now browsing by category
Stories about Dallas Cowboys history featuring several quotes.
One player had a poor year in 1974 after being named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1973. He said he played with injuries and was almost ready to hang up his cleats. However, he signed a two-year deal and returned in 1975.
The player’s quote appears in the quiz question below.
The “Randy” that appears in the quote above was Randy White, whom the Cowboys had drafted in 1975.
The player quoted above noted the following about White:
“He’s got great quickness and movement. No hangups about moving around in there. And those 250 pounders won’t be knocking him around like they do me.”
White played linebacker before being moved to defensive tackle in 1977. Of course, that was the year he shared co-MVP honors with Harvey Martin after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII.
Fifty years ago, the Dallas Cowboys were heading into a season trying to improve on a 7-7 record from 1965. Dallas was stacked on both sides of the ball and would finish the 1966 season with a record of 10-3-1.
During the offseason in 1966, the Cowboys announced that one of the defensive players from the previous year was going to move over to the offense. Here is a quote from Tom Landry, with the player’s name removed:
“We can’t hope to have as good a defense without _________. But we think we can offset his absence in several ways. We can improve our pass rush to take some pressure off the secondary, and we can offset it with our own offense. If ________ can bring our offense up from eighth (in the NFL) to about fourth…and he’ll have to bring it up that much to be value received…then we’re a contender.”
(1) Who was the player?
(2) Did this player play offense or defense in 1966?
From the files of “I wasn’t born until 1971, so I would have no memory of this…”
The article that contained the quote above in 1966 also had the cartoon below.
The NFL and AFL had announced the proposed merger of the league on June 8, 1966, and this agreement explains part of this cartoon. What I did not understand was the reference to the United States Football League. After all, the USFL did not exist until 1982, or so I thought.
It turns out that during the summer of 1966, former Notre Dame football coach Frank Leahy announced that a group of well-financed businessmen were going to form a 10-team league called the United States Football League. A person who figured prominently in the planning was a Dallas investor named Chester L. Brewer, who was the son of a former head coach at Michigan State.
At the time of the announcement, Leahy said the owners were willing to pay big money for top talent, which could have led to more bidding wars. That was the point of the cartoon.
In August, the league announced that Brewer had been awarded a franchise, but it would be based in New Orleans. Other cities to have franchises would have been Philadelphia, Washington, Los Angeles, Atlana, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Akron. The league was supposed to announced additional franchises in the fall of 1966, with league play scheduled to begin in the spring of 1967.
The last reference I could find to this league appeared in late August 1966. Leahy had resigned as commissioner, but league sources said the league would still begin in the spring. Obviously, it never happened.
Brewer was later convicted of securities and mail fraud and sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
The Dallas Cowboys did not participate in the NFL Draft in December 1959. The team instead chose players in an expansion draft that took place later.
The first NFL draft in which the Cowboys participated was the one during the offseason between the 1960 and 1961 seasons. Unlike modern drafts, those old drafts took place earlier in the year.
The 1961 Draft actually took place on December 27 and 28 in 1960. The draft then was not the spectacle it is today, but it did receive news coverage.
Dallas had traded its rights to the second overall pick to Washington in exchange for the rights to Eddie LeBaron. The Cowboys traded back into the first round by sending Paul Dickson and a first-round pick in 1962 to Cleveland in exchange for the 13th overall pick.
With that first-round selection, Dallas took defensive tackle Bob Lilly. In the second round, Dallas took linebacker E.J. Holub.
The Cowboys expected a bidding war with the Dallas Texans to see who would sign Lilly and Holub. The Cowboys, of course, signed Lilly, while Holub became a standout linebacker with the Texans/Chiefs franchise.
The rest of the 1961 draft was not a great one for the Cowboys. Nine of the seventeen players taken never played a down in the NFL. The Cowboys did find a future hall-of-famer in guard Billy Shaw, but he played his entire career in Buffalo of the AFL.
A veteran NFL scout thought the Cowboys had done a good job in the draft, asking “What are you going to do with all those ‘hosses.”
Here’s the subject of today’s trivia question. In addition to Lilly and Holub, to whom was the scout referring in the quote below?
“You’ve got a real good draft there with Lilly, Holub, and __________. I like them.”
Different kind of trivia from the files of “I didn’t know that.”
On the front page of the Dallas Morning News during the draft in December 1960, the front-page headline announced that President-Elect John F. Kennedy had named a Secretary of the Navy.
It was John B. Connally.
About three years later, it was Connally who was riding in the limousine with Kennedy when Kennedy was assassinated in downtown Dallas. By that time, Connally was serving as the Governor of Texas.
The Cowboys have had at least one first-round pick during each of the past six drafts. Between 2000 and 2009, however, Dallas traded away its first-round pick four times (2000, 2001, 2004, and 2009).
Below is a graphic showing the first-round picks since 2000.
The late Pete Gent is well-known for his book, North Dallas Forty. He played for the Cowboys for five seasons between 1964 and 1968.
Although he was never a full-time starter, he had a pretty good season in 1966. He started ten games that season and caught 27 passes for 474 yards and a touchdown. Dallas had its first winning season that year, finishing 10-3-1 before losing to Green Bay in the NFL Championship Game.
Because the Cowboys did so well that year, several publications featured the team. One publication quoted Gent, who was often very quotable.
Below is a quote. Can you fill in the blank?
“What I lack in speed, I make up for in _____________________.”
Here’s a bonus quote trivia item.
The same publication also featured some quotes from placekicker Danny Villanueva.
Calling Villanueva “invaluable” (with a FG% of 54.8% that season!), the publication notes the following:
“[Villanueva] makes a grand showing of avoiding tackling at all costs on the grounds that he is a “______________ _____________.”
Below is a quote from Tex Schramm.
“I’m still not sure if we’re doing the right thing by playing this game.”
During which season did Schramm make this comment, and what was the context?
While you’re pondering that one..
Most know that the Cowboys signed Alfred Morris to a two-year contract worth $3.5 million contract.
In four seasons in Washington, Morris rushed for 4713 yards and 29 touchdowns.
He did especially well against Dallas. In eight games, Morris rushed for a total of 710 yards. This included three games where he rushed for more than 100 yards and one game where he rushed for 200.
The other player signed was defensive end Benson Mayowa, who played in Oakland in 2014 and 2015 after spending one year in Seattle. The Raiders never faced the Cowboys while Mayowa played there. He has recorded a total of two sacks during his NFL career.
Mock drafts have the Cowboys taking any of a number of players at #4. A few names:
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Todd McShay, ESPN, among many others)
Jalen Ramsey, DE, Florida State (Bleacher Report)
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Sports Illustrated)
Here’s a quote about one member of the secondary.
He’ll be an outstanding player at safety, whether he makes his move there this year or next season.
Trivia question: Who was the player?
This may help—
On the same day Tom Landry made this statement, the Cowboys announced they had traded Craig Morton to the New York Giants in exchange for New York’s number one draft pick.
The Giants finished 2-12 that season, meaning the Cowboys held the second overall pick the follow season.
The Cowboys selection? Hall-of-Famer Randy White.
The Dallas Cowboys played in their fourth Super Bowl after the 1977 season as heavy favorites against the Denver Broncos, who were making their first trip to the big game.
Of course, the Dallas defense was ferocious for much of the game, forcing eight turnovers and recording four sacks. The highly touted Denver defense forced six Dallas fumbles but only managed to recover two of them.
Dallas won, of course, 27-10, giving Tom Landry his second and final world title.
Leading to our quote of the day. Who said this after the game?
Orange Crush is soda water, baby. You drink it. It don’t win football games.
Thirty-six seasons later, the Broncos are heading to their seventh Super Bowl thanks to their 26-16 win over New England on Sunday.
Three hours before the season finale against the New York Giants on December 19, 1965, Bob Hayes gave his thoughts about the game. His quote:
Yankee Stadium, man. It’s going to be fun.
Dallas Morning News writer Gary Cartwright’s reply: “Fun? It was a genuine riot.”
The Cowboys blew out the Giants, 38-20. The win allowed Dallas to finish with a .500 record at 7-7, marking the first time in franchise history that Dallas did not have a losing record. The Cowboys advanced to the 1965 Playoff Bowl, where Dallas lost to Colts, 35-3.
Hayes caught two touchdown passes from Don Meredith in the win. Meredith only completed 8 passes, but three were for touchdowns.
The trivia question for today is below—
The sad news today was that former Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano died at the age of 68. He was coaching in Italy at the time.
He served as special teams coach from 1990 to 2002. He also served as head coach of the now-defunct Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League.
He appeared as an analyst on the Cowboys post-game show last season. He offered unfiltered insights about the team, and his comments were typically a highlight after both wins and losses.
In honor of Avezzano, here are three quotes as part of the Dallas Cowboys history in quotes series.
“He’ll get blamed for things he can’t control, like injuries. But as far as decisions? He came in and said, ‘You guys have been very successful. Go to work.’ That’s a helluva decision right there. The correct one.”
Avezzano about former head coach Barry Switzer, who joined the Cowboys in 1994 after Jimmy Johnson resigned. Switzer and Avezzano had known each other for years.
Source: Sports Illustrated, Aug. 1, 1994
“They are legislating mediocrity. The attempt, in my mind, is to devalue the kicking game. I marvel at the amount of time that’s spent trying to mess with the kicking game. You’re going to be penalized for having a strong kicker.”
Avezzano about a proposal to move the ball to the 25-yard line after touchbacks. The proposal fell through.
Source: Sports Illustrated, March 14, 1999
“What kind of [expletive] question is that? Can you show me the [expletive] stats that show punt returners get hurt more frequently than any other [expletive] player?
“This is [expletive] pro football. Players get hurt all the [expletive] time no matter what they’re doing.”
Avezzano to reporter Jean-Jacques Taylor, who had asked the coach in 1995 why the team was using receiver Kevin Williams as a punt returner.
Source: ESPN, April 5, 2012
Did You Know?
Avezzano was a three-year letterman at Florida State, where he played guard. The website Nolefan.org included this comment:
Offensive Guard from Miami…big, tough and capable…an excellent pass blocker with good speed…good at pulling to trap and lead sweeps…along with tackle Del Williams, provided tremendous pass protection for Steve Tensi for three years…played one year in the AFL for the Boston Patriots in 1966.
The site also includes a picture of Avezzano during his college playing days. Great stuff:
The Dallas Cowboys announced this week that former defensive lineman Leon Lett will join the staff as assistant defensive line coach. He previously helped the Cowboys during training camp in 2011.
Of course, none of us have forgotten about the Leon Lett stories of the 1990s. Although Lett was very important to the team’s success in 1995, his gaffes remain legendary.
As part of the Dallas Cowboys history in quotes series, here are three quotes about these gaffes.
“How could I hear someone that small and that fast. I was the one making all the noise.”
Lett about Don Beebe, who stripped Lett of the football in Super Bowl XXVII before Lett could score. Had Lett scored, the Cowboys would have won 59-17 and set a Super Bowl record for points scored.
Source: New York Times, Feb. 1, 1993
“After that play, I kind of felt if we didn’t make it [to the Super Bowl], it would’ve been my fault.”
Lett in his first meeting with the press after he cost the Cowboys a win over the Miami Dolphins by trying to recover the ball after Dallas blocked a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of the Thanksgiving Day game. Dolphin kicker Pete Stoyanovich got a second chance and kicked a 19-yard field goal to give Miami the win.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 26, 1994
“This is a time of concern for Leon Lett the person. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we will continue to offer our help and support in any way we can.”
Jerry Jones in a statement after the NFL suspended Lett for a year for testing positive for cocaine. Lett missed parts of the 1996 and 1997 seasons because of the suspension.
Did You Know?
Although Lett was a vital member of the Dallas defensive lines of the 1990s, his contributions did not show up in the stat columns. He never recorded more than four sacks or 36 tackles in a single season. Other defensive tackles of the era, including Jimmie Jones, Chad Hennings, and Hurvin McCormack (yes, that Hurvin McCormack) had better numbers on paper.
- Leon Lett joins Cowboys coaching staff (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- The Nearly Men: The Top 5 Almost-Touchdowns of All Time (Video) (bleacherreport.com)
- A Review of Breakthrough ‘Boys, A Good Book on Dallas Cowboys History (examiner.com)
- Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: The Story of the 1971 Dallas Cowboys (knowyourdallascowboys.com)
- Team History in Quotes: Acquiring Cornerbacks (knowyourdallascowboys.com)