine 63-yard opening kickoff return set up Fritsch’s field goal, and Marv Bateman, back from never-never, averaged 53 yards on five punts, and a 57-yarder which backed up Cincy to its own four eventually put Dallas in field position for a TD. Dallas also got boost by Mike Clark, booming all his kickoffs.
But in the end this day belonged to the defense. There were traps, turnovers, interceptions, fine individual plays such as Waters twice throwing Bengals for losses on screens and Dallas was doing what it had not been doing.
“The turnovers were big plays for us today,” said Tom Landry. “We’ve been talking about these since before the Washington game and we got them back today.”
“I hope we continue to cut loose and not play so conservatively,” added Jordan. “We might get hit with a big play and give up some yardage but we’ll also be coming up with the big play.”
So at this time it appears the Dallas Cowboys are not depending on somebody beating Washington. It appears they are depending on themselves.
The rivalry is not especially interesting this year. Dallas entered the first game at 3-5 and came away with the 38-23 win. The Eagles were also 3-5.
On Sunday, the Eagles are 3-8. The Cowboys are 5-6.
This marks the first time since 1963 that the teams will play each other twice when each team had a losing record. In fact, in the 52-year history of the rivalry, this has occurred only two times.
Below is a summary. The numbers in the parentheses indicate each team’s record entering into the game.
Dallas (1-2-1) 41, Philadelphia (1-3) 19
Philadelphia (2-8-1) 28, Dallas (4-5-1) 14
Philadelphia (0-2-1) 28, Dallas (0-3) 14
Dallas (2-7) 27, Philadelphia (2-6-1) 20
* * *
I posted this on Facebook yesterday:
The Cowboys are 5-6 for only the third time in team history if we disregard ties. In 1962, the Cowboys were 5-6-1 but finished at 5-8-1. Trivia: in what season other than 2012 did the Cowboys start 5-6, and what was the team’s final record that season?
The answer is 1987, which was the year of the replacement players. Just as they did in 2012, the Cowboys in 1987 hosted the Thanksgiving Day game at 5-5 and needed a win to stay alive in the playoff chase. Instead, the Vikings knocked off the Cowboys in overtime, and Dallas ended up missing the playoffs with a 7-8 record.
The Cowboys will meet the Cleveland Browns for just the 11th time since 1970. During my own lifetime, this hasn’t been any sort of rivalry at all.
Fifteen years later, the Browns visited Dallas in December and stunned the Cowboys thanks to three field goals by Matt Stover.
The other eight games were hardly memorable—for me, at least.
During the 1960s, though, the Browns were actually one of the Cowboys’ chief rivals. Between 1960 and 1966, the teams faced 13 times. Dallas only won two of those games.
The first win came in 1962 when the Cowboys piled up 217 rushing yards and held Jim Brown to just 29 yards in a 45-21 Dallas victory.
The next win did not come until 1966. The teams met twice that year, and Cleveland won the first contest, handing Dallas their first loss of the season. About a month later, though, the Cowboys topped the visiting Browns in a 26-14 win.
Dallas had a four-game winning streak over Cleveland between 1966 and 1968, including the Cowboys’ first-ever playoff win in 1967.
The Browns had the last laugh, though. Dallas had to visit Cleveland in the playoffs in both 1968 and 1969. The Browns won both games in dominating fashion. In both seasons, though, Cleveland lost in the NFL Championship Game.
After that, though, the series all but died.
The Dallas Cowboys may have saved their season thanks to three returns they made for touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia. Until that fourth quarter, the Cowboys had not scored on any type of return for nearly an entire calendar year. The last touchdown on a return came against the Buffalo Bills on November 13, 2011 in a 44-7 Dallas win.
This was not the first time the Cowboys have had multiple touchdowns from non-offensive touchdowns (i.e., those made on returns on special teams or defense) in a single game. It was also not the first time the Cowboys scored on three returns in the same game. However, it was the first time the Cowboys scored on three returns in the same quarter, which makes the feat even more remarkable.
Scoring on multiple returns is not common. The Cowboys have now done so only 11 times in team history. Here is a summary:
3 Returns for Touchdowns
The Cowboys scored three touchdowns on Sunday thanks to a punt return by Dwayne Harris, an interception return by Brandon Carr, and a fumble recovery return by Jason Hatcher.
The only other time the Cowboys scored on three returns was almost exactly 47 years ago. On November 7, 1965, in a game against San Francisco, the Cowboys scored on a kickoff return by Mel Renfro, a fumble recovery return by George Andrie, and an interception return by Bob Lilly. These touchdowns did not occur in the same quarter, but they did occur in the same half.
Dallas won the game 39-31. It took a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Don Meredith to Bob Hayes and a field goal by Danny Villanueva to put the game away.
2 Returns for Touchdowns
In nine other games, Dallas managed two returns for touchdowns. In chronological order:
October 14, 1962, Dallas 41, Philadelphia 19: Amos Marsh returned a kickoff 101 yards, and Mike Gaechter returned an interception 100 yards. It marked the first time in NFL history that two players on the same team had returns of at least 100 yards.
October 3, 1966, Dallas 52 Pittsburgh 21: Lee Roy Jordan returned an interception for a score, and Renfro returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
September 18, 1983, Dallas 28, N.Y. Giants 13: Dexter Clinkscale returned an interception for a score, while Michael Downs returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
September 9, 1985, Dallas 44, Washington 14: Happy birthday to Joe Theismann. Interception returns by Victor Scott and Dennis Thurman.
December 19, 1994, Dallas 24, New Orleans 16: Emmitt Smith suffered a costly hamstring injury in this win. Tony Tolbert and Darrin Smith returned interceptions for touchdowns.
September 21, 1998, Dallas 31, N.Y. Giants 7: Jason Garrett would remember this one because he started for the Cowboys. Deion Sanders would also remember it. He scored on both an interception return and a punt return.
October 3, 1999, Dallas 35, Arizona 7: This was Michael Irvin’s last full game. George Teague returned an interception for a score, while Greg Ellis returned a fumble 98 yards for another touchdown.
November 4, 2001, N.Y. Giants 27, Dallas 24: Dexter Coakley and Mario Edwards scored on interception returns, but Clint Stoerner’s four interceptions killed the Cowboys in a loss.
December 5, 2010, Dallas 38, Indianapolis 35: Interception returns by Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee kept the Cowboys in the game at Indianapolis, which the Cowboys won in overtime.