In 2014, the Dallas Cowboys must replace a team legend by finding someone to fill DeMarcus Ware’s role. Ware was, of course, the team’s best defensive player for nine seasons.
In 1975, the Cowboys faced a somewhat similar problem, having to replace defensive tackle Bob Lilly, who had retired. Dallas had the second overall pick in the draft and selected Randy White of Maryland.
White accomplished a few things in Dallas, earning Super Bowl MVP honors and becoming a member of the Hall of Fame.
Here’s a trivia question, answered in the photo puzzle below: what number did White wear at Maryland?
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Here’s another picture of White before he joined the Cowboys. He is playing with the College All-Stars against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I took a moment to hide the first number.
It’s old news now that the Cowboys have released receiver Miles Austin. For two seasons, Austin looked like the next coming of Drew Pearson—a free agent receiver with first-round talent. He was a key part of the Cowboys’ playoff season of 2009 following his breakout performance against the Kansas City Chiefs that year.
He was less impressive though still dangerous in 2010. Since that time, he has battled hamstring injuries and has not produced as he did in 2009.
Here are some final stats related to Austin’s time in Dallas:
1. Austin was primarily a kick returner between 2006 and 2008. He averaged 24.1 yards per return on 89 kickoff returns. The biggest moment of his early career occurred in the 2006 playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, when Austin returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to give Dallas a 17-13 lead. It marked the only time that Austin ever scored on a kickoff return.
2. Austin caught his first NFL pass on Thanksgiving Day against the Jets on November 22, 2007. He caught a 17-yard pass on the Cowboys’ opening drive. Dallas later scored on that drive en route to a 34-3 blowout win.
3. His first 100-yard game was against the Green Bay Packers in 2008. He caught passes of 63 and 52 yards to gain 115 yards that night.
4. Other than the Green Bay game in 2008, he did not surpass 45 receiving yards in a game until he started against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 11, 2009. The reason he started was an injury suffered by Roy Williams against the Broncos the week before.
5. His 250 receiving yards against the Chiefs in 2009 are the most in franchise history. He broke Bob Hayes’ record of 246 set in 1966.
6. He had less than 45 receiving yards in only eight games between October 11, 2009 and the end of the 2010 season. He had nine games in which he had more than 100 receiving yards.
7. Austin’s success was critical for the Cowboys in 2009. Dallas had released receiver Terrell Owens and needed a playmaker to emerge. Despite starting only nine games, Austin caught as many passes (81) as Owens had in 15 games in 2007, which was Owens’ most productive season in Dallas. Austin finished with 1320 yards and 11 TDs in 2009. Owens had 1355 yards and 15 TDs in 2007.
8. Between 2011 and 2013, Austin had only three 100-yard receiving games.
9. In the three season finales against the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles in 2011, 2012, and 2013, Austin caught a combined total of four receptions for 42 yards.
10. Austin’s last 100-yard game with the Cowboys came on October 28, 2012, when he caught nine passes for 133 yards.
11. His last touchdown reception as a Cowboy occurred on December 23, 2012 against the New Orleans Saints.
12. Austin caught his last pass as a Cowboy in the fourth quarter of the season finale against the Eagles. The 16-yard pass from Kyle Orton to Austin gave the Cowboys a first down at the Philadelphia 49 with the Cowboys training 17-16. The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs, however.
13. Austin finishes his career in Dallas ranked ninth in receptions. Thanks to his two receptions against the Eagles in his final game as a Cowboy, he surpassed former tight end Doug Cosbie on the team’s reception list (301 for Austin, 300 for Cosbie).
14. Austin ranks seventh in receiving yards but is just 377 yards ahead of Dez Bryant.
15. Austin ranks tenth in TD receptions with 34. Bryant already has 40.
The news today is that DeMarcus Ware signed a three-year contract with the Denver Broncos. Ware thus joins a fairly short list of Dallas players who have eventually migrated to Denver.
Some relevant trivia:
- The first noteworthy Dallas player to join the Broncos was Craig Morton, who led Denver to the Super Bowl after joining the team in 1977.
- Of course, former Cowboy running back Dan Reeves became the Broncos’ head coach in 1981, and two of his assistants—Wade Phillips and Chan Gailey—later became head coaches in Dallas.
- Former Dallas defensive back Charlie Waters was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator under Phillips in 1993 and 1994.
- Ware is the highest-profile Dallas player to become a member of the Broncos via either trade or free agency since Tony Dorsett’s trade to Denver in 1988.
- And for trivia that is beside the point—What did the Cowboys get for Dorsett? A conditional fifth-round pick. The selection? Defensive tackle Jeff Roth of Florida. He never played a game in the NFL.
- As for Ware, he was scheduled to make $12.25 million with Dallas but will now make $13 million in Denver. Makes sense.
Now some trivia questions:
Two defensive linemen for the Cowboys during the 1990s joined the Broncos as free agents in the early 2000s. Who were they?
The scratch-off card below reveals the answer.
Orkut Scrap Toys
Here’s a quote about one member of the secondary.
He’ll be an outstanding player at safety, whether he makes his move there this year or next season.
Trivia question: Who was the player?
This may help—
On the same day Tom Landry made this statement, the Cowboys announced they had traded Craig Morton to the New York Giants in exchange for New York’s number one draft pick.
The Giants finished 2-12 that season, meaning the Cowboys held the second overall pick the follow season.
The Cowboys selection? Hall-of-Famer Randy White.
I am perhaps overdoing it with the puzzles, but they have prevented me from being too sarcastic about the Cowboys this offseason.
Anyway, most mock drafts have the Cowboys taking a defensive tackle in the 2014 Draft. This would mark the first time since 1991 that the Cowboys have selected a DT in the first round.
In their history, the Cowboys have taken eight DTs in the first round. The results are quite mixed, with two of the players making the Hall of Fame, two never playing a down with the Cowboys, and the others falling somewhere in between.
Here is a crossword puzzle featuring these former first-round picks. The puzzle should vary, and not all eight players will show up in every puzzle.
Below are all eight hints:
- 1991, Miami (FL)
- 1991, Mississippi
- 1987, Nebraska
- 1985, Michigan
- 1978, Michigan State
- 1975, Maryland
- 1964, Texas
- 1961, TCU
The Dallas Cowboys had four solid seasons to close out the 1960s. However, the team did not have the star power that franchises such as Green Bay and Baltimore (Colts) had.
Only two players who played for the Cowboys during the 1960s appeared on the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade team. One of those players was defensive tackle Bob Lilly.
Who was the other?
One hint: the player isn’t even in the Ring of Honor.
Second hint: complete the puzzle below:
We can never make too many puzzles featuring Jerry Jones, given that most of the Cowboys’ moves in terms of the coaching staff and personnel are puzzling.
And so, here’s a puzzle:
The Dallas Cowboys have had their share of Pro Bowl tight ends, including Jason Witten (as a replacement) this year. Previous Pro Bowl selections included the likes of Billy Joe Dupree, Doug Cosbie, and Jay Novacek.
In fact, the club’s first Pro Bowl selection ever was tight end Jim Doran, who caught 31 passes for 554 yards in the Cowboys’ inaugural season of 1960.
One year later, Doran’s production sank, but another tight end played well enough to earn a Pro Bowl berth. Who was that player?
The puzzle below will tell you.
The Dallas Cowboys played in their fourth Super Bowl after the 1977 season as heavy favorites against the Denver Broncos, who were making their first trip to the big game.
Of course, the Dallas defense was ferocious for much of the game, forcing eight turnovers and recording four sacks. The highly touted Denver defense forced six Dallas fumbles but only managed to recover two of them.
Dallas won, of course, 27-10, giving Tom Landry his second and final world title.
Leading to our quote of the day. Who said this after the game?
Orange Crush is soda water, baby. You drink it. It don’t win football games.
Thirty-six seasons later, the Broncos are heading to their seventh Super Bowl thanks to their 26-16 win over New England on Sunday.