Dallas Cowboys Stories for August 9, 2015

Dallas Cowboys Stories for August 2, 2015

Dallas Cowboys: Potential Career Milestones

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.

Animated Trivia: Dez Bryant

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 Red-White-and-Blue 1976 Dallas Cowboys

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.

pg2_g_staubach_400

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.

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

* * *

Video highlights from the 1976 season are available on YouTube, but only the second part is online.

Puzzle Trivia: 1975 NFC Championship Game

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?

BONUS QUESTION:

Who is the holder?

Animated Trivia: Randy White

Below is an animated GIF showing Randy White sacking Ron Jaworski. Questions about this play are below the image.

Questions:

(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?

Their Final Plays: Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman

This is a series that focuses on the last games and/or (when possible) the last plays of various members of the Cowboys. The final plays for a few of these players, such as Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin, are well known. Others may be more difficult to research, but I will do my best.

Anyone old enough to remember the Cowboys of the late 1990s and early 2000s will remember the last plays of Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman. For that reason, I present them together in this post.

Irvin

Michael Irvin’s skills had eroded by the late 1990s. He was far less effective in 1997 and 1998. In fact, his poor performance against the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 playoffs (four receptions, 32 yards) caused some to wonder if the Cowboys should release the future hall-of-famer, even though he was still a 1,000-yard receiver.

But then Irvin caught two touchdown receptions in a season-opening thriller against Washington, and it appeared that he might be back. He followed that performance with two sub-par games, but Dallas was 3-0 early in the 1999 season, so most did not focus heavily on Irvin’s importance.

And then…

Michael Irvin never played football again after this play.

Michael Irvin never played football again after this play.

Irvin went across the middle against the Eagles on a slant pattern, and Troy Aikman hit Irvin in stride. As he was being tackled, Irvin was hit on the back of the head by an Eagle defender. Irvin did not get up from the play and was carted off the field (as Eagle fans cheered the injury).

The result…

Dallas went 5-8 for the rest of the 1999 season. The team only won 15 games over the three seasons after that. No, it was not all because of Irvin’s injury, but the team lost a key leader, and the Cowboys were not the same team once he was gone.

Aikman

Troy Aikman led Dallas to three Super Bowl titles and was only 34 years old in 2000. He played, however, more like he was 44. He threw only 7 touchdown passes compared with 14 interceptions, and fans routinely booed him and the Cowboys during a terrible season.

He started the week 14 game against Washington.

And then…

 

LaVar Arrington’s hit near the sideline gave Aikman yet another concussion, and Aikman never played another down of football in the NFL again.

Dallas had already declined when Aikman suffered his injury. However, his retirement led to the team’s carousel of quarterbacks. Dallas could not find a franchise quarterback until the emergence of Tony Romo six years after Aikman suffered his injury.

His Final Plays: Chuck Howley

This is a series that focuses on the last games and/or (when possible) the last plays of various members of the Cowboys. The final plays for a few of these players, such as Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin, are well known. Others may be more difficult to research, but I will do my best.

The Dallas Cowboys hosted the Washington Redskins on Saturday, December 9, 1972. Despite pulling out a 34-24 win over the Redskins, Dallas lost one of the franchise’s greatest players. Washington’s Charley Taylor executed a crackback block on Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley. The MVP of Super Bowl V fell to the ground, and it appeared that his career ended right there.

Howley worked hard to come back, and his off-season physical performance seemed to indicate that he could return for the 1973 season. On June 1, 1973, however, the Dallas Morning News reported that Howley had called it quits.

The retirement did not last. By the middle of September, the Cowboys were down to five healthy linebackers, and head coach Tom Landry convinced Howley to rejoin the squad, albeit on the inactive list. According to Landry, the Cowboys only needed Howley for insurance and would only activate him if another linebacker was injured.

Chuck Howley ended his  short retirement in 1973 to help a depleted linebacker squad.  He retired for good after that season.

Chuck Howley ended his short retirement in 1973 to help a depleted linebacker corps. He retired for good after that season.

He did not record a tackle or any other statistic that year. In fact, according to his profile on NFL.com, he was active for only one game—a 45-10 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on September 30.

Howley retired for good after the season. He joined the Ring of Honor in 1977 and has been a finalist to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His Final Plays: Bob Lilly

This is a series that focuses on the last games and/or (when possible) the last plays of various members of the Cowboys. The final plays for a few of these players, such as Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin, are well known. Others may be more difficult to research, but I will do my best.

Michael Irvin’s last play ended with him suffering a spinal injury on the concrete floor of Veterans Stadium Philadelphia. Many of us remember that play, and we can find replays of it easily.

Troy Aikman’s last play ended with him suffering a concussion against Washington in 2000. Many of us remember that play, and we can find replays of it easily.

Bob Lilly’s career ended at some point against the Oakland Raiders on December 14, 1974. I have no idea who would remember that play, and I cannot find any record indicating which play might have been his last.

Bob Lilly (#74) played his last game against the Raiders on December 14, 1974. The team honored him with "Bob Lilly Day" on November 23, 1975.

Bob Lilly (#74) played his last game against the Raiders on December 14, 1974. The team honored him with “Bob Lilly Day,” shown here, on November 23, 1975.

Mr. Cowboy made ten consecutive Pro Bowls between 1964 and 1973. He was named an all-pro seven times. He was a member of the 1960s and 1970s all-decade teams.

The 1974 season, however, was one for Lilly and the rest of the Cowboys to forget.

Although Dallas won its first game against Atlanta, the Cowboys lost four consecutive games to fall to 1-4. Dallas eventually rebounded to improve to 8-5, including the team’s famous win over the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day. But the Cowboys finished with an 8-6 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1965 (not counting the Playoff Bowl after the 1965 season).

The Cowboys were out of the playoff race when they traveled to Oakland for the season finale. The game was a special on Monday Night Football, and copies of the game (like many of other MNF games) are readily available.

I just don’t have a copy. And given that I was three years old at the time, I don’t remember the game.

(So, can anyone help me out here?)

Dallas was unable to hang on to an early lead against the Raiders and lost 27-23. We know that Lilly started and played, given that he started and played every game—196 consecutive games—during his 14-year career. Other than that, I have no idea what he did during that game, given that official statistics regarding tackles and sacks did not exist at the time.

Dallas Morning News articles after the game said nothing about Lilly contemplating retirement. Tom Landry left the door open for Lilly to come back and even tried to convince Lilly to return. But then Lilly received medical reports indicating that because of bone spurs in his neck, he risked permanent injury. After that, Landry suggested that Lilly call it a career.

Here is one of Lilly’s comments after he announced his retirement in July 1975:

There was no question that the pain would come back. I was prepared for that. The possibility of permanent damage…I wasn’t prepared for that.

Lilly was 35 years old at the time of his retirement. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1980.