MOP Award, Honorable Mention: Dicky Moegle

mop.bmp[Note: this piece was updated after its original posting] Thanks to the suggestion of Marty Ogelvie of Cowboys Cards (great site for Cowboys history), we have a second nominee for Most Obscure Player of 1961. The original winner was defensive back Don Bishop, but there was a second player equally deserving of the recognition.

Dicky (also spelled Dickey) Moegle was an All-American running back at Rice University during the 1950s. In the 1954 Cotton Bowl between Rice and Alabama, Moegle set a record with 265 rushing yards, which stood until Missouri’s Tony Temple rushed for 281 in 2008.

Moegle was then drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and played both ways for three seasons. His finest season on defense came in 1957, when he had eight interceptions. However, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in 1958 and was less productive in 1959.

He played for Pittsburgh in 1960 (recording six interceptions that year) before being picked up by Dallas for the 1961 season. In that trade, Dallas gave up safety Billy Butler and tackle Dick Klein. He started at free safety for Dallas in 1961, picking off two passes. However, during training camp in 1962, Tom Landry informed Moegle that the team had decided to put Moegle on waivers. The safety instead decided to quit, moving back to Houston to run a hotel.

That was his final season as a pro, retiring at age 27. A Dallas Morning News article referred to Moegle as “old horse” who decided to leave “the stable.”

For more on Dicky Moegle, see:

Dallas Morning News article (1961): New Cowboy: Dicky Moegle

Dallas Morning News article (1962): An Old Horse Leaves the Stable


Cowboys Cards

Database Football

College Football Hall of Fame

Dick Moegle


Classic Article: ‘Rangers Hire Tom Landry’ (1959)

Tom LandryThe first name given to the NFL franchise in Dallas was the Dallas Rangers. Prior to the time that the other NFL owners voted to allow Dallas to enter the league, the Cowboys had already signed a quarterback named Don Meredith and a coach named Tom Landry. The headline in the Dallas Morning News on December 29, 1959 read, “Rangers Hire Tom Landry.”

This was some time before Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers came into existence. However, there was a minor league franchise in Dallas at that time named the Dallas Rangers, and the thought was that it would be confusing to have a football team with the same name. Thus, in March 1960, the name Dallas Cowboys emerged.

Tom Landry Hired

Rangers Hire Tom Landry

by Charles Burton
(Dallas Morning News, Dec. 29, 1959)

Tom Landry, defensive coach of the New York Giants, flew back to his home town Monday with a 5-year contract in his pocket to coach the proposed Dallas Rangers of the National Football League.

Landry was accompanied by another University of Texas graduate, Tex Schramm, who has taken the post of general manager of the club, which expects to be awarded an NFL franchise at a January 20 session of the pro circuit.

If the franchise is granted to Dallas there will be two pro football teams in the city next season, including Lamar Hunt’s Dallas Texans in the American Professional Football League.

Schramm expressed complete confidence of George Halas, chairman of the NFL expansion committee, that Dallas would be awarded a franchise. There are strong indications within NFL circles, however, that Halas, the leagues No. 1 exponent of expansion into Dallas and Minneapolis next season, may not be assured of the necessary votes of 10 of the 12 present clubs.

Landry said that if the expansion vote is unfavorable, his contract with the Rangers will be null and void, but that he will be paid a certain sum for the risk he is taking. He said that in such an eventuality, he will be free to take another job, including the post he has just given up with the Giants.

Schramm said that the Rangers would play at least part of their home games, and “probably all” of them in them in the 75,502-seat Cotton Bowl.

Hunt’s Texans have first call on dates in the big stadium, and plan to play seven AFL championship games and an exhibition in it. It is understood that a clause in his contract prohibits use of the stadium for professional football on days other than Sundays.

Bedford Wynne, who with Clint Murchison Jr., is an applicant for the Dallas NFL franchise, also expressed confidence that the Rangers would have use of the stadium.

The landing of Landry was the second major coup scored over the fledgling American League by the Murchison-Wynne combination in the fantastic battle for professional football patronage in Dallas next season.

They snatched up the coveted No. 1 draft choice of the Dallas Texans, Don Meredith, the Southern Methodist forward passing star, by signing him to a “personal services contract” even before the National League held its annual selection meeting. Meredith generally was regarded as the top pro prize among graduating collegians, with Billy Cannon, the Louisiana State halfback, his only close challenger in evaluation of talent scouts.

Landry, praised recently by Jim Lee Howell, head coach of the Giants, as “the greatest coach in football,” has been contacted by at least four clubs with regard to becoming their head coach. One of those which checked on his availability was Hunt’s Texans. Hunt withdrew from the scramble to hire Henry (Hank) Stram, University of Miami backfield coach, and former Southern Methodist assistant. Another was Bud Adams’ Houston Oilers of the AFL.

The Los Angeles Rams of the NFL reportedly were interested in obtaining Landry’s services, though Pete Rozelle, that club’s general manager, wouldn’t come right out and say so Monday.

“He is one whom we obviously would have given serious consideration,” Rozelle told The Dallas News,” but we have known that he was committed”

Adams also apparently had suspected that Landry was leaning toward a tie-up with the Murchison-Wynne group, for he was interviewing another prospect for the post when contacted by The News Monday morning.

“Landry was supposed to telephone me last night or today,” Adams said, “but I haven’t heard from him yet.”

At that moment, Landry and Schramm were flying to Dallas to make their not entirely unexpected announcement. Schramm had released it earlier in New York.

Adams said Landry had told him in their discussions that “it is 50-50” whether Dallas is granted an NFL franchise and that he might have to wait until then to decide on a Houston offer.

The Houston clubowner said he could not wait until then to hire a coach, and though he had not heard finally from Landry, he was in conference with Lou Rymkus, former offensive line coach for the Rams. Rymkus became available when Sid Gillman was fired as head coach of the Los Angeles team at the end of the season.

“I think I will be able to announce my coach within a day or two,” the Oiler owner said. “I have talked to several prospects other than Landry.”

Landry expressed delight that the Rangers have Meredith under contract.

“All we’ve got is a coach and pitcher,” he said, “but that’s a start. Now we’ve got to get some more players.”

Schramm said the NFL would provide the club with a nucleus of veteran pro players but that neither the exact number nor the method of their choosing had been decided.

Landry, looking at the prospects realistically, said it was obvious that no NFL club would give up its best players on such a transfer, but “the league doesn’t want any weak clubs, either. That hurts everybody.”

He said he planned to hire four assistant coaches, but that he had no one in mind particularly at the moment.

“You never know who might be available,” he said, “until it becomes known the jobs are available.”

A few notes of interest about this article:

* Prior to the expansion draft in 1960, the Cowboys actually signed two standout college players to personal services contracts. In addition to Meredith, Dallas obtained the rights to running back Don Perkins.

* Interesting that Landry chose the NFL expansion team over the upstart AFL clubs in Dallas and Houston. In 1949, he chose to sign with the New York Yankees of the AAFC rather than the New York Giants of the NFL, later joining the Giants when the leagues merged.

* The NFL did, of course, add teams in both Dallas and Minneapolis. The AFL originally wanted a team in Minnesota, but the proposed owner, Max Winter, double-crossed the AFL owners by choosing to join the NFL. The AFL decided instead to establish a franchise in Oakland, CA.

* Also interesting that the DMN interviewed Pete Rozelle for this piece. At the same meeting where the NFL owners granted the Dallas franchise, they also elected Rozelle to replace Burt Bell as NFL commissioner.

A Recap of Classic Cowboys Features

dallas_logo.gifThe original idea behind this website was to provide a trivia blog that would somehow connect the Cowboys teams from the past with the team of the present. Then the season comes, and I tend to veer off-course. If I were driven solely by bringing traffic on the site, I suspect there might be ways that I could attract more people by focusing on T.O.’s suicide attempt last year or Tony Romo’s love life with the latest blonde. But I simply don’t care much about those things, and there are plenty of other Cowboys bloggers that do.

So what can you expect here during the offseason?

* Current news, as least with regard to items that I think ought to be on here.

* Draft and free agency news, given that these periods are nearly as active as the season itself.

* Lots of Classic Cowboys, including the continuation of some series, summarized below.

Most Obscure Player Award

I have identified some obscure players from each season in team history. These are not necessarily complete nobodies but are rather players who contributed but who have long since been forgotten.

1960: Dave Sherer

1961: Don Bishop

1962: Mike Gaechter

1963: Billy Howton

1964: Buddy Dial

1965: Pete Gent

1966: Willie Townes

1967: Ron East

1968: Craig Baynham

1969: Dennis Homan

Historic Drafts

I also started a series that provides retrospective look at old drafts, offering a grade based on the long-term success of the draft. I tend to grade tough, by the way.

1960 Expansion Draft (Big Name: Frank Clarke)

1961: C- (Big Name: Bob Lilly)

1962: D (Big Name: George Andrie)

1963: C (Big Name: Lee Roy Jordan)

1964: A (Big Names: Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes)

1965: C- (Big Name: Craig Morton)

1966: B- (Big Name: John Niland)

1967: C- (Big Name: Rayfield Wright)

1968: C- (Big Name: Blaine Nye)

1969: D (Big Name: Calvin Hill)


As usual, there will be more than a fair share of trivia items. If you like classic Cowboys trivia, you might also want to check out 5 Blings: The Classic Cowboys Forum.

Favorite Classic Cowboys Elimination: Staubach Over Emmitt

Roger Staubach

Last June, a moderator named Starbuck on the Dallas Cowboys Fan Zone started the Favorite Classic Cowboys Elimination. Several of us offered names, and then the competition began. Seven months later, we have a winner: Roger Staubach, who proved to be more popular than Emmitt Smith, Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, and a whole bunch of others.

I admittedly did not vote as often as others throughout the contest, and hats off to those who did. But I’ve followed it for the duration as the field fell from nearly 140 down to two. The rules were that all players began with 10 points, and then site users added one point to one player and negative one to another. Players were divided into groups, and once a group had been narrowed down to a manageable number, a new group was introduced.

The top 12 players are as follows:

12. Harvey Martin, DE

11. Jimmy Johnson, Head Coach

10. Charlie Waters, S

9. Chuck Howley, LB

8. Tony Dorsett, RB

7. Drew Pearson, WR

6. Mel Renfro, CB/S

5. Lee Roy Jordan, LB

4. Bob Lilly, DT/DE

3. Tom Landry, Head Coach

2. Emmitt Smith, RB

1. Roger Staubach, QB

Here is the complete summary:

First Group, Beginning June 20, 2007

QB-Troy Aikman
RB-Calvin Hill
RB/FB-Don Perkins
RB-Herschel Walker
FB-James Jones
TE-Mike Ditka
TE-Jean Fugett
WR-“Bullet” Bob Hayes
WR-Kelvin “K-Mart” Martin
WR-Golden Richards
G-Larry Allen
G-John Niland
C-John Fitzgerald
DE-George Andrie
DE-Jim Jeffcoat
DE-Harvey “Too Mean” Martin
DT-Kevin Brooks
DT-Russell Maryland
DT/LB-Randy “The Manster” White
LB-Dave Edwards
LB-Mike Hegman
LB-Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson
LB-Eugene Lockhart
LB-D.D. Lewis
LB-Dat Nguyen
CB-Larry Brown
CB-Ron Fellows (Thurman’s Thieves)
CB-Cornell Green
CB-Mark Washington
S-Michael Downs (Thurman’s Thieves)
S-Randy Hughes
S-George “Defender Of The Star” Teague
S-Charlie Waters
VP-Gil Brandt

Second Group, Beginning July 8, 2007

QB-Roger “Captain America” Staubach
RB-Doug Dennison
RB-Robert Lavette
RB-Preston Pearson
FB-Darryl Clack
FB-Robert “Bowling Ball” Newhouse
TE-Doug Cosbie
TE-Jay “Novacatch” Novacek
WR-Frank Clarke
WR-Michael “The Playmaker” Irvin
WR-Butch “California Quake” Johnson
G-Kevin Gogan
OT-Tony Liscio
OT-Ralph Neely
OT-Rayfield Wright
C-Dave Manders
C-Mark Stepnoski
K-Efren Herrera
DE-Larry Cole
DE-Danny Noonan
DT-Larry Bethea
DT-Bill Gregory
DT-Don Smerek
LB-Bob Breunig
LB-Jack Del Rio
LB-Ken Norton Jr.
LB-Jeff Rohrer
CB-Ron Francis
CB/S-Mike Gaechter
CB-Victor Scott (Thurman’s Thieves)
S-Dexter Clinkscale
S-Cliff Harris
S-James Washington

Third Group, Beginning July 22, 2007

QB-“Dandy” Don Meredith
QB-Steve Pelleur
RB-Walt Garrison
RB-Emmitt “Catch-22” Smith
RB-Ron Springs
FB-Timmy Newsome
TE-Billy Joe DuPree
WR-Alvin “The 49er Killer” Harper
WR-Lance Rentzel
G-“Big” Nate Newton
G-Blaine Nye
OT-Mark Tuinei
C-Derek Kennard
C-Tom Rafferty
DE-Charles Haley
DE-Pat Toomay
DT-Tony Casillas
DT-Leon Lett
DT/DE-Bob “Mr Cowboy” Lilly
LB-Dexter Coakley
LB-Robert Jones
LB-Godfrey Miles
LB-Jim Schwantz
CB-Isaac Holt
CB-Deion “Prime Time” Sanders
CB-Everson Walls (Thurman’s Thieves)
S-Bill “Bates Motel” Bates
S-Thomas Everett
S-Brock Marion
HC-Jimmy “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys” Johnson
Owner-Clint Murchison

Fourth Group, Beginning Aug. 8, 2007

QB-Eddie LeBaron
QB/P-Danny White
RB-Tony Dorsett
RB-Dan Reeves
RB-Duane Thomas
FB-Daryl “Moose” Johnston
TE-Jay Saldi
WR-Tony “Thrill” Hill
WR-Drew “Mr. Clutch” Pearson
WR Mike Renfro
G-Crawford Ker
G-Herbert Scott
OT-Pat Donovan
OT-Erik Williams
C-John Gesek
K-Rafael Septien
DE-Ed “Too Tall” Jones
DE-Tony Tolbert
DT-John Dutton
DT-Chad Hennings
DT-Jethro Pugh
LB-Dixon Edwards
LB-Chuck Howley
LB-Lee Roy Jordan
LB-Darrin Smith
LB-Jerry Tubbs
CB/S-Mel Renfro
CB-Kevin Smith
S-Kenneth “The Shark” Gant
S-Dennis Thurman (Thurman’s Thieves)
S-Darren “Woody” Woodson
HC-Tom “America’s Coach” Landry
GM-Tex Schramm

The Finalists, Beginning August 27

QB-Troy Aikman
QB-“Dandy” Don Meredith
QB-Roger “Captain America” Staubach
RB-Tony Dorsett
RB-Walt Garrison
RB-Emmitt “Catch-22” Smith
FB-Daryl “Moose” Johnston
TE-Jay “Novacatch” Novacek
WR-“Bullet” Bob Hayes
WR-Michael “The Playmaker” Irvin
WR-Butch “California Quake” Johnson
WR-Drew “Mr. Clutch” Pearson
OT-Rayfield Wright
C-Mark Stepnoski
DE-Larry Cole
DE-Charles Haley
DE-Jim Jeffcoat
DE-Ed “Too Tall” Jones
DE-Harvey “Too Mean” Martin
DT-Tony Casillas
DT-Leon Lett
DT/DE-Bob “Mr Cowboy” Lilly
DT-Jethro Pugh
DT/LB-Randy “The Manster” White
LB-Bob Breunig
LB-Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson
LB-Chuck Howley
LB-Lee Roy Jordan
LB-D.D. Lewis
LB-Dat Nguyen
CB/S-Mel Renfro
CB-Everson Walls (Thurman’s Thieves)
S-Bill “Bates Motel” Bates
S-Cliff Harris
S-George “Defender Of The Star” Teague
S-James Washington
S-Charlie Waters
S-Darren “Woody” Woodson
HC-Jimmy “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys” Johnson
HC-Tom “America’s Coach” Landry

Team Rushing: Tying a Fairly Obscure Record

Don PerkinsHere is a stat you may or may not have noticed: only six members of the Cowboys recorded rushing attempts in 2007. This includes quarterbacks Tony Romo and Brad Johnson. This ties a mark set in 1962, when the following players recorded rushes in a 14-game season: Don Perkins, Amos Marsh, Amos Bullocks, Don Meredith, J.W. Lockett, and Eddie LeBaron. On several occasions in the past twenty years, the Cowboys have had eight players with at least one rushing attempt, but this year, only six ran the ball:

Barber, Marion: 204 att., 975 yds., 4.8 ave., 10 TD.
Jones, Julius: 164 att., 588 yds., 3.6 ave., 2 TD.
Romo, Tony: 31 att., 129 yds., 4.2 ave., 2 TD.
Thompson, Tyson: 14 att., 54 yds., 3.9 ave., 0 TD.
Johnson, Brad: 5 att., -5 yds., -1.0 ave., 0 TD.
Owens, Terrell: 1 att., 5 yds, 5.0 ave., 0 TD.

The 975 yards by Barber is tied for 26th in a season in team history, matching the mark of Emmitt Smith in 2002. Ironically, both Smith and Barber both needed fewer than 100 yards on the road at Washington to eclipse 1,000 for the respective seasons, but the Redskins stopped both of them with 975.

The player with the most yards without reaching 1,000 is Julius Jones, who had 993 in 2005.

* * *

Some good news is that all signs are pointing to the Cowboys resigning Barber to a three- to five-year contract.

* * *

The Dallas Morning News is giving out some awards for the 2007 season.

Rookie of the Year: K Nick Folk

Comeback Player: LB Greg Ellis

Most Improved Player: NT Jay Ratliff

* * *

Not trying to offend anyone, but this clip about summarizes my reaction to the Cowboys’ loss to the Giants. The only exception is that I corrected the F words so that my children would not hear them, choosing instead to invent 15-letter curse words that were close enough.

Dallas Cowboys in the Playoff Bowl

Playoff BowlI could hardly bring myself to watch the Giants/Packers game on Sunday, and I do not take much comfort in the fact that the team that beat Dallas is the one going to the Super Bowl. I am instead focusing on some history that may be obscure to some: the old Playoff Bowl (Bert Bell Benefit Bowl) that featured the teams that did not make the old NFL Championship Game. It was held from the end of the 1960 season through the end of the 1969 season, and Dallas participated three times. Here is a great site with historical stuff, including the stories of these games. I was, of course, born a year after the last one was played.

Note that if the Playoff Bowl were still around in its old format, Dallas would have faced Seattle this weekend. I’m not sure that would have been any better than watching the Giants game.

Here are the summaries of the three Playoff Bowls featuring our Dallas Cowboys:

Baltimore Colts 35, Dallas Cowboys 3 (January 9, 1966)

The game was not a pretty sight for Dallas, yet it was the beginning of what would turn out to be a common occurrence – the Cowboys in the NFL postseason. A crowd of 65,659 witnessed the battle of National Football League runners-up in windy, overcast weather in the Orange Bowl.

The story:

Bob Hayes

MIAMI, Fla. (AP)- Tom Matte, who almost quarterbacked the Baltimore Colts into the National Football League championship game, led them to a 35-3 victory over Dallas Sunday in the consolation tilt. The performances pose for Coach Don Shula the problem of what to do with Matte next season. “I don’t know,” said Shula. “I guess I’ll have to keep the Matte offense in our play book, though.

“Matte, in only his third professional game as quarterback, was voted the outstanding player in the playoff game before 65,569 in the Orange Bowl. He earned the award on his passing.

When he was first rushed into the quarterback breach because of injuries to John Unitas and Gary Cuozzo, Matte had a slim repertoire of plays, mostly running. Still the Colts defeated Los Angeles 20-17 and in a playoff for the Western Conference title and lost 13-10 in overtime to Green Bay.

Matte passed 17 times against the Cowboys, completing seven. Two of them were 15 and 20 yards to Jimmy Orr for touchdowns. Two more of 37 and 52 yards set up second period touchdowns which gave Baltimore a 14-3 halftime edge.

The Cowboys, who tied for second place in the Eastern Conference by winning five of their last seven games, ran into a fierce Colt defense. Dallas put together only one sustained drive on the passing of Don Meredith in the second quarter. The Cowboys reached the Colt four with a first down but were stopped in their tracks and Danny Villanueva kicked a 12-yard field goal.

The Cowboys reached the Colts 29 in the first period and the 31 in the third for their only other threats. They lost the ball on an interception by Jerry Logan the first time and on a fumble recovered by rookie end Roy Hilton the other time.

In addition to his interception, Logan recovered a fumble on the Dallas 25 in the third quarter and fullback Jerry Hill plunged for a touchdown five plays later. Hill also boomed three yards for a second quarter touchdown after catching a 52-yard rocket from Matte.

End John Mackey’s catch of a 37-yard pass from Matte set Baltimore’s first touchdown- a six-yard run by Lenny Moore- after a scoreless first period.

“I had a lot of respect before for Matte,” said Shula, “but he has gained a lot more the way he reacted to our situation.”

The 6-foot, 205-pounder had been a substitute halfback with the Colts for five seasons until the quarterback crisis developed.

The victory by the Colts underscored the mastery of the Western Conference NFL teams over the Eastern this season. It was the 15th victory in 16 contests for the West.

Dallas Cowboys 17, Minnesota Vikings 13 (January 5, 1969)

For the second straight year, the Cowboys won the Capitol Division with a 12-2 record. Don Meredith passed for 2500 yards. It was his best statistical season with a 55.3% completion percentage and the second-best quaterback rating in the league behind Johnny Unitas. Lance Rentzel had 1009 receiving yards and Bob Hayes added another 909. Don Perkins carried the ball for 836 yards. The Baltimore Colts had finished the regular season 13-1 and everyone anticipated a Cowboys-Colts showdown in the conference championship game with the winner advancing to Super Bowl III. But first the Cowboys had to play the Cleveland Browns in the Eastern Conference championship game. Having beaten the Browns 28-7 in the regular season, confidence was high for another victory. The game proved to be anything but easy for the Cowboys as the Browns handed them a 31-20 defeat. The loss sent the Cowboys to the Playoff Bowl.

The story:

MIAMI (AP)- The Dallas Cowboys beat the Minnesota Vikings 17-13 Sunday in what could be the last National Football League playoff Bowl game as it is now constituted- at least in Miami. The contract between the NFL and the Orange Bowl ended with Sunday’s dull game before 22,961 rain drenched fans. Bowl officials apparently feel the game between second place finishers in the NFL’s two conferences lacks interest for fans and players.

The NFL has two more years on a television contract for the game, and could decide to continue it at another site- New Orleans is believed interested- rather than change the format. The game has produced over a million dollars in nine years for the players’ pension fund.

As presently constituted, the game has nothing at stake, except the $1,200 share per player on the winning team and $500 for losing players. Dallas Coach Tom Landry said last week that this is a fun-work week and teams don’t give the game the 24-hour concentration needed for a top performance.

Landry said after Sunday’s game that the victory meant little, but his players were determined to show they could bounce back. “If we proved anything, we proved that this club can rebound.” Landry said.

Dallas was down after blowing the Eastern Conference championship two weeks ago to underdog Cleveland 31-20. Landry said earlier he wasn’t sure how his team would react from its big disappointment. He found out, although at the start it appeared Dallas was still suffering from its Cleveland hangover.

Minnesota, winner of the Central Division title, jumped to a 13-0 lead in the first period. Bob Bryant ran back punt 81 yards for a touchdown- longest return in the nine-year history of the Series- and Fred Cox kicked two field goals.

Landry had high praise for quarterback Don Meredith. He rallied the Cowboys from a 13-0 first quarter deficit to 13-10 at halftime. Meredith completed 15 of 24 passes for 243 yards and one touchdown and was voted the outstanding player of the game.

Landry sent Craig Morton in at quarterback for the second half. After Dallas linebackers Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordon pressured Minnesota punter King Hill into a 24-yard punt in the third period. Morton went to work. He completed a 21-yard pass to Craig Baynham for a first down at the 13. After losing to the 20, Morton hit Baynham again for the 20-yard winning touchdown.

Los Angeles Rams 31, Dallas Cowboys 0 (January 3, 1970)

The 1969 Cowboys won their division for the third straight year and again had to play the Cleveland Browns in the conference championship game. That year’s Cowboys tied an NFL record by allowing just two rushing touchdowns all season. But, just like the year before, the Cowboys were beaten soundly by the Browns; the final score was 38-14. Once again, the Cowboys found themselves in the Playoff Bowl, this time against the Los Angeles Rams. The Cowboys’ league playoff record for the decade was 1-4 and questions arose as to why the Cowboys, with all their talent, couldn’t win the big game. The Rams had won the Coastal Division with 11-3 record and QB Roman Gabriel was unanimous choice as NFL’s most valuable player. The Rams lost to Minnesota in a hard fought Western Conference title game on the road, 23-20.

The story:

MIAMI (UPI)- Roman Gabriel hurled scoring passes of 35 and 67 yards the first two times Los Angeles got the ball Saturday, added two more touchdown tosses in the second half, and the Rams pummeled the Dallas Cowboys 31-0 in the National Football League Playoff Bowl.

Gabriel, the NFL player of the year, hit Les Josephson for 35 yards, Jack Snow for 67, Bob Klein for 16 and Snow again for 49. Bruce Gossett added a 42-yard field goal.

The Cowboys’ offense sputtered under a gamelong drizzle, and even experimentation with reserve quarterback Roger Staubach in the second quarter failed to help. Gabriel was taken out early in the fourth quarter after hitting 12 of 17 passes for 224 yards and his four scores. For the second time in the Playoff Bowl’s history he was named most valuable player.

The shutout was the first in 10 Playoff Bowl games. Deacon Jones of the Rams was most valuable defensive player. The win snapped a four game losing streak for Los Angeles, the NFL’s Coastal Division champ. Dallas dropped its second in a row after losing to Eastern Division champion Cleveland 38-14 last week. Los Angeles dropped the Western Conference title to Minnesota Dec. 27, 23-20.

Gabriel’s first scoring throw with 13:23 left in the first quarter was set up when safety Richie Pettibon intercepted a Craig Morton pass on the Dallas 30 on just the second play of the game. Gabriel was belted for a five yard loss, but on the next play hit Josephson on a swing pass and he sprinted down the right sidelines for the touchdown.

Los Angeles then took over on the Ram 20 after an unsuccessful Dallas threat and moved 13 yards in four plays before Snow streaked past cornerback Cornell Green, caught Gabriel’s bomb on his fingertips and raced the remaining 20 yards for the 67-yard touchdown.

Gabriel’s third scoring pass climaxed a drive starting on the Dallas 39 after Larry Smith returned a short punt 17 yards. On a fourth and one play, Gabriel hit a swing pass to Josephson for 14 yards to the Cowboys’ 16 and on the next play he hit Klein for the score

After Dallas couldn’t move, another short punt for the Cowboys’ Ron Widby rolled dead on the Dallas 49. Gabriel wasted no time and hit Snow down the left sidelines for the score.

Gossett’s field goal came after punter Pal Studstill ran from punt formation on the fourth down to the Cowboy 30. After stalling, the Rams elected to try the field goal.

Dallas’ Mike Clark missed field goals of 16 and 22 yards in the first half. The Cowboys’ rookie running back Calvin Hill reinjured a toe and Safety Mike Gaechter apparently severed an achilles tendon early in the second quarter for Dallas. Neither saw any action the rest of the game.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Eventual Super Bowl Winners, 2007 Update

Last year I ran a piece about how the Cowboys performed against eventual NFL/Super Bowl champions. Including Indianapolis in 2006 and including the pre-Super Bowl years, Dallas is 6-19 against eventual champions during the regular season. If New England beats the Giants, the record will fall to 6-20. If the Giants somehow win, then the record will improve to 8-19 due to the two wins this year over the Giants. Dallas has not lost to an eventual Super Bowl winner in the playoffs since 1994 (San Francisco).

BallHype: hype it up!

The 2007 season is the eighth time that Dallas faced both Super Bowl participants. The previous years include 1973 (Miami and Minnesota), 1979 (Pittsburgh and Los Angeles), 1980 (Oakland and Philadelphia), 1983 (Washington and L.A. Raiders), 1986 (N.Y. Giants and Denver), 1996 (Green Bay and New England), 2000 (Baltimore and N.Y. Giants), and 2003 (New England and Carolina).

Here is the all-time record vs. Super Bowl winners (including both teams in Super Bowl XLII):

Pre-Super Bowl
1960– vs. Philadelphia, L 25-27
1964– vs. Cleveland, L 16-20
1965– vs. Green Bay, L 3-13

Regular Season
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 (AFC) — vs. New England, L 27-48
2007 (NFC) — vs. N.Y. Giants, W 45-35
2007 (NFC) — vs. N.Y. Giants, W 31-20

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 (NFC)– vs. N.Y. Giants (Divisional Round), L 17-21

A Short History of Cowboys’ Offensive Coordinators

Dallas CowboysNow that Jason Garrett is going to be here a while, seems like a good time to provide a summary of the offensive coordinators in team history. This is not as extensive of a list as it may seem, for one man ran the offense for most of the first 29 years.

Tom Landry (1960-1988)

Although Landry was famous as a defensive coach when he arrived in Dallas in 1960, he immediately took over the offense. Landry’s offensive system went against the grain of what most teams did during the early days, relying on timing and reads as opposed to raw power and talent. But by the mid-1960s, the system proved to be effective, and it remained so for the most part for the next 20 years.

Paul Hackett (1986-1988)

By the mid-1980s, the offense that Landry had developed and used for so many years had begun to become stale. Owner Bum Bright, who feuded with Landry often, demanded the hiring of Paul Hackett as offensive coordinator. Hackett had more recently been on the staff with San Francisco, helping to coach Joe Montana to greatness. He was brought to Dallas to make the offense more exciting.

For eight games in 1986, the combination of Landry’s and Hackett’s systems worked. Then Danny White broke his wrist against the Giants, and nothing worked well after that point during 1986 or even during the two seasons that followed. Before being fired himself, Landry demoted Hackett, effectively ending his term in Dallas.

Hackett eventually went on to be the head coach at USC, preceding Pete Carroll. He is currently the quarterbacks coach with Tampa Bay.

David Shula (1989-1990)

Jimmy Johnson’s first choice as offensive coordinator was David Shula, son of legendary Miami coach Don Shula. The younger Shula struggled as he played rookies Troy Aikman and Steve Walsh in 1989. The following was more promising, as Dallas had a chance to make the playoffs. But an injury to Aikman forced the Cowboys to play Babe Laufenberg, and losses to Philadelphia and Atlanta ended the Cowboys’ season. Shula was thereafter demoted and then left the team.

After serving as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals from 1992-1996, Shula eventually left football altogether.

Norv Turner (1991-1993)

Turner is credited with developing the offense that helped Dallas become a dynasty. The timing-based system took advantage of Aikman’s precision, as well as the physical nature of the Dallas receivers.

Turner left Dallas to become head coach at Washington. He later coached at Oakland and is now the head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Ernie Zampese (1994-1997)

When Turner left, Dallas hired his mentor, Ernie Zampese. Zampese left the Dallas system in place, and it worked just fine for the first two years. In 1996, Irvin’s suspension for drugs, coupled with a general loss of talent due to free agency, hurt the Dallas offense, although eventually the stars stepped up. The 1997 season, though, was a disaster, as the timing-based system failed to work effectively as the team’s stars began to decline.

Zampese returned to Dallas as a consultant in 2000. He has also been a consultant with the Rams and Redskins.

Chan Gailey (1998-1999)

Jerry Jones hired Chan Gailey from Pittsburgh to ignite the Dallas offense, and he was rather successful. Troy Aikman returned to the shotgun and was asked to do more by way of reading defenses. The offensive line learned a new zone blocking scheme that was foreign to the team during its heyday earlier that decade. Even when Aikman went down with a collarbone injury in 1998, backup Jason Garrett was able to step in a win three of five games, which kept Dallas in contention to win the NFC East.

Part of the problem in 1998 was the lack of talent and depth on offense. Billy Davis started opposite Irvin, while veteran Ernie Mills served as the third receivers. Second-year tight end David LeFleur was slow to develop.

To help Gailey’s offense, Dallas signed Rocket Ismail to complement Irvin. A 3-0 start looked very promising, as the Dallas offense appeared to be clicking. But a career-ending injury to Irvin in week 4 set in motion a decline that led to Gailey’s dismissal at the end of the 1999 season. Many times during the 1999 season, critics questioned why Gailey did to attempt more timing-based pass plays, which had been so successful for Aikman earlier in his career. By the end of the season, it didn’t matter.

Gailey later served as head coach at Georgia Tech and was recently hired as offensive coordinator with Kansas City.

Jack Reilly (2000-2001)

The success of the Rams’ timing-based system in 1999 led Jerry Jones to hire Jack Reilly to reinstall a timing-based offense in Dallas. This was true notwithstanding the fact that Dallas had fired Reilly as quarterbacks coach after the 1997 season. The Cowboys were supposed to have one of the fastest receiving corps in the NFL in 2000, with new receiver Joey Galloway and holdover Ismail. Neither of the receivers, nor Troy Aikman, finished the 2000 season.

Dallas drafted Quincy Carter in 2001 to be its next franchise quarterback, and retained Reilly to coach him. It didn’t work well, to say the least.

Bruce Coslet (2002)

Year 2 of the Quincy Carter Experiment saw the hiring of Bruce Coslet, an expert in the West Coast Offense. This offense was believed to play to Carter’s strength as a mobile quarterback. Midway through the season, though, the Cowboys benched Carter in favor of Chad Hutchinson, who had returned to football after several years in minor league baseball. Coslet’s offensive system simply did not work, and he was dismissed after the hiring of Bill Parcells.

Maurice Carthon/Sean Payton/Tony Sparano/Todd Haley (2003-2006)

The Bill Parcells’ years were characterized by the introduction of running game and passing game coordinators. Two of the four who had these titles are now head coaches (Payton and Sparano). The offenses are difficult to classify because they were run by such different quarterbacks: Carter (mobile but not accurate), Vinny Testaverde (immobile but with a strong arm), Drew Bledsoe (as immobile as a quarterback can be, but with a strong arm), and Tony Romo (mobile and with a strong arm). Except for the 2004 season, the Dallas offense generally improved in each of the seasons that Parcells was here.

Jason Garrett (2007- )

Jones hired Garrett at the end of the 2006 season, even before the Cowboys had hired a head coach. Garrett’s strengths as a coordinator in 2007 seemed to be the adjustments that he made during the course of the game. He was not afraid to go to the same player several times in a row, whether the receiver was Owens or Witten. Garrett’s inexperience did not matter at all, and the Cowboys were fortunate to be able to retain him. The key now is to restock his weapons for 2008.

Dallas Cowboys News in Brief: January 18

Garrett is Staying

Jason GarrettThe big news of the day is that Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has agreed to stay with the team. He will add the title of assistant head coach and make about $3 million a year, which the most of any assistant in the league. Number of good news items this week=1.

Garrett spurns Ravens, Falcons to remain Cowboys coordinator (AP)

History will prove Garrett made the right decision (AP)

Video from

Discuss Jason Garrett at The Blue and Silver

Rehiring of Hudson Houck

The Cowboys are also reportedly close to rehiring Hudson Houck as offensive line coach. Most are pretty happy about this move, but one caveat: the Cowboys’ lines often had discipline problems when Houck coached here (Erik Williams rule?). The discipline needs to improve no matter who comes here.

Checking Out Houck (DMN Blog)

Discuss Hudson Houck at The Blue and Silver

Financial Decisions: Buy a House or Buy a PSL?

You might have noticed that Jerry Jones became something an advertising star this season (yet again, really) with the Papa John’s and Pepsi ads. He might have also seemed likable talking about putting together the gifts for his lovely grandchildren during Christmastime this year (listen below around the 10:45 mark if you really want to hear about that).


There is something that Jerry’s grandchildren can do that most of us can’t: afford a personal seat license to the new stadium in 2009 without mortgaging our homes. A fan whose family has had season tickets to Cowboys home games since 1960 sent me a link to Di$gu$ted by Jerry Jones?, where he discusses the fact that he would have to pay $150,000 to purchase a PSL, and that doesn’t include the actual tickets. Granted, the prices that he mentions are for choice seats, but from the numbers he provides, it is going to cost hundreds for a family of four to attend a game. Here are a few comments:

Here’s my plan for the 2009 season: I’m going to go on StubHub and buy the best seats I can for one game. I’m willing to pay up to $2,000 per seat, so I figure I can get something for that. Then I’m going to go home and purchase the best high def TV, awesome surround sound, incredibly comfortable theater seating and a satellite dish with the NFL package. I figure I’m going to spend $35K on that. I’ll fly my Cowboy-crazy brother-in-law Dwight in for the game to help me enjoy the one I do go to. And I’m going to save $149,000 and my marriage. My wife thought that was a better plan. And Jerry can sit in his half empty Jerryland with his corporate customers only. It will be very quiet. If you thought it was a plastic, artificial experience now, wait till every seat is filled by a lawyer or an insurance guy! BOOORRRRRIIIINNNNGGGGG!!!!!!!! Sorry to break it to you all, but 2009 will be the first season in Cowboy history that we will not own season tickets. It ain’t close to worth it. But I did meet a guy who is going to sell me some of his Dallas Stars tickets, so I’ll have 5 hockey games to go to. Those are a blast! Go Green Bay Packers. Who’s with me on a road trip to Lambeau?”

Honestly, I can’t see the market handling prices that are so steep that a middle class family couldn’t buy individual game tickets. Remember that during the down years of 2000 to 2002, it was almost never a lock that the Cowboys would have a home sellout, and it was common in the late 1980s that the stadium would be half empty. Hope this has a better ending that it looks like it will.

* * *

Tony Sparano is officially out of Dallas, having taking the helm at Miami. Jason Garrett isn’t just yet, but he’s still making his rounds. My depression has turned to cynicism this week, and I hope they both fail miserably!

Not really.

* * *

Let’s finish this with Brad Sham using the term “crap”:

You’d think I’d have been at this too long to be surprised at the pronouncements about the inner workings of the Cowboys’ football team from people who couldn’t find Irving with a road map. Yet here we are. This Pronouncer in Seattle proclaims it was because Tony Romo went to Mexico with Jessica. (Apparently Jason Witten going with Michelle was less heinous.) That one over there says it’s because the coaches were distracted because they were looking for jobs. Here’s one in Toronto who believes Terrell Owens is a fraud because he doesn’t believe Owens’ emotional reaction at the post game press conference.

What a load of crap.

The Cowboys lost to the Giants because they could not block the blitz in the second half. It might have been different had they not had so many penalties. It might have been different had a couple of passes not been dropped. It might have been different had one wayward throw found an open receiver. It might have been different if the kick and punt coverage were not poor. It might have been different if the Giants had not gone most of the length of the field in 46 seconds before the half.

But all those things happened.

Had one more touchdown been scored – one – and everything else been the same, no one would have talked about the poor kick coverage or the penalties or the easy touchdown drive. All of that would have still happened but the Cowboys would have won the game and everything would have been fine, and the Packers would be filling their overnight bags instead of the Giants looking for legwarmers and mukluks.

The all-knowing postgame psychoanalysis is as much a part of the sport as blaming the coach and the quarterback, and it’s driving me crazy. One assistant coach said Thursday morning of last week, “The only thing I cared about was how they came back from the break, and they came back great. Our Wednesday practice might have been the best one we’ve had all year.”

The morning of the game, a different assistant coach confirmed that observation and said the Thursday practice might have been even better.

This was not a team ill-prepared or not ready to play. It was a team that didn’t finish.