Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 16, 1985

Jeff Rohrer: Escaping the Stereotype

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on November 16, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Tom Rafferty’s Secret

One reader noticed that center Tom Rafferty wore an older style of white jersey while the rest of the team wore a more modern version. Tex Schramm seemed impressed that the reader noticed the difference.

[You] are pretty observant. Tom Rafferty does wear a slightly different jersey than the other players. This is because he plays center, and therefore, has different requirements of his jersey than other offensive linemen. The jerseys wore by the regular linemen are normally worn as tight as possible. This, of course, is done to make them more difficult for the defensive linemen to grab. The defensive linemen can use their hands to grab the offensive linemen in an attempt to throw him one way or the other.

Rafferty, playing center, must have the flexibility of being able to snap the ball. Therefore, his jersey is custom designed and produced by a special company. The arms are made of a different material, which is probably what is most noticeable. Our secret is out.

Cowboys Edge Redskins in Rematch

The Cowboys would have preferred to manhandle the Redskins in another 44-14 blowout when Dallas visited Washington in week 10. Nevertheless, the team managed to pick Joe Theismann off three times in a 13-7 win. Though Dallas only managed the 13 points, the team outgained Washington 338 to 267.

Dallas was able to take a 13-0 lead in the third quarter thanks to a 48-yard pass from Danny White to Tony Dorsett. Washington came back early in the fourth when Theismann hit Gary Clark on an 11-yard score. However, the defense made several stops late in the game to help the Cowboys secure the win.

Bears Showdown Awaits

The Cowboys and Bears were considered the top two teams in the NFL heading into their week 11 showdown. Dallas had won six straight over Chicago, including a 23-14 win at Soldier Field in 1984.

According to Chicago linebacker Mike Singletary:

I”m just looking forward to playing against a great football team—and going against a great coach and a great offense.

Cowboys Announce Christmas Video

Several Cowboys participated in what resulted in the first of two infamous Christmas videos. You might recall that this blog posted a few from the 1986 edition.

In 1985, two of the “hit” songs included “12th Day of Christmas” and “I Don’t Want to Be Home for Christmas.” A sampling of the lyrics:

12th Day of Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

Twelve surfing Cowgirls (Mike Saxon, Fred Cornwell), 

Eleven quarterback sacks (Ed Jones),

Ten thousand yards (Tony Dorsett),

Nine million fans (Tony Hill),

Eight touchdown passes (Danny White),

Seven one-hand catches (Mike Renfro),

Six interceptions (Everson Walls),

Five Super Bowl rings (several players)…

Four big hits (Bill Bates), 

Three down the middle (Rafael Septien),

Two turf shoes (Phil Pozderac),

And a new hat for Coach Landry (various players).

I Don’t Want to Be Home for Christmas (Chorus)

I don’t want to be home for Christmas

It’s that playoff time of year.

I’d rather be on the sideline., 

with the Gatorade and the gear.

Someday the chestnuts by the fire

would be perfect at Christmas time.

But I don’t want to be home for Christmas this year.

Jeff Rohrer: Shaking the Ivy League Image

The cover boy for the November 16 issue was Jeff Rohrer, who starred at Yale before joining the Cowboys. He was trying to overcome the stigma of playing for an Ivy League school.

“Stigma” in this case means, according to the article, “smart-enough-but-not-tough-enough.”

Rohrer started 13 games in 1985.

John Dutton Has a Fan

With a line that featured Ed Jones, Randy White, and Jim Jeffcoat, it was easy to forget defensive tackle John Dutton. He had at least one fan, though—Carlos Bocanega of Corpus Christi. He wrote:

I’m writing to say a few words about John Dutton. It seems like he is mentioned only when he is called for a penalty. I think John Dutton is a good defensive tackle, because quietly he always does his job and is always in the line-up week in and week out So I hope you don’t overlook his great part of the team.

Tuesday Trivia: Winning Big

The Cowboys’ 44-7 win over Buffalo was impressive on many levels. The team scored at least 40 points for the first time since 2008, and the Cowboys had their largest margin of victory since beating Arizona 48-7 in an otherwise dreadful 2000 season.

Trivia question #1: The Cowboys had one other game between 2000 and 2011 in which Dallas scored at least 40 points and won the game by more than 30 points. Who was the Cowboys’ opponent, and during which season did this occur.

In their history, the Cowboys have won a total of 19 games in which they have scored at least 40 and outscored their opponent by 30. The Cowboys have managed to do this only seven times since 1980.

This leads us to trivia question #2. The Cowboys accomplished this feat four times in a single season. In fact, Dallas did this three times during a four-week period. During which season did this occur?

Romo’s Great Day Sets Completion Percentage Mark

Tony Romo started yesterday’s game against Buffalo by completing his first 13 passes. By the end of the game, he had only thrown three incompletions on 26 attempts for a completion percentage of 88.5%.

As you may have read, that set the team mark for completion percentage for any QB who has attempted at least 10 passes in a game. Danny White was the previous leader in this category when he completed 87.5% of his passes against the Eagles in 1983.

Dallas QBs have completed at least 80% of their passes on at least 10 attempts a total of 18 times, including Sunday. Here is the list:

Dallas 44, Buffalo 7: The Stampede We’ve Been Waiting For

Dez Bryant was one of many Cowboys who played solid games in a 44-7 win over the Bills.

The schedule for the month of November looked inviting for the Cowboys, but there was a game on the list that was likely to cause concern. Buffalo entered the game at 5-3, but many thought that Chan Gailey’s team could give the Cowboys fits. Dallas didn’t look particularly good against Seattle last week, so if there was a game to cause concern, the Buffalo game was it.

The first half: Dallas had the ball four times and scored four touchdowns. The game was over by the end of the third quarter when Dallas led 34-7.

Tony Romo was on fire in that first half. He did not throw an incompletion until 5:33 remained in the second quarter. He completed 23 of 26 passes for a completion rate of 88.5%. That’s the highest completion percentage in a game for any Dallas quarterback who has attempted at least 10 passes. Ever.

DeMarco Murray has made most of us hope that Felix Jones continues to rest that injured ankle.  Murray gained 135 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown.

Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson both made plays, gaining at least 70 receiving yards each. Robinson scored twice while Bryant scored once, with all three scores coming in the first half.

Terence Newman picked off two passes and returned one of them for a touchdown.

All told, this was the first game in some time where there is almost nothing to criticize. Dallas looked sharp from the opening drive of the game, in which the Cowboys drove 80 yards in five plays, capped off by a great TD grab by Bryant. Jesse Holley got into the action on the drive, catching a 25-yard pass on third down to move the ball into Buffalo territory.

After a three and out for the Bills, it took Dallas 12 plays to score its next touchdown. Amazingly, during the 12-play drive, the Cowboys only faced two third downs. The second third-down play resulted in a touchdown.

Following another defensive stop, Romo found Robinson on a deep post for a 58-yard score. Dallas 21, Buffalo 0.

Remember the collapse against the Lions? It wasn’t going to happen today. When Buffalo scored midway through the second quarter, Dallas answered with yet another scoring drive. Murray’s touchdown after a 14-play drive gave Dallas a 28-7 halftime lead.

Dan Bailey continued his amazing streak and hit on all three of his second-half attempts.

* * *

The Cowboys have scored 40 or more points 43 times in franchise history, including today. However, this marks just the sixth time since 2000 that Dallas has achieved this.

The last time the Cowboys scored 40 or more points was 2008, when Dallas edged the Eagles 41-37.

The 37-point differential was the greatest for the Cowboys in a win since 2000, when Dallas beat Arizona 48-7.

* * *

Dallas is right back in the NFC East race. With the win and the New York loss today, the Giants lead the division at 6-3, while Dallas trails by just one.

The Eagles are now 3-6 with their loss to the Cardinals. The Redskins also fell to 3-6 by losing to Miami.

Jerry Jones Commits Blasphemy

In yesterday’s post, I noted that the Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 9, 1985 listed a series of quotes from Dallas and Washington players. That was, of course, the year that fans at Texas Stadium wished Joe Theismann a happy birthday after a 44-14 Dallas win.

Without question, that was the Cowboys’ greatest rivalry. You saw real animosity.

When you compared teams, they looked nothing like one another. Washington had its Over-the-Hill Gang, the Hogs, the Diesel, the one-back offense. Dallas had its stars, its multiple offense, the flex defense.

The bottom line: Dallas would never mimic Washington to achieve success and vice versa. That was true whether the Washington coach was George Allen, Jack Pardee, or Joe Gibbs.

So today the Dallas Morning News ran a piece about whether Jason Garrett should hire an offensive coordinator. Jimmy Johnson said he thought it would be a good idea.

Remember Jimmy Johnson? Architect of the dynasty? Two Super Bowl titles? Yeah, that guy.

Jerry’s response:

Joe Gibbs is a guy who believes that that head coach needs to be in charge of either the offense or the defense and needs to be the coordinator. It brings you stature; it involves you in the game and gives you more respect with the players.

Uh, Jerry, you just disregarded Jimmy’s advice and cited Joe Gibbs in support of your position. Of the many things I’d rather concern myself with, such as finding my daughter a good bedtime story to read, worrying about whether you understand not to cite Redskins in support of your opinion is not one of those things.

So please learn from this. Thanks.

* * *

This means nothing, really, but if DeMarco Murray could have a 16-game season with the numbers he has put up since taking over for an injured Felix Jones, Murray would have 2,485 yards on only 293 carries. Sounds like the receiving numbers Miles Austin used to put up. At least I think he used to put those numbers up.

* * *

The offensive line, which was supposed to be a work in progress, has been pretty solid this season on paper.

Dallas currently ranks 13th in the league in rushing yards (thanks to the emergence of Murray, of course). But the Cowboys rank higher in sacks allowed (15, tied for seventh) and QB hits (33, also tied for 7th).

In 2010, the Cowboys ranked 16th in rushing yards, 11th in sacks, and 18th in QB hits.

Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from November 9, 1985

Ed Jones and Mike Hegman were longtime teammates and were featured in the November 9, 1985 issue of Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly.

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on November 9, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: NFL Teams Picking Their Own Schedules

Someone asked Tex Schramm why NFL teams weren’t given a date or two per season to schedule their own games.


Schramm responded that teams did so during the preseason but that teams would be so focused on winning that they would schedule games that would put them in the best position to win. And this would not include scheduling tough, emotional rivalries.

Cowboys Blow a 10-Point Lead at St. Louis

The Cowboys did not have an easy schedule in weeks 9 and 10 of the 1985 season. They had to travel to St. Louis on a Monday night, followed six days later by a trip to Washington.

The St. Louis trip could have at least gone better.

Even playing in what Tom Landry called “the dullest first half I’ve ever seen,” the Cowboys led 10-0 at halftime.  However, the Cardinals rallied behind two Neil Lomax touchdown passes, and St. Louis won 21-10. The loss dropped Dallas to 6-3 and into a first-place tie with the Giants.

Jones and Hegman: Longtime Teammates

By 1985, Too Tall Jones was in his 11th season with the Cowboys. For 10 of those seasons, one of his teammates was Mike Hegman, who was drafted by the Cowboys one year after the team had picked Jones. The two had also been teammates at Tennessee State, where Jones was an All-American and Hegman was among the team leaders in tackles.

Both were still going strong in 1985. Jones already had seven sacks at the midway point of the season, and Hegman ranked fourth in the team list of tackles.

Players Talk about Cowboys-Redskins Rivalry

The issue included a number of comments from current (then) and former players and coaches about the rivalry between the Cowboys and Redskins. A few of the better ones are below.

Harvey Martin, on the Cowboys’ 35-34 win over Washington in 1979, keeping Washington out of the playoffs: “They got nothing; they deserve to go home for Christmas.”

George Allen, on Tex Schramm: “Tex and Dallas are always carrying the Holy Grail.”

Roger Staubach, on George Allen: “You go golfing with him and he’s diagramming plays on a napkin.”

Ed Jones, on trailing the Redskins 28-0 in 1974: “I was thinking if I were home watching this thing on TV, I would have thrown something through the set.”

Clint Murchison, to President Jimmy Carter after Carter told everyone how “great” the Redskins’ win over Dallas was in 1978: “It was lousy.”

Roger Staubach Thought the Jury was Still Out on the Chicago Bears

Heading into week 10, the Chicago Bears were 9-0 and looked unstoppable. Roger Staubach thought, however, that nobody had really tested the Bears. “(Y)ou don’t really know if they can keep this pace.”

(We’ll get to a certain game against the Cowboys in a couple of weeks…)

New Punter Having a Solid Season

The Cowboys had a new punter in 1985. He was cut by the Detroit Lions in 1984 but made the Cowboys’ 1985 squad as a free agent. By midseason, he had a 45.0-yard average.

At the time of this issue, Saxon was dating a model named Sheri Monson from California. The couple liked to go out with Steve and Diana DeOssie after games.

(No idea whether Saxon married Monson, though. They planned to get married in 1987).

Tuesday Trivia: Backs with 400 Yards in Three Consecutive Games

DeMarco Murray followed up on his 253-yard performance in week 6 by gaining 74 yards against the Rams and another 139 against the Seahawks. His three-game total of 466 yards is the highest among any Dallas running back in history.

Murray is one of only four players who have gained 400 yards or more over a three-game stretch. Two of those backs are named Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. More on them in a minute.

Today’s trivia question: who was the other back besides Murray, Smith, and Dorsett?

* * *

Smith had three-game totals of more than 400 yards seven times during his career. All of these occurred between 1992 and 1995. His best three-game total came in weeks 6, 7, and 8 in 1993 when he gained 92 yards vs. San Francisco, 237 yards vs. Philadelphia, and 117 yards vs. the Giants. This gave him a total of 446 yards.

He also had three-game totals of 427 and 425 yards during the 1995 season.

Dorsett’s best three-game total occurred in weeks 1, 2, and 3 of the 1981 season when he had a total of 423 yards. He gained 132 yards against Washington, 129 yards against St. Louis, and 162 yards against New England.

4-4 Starts Have Not Led to Fairy Tale Endings

4-4 starts have not been very magical for the Cowboys in their history.

The Cowboys are 4-4 for the eighth time in franchise history. The bottom line: Dallas finished at below .500 in four of those seasons and at .500 in another. Although the Cowboys made the playoffs the last two times they finished at .500, they lost in the wildcard round of the playoffs both times.

Here’s a review of those seasons.


Started: 4-4-1

Ended: 5-8-1 (no playoffs)

The team was in its third year of existence and started the season at 4-3-1. However, a bad loss to the Giants started a three-game losing streak, and Dallas ended up losing five of its last six.


Started: 4-4-1

Ended: 5-8-1 (no playoffs)

Two years later, the Cowboys beat the Giants to improve to 4-4-1, but the team lost four straight after that.


Started: 4-4

Ended: 8-6 (no playoffs)

After eight straight playoff seasons, the 1974 team limped to a 1-4 start. However, three consecutive wins helped Dallas to a 4-4 record. Dallas managed a winning record at 8-6, thanks in part to Clint Longley’s miracle win over Washington on Thanksgiving Day, but the team finished at 8-6.


Started: 4-4

Ended: 7-8

Dallas went 2-1 with its replacement players during the strike-shortened 1987 season. However, the team was mediocre at best for the rest of the season and finished at 7-8.


Started: 4-4

Ended: 6-10 (no playoffs)

There was some hope that the 1997 team could bring another title to Dallas, but this team was flawed. A loss to the Eagles dropped Dallas to 4-4 midway through the season. Although Dallas stood at 6-5 at one point, five consecutive losses ensured the team’s first losing season since 1990.


Started: 4-4

Ended: 8-8 (lost to Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs)

The 1999 Cowboys held a lead in every game but could only manage to win half of them. Nevertheless, in a bizarre finish to the season, four NFC teams were tied at 8-8, and Dallas found itself in the playoffs. That run didn’t last long, though.


Started: 4-4

Ended: 9-7 (lost to Seattle in the first round of the playoffs)

Drew Bledsoe struggled as the team’s starter and was replaced by Tony Romo after the team had fallen to 3-3. Romo went 1-1 during his first two starts, but the team finished the season at 5-3 to make the playoffs.

Dallas 23, Seattle 13: Dallas Overcomes Malaise in Win

Dan Bailey continues to be money. He made three field goals against the Seahawks and has now made 19 consecutive attempts.

On paper, the Cowboys put together what looks like a solid win over the Seahawks on Sunday. Dallas broke a 6-6 halftime tie by forcing three second-half interceptions and finally managing a couple of touchdowns.

The big positive: DeMarco Murray is for real. He had 22 carries for 139 yards. He should have had more chances to score, but he looked solid all game.

However, by the time the Cowboys started looking good in the second half, many fans had to have a hand over their eyes. Most of the performances other than Murray’s were tough to watch.

Dallas saved some its worst plays for the return game.

Example #1: Dez Bryant decided to field a punt at his own 6. He had to catch the ball while running backward and ended up losing 4 yards.

Example #2: Last play of the first quarter. Kevin Ogletree took a kickoff eight yards deep in the end zone and tried to run it out. He made it to the 12.

Example #3: After Dallas took a 6-3 in the second, Leon Washington muffed the catch on the kickoff return. He recovered the ball but would have been stopped at the Seattle 5. But Jesse Holley stupidly committed an unnecessary roughness penalty, which gave Seattle the ball at the 20.

Example #4: After Seattle cut the Dallas lead to 23-13, Ogletree watched the ball bounce in the middle of the end zone. The problem: that’s a live ball. Fortunately, the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone, but it was a dumb play nevertheless.

The Cowboys also continued to have red zone woes. They managed to get the ball inside the 5 on their opening drive of the game, but Seattle held. Dan Bailey continued his streak with a 20-yard field goal.

After Seattle tied it at 3, Dallas got the ball to the Seattle 2 in the second quarter thanks to a 22-yard run by DeMarco Murray. Jason Garrett decided to call two play-action passes instead of having Murray try to run the ball in. The result: 20-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.

Tony Romo threw a slant to Dez Bryant in the middle of the second quarter, and Bryant looked like he would score. He fumbled instead. And though it was clear he fumbled, Garrett challenged the call. Sigh.

Seattle tied the game. Halftime: Dallas 6, Seattle 6. It should have been 17-3.

But the Cowboys managed to wake up. Their first offensive drive of the second half resulted in a touchdown from Romo to Jason Witten.

Then Jason Hatcher caught an interception off an odd deflection and returned the ball to the Seattle 40. That led to a six-play drive that resulted in another touchdown, this time from Romo to Laurent Robinson.

Terence Newman picked off Tarvaris Jackson on the next drive, leading to another field goal by Bailey.

With the Cowboys leading 23-6, some odd tension emerged, though. Brad Sham said on the radio that those three points could be critical, which was odd given that Dallas led by 17 with 11:22 left, has the self-professed best defensive coordinator in the league, and had not allowed a touchdown all game.

So, of course, Seattle marched 70 yards and scored its first touchdown of the game. Fortunately for Dallas, the drive took a total of five minutes. By the time Dallas punted on the next drive, just over two minutes were left.

The Seahawks put together a late drive, but Gerald Sensabaugh got his second pick of the year to end the drive and the game.

Dallas improves to 4-4 and will face Buffalo next week. The Bills struggled against the Jets today in a 27-11 loss.

Quiz: Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

With the Cowboys celebrating the induction of Drew Pearson, Larry Allen, and Charles Haley into the Ring of Honor on Sunday, here are 10 questions about members of the Ring of Honor.

Who hold the record for most consecutive games played, with 196?

Which team originally drafted Chuck Howley?

How many 1,000-yard seasons did Drew Pearson have?

What position did Mel Renfro play at Oregon?

This member of the Ring of Honor ranks 7th in team history with 32 interceptions

How many times did Charles Haley make the Pro Bowl as a member of the Cowboys?

Larry Allen made 10 Pro Bowls in 11 seasons. During which season did he fail to make the Pro Bowl?

Larry Allen replaced which player when he started his first NFL game?

Drew Pearson's last 100-yard game came against which team and in which year?

Charles Haley recorded four sacks in a single game only once in his career. Against who did he accomplish this feat, and in which year?