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Efren Herrera Trivia


I posted a link on Facebook yesterday to an article listing the Dallas Cowboys All Career-Year Team. I wouldn’t agree with every selection, but it is still an interesting piece.

One surprise was the selection of Efren Herrera’s 1977 season as the greatest ever. I call this a surprise because Herrera only hit 62.1% of his field goals that season (and missed two extra points), and he was gone one year later. (I would have picked Rafael Septien’s 1981 season.) Nevertheless, Herrera was an all-pro selection in 1977, so it was not as if he didn’t deserve consideration.

Now for some trivia: why did the Cowboys trade Herrera to Seattle?

The short answer is that Herrera was demanding too much money. In fact, he wanted to double his salary from 1976.

Double means going from about $40,000 per year to about $80,000 per year. In 2016 dollars, that would be like Herrera asking for a raise from $159,000 to $318,000. Of course, the current minimum veteran salary for a fourth-year pro (which Herrera was in 1978) is $760,000.

Salary of current kicker Dan Bailey in 2016? $3.3 million, including his prorated signing bonus.

Dallas traded Herrera to Seattle on August 14, 1978, in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. He played for Seattle for four years and became somewhat famous for his involvement with trick plays. In fact, he caught two passes for a total of 29 yards.

He played part of one season in Buffalo. He was signed by a couple of USFL teams but did not play in that league.

After the trade with Seattle in 1978, Dallas was left with unheralded Jay Sherrill and Skip Butler at kicker. Fortunately, the Cowboys were able to sign Septien as a free agent about two weeks after trading Herrera.

Dallas 30, Seattle 23: Just a Different Team

Rolando McClain's interception secured the fifth win of the season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Rolando McClain’s interception secured the fifth win of the season for the Dallas Cowboys.

This is your weekly reminder that the Dallas Cowboys are winning games they would have lost during the past four years. Thanks for tuning in.

In 2012, for example, the Cowboys traveled to Seattle after what many thought was a significant win over the New York Giants to open the season.

The Seahawks punched the Cowboys in the mouth, figuratively speaking.  Dallas fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to a Seattle field goal. The Seahawks then returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter. Dallas looked defeated before the first quarter ended and eventually lost the game, 27-7.

Two years later, the Cowboys were 4-1 as they headed back to Seattle. The Seahawks seldom lose at home. Most thought Seattle would again punch the Cowboys in the mouth, figuratively speaking, and the Cowboys would limp back to Dallas.

Sure enough, Seattle blocked a punt in the first quarter. Like the 2012 game, Dallas found itself behind 10-0 in the first quarter.

It was ov…

Well, no, it wasn’t over. The Cowboys not only tied the game in the second quarter but also took a 17-10 lead. In fact, Dallas had drives of 10 and 15 plays during the second quarter and held the ball for nearly 75 percent of that quarter.

Even when Dwayne Harris muffed a punt, which Seattle returned for a touchdown, Dallas was not out of it.

Seattle took a three-point lead. Dallas tied it.

Seattle took another three-point lead. With 8:16 remaining, Dallas needed to drive to tie the game.

But then the Cowboys faced a 3rd-and-20 from their own 31. Less than five minutes remained. A punt could allow Seattle to exhaust the clock.

Seattle put pressure on Tony Romo, who limped around much of the game. He somehow managed to escape the rush before releasing a pass in the general direction of both Jason Witten and Terrance Williams.

Williams snagged the ball and dragged his toes inbounds for a 23-yard gain. First down. It was, like many other plays this year, something the Cowboys had not seen in quite some time.

Three plays later, DeMarco Murray gave Dallas a 27-23 lead with a touchdown run. Although the Cowboys were unable to run out the clock on offense, Rolondo McClain’s interception with less than 50 seconds remaining secured the win for Dallas.

Yes, this author predicted a 3-13 finish. That 3-13 team is now 5-1. Who would have thought.

Cowboys vs. 49ers: Their First Meetings

Don McIlhenny picks up a short gain in a 16-10 loss to San Francisco during the preseason on August 6, 1960.

Don McIlhenny picks up a short gain in a 16-10 loss to San Francisco during the preseason on August 6, 1960.

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers will face one another for the 34th time, including playoffs, since 1960 on September 7. It will mark the first time since 2011 that the teams have played.

The rivalry dates back to the Cowboys’ inaugural season of 1960. In fact, the 49ers were the first team the Cowboys ever played during preseason. On a hot afternoon in Seattle on August 6, 1960, the Cowboys fell just short of a win. Trailing 16-10 late in the game, Dallas took over the ball at its own 37. Eddie LeBaron moved the team to the San Francisco 28 with about a minute left. However, Dave Baker picked off a LeBaron pass to end the drive and secure the win for San Francisco.

More than three months later, the teams played again during the regular season at the Cotton Bowl. LeBaron struggled in the contest, throwing three interceptions. However, his 76-yard touchdown pass to Frank Clarke early in the fourth quarter gave Dallas a 14-9 lead.

Nevertheless, the 49ers roared back and scored 17 unanswered points to win the game 26-14.

Dallas secured its first win over the 49ers on November 7, 1965.

During regular season matchups, Dallas has a 11-14-1 record against San Francisco. The Cowboys’ playoff record against the 49ers is 5-2. Thus, both teams are 16-16-1 in combined regular season and playoff games.

Dallas Cowboys Most Obscure Player Awards for 1965-1969 (Recap)


Here are the remainder of the MOP Award “winners” from the 1960s. This list includes seasons from 1965 to 1969.  I wrote several of these during the offseason in 2007 before I got a bit off track.

Click here for my previous recap covering the years 1960 to 1964.

1965: Pete Gent

North Dallas FortyHe is famous as the author of North Dallas Forty, but few remember his performances on the field. Gent caught his first pass in 1965, finishing with 16 receptions for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns. His best season was 1966, when he caught 27 passes for 474 yards, a 17.6-yard-per-catch, but he only caught 25 more passes in his last two years with the team.



1966: Willie Townes

Townes played three seasons with the Cowboys and started 25 games in the late 1960s. His first start came in 1966 in a game against the Steelers, and he was part of the NFL Championship Games against the Packers. However, he faded into obscurity after missing the 1969 seasons and playing six games for the Saints in 1970.



1967: Ron East

Ron East

East joined the Cowboys in 1967 from Montana State. He played with the Cowboys for four seasons before being traded to San Diego in 1970 along with Pettis Norman and Tony Liscio for receiver Lance Alworth. East played for San Diego for three years, then moved from Cleveland, Atlanta, and Seattle. Someone left this note about him after I named him the MOP Award winner for 1967:

Ron East is now a Real Estate Developer in Seattle, WA. He was the 5th D-lineman for the Cowboys 67-71. Ron was a backup for defensive tackles Lilly and Pugh. He and others felt that he won the starting job in 1970 However they gave the job to Pugh. Because of that Ron Asked for a trade after the 1970 season and it was granted. He and two other players went to San Diego for Lance Alworth in 1971. I attended the Tom Landry ring of honor dinner with Ron and met Bob Lilly. I saw heard Bob say to Ron “Thanks for winning our first superbowl for us when you asked for the trade.” Ron was a Devensive standout in San Diego and Seattle. He was noted for solidifying Earl Morral’s legacy by breaking Bob Greise’s ankle in game 5 of the 1972 season.

1968: Craig Baynham

Craig Baynham

Here is a blurb about Craig Baynham’s nickname, courtesy of Tim’s Cowboy’s History Page:

Baynham’s biggest moment came in the 1967 conference playoff game against the Browns when he filled in for the injured Walt Garrison. He scored 3 touchdowns in the 52-14 win. In 1968 he subbed for Garrison gaining 438 yards on the ground and grabbed 29 passes for 380 yards. He led the team in kickoff returns in 68 with 590 yards. He didn’t get much playing time behind a healthy Hill and Garrison in 69 and was traded to Chicago in 1970 and finished his career with St. Louis the next year. Nicknamed “John One Dozen” because he always signed footballs “Craig Baynham – John 1:12?, he became a pastor in later years.

Baynham caught a touchdown pass in the last Playoff Bowl game ever played between the Cowboys and Vikings. In the three seasons following his performance in 1968, though, Baynham amassed a grand total of 109 yards, including a loss of two yards on three carries in 1969.

1969: Dennis Homan

Dennis Homan was the top pick of the Cowboys in the 1968 draft. In his three seasons with Dallas, the 1969 season was his best, catching 12 passes for 240 yards, but no touchdowns. He lasted one more year with the Cowboys before playing two seasons with Kansas City.

Homan joined the Birmingham franchise of the World Football League, where he became a star! There is, in fact, an entire page (with pictures) focusing on his accomplishments with the WFL. I also learned from that page that Homan was a kick holder in his final season with Birmingham, which makes his selection all the more appropriate.


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Seattle 27, Dallas 7: Not Special at All

The 27-7 loss to Seattle wasn’t Romo’s fault, but he will still bear plenty of weight.

Jerry Jones didn’t have a great weekend. His Arkansas Razorbacks were worse than some Division 1-AA (or whatever they’re called now) schools in a 52-0 loss to Alabama on Saturday.

On Sunday, former Razorback Felix Jones returned the opening kickoff for the Dallas Cowboys against the Seattle Seahawks. He fumbled. Seattle recovered. Seattle kicked a field goal. Seattle didn’t trail again.

There was more fun on special teams. Jones returned the second kickoff 16 yards, and the Cowboys managed to gain five yards. On a punt attempt, Seattle’s Malcolm Smith raced up the left side of the Dallas line and managed to block Chris Jones’ punt. Jeron Johnson recovered the loose ball and scored, giving Seattle a 10-0 win.

I mean lead, not win. My apology.

The Cowboys moved the ball on its next drive only to have Romo throw an interception while trying to throw the ball across the field from his right to his left. Seattle couldn’t capitalize, and the Cowboys were able to move the ball on their next possession as well. Romo hit Miles Austin on a 22-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10-7 with 12:09 left in the second quarter.

Dallas had momentum and managed to hold Seattle to a three-and-out. The game never got closer, though.

The Cowboys punted the ball right back to the Seahawks, who drove for a field goal. Dallas had a chance to drive for another score in the final two minutes. Felix took the Seattle kickoff eight yards deep and decided to run it out.

He made it to the 15.  The Dallas drive stalled at the Seattle 40. Halftime score: 13-7.

Nobody has provided a good reason why Felix is still getting time on the field.

Anyway, former Arkansas Razorback Jimmy Johnson said the Cowboys were going to dominate the second half. I cannot think of any analogy that would express how wrong he was.

The Cowboys had the ball on four drives in the second half, and the team gained 81 yards. Meanwhile, Seattle and its rookie quarterback completely controlled the Dallas defense, which simply could not make stops when it needed to. Seattle had one 90-yard drive followed by an 88-yard drive to put the Cowboys out of their misery.

* * *

After last week, three teams in the NFC East were 1-0, and two of those teams were the Cowboys and Redskins. The third was an Eagles team that barely beat a bad Cleveland team.

At one point today, the Giants trailed Tampa Bay by a score of 27-13. The Eagles trailed Baltimore 23-17 in the fourth quarter.

Of course, the Giants and Eagles have had a bit more success than the Cowboys and Redskins in the past few years. And, of course, both figured out how to win those games.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys went through the motions in Seattle, while the Redskins lost a 21-6 lead to the hapless Rams on their way to a 31-28 loss.

Anyway, I suggested last week that this was definitely a new year. I meant that literally.

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1976: Expansion Seahawks Give Cowboys a Scare

Former Cowboy Jack Patera was the first head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Don’t confuse Jack with brother Ken Patera, the former two-time Continental Wrestling Association international heavyweight champion.

The NFL welcomed two expansion teams in 1976. Tampa Bay was the more notable of the two, as the Buccaneers went 0-14. Dallas did not get to face Tampa Bay until 1977.

Dallas did, however, face the other expansion team, which was the Seattle Seahawks. The head coach was Jack Patera, who was a member of the original Dallas Cowboys in 1960. The quarterback was Jim Zorn, whom the Cowboys cut at the end of training camp in 1975.

Nobody gave the 0-3 Seahawks a chance against the 3-0 Cowboys, but in the second quarter, Seattle had jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to two Zorn touchdown passes.

The Cowboys woke up to score 28 unanswered points and came away with a 28-13 win. Dallas finished the year at 12-2, while Seattle only managed a 2-12 mark.

Here’s the video, which features some nice plays by Golden Richards, Charley Young, and “stumpy” Robert Newhouse.

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Recalling the 2006 Playoff Loss. Again.

Tony Romo may never have a positive legacy because of The Botch during the 2006 playoffs.

The 2006 season was the first one I covered for this blog. The Cowboys looked very mediocre early that season as Drew Bledsoe continued to earn a “statue” nickname and Terrell Owens did little to help the Cowboys stand out.

Then came the emergence of a new quarterback. He played college in Charleston, Illinois, which is where I was born. The college was Eastern Illinois University, which is where my father received two degrees. The new QB was also the kick holder, which is the nickname I used on here because I couldn’t think of anything else.

I’m not sure what all of that was supposed to mean, but none of it turned out to be good luck in the end. The Cowboys made the playoffs as a wildcard but had to travel to Seattle to face the defending NFC Champions.

Though Dallas fell behind in the second half, a 93-yard kickoff return by an unknown receiver named Miles Austin gave the Cowboys a lead. In the fourth quarter, that lead was 20-13.

Then came what amounted to an implosion. Dallas had the ball at its own 2 with 6:42 remaining. Romo threw a short pass to Terry Glenn, who fumbled. This lead to a safety (after a review), and the Dallas lead shrank to 20-15.

Though Seattle regained the lead, the Cowboys were still in a position to win the game. Many tend to forgot that with just under two minutes left to play, Romo hit Jason Witten on a 3rd-and-7 play, and the original mark gave Dallas a first down at the Seattle 1. Had the spot held up up, the Cowboys would have run down the clock and probably kicked on third down. Had there been an error on the snap, the Cowboys would have had a second chance.

Instead, the replay moved the ball to the 2, and Dallas faced a fourth down. Here’s the play that everyone does remember:

My comments after the game:

How is it that I use the name kickholder on here even though I haven’t actually been a kick holder since high school (er… I guess I did hold some kicks on the practice squad in college, but that is beside the point)? And how does the Cowboys season end? On a dropped snap by Tony Romo when he served as a kick holder.

* * *

Anyway, I well beyond sick right now and hope that the shock keeps me numb for a couple of days. Nothing good can possibly come from this loss or this season as a whole, unless you want to prove the Dallas Cowboy franchise is one that has no clue how to win in this league on a consistent basis. Enjoy the off-season, boys.


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Cowboys Rank High in Total Offense and Defense for Week #1

Here’s a quick look at some Dallas Cowboys statistics.

Week #1 of the NFL season featured plenty of offense. Teams averaged a total of 342.2 yards per game, which was just below the league’s average of 346.8 yards per game in 2011 and higher than the average of 336.0 yards per game in 2010.

Ranking high on the list of total yards, for one week at least, were the Cowboys. The team ranked #11 in 2011 with an average of 375.5 yards per game. Against the Giants, the Cowboys finished with 433 total yards, which ranked third among all teams. Only Washington and Philadelphia had higher numbers.

Dallas finished the week with the highest statistics in yards per play, averaging 7.6 yards for each play. Only the Baltimore Ravens averaged at least 7 yards per play last week. In 16 games in 2011, the Cowboys averaged 5.9 yards per play, which ranked #10.

Offensive line remains a concern, of course. Here’s a noteworthy stat: The Dallas line ranks 30th in terms of total experience, as its five starters have started a total of 144 games. The two teams below the Cowboys are the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks, the latter of which the Cowboys play on Sunday. Seattle’s starters have started a total of 89 games. Ranking #1 in the experience category is the Detroit line, which features players who have started a total of 528 games.

The Cowboys’ defense gave up only 269 yards on Wednesday and rank #7 in total defense after one week.

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