1968 Cowboys vs. 2008 Cowboys: An Updated Analogy

[tags]Dallas Cowboys[/tags]

I have argued before that the best analogy for the 2000s Cowboys is the 1960s version of the team. In 1966 and 1967, the Cowboys lost in heartbreaking fashion in the NFL Championship Game. The team was led by a happy-go-lucky (though also very tough) quarterback, a rugged running back, a receiver who made defenses sweat, and a suffocating defense.

Much like the 2008 team, which is also coming off of two consecutive heart-wrenching playoff losses, the 1968 team blew out of the gates with some big wins. The Cowboys scored a team-record 59 points against Detroit in a 59-13 win and also recorded a 45-13 destruction of the Philadelphia Eagles. Nearing the midway point of the season, Dallas had a 6-0 record and looked nearly unstoppable.

Then came the aging Packers– the team that had destroyed the Cowboys’ dreams in both of the previous seasons. On Monday night (pre-MNF days), October 28, 1968, more than 74,000 packed the Cotton Bowl to watch what most expected to be a coronation of the new NFL kings. Instead, Bart Starr threw four touchdowns in the Cotton Bowl and led the 2-3-1 Packers to a 28-17 win over the Cowboys. It was one of only two losses for the Cowboys that season, but it showed that the Dallas team had not turned a corner at that point.

Don Meredith threw a total of 12 interceptions in 1968, and three of them came against Green Bay. Dallas had a turnover ratio of +8 in 1968, but it was -3 vs. the Packers. The league’s top-ranked offense imploded with turnovers.

Here are the video highlights from that game:

Even with a strong finish in 1968, when the Cowboys won five straight, the Cowboys faltered again in the playoffs. Some of the same mistakes the Cowboys made in the Green Bay loss– especially the turnovers– showed up yet again come playoff time, as Dallas lost to Cleveland, 31-20.

What concerns me regarding the 2008 team that just lost its first game is that the problems that the Cowboys have had in the recent past (coverage, tackling) contributed heavily to the loss. The finger-pointing and head-shaking that we’ve seen this week suggest a team that could at some point implode if the players, coaches, and management don’t gain a little bit of perspective quickly. No loss is good, but overcoming adversity by correcting mistakes can make a team rise stronger.

Of course, 3-1 is certain a good start by any measure– Dallas has started 3-1 a total of 18 times in franchise history, and the club has made the playoffs during 14 of this 18 seasons. Many will remember the 1992 club that started 3-0 but was destroyed in Philadelphia on Monday Night Football in week 4.

However, it is probably no stretch to imagine that the Cowboys could start to believe in the can’t-win-come-postseason talk, and then the team may just suffer the fate of the late-60s Cowboys. The good news is that the Cowboys had a strong enough core that when the added quality veterans in 1970 and 1971 they were able to turn that corner. The bad news is that if my analogy holds up, we’ve got two or three more seasons before we are truly Super Bowl contenders.

Trivia: Week 4, Cowboys vs. Redskins

Here are ten trivia questions related to the Cowboys’ loss to the Redskins on Sunday:

Rate the Cowboys: Week 4 vs. Redskins

[tags]Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins[/tags]

Here are this week’s ratings for the Cowboys’ 26-24 loss to Washington on Sunday:

My votes:

Tony Romo – 3 Stars: On paper, Romo had a better game than against Washington than he did against Green Bay last week. However, when Dallas needed for Romo and the offense to catch fire, Romo struggled. His first half interception was costly.

Marion Barber – 2 Stars: Barber had two good runs this game. He picked up a first down on the Cowboys’ opening drive of the game with a tough five-yard run, and he gained 15 yards on the opening drive of the third quarter. Those two runs accounted for 20 of his 26 yards on Sunday.

Terrell Owens – 3 Stars: Owens complained after the game that not enough balls came his way, but he did not appear to be open for much of the afternoon. He caught seven passes for 71 yards and a TD, but he was not the primary focus of the Dallas attack.

Patrick Crayton – 4 Stars: Crayton had a pretty good game, catching seven passes for 87 yards. On one play near the end of the second quarter, though, he was the target of a sideline pass. He bobbled the ball while trying to get out of bounds, resulting in an incomplete pass.

Jason Witten – 4 Stars: Witten had seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, though Washington did a good job making it tough for Romo to find him.

Offense – Pass Blocking – 5 Stars: Romo was not sacked, and on many plays he was not pressured much at all. The Redskins appeared content to focus more on double-teaming the Dallas receivers.

Offense – Run Blocking – 2 Stars: When Dallas decided to run, there were few holes. Dallas abandoned the run too quickly, though, so the line never had a chance to wear down the Redskins’ line.

Offense – Role Players and Backups – 2 Stars: Miles Austin keeps this category from being a “one.” Felix Jones was a huge catalyst last week, so as an encore Dallas decided not to get him the ball at all this week. Genius.

Penalties – Offense – 5 Stars: Dallas did not record a penalty on offense.

Run Support – 2 Stars: Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts combined to rush for 153 yards. There were a few drives were Dallas stuffed Portis, but he had some big runs in both halves.

Pass Rush – 3 Stars: DeMarcus Ware and Chris Canty recorded sacks, but too often Dallas had trouble getting to Jason Campbell.

Tackling – 2 Stars: The Cowboys reverted to a lot of grabbing against Washington.

Coverage – 1 Star: This was one of Terence Newman’s worst games in recent memory. He slipped on a touchdown pass from Campbell to James Thrash, and he had a couple of other blown coverages as well. Santana Moss ran free on a few plays, which makes no sense at all.

Penalties – Defense – 3 Stars: One penalty on the day was enough to reduce this category by two stars: With the Redskins facing a 3rd-and-2 from the Dallas 31 with 6:58 left, it appeared as if Dallas had stopped the Redskins. However, Dallas was called for 12 men on the field (after a Washington timeout), giving Washington a first down. We can apparently thank Pat Watkins. Washington ran three more minutes off the clock on the drive, which resulted in a field goal as the Redskins took a 26-17 lead.

Nick Folk – 4 Stars: Folk is still automatic on field goals, and still average on kickoffs.

Mat McBriar – 4 Stars: McBriar averaged 49.2 yards on six punts, but he wasn’t able to pin the Redskins inside the 10 when given a chance.

Coverage Units – 4 Stars: The coverage units were not bad for the most part, though Antwaan Randle El slipped through some arm tackles and averaged 10 yards per return.

Return Game – 2 Stars: The best return of the day was recorded by linebacker Anthony Spencer. Felix Jones averaged only 13 yards on four returns. Pacman Jones did not fare much better on punt returns.

Penalties – 4 Stars: Two of the three Dallas penalties were on special teams, but neither was very costly.

Redskins 26, Cowboys 24: A Trap Game, Indeed

Here is some good news about the Cowboys’ 26-24 loss to the Redskins today:

During eight Super Bowl seasons, the Cowboys have only managed to go 9-7 against the Redskins. During these seasons, the Cowboys had an overall record of 92-28, so 25% of the losses have come against Washington.

That’s about as positive as I can be about the loss today. The two players that Dallas needed to stop were Clinton Portis and Santana Moss, but the Cowboys could slow down neither of them. Portis finished with 121 yards on 21 carries, with quite a bit of damage coming on a long drive by Washington that essentially put the game away.

Moss was wide open on several plays. He caught eight passes for 145 yards, generally outplaying any of the offensive playmakers for the Cowboys.

Tony Romo had some good numbers, throwing for 300 yards while completing 28 of 47 passes. Many of his yards came late in the first half and late in the fourth quarter, but when the team had a real chance to take control of the game, Romo and the offense struggled.

Especially disappointing was the Dallas running game. Marion Barber had only eight carries on the day, gaining 26 yards. Felix Jones did not touch the ball, strangely enough.

Dallas took a 7-0 lead with 30 seconds left in the first quarter when Romo hit Jason Witten on a 21-yard touchdown pass. It was the third possession for the Cowboys, and it appeared that the Cowboys were finding a rhythm.

However, the Redskins answered on the next drive, going 79 yards on 11 plays. Jason Campbell hit James Thrash for the touchdown, which was made possible by Terence Newman slipping down on the play.

The Dallas offense struggled for most of the rest of the first half, while the Redskins were finding holes in a generally soft Dallas defense. Shaun Suisham’s 20-yard field goal with 1:53 left in the half gave Washington a 17-7 lead.

It looked as if Dallas might take control of the game at the end of the first half and beginning of the second. The Cowboys cut the Washington lead to 17-10 by driving 66 yards to set up a Nick Folk field goal at the end of the half. Dallas received the ball to start the second half and drove 57 yards for a touchdown, tying the game 17-17.

Washington took a 20-17 lead on the next drive, and the Dallas offense struggled until the end of the game. Dallas could not move the ball into Washington territory during any of the team’s next three possessions. Meanwhile, the Redskins took advantage of a 12-play drive that took 6:54 off the clock. Another Suisham field goal gave the Redskins a 26-17 lead with just 3:22 left.

Dallas moved quickly to cut the lead to two. Romo hit Miles Austin on an 11-yard touchdown. However, the Cowboys had already used their timeouts, and when Nick Folk’s onside kick attempt failed with 1:42 left, the game was over.

By falling to 3-1, Dallas is tied with the Redskins for second place in the NFC East. The Giants (3-0) have a bye this week, and the Eagles (2-1) are playing at Chicago tonight.

Cowboys vs. Redskins: Live Blog

The Show, Episode 16: Gnome’s $89.95 Bailout Proposal

In this episode, Gnome pitches his proposal for an $89.95 bailout which would allow him to pay off a $59.95 charge on his Visa for new video software and would also allow him to purchase a new microphone.

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Here are the previews for tomorrow’s game:

Accuscore: Dallas 31, Washington 18

Dallas won 84% of the simulations on Accuscore by an average score of 30.7 for Dallas and 17.5 for Washington.

WhatIfSports: Dallas 28, Washington 15

The WhatIfSports simulations also heavily favored the Cowboys, as Dallas won 86.6% of those games.

CBS Sportsline

Watch CBS Videos Online


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You can vote for the greatest game between the Redskins and Cowboys at Texas Stadium at the Dallas Morning News site.

A Real Challenge: Annotate This Cowboys-Redskins Video

Last year I saw the video clip I am featuring now. It provides a bunch of highlights from the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry, with clips from nearly every era except for the 1990s. It dawned on me that a real challenge would be to try to identify all of the games shown (by year, etc.) and as many of the players as possible. For some parts this wasn’t so tough, but for others, it has proven to be more of a challenge.

Here is the video:

History of the Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins

My annotations so far are below. Please feel free to comment, and I will include any additions or corrections as I receive them.

Scene 1 (0:11-0:30): Opening sequence to the Monday Night Football game between Dallas and Washington in 1978. This one was pretty easy. Dallas lost 9-5.

Dallas vs. Washington, 1978

Dalals vs. Washington, 1978

There are a few shots that include stock footage from NFL Films.

Scene 2 (1:02-1:05): This shows a shot of Joe Theismann being sacked by Ed Jones. Other players in the scene were Bill Bates, Jim Jeffcoat, and Don Smerek. This one has given me trouble, but I think that this was a shot from the 1983 game that the Redskins won 31-10. I do not see the 25th Anniversary patch on the Cowboys uniforms that were worn during the 1984 season, and Bates and Jeffcoat were not around prior to 1983.

Scene 3 (1:06-1:08): Bob Lilly tackles Larry Brown in this shot, with Sonny Jurgensen handing off. The Redskins are wearing their yellow helmets with the “R” symbol rather than the crimson helmets, and the yellow helmets were only worn during the 1970 and 1971 seasons. I cannot determine which season this was, though, because all of the players I can identify (Larry Cole, George Andrie, Bob Lilly, Sonny Jurgensen, Larry Brown) played in both games.

Scene 3 of Cowboys-Redskins Video

Scene 3 of Cowboys-Redskins Video

Scene 4 (1:10-1:13): Drew Pearson apparently catches a touchdown pass in this shot. I believe this was a 53-yard score from the 1978 game at Texas Stadium. I am not sure who the defensive back is.

Scene 5 (1:14-1:21): This is a shot of Don Meredith’s 44-yard pass to Billy Howton in a 21-17 loss to Washington in 1963.

Meredith to Howton in 1963

Meredith to Howton in 1963

Scene 6 (1:24-1:27): Mel Renfro tackles #31 for the Redskins. I am not sure when this play occurred.

Scene 7 (1:27-1:30): This shot shows Roger Staubach being injured in a play where he tries to score on a run. I’ve always thought that this was from the 1974 Thanksgiving Day game, but perhaps I am wrong. The shots that follow are certainly from that game, though.

Scene 8 (1:30-1:45): There are two shots of Clint Longley hitting Billy Joe Dupree and Drew Pearson in the famous Thanksgiving Day game in 1974.

Scene 9 (1:46-1:56): This shot shows Ron Fellows picking off Joe Theismann in the opening day game in 1985 when Dallas won 44-14 (and led the Texas Stadium crowd to sing Happy Birthday to Theismann).

Scene 10 (1:57-2:00): This shot shows Theismann being blitzed by a number of Cowboys (Bill Bates, Dennis Thurman, Dexter Clinkscale). You can see the 25th Anniversary patch pretty clearly, so this must have been during the 1984 game that Washington won 30-28.

Cowboys Sack Theismann, 1984

Cowboys Sack Theismann, 1984

Scene 11 (2:00-2:01): This is a tough one. It shows #53 for the Cowboys tackling #29 for the Redskins. Given that the pants that the Cowboy player was wearing are grey instead of silver, I don’t think that this was Bob Breunig, who did not join the team until 1975 when the Cowboys had silver pants. This is more likely from the 1972 or 1973 season, and #53 at that time was a backup linebacker named John Babinecz. Anyone else think otherwise?

John Babinecz on the tackle in 1972 or 1973?

John Babinecz on the tackle in 1972 or 1973?

Scene 12 (2:01-2:06): This shot shows Charlie Waters celebrating a touchdown, which occurred in a 31-10 Dallas win in 1975. Other Cowboys in the shot: Cliff Harris (#43), Bill Gregory (#77), and Dave Edwards (#52).

Scene 13 (2:06-2:50): There are several plays from the Cowboys’ 34-16 win over the Redskins in 1977. Among the plays are Roger Staubach’s 50-yard TD pass to Golden Richards and a pass from Tony Dorsett to Drew Pearson. Both Billy Kilmer and Joe Theismann played quarterback for Washington that day.

Scene 14 (2:50-3:16): This sequence shows several plays from the Cowboys’ 31-30 come-from-behind win at Washington in the opening week of the 1983 season. Among the plays were the 75-yard and 51-yard touchdown passes from Danny White to Tony Hill.

Scene 15 (3:17-4:15): This sequence shows a series of plays from the 35-34 win at Texas Stadium in 1979, including the famous Larry Cole tackle of John Riggins and Staubach’s throw to Tony Hill to win the game.

Tony Hill vs. Washington, 1979

Tony Hill vs. Washington, 1979

Scene 16 (4:16-5:02): This part shows some out-of-sync highlights of the Cowboys’ 41-35 win over the Redskins on opening day in 1999.

Scene 17 (5:02-5:25): This scene shows highlights from the Cowboys’ 27-0 win at Washington in 2003. This game featured rookie Terence Newman picking off three passes.

Scene 18 (5:25-6:00): This sequence shows highlights from the Cowboys’ 27-20 win on Thanksgiving Day in 2002.

Scene 19 (6:01-6:34): This shows highlights from Dallas’ 21-18 win at Washington in 2004.

Scene 20 (6:35-7:13): This features a series of highlights from the Cowboys’ 21-14 home win over Washington in 2003.

Scene 21 (7:13-7:20): The final highlight shows Vinny Testaverde hitting Patrick Crayton on a 39-yard touchdown pass that gave Dallas an improbable 13-10 win in 2004.

Patrick Crayton vs. Washington, 2004

Patrick Crayton vs. Washington, 2004

When the Redskins Have Visited Dallas…


[tags]Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins[/tags]

The Cowboys historically have had success at home against the Redskins. The memorable games (even losses) jump out even to casual fans:

* Clint Longley leading Dallas to a come-from-behind 24-23 come-from-behind win on Thanksgiving in 1974.
* Roger Staubach leading Dallas to a 35-34 win in his last regular season game in 1979.
* The Texas Stadium crowd singing Happy Birthday to Joe Theismann during a 44-14 rout of the Redskins in 1985.
* The Redskin scabs coming to Texas Stadium in 1987 and beating the Cowboys, who started several regulars.
* The Monday Night Football matchup in 1991, featuring a long run by Emmitt Smith in an otherwise disappointing 33-31 loss.
* The Redskins scoring two late touchdowns to pull out a 14-13 win in 2005 and ruining the induction of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin in the Ring of Honor.

With these memories in mind, here are some other facts about the history of the rivalry games played in Dallas.

Cowboys vs. Redskins at the Cotton Bowl

* Dallas recorded a 6-3-2 record against the Redskins at the Cotton Bowl. Ironically, the Cowboys had more success when they were developing as a team (3-0-2 between 1961 and 1965) than when they were one of the better teams in the league (3-3 between 1966 and 1971).
* The first two games between Dallas and Washington resulted in ties: 28-28 in 1961 and 35-35 in 1962.
* The Redskins were the first team to beat the Cowboys during the 1971 season, winning 20-16. It was the final game played in the Cotton Bowl between the clubs.

Cowboys vs. Redskins at Texas Stadium

* The Cowboys have dominated the series at Texas Stadium, winning 26 of 35 games.
* Dallas won the first game at Texas Stadium in 1972 in a 34-24 thriller.
* Here is the Sports Illustrated story covering the Mad Bomber game of 1974. Below are a couple of pictures from the article:

Clint Longley

Clint Longley

Drew Pearson

Drew Pearson

* In July, I posted a story about and a clip showing Larry Cole’s tackle on John Riggins in the Cowboys’ 35-34 win in the final game of 1979.
* As we face turbulent economic times, let us remember that the Cowboys lost to the Redskins’ replacement players on the evening of Monday, October 20, 1987, which was the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 22.6%. Not a good day either way.
* One of Emmitt Smith’s first big moments came on Monday Night Football vs. Washington in 1991 when he raced 75 yards for a touchdown. He missed most of the rest of the game with flu, however, and Dallas gave up a 21-10 first half lead in a 33-31 loss.
* Since 1991, the Redskins have only won twice at Texas Stadium: a 24-17 win in an otherwise forgettable 6-10 season in 1995; and the surreal 14-13 win achieved in 2005 through the heroics of Mark Brunell and Santana Moss.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #92


[tags]Dallas Cowboys, Tony Tolbert[/tags]

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #92

Four Cowboys have worn #92. All were defensive linemen.

[Note: This list does not include Marcus Dixon, who is currently on the practice squad and has never played in a regular season game]

Jermaine Brooks, DT, Arkansas, 2003

Statistics: Brooks recorded a total of five regular season tackles, all in one game.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He was active for the final game of the 2003 season as well as the playoff loss to Carolina in January 2004.

Intangibles: Brooks was on the practice squad for a couple of years and saw action only during the end of the 2003 season.

Demetric Evans, DE, Georgia, 2001-02

Statistics: Evans recorded one sack with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Evans was a backup for the Cowboys before moving on to play in Washington, where he has been for the past five seasons.

Ray Perkins, DE, Virginia, 1987

Statistics: Perkins recorded two sacks for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in two replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Tony Tolbert, DL, Texas-El Paso, 1989-97

Statistics: Tolbert recorded 59 sacks with the Cowboys along with 531 tackles.

Accolades: He was named to one Pro Bowl.

Longevity: Tolbert played nine seasons for the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Dallas drafted Tolbert as a 226-pound outside linebacker, but after bulking up to more than 260, became a standout defensive end. He was the key to the Cowboys defense becoming so tough against the run during the early 1990s.


Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #92.

Greatest #92

  • Tony Tolbert (93%, 63 Votes)
  • Demetric Evans (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Ray Perkins (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Jermaine Brooks (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 68

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My Vote: Tolbert

Tony Tolbert

Tony Tolbert

This one wasn’t much of a contest. Tolbert was one of the best draft picks (4th round, 1989) in franchise history. He was the key to the run defense, and he was also quite effective as a pass rusher. Knee injuries slowed him down towards the ends of his career, though he still had five sacks and 30 tackles during the 1997 season, his last.

Trivia: Cowboys vs. Packers


[tags]Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers[/tags]

Here are ten trivia questions about the game between the Cowboys and Packers.