Rounds 3 and 4 for Dallas: OLB, OT, QB, DE

So much for the Cowboys addressing needs at safety or wide receiver. Alabama safety Rashad Johnson was available in the third round (either pick), but Dallas decided against selecting him. Nevertheless, the Cowboys found several backups in the third and fourth rounds of today’s draft. The four picks:

3rd round (69th overall): Jason Williams, OLB, Western Illinois

Williams is known for his speed and quickness. Williams impressed many with his Pro Day performance at Western Illinois. He may move to ILB, even though he is known for his ability to rush around the edge.

3rd round (75th overall): Robert Brewster, G/T, Ball State

Brewster will probably be moved to guard in Dallas. The DMN already asked whether Brewster is another in a long line of offensive line draft busts.

4th round (101st overall): Stephen McGee, QB, Texas A&M

The last time the Cowboys selected a QB in the draft was Isaiah Stanback, who was converted to receiver. The last time the Cowboys picked a QB to play QB was Quincy Carter in 2001. (Before that? Bill Musgrave in 1991).

4th round (110th overall): Victor Butler, DE, Oregon State

He is listed as an undersized pass-rush specialist. At 248 pounds (just a little bit bigger than Williams), he will likely be moved to outside linebacker.

4th round (120th overall): Brandon Williams, DE, Texas Tech

At 6’5″, 252 lbs., he has better size than Butler, but he’s still pretty small for a 3-4 defensive end. He led the Big 12 in sacks in 2008.

The Cowboys are All Over the Second-Day Picks

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More than five hours after the draft began, the Cowboys were finally on the board. The clock ticked down. The clock hit zero. Stephen Jones was on the phone. Wade Phillips’ gut looked larger now than it has in the past. Jerry Jones was in and out of the frame on TV.

The announcement: the Cowboys had passed on the 51st pick in the draft.

Interesting choice for an underachieving team, but it turns out that the Cowboys traded their second round pick to the Bills for picks in the third and fourth rounds. That gives Dallas 12 picks tomorrow.

The last time that the Cowboys did not have a pick in either the first or second round was 1980 (see here). Not a great strategy, but whatever.

Here are the picks, for now:

3rd Round

69. Dallas (from Cleveland).

75. Dallas (from Buffalo).

4th Round

101.
Dallas (from Detroit).

110. Dallas (from Buffalo)

117. Dallas.

5th Round

156. Dallas.

166. Dallas (from Tennessee).

172. Dallas.

6th Round

197.
Dallas (from Miami). Dallas acquired this pick along with a 6th round
pick in 2008 for DT Jason Ferguson and the Cowboys’ 6th round pick in
2008.

208. Dallas. This is a compensatory pick for the free agency loss of Jacques Reeves.

7th Round

210. Dallas (from Detroit). Dallas acquired this pick in the trade for WR Roy Williams.

227. Dallas.

Draft Needs of the Dallas Cowboys: 2008 vs. 2009

One year ago today, the Cowboys were preparing for the 2008 draft, where they expected to fill specific needs to take the final steps towards a NFL championship. In anticipation of the draft last year, we looked at Six Things the Cowboys Shouldn’t Forget During the Draft. Here is a summary of those six things, along with a look at how those “things” have affected the 2008 season and especially this year’s draft.

(1) Don’t forget that Pacman still has a large hill to climb

The odds, I think, are actually against Pacman Jones thriving in
Dallas. While there are numerous examples of players with behavior
problems from college doing well in the NFL, I cannot think of one
example of a player with this many problems occurring while he was a pro who has also turned his life around.

Now: Pacman did not survive in Dallas and will now play on Pros vs. Joes. Fortunately, the Cowboys found some good corners in the draft, so the Pacman debacle was not the end of the world.

(2) Don’t forget that receivers over the age of 35 tend to decline rapidly

At some point, look at the statistics
of some of the all-time great receivers and notice when their stats
started to decline. In nearly every instance, receivers tend to begin
to slide at the age of 33, and very few remain productive at 35 and
older.

Now: Terrell Owens turned 35 in December, and he was not much of a weapon in 2008 (save one great game against San Francisco and a few other plays here and there). Owens had plenty of excuses, but in the end, the distractions he caused led to his release from Dallas.

(3) Don’t forget that Marion Barber himself was a 4th round pick,
and there may be plenty of options left at RB after the first round

I won’t be terribly disappointed if the Cowboys pick up Felix Jones
or another running back, but there may be options left with the 61st
pick. With his 4.24 40 time, if Chris Johnson of East Carolina fell
that far, it may be a gift.

Now: The Cowboys indeed took Felix Jones in the first round, but they also found a fourth-round pick in Tashard Choice, who came on strong late in the 2008 season.

(4) Don’t forget that Roy Williams cannot cover anyone

The Cowboys’ opponents haven’t forgotten, and it looks as if the
team may limit using him in nickel and dime packages. Reggie Smith of
Oklahoma seemed like he could come in an have immediate value due to
his ability to play both corner and safety, but he was not impressive
in his workouts (he may drop to the third round anyway). A pick for a
player who can both play strong safety and cover would be nice.

Now: Williams barely played in 2008 thanks to a broken arm. He still couldn’t cover, and the Cowboys released him after the season. He is still unemployed.

One of the biggest needs of the 2009 draft is strong safety. This is no surprise.

(5) Don’t forget that the Cowboys have not shown an ability to draft tackles

I’ve seen some mock drafts with Dallas taking a tackle in the first
round. After Jacob Rogers (2nd round, 2004); Rob Petitti (6th round,
2005); Pat McQuistan (7th round, 2006); James Marten (3rd round, 2007);
and Doug Free (4th round, 2007), I am not terribly confident in the
team’s ability to draft for this position. Let’s give McQuistan,
Marten, and Free a chance to fail before we waste more picks.

Now: The Cowboys did not try to draft a tackle in 2008, but the team needs someone to groom to replace Flozell Adams on the left side. Nobody has emerged.

(6) Don’t forget that Dallas has taken a linebacker in the first round three drafts in a row

The first of these picks was DeMarcus Ware, so I won’t say Dallas
has bombed with all of these picks. In fact, only Bobby Carpenter
should be labeled as a bust, because Anthony Spencer looks pretty good
right now. That said, it will be frustrating if the team uses another
first or second round pick on a linebacker.

Now: The Cowboys did not draft a linebacker in 2008, choosing instead to sign free agent Zach Thomas. The Cowboys signed Keith Brooking during the off-season, but the team make take a shot at another ILB later in the draft this year.

Cowboys Dominate Second Half of the 1971 Season

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

After the Cowboys lost to the Bears in week 7 of the 1971 season, Dallas was two games behind the Redskins, who had already beaten the Cowboys. The Cowboys could not afford to lose to the Cardinals in week 8.

During the week before the St. Louis game, Tom Landry announced that Roger Staubach would be the principal starter. Although Craig Morton had been a quality starter, he had struggled in 1971, managing only seven touchdowns compared with eight interceptions. Staubach, by comparison, had 15 touchdowns compared with only four interceptions. A comparison of the passer ratings (using the modern calculation) of the two quarterbacks was no contest: Staubach – 104.8; Morton – 73.5.

A second development also benefited the Cowboys. Duane Thomas’ trade to the New England Patriots was nullified by the league, and Thomas returned to the Cowboys. He played in weeks 4 through 7, but he had not stood out yet. Against the Cardinals, Thomas carried the ball 26 times and had his first of two 100-yard games. Thomas finished the season with 11 touchdowns in 11 games.

The last development was the dominance of the Doomsday Defense. In the final seven games of the 1971 season, Dallas gave up more than 300 yards of total offense just one time (vs. L.A.). The defense forced a total of 24 turnovers in the final seven games, compared with only 10 turnovers committed by the offense.

Here are some resources about the 1971 Cowboys:

Box Scores (Pro Football Reference)

Dallas Morning News Stories

DallasCowboys.com

Week 8: Dallas 16, St. Louis 13

Dallas record: 5-3

The Cowboys saved their season by beating the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Cardinals had a 10-3 lead in the first half, but Dallas was able to tie the game in the second half thanks to a touchdown pass from Staubach to tight end Mike Ditka. With less than two minutes remaining, newly-acquired kicker Toni Fritsch nailed a 26-yard field goal, giving Dallas the 16-13 win.

Duane Thomas had 101 yards on 26 carries. And Tom Landry stayed true to his word, sticking with Staubach for the entire game.

Week 9: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 7

Dallas record: 6-3

Two Duane Thomas touchdowns were enough to give the Cowboys a 20-7 win over the Eagles. With Washington losing to the Bears, the Cowboys were only a half-game behind the Redskins.

Week 10: Dallas 13, Washington 0

Dallas record: 7-3

Dallas traveled to Washington with the NFC East lead on the line, and the Cowboys dominated in a shutout win. Roger Staubach scored the sole touchdown of the game on a 29-yard run, but the real story focused on the defense, which shut down the Redskins in the biggest game of the regular season.

Week 11: Dallas 28, Los Angeles 21

Dallas record: 8-3

The Cowboys fell behind early to the Rams, who were fighting to stay in the playoff chase. Roger Staubach threw touchdown passes to Bob Hayes and Lance Alworth, but L.A. was able to tie the game in the third quarter. Up to that point, the Cowboys had outplayed the Rams, but three L.A. turnovers helped keep the game close. Dallas took the lead for good on a five-yard run by Duane Thomas in the fourth quarter.

Rookie Ike Thomas only returned seven kickoffs in 1971, but he returned two for touchdowns. He opened this game with an 89-yard TD return.

Week 12: Dallas 52, New York Jets 10

Dallas record: 9-3

Ike Thomas opened yet another game with a touchdown on a kickoff returning, bringing back the opening kickoff 101 yards. Calvin Hill scored two receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, helping Dallas to race to a 38-3 halftime lead. Duane Thomas rushed for 112 yards in the game, which was the biggest blowout of the 1971 season.

Week 13: Dallas 42, N.Y. Giants 14

Dallas record 10-3

Staubach hit Bob Hayes on touchdown passes of 46 and 85 yards, helping Dallas to a 28-0 lead over the Giants.  The Cowboys put up 439 yards of total offense, marking the fifth time in 1971 that the team surpassed 400 total yards in a game.

Week 14: Dallas 31, St. Louis 12

Dallas record: 11-3

Duane Thomas scored three touchddowns, helping the Cowboys to overcome a sloppy game against the Cardinals to end the regular season. Dallas committed four turnovers, including three fumbles, but the game was never in doubt.

1971 Final Standings, NFC East

Dallas, 11-3
Washington, 9-4-1
Philadelphia, 6-7-1
St. Louis, 4-9-1
N.Y. Giants, 4-10

1971 Playoff Schedule

Saturday, December 25: Dallas (11-3) at Minnesota (11-3)
Saturday, December 25: Miami (10-3-1) at Kansas City (10-3-1)
Sunday, December 26: Baltimore (10-4) at Cleveland (9-5)
Sunday, December 26: Washington (9-4-1) at San Francisco (9-5)

’71 Cowboys Struggle Thanks to Confusion at QB

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

Given that the first and second halves of the 1971 regular season were completely different stories, we will cover the season in two parts.

During weeks 1 through 7, Dallas coach Tom Landry struggled with his choice of leader at quarterback. Even more so than the story of Duane Thomas, the alternation of Roger Staubach and Craig Morton at quarterback is what dominated the storyline of the ’71 Cowboys, who stood at 4-3 midway through the 1971 season.

Week 1: Dallas 49, Buffalo 37

Dallas record: 1-0

2009-04-23_233007.gifThe Cowboys opened the 1971 season by beating the Buffalo Bills in a wild one. With Roger Staubach injured, Craig Morton started the game. Morton completed 10 of 14 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yarder to Bob Hayes in the second quarter. Calvin Hill rushed for a total of four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, giving Dallas a 49-37 win.

Tom Landry’s comment after the game: “Whew. It could have been worse.”

Week 2: Dallas 42, Philadelphia 7

Dallas record: 2-0

2009-04-23_232936.gifThe Eagles threw a total of seven interceptions against the Cowboys, who raced out to a 21-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Morton was solid again, throwing for two touchdowns, including a four-yarder to Walt Garrison (shown above). Calvin Hill added 80 yards rushing and another touchdown on the ground. Bob Lilly also scored by returning a fumble for a touchdown, marking Lilly’s fourth and final TD as a pro.

Herb Adderley had his best day as a Cowboy, intercepting three passes.

Week 3: Washington 20, Dallas 16

Dallas record: 2-1

2009-04-23_235008.gifIn the rain at the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys could not overcome a 20-9 deficit and lost to the Redskins. Craig Morton and Roger Staubach shared time at quarterback, but both struggled. Washington gained 200 yards on the ground, which was remarkable given that the Dallas defense gave up more than 100 rushing yards only three times all season.

Week 4: Dallas 20, N.Y. Giants 13

Dallas record: 3-1

2009-04-23_235538.gifWith Morton struggling against the Giants in week 3, Tom Landry decided to start Staubach in week 4 on Monday Night Football against the Giants. Staubach led Dallas to a 13-6 halftime lead, but Landry decided to start Morton in the second half. Though the Cowboys won the game, the confusion at the QB position began.

Staubach threw a touchdown pass to Billy Truax in the second quarter, marking the only touchdown Truax scored with Dallas. Bob Hayes also caught a touchdown pass, a 48-yarder from Morton in the second half.

The game was the team’s finale in the Cotton Bowl, as the Cowboys played their next home game in the brand new Texas Stadium.

Week 5: New Orleans 24, Dallas 14

Dallas record: 3-2

Both Staubach and Morton saw action against New Orleans. Even though the Saints only managed 157 yards in total offense (compared with 300 yards for the Cowboys), Dallas lost 24-14. The Cowboys turned the ball over six times, including three fumbles and three interceptions (two by Morton and one by Staubach).

According to DMN writer Bob St. John:

This is the highlight of Saint history. The first time the team has ever
beaten the hated Cowboys. On the other hand, it might be the low-light
of Cowboy history.

Week 6: Dallas 44, New England 21

Dallas record: 4-2

2009-04-24_000516.gifThe Cowboys opened Texas Stadium on October 24, 1971 by routing the New England Patriots, 44-21. Staubach started the game and took every meaningful snap. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. The game was over by halftime, with Dallas leading 34-7, and Morton did not play until the fourth quarter.

Week 7: Chicago 23, Dallas 19

Dallas record: 4-3

Notwithstanding Staubach’s success against the Patriots, Landry decided to alternate his two quarterbacks on every play of the week 7 game against the Bears. The results were disasterous as the Cowboys turned the ball over seven times. The Cowboys managed 344 passing yards, but Morton and Staubach combined for four interceptions.

NFC East Standings (after Week 7)

With the loss to the Bears, the Cowboys were 4-3 at midseason and were two full games behind the Redskins.

Washington Redskins, 6-1
Dallas Cowboys, 4-3
St. Louis Cardinals, 3-4
Philadelphia Eagles, 2-5
New York Giants, 2-5

1971 Dallas Cowboys Draft: Worst of the Decade

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

Thanks to trades with St. Louis and New Orleans, the Cowboys had extra picks in the third and fourth rounds of the 1971 draft. That gave Dallas seven picks in the first five rounds.

The result: Awful. First-round pick Tody Smith held out for most of training camp and was left on the taxi squad for much of the 1971 season. He was best known as the brother of Baltimore defensive lineman Bubba Smith, but he never did anything in Dallas.

Ike Thomas, who played at Bishop College in Dallas, was supposed to be some sort of steal in the second round. After started one game as a rookie in place of an injured Herb Adderley, but Thomas was burned often. He seldom played after that and was shipped off to Green Bay in 1972.

The best player on this list who actually played in Dallas was Bill Gregory (#77, shown above). He was a backup for seven years on the defensive line.

The best player overall was Ron Jessie, whom the Cowboys traded in July to Detroit. Jessie later played for the Rams and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.


Round

Name

Pos.

College

Career
1 Tody Smith DE USC Dallas, 1971-1972; Houston,
1973-1976; Buffalo, 1976
2 Ike Thomas DB Bishop Dallas, 1971; Green Bay,
1972-1973; Buffalo, 1976
3 Sam Scarber RB New Mexico San Diego, 1975-1976
3 Bill Gregory DE Wisconsin Dallas 1971-1977; Seattle,
1978-1980
4 Joe Carter TE Grambling State n/a
4 Adam Mitchell T Mississippi n/a
5 Ron Kadziel LB Stanford New England, 1972
6 Steve Maier WR Northern Arizona n/a
7 Bill Griffin T Catawba n/a
8 Ron Jessie WR Kansas Detroit, 1971-1974; Los
Angeles, 1975-1979; Buffalo, 1980-1981
9 Honor Jackson DB Pacific New England, 1972-1973; New
York Giants, 1973-1974
10 Rodney Wallace T New Mexico Dallas, 1971-1973
11 Ernest Bonwell DT Lane n/a
12 Steve Goepel QB Colgate n/a
13 James Ford RB Texas Southern New Orleans, 1971-1972
14 Tyrone Covey DB Utah State n/a
15 Bob Young TE Delaware n/a
16 John Brennan T Boston College n/a
17 John Bomer C Memphis n/a

My grade: F.

The third, fourth, and fifth rounds of the 1971 draft featured a bunch of long-time starters. Who could the Cowboys have had instead of Tody Smith in the first round?

Julius Adams (New England, 2nd round), a 12-year starter in New England.

Jack Ham (Pittsburgh, 2nd round), a Hall-of-Famer with the Steelers.

Dan Dierdorf (St. Louis, 2nd round), a Hall-of-Famer with the Cardinals.

As for the slew of picks the Cowboys had in rounds 2 through 5, Dallas could have taken Lyle Alzado (Denver, 4th round); tackle Larry Brown (Pittsburgh, 5th round); or quarterbacks Ken Anderson (Cincinnati, 3rd round) or Joe Theismann (Miami, 4th round).

Fortunately, better drafts would come in the years that followed.

The Dallas Cowboy Soap Operas of 1971

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys had firmly entrenched themselves as “Next Year’s Champions” by the time they had lost Super Bowl V, but the loss to the Colts proved almost conclusively that the Cowboys were cursed.

Dallas players had been the subject of media attention before 1970, but during 1970 and 1971, little of the attention was positive.

Renzel’s Problems Lead to the Acquisition of Another Lance

One of the team’s storylines focused on troubled receiver Lance Rentzel. In four seasons in Dallas, Rentzel had compiled 3,521 receiving yards and had become the third player in team history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season (nearly accomplishing the feat in two other seasons). He was married to famous across and singer Joey Heatherton and had become something of a celebrity himself.

That all came crashing down on Thursday, November 19, 1970. On that day, he went to a movie and then drove by a schoolyard in the Dallas area. When a young girl approached Rentzel’s car, he exposed himself to her. He was charged with indecent exposure and was forced to quit the team while he focused on his legal problems. When he was indicted in December 1970, his season was over, and he never played with the Cowboys in either of the two Super Bowls of the early 1970s.

Rookie Reggie Rucker took over for Rentzel late in the 1970 season. Although Rucker lasted several seasons in the NFL with the Patriots and Browns, he did not accomplish much in 1970. Rentzel’s absense was especially apparent in the playoffs, as Craig Morton struggled in all three games.

During the 1971 offseason, the Cowboys pulled off the biggest trade in its history up to that point. Dallas sent Rentzel to Los Angeles in exchange for tight end Billy Truax and receiver Wendell Tucker. Truax played two years in Dallas, but Tucker never played a down with the Cowboys. Rentzel had three fairly productive seasons with the Rams before retiring after the 1974 season.

The Cowboys also brought in future Hall of Famer Lance Alworth from the Chargers. The cost seemed huge: Dallas sent tight end Pettis Norman, tackle Tony Liscio, and defensive lineman Ron East to San Diego for Alworth, who was coming off a subpar season in 1970.

The trade favored Dallas, as it turned out. Norman had been a quality blocking tight end with Dallas, but he caught only six passes for 70 yards in 1970. Liscio never played in San Diego, and in fact returned to Dallas late in the 1971 season when Ralph Neely broke his leg. East played several more seasons in San Diego and elsewhere.

The Duane Thomas Ordeal

There have been several stories elsewhere about the Duane Thomas saga of 1971. In fact, much of the America’s Game episode about the 1971 Cowboys focuses on Thomas. By July, Thomas had announced his retirement from football after one season, though he said he would come back at the right price.

One of the most anticipated competitions during the 1971 training camp was the one between Thomas and Calvin Hill, who was returning from a foot injury suffered in 1970.

However, after weeks of public debate, Dallas traded Thomas to New England for running back Carl Garrett and two backups.

By September, commissioner Pete Rozelle had negated the trade and sent Thomas back to the Cowboys. Once Thomas returned, he rather infamously began a season-long effort not to speak to anyone.

Additional Contract Squabbles

Thomas was not the only player who had contract troubles in 1971. Disgruntled players included stars Bob Hayes, Mel Renfro, George Andrie, and Calvin Hill.

Other Competitions

There were several other competitions for jobs that dominated the focus of the 1971 training camp. The most significant of these was the one between quarterbacks Craig Morton and Roger Staubach. Other positions open to competition included tight end (Mike Ditka vs. Billy Truax) and free safety (Cliff Harris vs. Charlie Waters).

More Trivialities About Super Bowl V

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys most certainly looked like a cursed team when Dallas lost Super Bowl V. Five consecutive years in the playoffs, with five consecutive years of heartbreaking losses.

Cowboys fans can watch the thrill of the team’s five Super Bowl wins and relive the agony of two of the losses. However, as far as I know, the entire replay of the broadcast of Super Bowl V is not available anywhere. I know that the second quarter is available in bootleg copies, but the rest is apparently lost. The clip that appeared in yesterday’s post is the only other part of the game I’ve ever seen or heard about.

The lack of a game tape is rather surprising, given the number of best game cameras that were positioned in the Orange Bowl. According to an article posted a week before the Super Bowl, producer Lou Kusserow positioned 11 cameras for the game, which was far more than an ordinary game at the time. Cameras were isolated on running backs, receivers, quarterbacks, and certain defensive players.

Apparently, NBC did not bother to record any of these camera shots to tape, meaning that we are left with the NFL Films’ version of Jim O’Brien leaping like a goon towards the Colts’ sideline.

NBC touted the Super Bowl as the “most thoroughly covered football game” up to that time. There were a number of specials about the game, featuring interviews with Tom Landry, Baltimore coach Don McCafferty, and many of the key players. A local show hosted by former radio announcer Verne Lundquist was entitled “Eleven Years to Super Sunday.” It was a 30-minute show that featured a series of interviews.

TV repair shops in Dallas reported a huge surge in business during the week before the Super Bowl, but owners were not sure they would be able to repair all of the sets before the game. That meant, according to a Dallas Morning News, that owners would be forced to listen to the game on the radio, since no ordinary household had two television sets in 1971.

[I wasn’t alive just yet, but I know we didn’t have two television sets until about 1978. Not sure what the TV-per-household ratio in Dallas was then, though.]

As it turns out, the game set a record with a 39.9 Nielson rating, breaking the record set durign the fourth game of the 1963 World Series between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Coverage After the Loss

A survey of headlines after Dallas lost Super Bowl V tell a big part of the story:

Blooper Bowl a Lesson in Futility

Landry: “We Beat Ourselves”

No Cowboy Moon Over Miami

Howley Answered Critics

Regarding Howley, he remains the only player in Super Bowl history to win an MVP as the member of the losing team. He received a car given by Sport Magazine. Howley earned the award by intercepting two passes and helping to force a fumble.

The Referees’ Biggest Blown Call

Dallas led Baltimore 13-6 at the half.  Dallas kicked off to Baltimore to open the second half, but Baltimore’s Jim Duncan fumbled the ball. Richmond Flowers recovered for Dallas, setting up a drive. The Cowboys moved into position to score, but on a first-and-goal play from the 1, Duane Thomas fumbled.

The replays clearly show that Dallas center Dave Manders picked up the ball, but Balitmore’s Billy Ray Smith was screaming to referees that the Colts had recovered. The referees gave Baltimore the ball on a call that had a huge impact on the game.

Balitmore defensive tackle Bubba Smith (later of Police Academy fame) told a reporter in Beaumont several weeks later that the referees had blown the call. No kidding.

Smith retired after the game and moved to Plano. He would not admit that the referees had blown the call, but he acknowledged that he may have helped make up the referees minds. He summed up Super Bowl V with:

 

You can cut it 500 different ways, but when you look at it 10 years from now it will still say Baltimore 16, Dallas 13.

And the same is still true 38 years after the game. Dammit.

Super Bowl V: One to Forget in Dallas

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys overcame all sorts of adversity just to reach Super Bowl V, which was played in Miami on January 17, 1971. The loss was still one of the most painful in team history.

[Note: I won’t say I’m speaking from experience in terms of the pain. I was born 19 days later.]

Dallas took an early 6-0 lead on two Mike Clark field goals. A fluke touchdown play in the second quarter allowed Baltimore to tie the game. A pass from Johnny Unitas tipped off both a Dallas player and a Baltimore player (who tipped it last has been the subject of a 38-year debate) and landed in the hands of tight end John Mackey. Mackey’s 75-yard touchdown was the longest in Super Bowl history for quite some time.

The Cowboys later took a 13-6 lead when Craig Morton hit Duane Thomas on a screen pass. Thomas scored from seven yards out.

Dallas held the lead until the fourth quarter, which was one of the most miserable in team history. With just over eight minutes remaining, Morton tried to hit Garrison, but the ball was tipped into the air. Safety Rick Volk intercepted the ball and returned it to the Dallas 3. Two plays later, the game was tied.

Neither team could move the ball until late in the game. Another Morton pass was tipped and intercepted, this time by linebacker Mike Curtis. The pick set up the game-winning field goal by rookie Jim O’Brien.

Here is a video clip of the field goal:

Bob Lilly famously threw his helmet across half the field after the Cowboys lost the game, 16-13. Most remember the Dallas turnovers (especially Morton’s interceptions), but the real killer for Dallas was the team’s inability to take advantage of Baltimore mistakes. The Colts turned the ball over seven times, including four fumbles.

Another big loss; another very long off-season.

More resources:

Box Score (Pro Football Reference)

Play by Play (USA Today)

Box Score (NFL.com)

DMN: Super Day Dribbles Away

YouTube: Super Bowl V Highlights

Cowboys Earn Trip to Super Bowl V with 17-10 Win over 49ers

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

In the first of six NFC Championship Games between the Cowboys and 49ers, Dallas earned its first trip to the Super Bowl by beating San Francisco 17-10 at old Kezar Stadium.

One key to the win was the Cowboys’ real strength: the Doomsday Defense. The Cowboys forced two key turnovers– interceptions by Lee Roy Jordan and Mel Renfro. Both resulted in Dallas touchdowns.

The second key was new in 1970: the running of Duane Thomas (as well as Walt Garrison). Thomas and Garrison combined for 214 rushing yards.

In the clip below, the teams were still tied 3-3 early in the second half. San Francisco quarterback John Brodie was sacked on the previous play and tried to throw again. Jordan came up with the pick, setting up a 13-yard touchdown run by Thomas.

The Dallas Morning News said that the Jordan pick was the key play of the game.

On the next series for San Francisco, Renfro picked off a pass intended for Gene Washington. Dallas moved the ball 62 yards on the ensuing drive, thanks in part to a 49er pass interference penalty that moved the ball to the San Francisco 5. In the clip below, Craig Morton hit Garrison in the flat for a touchdown, giving Dallas a 17-3 lead.

Morton only completed 7 of 22 passes for 101 yards. However, he threw no interceptions. In three playoff games, the Cowboys managed a combined total of 225 passing yards.

Baltimore’s 27-17 win over Oakland set up the matchup for Super Bowl V in Miami.

More references:

Box Score (Pro Football Reference)

DMN: Cowboys Do It . . . In the Big One!