Haven’t seen much real news out of training camp (or least nothing unexpected), so here is a short quiz about some of the key figures for the Cowboys:
CORRECTION #1: I cannot correct these flash quizzes on the site that houses them (really need to buy the program so that I can). One question asks when the last time that the Cowboys opened against a division rival. The correct answer is 2000, but the quiz marks 2001 as the correct answer. I apologize for the mistake.
CORRECTION #2: No attention to detail on this one, apparently– thankfully Melonball still reads this site. Anthony Spencer had 10.5 sacks in 2006, but had 27 in his career. The question about him is wrong on this quiz.
Here is a good highlight clip of Marion Barber, posted by acf8645. Several of the clips are from the 2005 season– but it’s still worth taking a look.
This week, the Cowboys return their training camp to the Alamodome in San Antonio, after spending the last three training camps at River Ridge Sports Complex in Oxnard, California. In keeping with the trivia and nearly useless information theme of this site, here are some tidbits about training camp sites:
1960: Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
From Landry’s Boys by Peter Golenbock:
The Cowboys’ first training camp was at the University of the Pacific in Forest Grove, Oregon. It was in the middle of nowhere, a haul from the nearest big city, Portland. [Tom] Landry intended to run a boot camp, and Forest Grove was the perfect place to conduct it away from any distractions. The town had one movie theatre and one bar. Nearby was a maraschino cherry factory. The sweet, syrupy aroma permeated the place as the players sweated under blue skies.
1961: St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota
From Golenbock, quoting Bob Lilly, who was a rookie in 1961:
“I went to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, for training camp. That was a beautiful campus, except you had to walk down 386 steps– I counted them– to get from the dorm to the playing field, plus I was on the third floor of the dorm.”
1962: Northern Michigan College, Marquette, Michigan
After I originally posted this, Ron Smith provided some great information about the Cowboys’ 1961 camp:
In mid July the Cowboys found themselves moving into a new training camp again. This time they almost wound up in Canada.
The site was Northern Michigan College at Marquette, where the temperature rarely rose above the fifties during the day and a 20-m.p.h. wind frequently blew off nearby Lake Superior.
Marquette had become a rather sudden second choice for the Cowboys.They had planned to return to St. Olaf College at Northfield,Minnesota, but the athletic conference to which that school belonged ruled at its spring meeting that no member could house a professional team on its campus. So, with little time to check out prospective sites, the Dallas club settled on Northern Michigan, which greeted the players and staff cordially but assigned them to a girls dormitory which wasn’t occupied during summer school. The beds were shorter and the doors were lower than they were accustomed to and the taller men suffered some bruised noggins during their stay.
To those who had known some scorching Texas summers, the weather at Marquette was almost unbelievable. Water fountains on the campus were left running all night so as to not risk frozen pipes and rare was the July or August evening when the temperature didn’t dip into the thirties.
So many players were shivering that equipment manager Jack Eskridge laid in a large supply of thermal underwear.
Although the air was invigorating,the weather was not conducive to the hot and heavy work which players need during a training camp. There was an extremely high number of
injuries,particularly pulled leg muscles and damaged knees,and you have to believe some of them resulted directly from the players’ inability to warm up properly.
1963-1989: California Lutheran College, Thousand Oaks, California
Most of us who are older than 30 or so remember that the Cowboys trained for years at the campus of California Lutheran College (now University) in Thousand Oaks, California. Here is a clip from Wikipedia:
. . . California Lutheran University served as the training camp location for the Dallas Cowboys. The CLU football practice field used by the Cowboys as well as the CLU Kingsmen football team was replaced by a large sports complex in 2006. The Cowboys Clubhouse in Thousand Oaks still stands across from the complex, and is currently a family residence.
1990-1997: St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas
This is from NFL.com:
Before Johnson’s arrival, the Cowboys spent 27 years training at California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Johnson held camp there his first season (Aikman’s rookie year), but he and owner Jerry Jones moved the operation to Austin, Texas, in 1990. Jones wanted to move camp closer to the team’s regional fan base. Aikman says Johnson supported the move because he wanted his players to experience the Texas heat, a weather condition he considered ideal to train a football team.
“Jimmy believed in a lot of contact, being physical and practicing in the heat. It was about 100 degrees [in Austin], the humidity was 90 percent,” Aikman said. “We were a young football team, and I think that maybe at that time, it was good for us. You certainly can’t argue with the results we got.
“But as the team got older and we continually practiced in that kind of heat, I think it had diminishing returns. It probably wasn’t until we made the playoffs in 1991 and achieved a pretty good level of success that Jimmy didn’t keep the foot down on the guys as much as he had in previous years. Early on, when he was trying to put the team together, it was really, really tough.”
1998-2002: Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas
Apparently, there was once a site known as CowboysCamp.com, which had this to say about the Cowboys’ camp location in 1999:
As part of the team’s commitment to keeping their training camp in Texas, the Cowboys selected Midwestern State as the home of the Cowboys preseason preparations in 1999. This will mark the 10th year the Cowboys have held camp in Texas.
The new surroundings proved to be a success in 1998 as new head coach Chan Gailey helped lead the Cowboys to a 10-6 finish and the NFC Eastern Division title. Since making the move to a Texas-based training camp, the Cowboys have had just two non-playoff seasons.
In retrospect, however, the move to Wichita Falls wasn’t particularly positive:
For the last four years, the Cowboys trained in Wichita Falls. At first, people swarmed onto the campus of Midwestern State University. By 2001, however, attendance was way down.
Nick Gholson, sports editor at the Wichita Falls Times Record News, says 100-degree temperatures helped chase off the crowds, as did the fact that the Cowboys tumbled to last place in their division.
Also, fan expectations didn’t mesh with training-camp reality.
“A lot of people thought they were going to games, but they’d go there and see (the players) stretch for 30 minutes and realize they were watching a practice,” Gholson said. “And there is not much more boring than watching a football practice.”
Having the team in Wichita Falls brought about $16 million into the local economy over four years, and having the camp raised the North Texas city’s visibility.
In appreciation, a team photo was put on the cover of the 1999 Wichita Falls phone book.
Townspeople in Wichita Falls never got ho-hum about having the Cowboys, Gholson said, but they also stopped swooning when they ran into a player at the shopping mall.
2002-2003: The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas.
The Cowboys moved south to San Antonio in 2002.
For the players, the differences between Wichita Falls and San Antonio will be noticeable.
The dorms at Midwestern State will be replaced by rooms in a luxury hotel on the bustling Riverwalk. And where the limited nightlife of Wichita Falls tempered opportunities for preseason mischief, San Antonio will present more than a few temptations.
The two towns do have one thing in common, and that’s heat.
August days in San Antonio average upward of 95 degrees. When the sun is high in the sky, however, the plan is for the Cowboys to practice inside the Alamodome on an artificial surface.
2004-2006: River Ridge Sports Complex, Oxnard, California
The Cowboys moved their camp back to California for three seasons, though the team hardly had the same success as it did for many of the years when camp was held in Thousand Oaks. Scheduling conflicts forced the Cowboys to move from San Antonio in 2004.
2007- : The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
The Cowboys signed a five-year contract in May 2006 to return to San Antonio. Here is a clip from that press release:
Remember the Alamodome? The Cowboys do.
Jerry Jones confirmed here Thursday the team will be making San Antonio its training camp home once again, the Cowboys’ owner and general manager announcing a five-year year contract has been struck with the city to return camp to the Alamodome starting in 2007.
“It’s great to be home,” Jones said in a joint announcement with San Antonio mayor Phil Hardberger inside the San Antonio City Council chambers. “We have a phrase in football that we like a player in a game to completely empty his bucket with his effort and emotions. When he’s done that, we’re satisfied that he’s given the Cowboys and our fans all he can do.
“That’s what we will represent to (San Antonio).”
Julius Jones gained more than 100 yards on the ground four times last season, which was the best in his young career. He’ll need quite a few more before he can compete in this category with the likes of Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. Then again, only six rushers in team history have ever rushed for 100 yards in at least four games in a single season, so he at least fits in to some degree with the elite backs in team history.
Table: The list below includes those Dallas Cowboy running backs who have gained 100 yards in at least four games in a single season (regular season only).
Year – Player, No.
1995 – Emmitt Smith, 11
1981 – Tony Dorsett, 9
1991 – Emmitt Smith, 8
1999 – Emmitt Smith, 8
1992 – Emmitt Smith, 7
1994 – Emmitt Smith, 7
1998 – Emmitt Smith, 7
2000 – Emmitt Smith, 7
1978 – Tony Dorsett, 6
1979 – Tony Dorsett, 6
1993 – Emmitt Smith, 6
1983 – Tony Dorsett, 5
1980 – Tony Dorsett, 4
1972 – Calvin Hill, 4
1973 – Calvin Hill, 4
2006 – Julius Jones, 4
1996 – Emmitt Smith, 4
2001 – Emmitt Smith, 4
1970 – Duane Thomas, 4
1988 – Herschel Walker, 4
As you can see from the list below, Emmitt Smith had the most 100-yard games (regular season) in the history of the Dallas Cowboys with 76. The Cowboys won 75 percent of those games. He broke the record of 43 that was set by Tony Dorsett.
One number that may surprise a few is the Cowboys’ record when Calvin Hill rushed for 100 yards in a game. Between 1969 and 1974, Hill gained 100 yards 19 times, and the Cowboys won 18 of those games.
Julius Jones has eight 100-yard games in his short career. If he can manage three more this season, he will rank fourth on the team’s all-time list.
During the 1980s, you might recall hearing about the Cowboys’ record when Tony Dorsett rushed for at least 100 yards in a game. The record is indeed impressive:
* The Cowboys won the first 16 games in which Dorsett gained at least 100 yards.
* After his initial streak was broken on November 9, 1980, in a 38-35 loss to the New York Giants, the Cowboys won 13 more games in a row when Dorsett topped this mark. The second streak ended, ironically, in the game in which Dorsett scored on his record-breaking 99-yard run against Minnesota on January 3, 1983.
* The Cowboys lost two of the last three games where Dorsett gained 100 yards.
* During his career, Dorsett had 43 total 100-yard games. The Cowboys went 39-4 in those games.
Here is a complete list of Dorsett’s 100-yard games:
|10/9/1977||141||St. Louis Cardinals||W||30-24|
|9/10/1978||111||New York Giants||W||34-24|
|9/24/1978||154||St. Louis Cardinals||W||21-12|
|11/12/1978||149||Green Bay Packers||W||42-14|
|11/19/1978||152||New Orleans Saints||W||27-7|
|12/17/1978||121||New York Jets||W||30-7|
|10/21/1979||111||St. Louis Cardinals||W||22-13|
|12/2/1979||108||New York Giants||W||28-7|
|9/21/1980||100||Tampa Bay Buccan||W||28-17|
|11/9/1980||183||New York Giants||L||35-38|
|11/16/1980||122||St. Louis Cardinals||W||31-21|
|9/13/1981||129||St. Louis Cardinals||W||30-17|
|9/21/1981||162||New England Patriot||W||35-21|
|12/19/1982||105||New Orleans Saints||W||21-7|
|9/25/1983||124||New Orleans Saints||W||21-20|
|11/20/1983||108||Kansas City Chiefs||W||41-21|
|11/24/1983||102||St. Louis Cardinals||W||35-17|
One of the oldest records in team history is most yards passing in a single game. Don Meredith established the mark with 460 yards in a 31-24 loss to San Francisco in 1963.
Here is a clip of the story from that game:
Don Meredith had one of the greatest afternoons in National Football League history and that was not enough to defeat the San Francisco 49ers.
Meredith threw 48 passes. That’s a team record. He completed 30, another record. The total distance was 460 yards, which not only breaks the Cowboy team record by 112 yards, but approaches Norm Van Brocklin’s NFL record of 554.
Only three quarterbacks in league history have pitched more productively in a single afternoon: Van Brocklin, Y. A. Tittle (505) and Johnny Lujack (468).
Had the Dallas defense contributed anything but awkwardness and stupidity, Meredith would have surpassed Lujack and probably scared the keepers off Van Brocklin’s treasured moment.
But the defense was pitiful against the pitiful 49ers.
And when they counted all the chips San Francisco had won its second game of the season. 31-24.
All-pro halfback Don Perkins was normally violent, punishing he 49ers when it was necessary. Frank Clarke (eight catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns), Bill Howton (eight for 107 and one score) and Lee Folkins (seven for 112) caught brilliantly and ran like wild boars.
But these heroics were insufficient, vastly insufficient.
Troy Aikman came close to breaking the record with a 455-yard performance that also occurred in a loss (46-36 to Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day in 1998). Meredith also had the only other 400-yard game in team history, in a 31-30 win over Washington in 1966.
Below is the list of games in which a Dallas quarterback has had at least 350 yards passing in one game.
Table: Most Passing Yards in a Game (Regular Season)
|11/10/1963||Meredith, Don||460||San Francisco 49ers||L||24-31|
|11/26/1998||Aikman, Troy||455||Minnesota Vikings||L||36-46|
|11/13/1966||Meredith, Don||406||Washington Redskins||W||31-30|
|10/9/1966||Meredith, Don||394||Philadelphia Eagles||W||56-7|
|12/22/1985||Hogeboom, Gary||389||San Francisco 49ers||L||16-31|
|11/12/1989||Aikman, Troy||379||Phoenix Cardinals||L||20-24|
|10/9/1983||White, Danny||377||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W||27-24|
|10/27/1996||Aikman, Troy||363||Miami Dolphins||W||29-10|
|9/25/2005||Bledsoe, Drew||363||San Francisco 49ers||W||34-31|
|10/27/1985||White, Danny||362||Atlanta Falcons||W||24-10|
|9/12/1999||Aikman, Troy||362||Washington Redskins||W||41-35|
|12/13/1987||White, Danny||359||Washington Redskins||L||20-24|
|9/18/1966||Meredith, Don||358||New York Giants||W||52-7|
|11/27/1997||Aikman, Troy||356||Tennessee Oilers||L||14-27|
|9/12/2004||Testaverde, Vinny||355||Minnesota Vikings||L||17-35|
|10/25/1981||White, Danny||354||Miami Dolphins||W||28-27|
|12/25/1995||Aikman, Troy||350||Arizona Cardinals||W||37-13|
Here is another excellent highlight video by silverandblue from The Blue and Silver.com. This one focuses on Terry Glenn.
Among the many records that Troy Aikman set in his career was the most number of games in which he passed for at least 300 yards (regular season only). Aikman accomplished this 13 times in his career, breaking the old mark of 10 that was set by Danny White.
Table: 300-Yard Passing Games, Career (Regular Season)
Though he only started barely over half of the 2006 season, Tony Romo tied a team record with three 300-yard games in one season. The impressive part of this is that the record is shared by the likes of Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, and Danny White. Even more impressive is that even though he had the most 300-yard games in team history for his career, Troy Aikman never had more than two 300-yard games in a season.
What is slightly less impressive is that Vinny Testaverde (2004) and Drew Bledsoe (2005) also share this record.
Here is the list of total number of 300-yard passing games in a single season (regular season only):
Year – Player, No.
1966 – Meredith, Don, 3
1979 – Staubach, Roger, 3
2004 – Testaverde, Vinny, 3
2005 – Bledsoe, Drew, 3
2006 – Romo, Tony, 3
1983 – White, Danny, 3
1963 – Meredith, Don, 2
1975 – Staubach, Roger, 2
1984 – Hogeboom, Gary, 2
1985 – White, Danny, 2
1986 – Pelleur, Steve, 2
1987 – White, Danny, 2
1988 – Pelleur, Steve, 2
1997 – Aikman, Troy, 2