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Cowboys’ Odds to Win Super Bowl XLIX: About 50 to 1

The Dallas Cowboys are just below the middle of the pack regarding their odds to win Super Bowl XLIX.

English: Vector image of the Las Vegas sign. P...

The odds of the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl are about 50 to 1.

According to one site (no affiliation), the Cowboys’ odds are 50 to 1.  According to another site, the odds are 55 to 1.

Below is a list of all teams. Predictably, most oddsmakers think the Seahawks and Broncos will play again.

Denver Broncos 13/2
Seattle Seahawks 13/2
San Francisco 49ers 7/1
New England Patriots 9/1
Green Bay Packers 11/1
New Orleans Saints 14/1
Chicago Bears 16/1
Indianapolis Colts 16/1
Philadelphia Eagles 25/1
Atlanta Falcons 33/1
Carolina Panthers 33/1
Detroit Lions 33/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 33/1
Arizona Cardinals 40/1
Baltimore Ravens 40/1
Cincinnati Bengals 40/1
New York Giants 40/1
San Diego Chargers 40/1
Dallas Cowboys 50/1
Kansas City Chiefs 50/1
Miami Dolphins 50/1
St. Louis Rams 50/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 50/1
Washington Redskins 50/1
Cleveland Browns 66/1
Houston Texans 66/1
New York Jets 66/1
Buffalo Bills 75/1
Minnesota Vikings 75/1
Oakland Raiders 100/1
Tennessee Titans 100/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 200/1

The Cowboys’ chances of winning the NFC are 26 to 1.  Dallas shares those odds with the Giants, Rams, and Lions.

The Seahawks are 16/5 favorites to win the NFC title, while San Francisco’s odds are 21/5.

Friday Photo Trivia: Throwback Uniforms

The 1994 season was the NFL’s 75th anniversary, and teams that season wore throwback uniforms to commemorate.

Several teams made some changes to the actual jerseys from the past. For example, the Buffalo Bills retained their red helmets even though they changed the rest of their uniforms. The idea was (I think) that changes to helmets and such might confuse players or fans or, um, the NFL’s uniform police (?).

Dallas wore a throwback jersey when the Cowboys hosted the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football on Monday, September 19, 1994.  The Cowboys’ throwback uniforms were mostly faithful to those worn between 1960 and 1963. Differences are the focus of these two trivia questions:

1. What was the major difference between the uniforms actually worn from 1960 to 1963 and those worn on September 19, 1994?

2. What else was different between the uniform worn at home on September 19, 1994 and those worn at home from 1960 to 1963?

Here’s a photo puzzle showing the throwback uniforms in question.

 




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Most Obscure Player of 1980: Aaron Mitchell

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The starting cornerbacks for the 1979 Dallas Cowboys were Bennie Barnes and Aaron Kyle.

The starting cornerbacks for the 1981 Dallas Cowboys were Everson Walls and Dennis Thurman.

The starting cornerbacks for the 1980 Dallas Cowboys? Think hard (and don’t look at the title of this post).

One was Steve Wilson, who became  a part-time starter for the Denver Broncos and even started at right cornerback in Super Bowl XXII. He was one of the guys who Doug Williams burned in the Redskins’ 35-point second quarter.

Most Obscure Player for 1980: Aaron Mitchell.

Most Obscure Player for 1980: Aaron Mitchell.

The other was our Most Obscure Player for 1980: Aaron Mitchell.

The Cowboys took him in the second round of the 1979 draft, thanks largely to a good time in the 40-yard dash. He played his college football at UNLV and a football factory known as…

College of the Canyons in California. This was the same community college that produced Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants. Here is a piece about Mitchell posted on the college’s website.

Mitchell started 15 games with the Cowboys in 1980 and recorded three interceptions. The Cowboys traded Mitchell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 1981 season, though. Mitchell played one year in Tampa Bay. He later played for the Arizona Wranglers and Los Angeles Express of the USFL.

The Cowboys’ personnel problems had already begun by the early 1980s. Dallas used Tampa’s 11th-round pick to take a wide receiver named George Thompson, who never played a down of football in the NFL.

Even worse, the Cowboys got nothing for Wilson, waiving him after the 1981 season.

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Taking a Cowboys Stadium Tour

Dallas Cowboys 2009

Cowboys Stadium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cowboys don’t return home until September 23, when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A friend visiting Dallas asked whether it was worth taking a look at Cowboys Stadium.

As a venue to watch a game, it certainly is. Some have written that the stadium ranks has high as second among NFL stadiums. Other have written about Cowboys Stadium compared to other stadiums around the world.

Anyway, during a week with an away game, consider visiting the stadium and taking a tour. Cost is about $30, which is a bit high, but you get to visit field, locker rooms, and so forth. Worth the trip, especially if you’re a Cowboys fans.

* * *

The Cowboys rank pretty high in various power rankings, which Dallas Morning News reporter Scott Bell has summarized. The high-end ranking has the Cowboys at #6 (Pete Prisco, CBS), while the low-end ranking (Ashley Fox, ESPN) has the Cowboys at #13.

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Cowboys vs. Buccaneers: New History and Instant Trivia

week1.jpgMany of the headlines yesterday and today inserted the phrase “without T.O.” in one way or another to describe yesterday’s game, and hopefully that will end now that Owens has played a real game with Buffalo.

Here is look at a few items of interest now that yesterday’s game is history:

Wade’s Defense Held Sack-less

For the first time since Wade Phillips took over as head coach of the Cowboys in 2007, the Cowboys were held without a sack. The last time that Dallas went without a sack was on December 3, 2006 against the Giants. Dallas nearly failed to record a sack in the season opener against the Browns in 2008, but the Cowboys managed one sack for zero yards lost in that game.

Romo’s 300-Yard Game

Against Tampa Bay, Tony Romo extended his team record for 300-yard
games to 17. His 353 yards were the most in a single game during his
career. His performance marked the 18th time that a Dallas quarterback
has thrown for 350 or more yards in a game.

460 – Don Meredith (vs. San Franciso, 1963)
455 – Troy Aikman (vs. Minnesota, 1998)
406 – Meredith (vs. Washington, 1966)
394 – Meredith (vs. Philadephia, 1966)
389 – Gary Hogeboom (vs. San Francisco, 1985)
379 – Aikman (vs. Phoenix, 1989)
377 – Danny White (vs. Tampa Bay, 1983)
363 – Aikman (vs. Miami, 1996)
363 – Drew Bledsoe (vs. San Francisco, 2005)
362 – White (vs. Atlanta, 1985)
362 – Aikman (vs. Washington, 1999)
359 – White (vs. Washington, 1987)
358 – Meredith (vs. N.Y. Giants, 1966)
356 – Aikman (vs. Tennesee, 1997)
355 – Vinny Testaverde (vs. Minnesota, 2004)
354 – White (vs. Miami, 1981)
353 – Tony Romo (vs. Tampa Bay, 2009)
350 – Aikman (vs. Arizona, 1995)

Patrick Crayton’s Big Plays

Patrick Crayton is known as a possession receiver. He has, however, had quite a few big plays during his six-year career. Consider this: he has caught at least one touchdown pass of more than 30 yards in each of his six seasons, including 2009.

Including his 80-yard TD reception against Tampa Bay, more than one-fifth (544 out of 2,401) of total receiving yards have come on touchdown plays. Prior to Sunday, his longest TD reception was 63 yards (2005 vs. Oakland). His 19 touchdown receptions is now tied for 13th with Butch Johnson on the franchise’s all-time list.

Crayton has three career 100-yard games, including:

2007 vs. St. Louis: 7 rec., 184 yards, 2 TD
2009 vs. Tampa Bay: 4 rec., 135 yards, 1 TD
2006 vs. Arizona: 5 rec., 104 yards, 1 TD

Long TD Passes

The Cowboys scored on touchdown passes of 66 yards (to Roy Williams) and 80 yards (to Crayton) against Tampa Bay. This marked the first time since 1962 that the Cowboys have had two TD receptions of longer than 60 yards in the same game. The last time this happened was when the Cowboys visited Los Angeles on September 30, 1962. Eddie LeBaron hit Amos Marsh for 85 yards and Frank Clarke for 66 yards in a 27-17 Dallas win.

Barber’s TD Total Grows

Marion Barber’s career touchdown total increased to 37 after he scored on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Buccaneers. Barber has not had a rushing TD of longer than 10 yards since he scored on a 20-yard TD run against Detroit in 2007. His longest TD run of 2008 was 2 yards, though he had TD receptions of 70 yards (vs. Arizona) and 17 yards (vs. Philadelphia).

Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21: Big Plays Allow Cowboys to Pull Away


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The Cowboys relied on three huge touchdown passes to Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and Patrick Crayton to pull away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 34-21 Dallas win on Sunday. The most obvious reaction of several Cowboys fans: so much for missing T.O.

Tony Romo finished the game with 353 passing yards, marking the 17th time that he has thrown for more than 300 yards in a game. The Cowboys are 14-3 in games where Romo has passed the 300-yard mark. The 353 yards were the most in his career, surpassing his 345-yard game against the Giants in the opening week of the 2007 season.

Crayton had a huge game as well, catching four passes for 135 yards. It was Crayton’s third career 100-yard game and his first since 2007. His 80-yard score in the fourth quarter was huge, coming right after Tampa Bay had closed the gap to 20-14. Crayton later caught a 44-yard pass to set up Marion Barber’s fourth-quarter touchdown, which put the game away for good.

The Cowboys took the opening drive from their own 36 and moved to the Tampa Bay 26. However, Ronde Barber sacked Romo for a nine-yard loss, and the Cowboys had to settle for a 51-yard field goal.

Following a blocked field goal by Gerald Sensabaugh later in the first quarter, Dallas moved the ball inside the Tampa Bay 4. But on a third-down play, Romo tried to throw to behind Martellus Bennett’s shoulder and missed. A second Folk field goal made the score 6-0.

Dallas struggled to slow down the Tampa Bay running game all day. Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward combined for 159 rushing yards in the game, and early in the second quarter, the two combined for 63 of 65 yards on a Tampa Bay touchdown drive. Williams’ one-yard score gave the Buccaneers a 7-6 lead.

Two Dallas drives stalled. On the second drive, the Cowboys appeared to move the ball into Tampa Bay territory on a reverse, but Flozell Adams was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The drive stalled. The Dallas defense stepped up and held Tampa to a three-and-out, and the Cowboys got the ball back with just over a minute to go in the half. After a pass play to Jason Witten and an offsides penalty on Tampa Bay, Romo found Austin on a streak pattern. Romo slightly underthrew the ball, and Austin turned around to grab it. Austin dodged two Tampa Bay defenders on his way to the end zone.

The Cowboys held Tampa Bay on the opening possession of the third quarter, leading to a punt. Facing a second-and-10 from the Dallas 34, Romo found Williams on a seam pattern. Romo split three defenders and hit Williams in stride. Williams, in turn, broke an ankle tackle and ran the rest of the way in. The 66-yard touchdown was Williams’ longest since scoring on a 91-yard touchdown pass with the Lions in 2007.

Both teams struggled to move the ball for the rest of the third quarter, though Tampa Bay managed a drive towards the end of the third quarter. With 13:45 remaining in the game, Ward scored on a short touchdown, cutting the Dallas lead to 20-14. Romo went to work immediately, though, taking advantage of a mix up in coverage and finding Crayton all alone on the 80-yard score.

Dallas scored again with just under four minutes remaining, effectively putting the game away.

Some notes:

* Gerald Sensabaugh had a solid game, including a blocked field goal. However, he injured his ribs in the third quarter on a vicious collision with Tampa Bay’s Michael Clayton.

* Surprisingly, the Cowboys did not record a single sack.

* In losing to Dallas 13-9 in 2008, Tampa Bay only managed 49 rushing yards. In the loss today, Tampa Bay had 174.

Cowboys are Overwhelming Favorites at Tampa Bay

The Cowboys open their 50th season on Sunday at Tampa Bay. The overwhelming consensus is that the Cowboys will manage to win their third consecutive opener against a Buccaneer squad that is currently rebuilding.

Here is a run-down of the predictions.

NFL.com

On NFL Playbook, Sterling Sharpe, Joe Theismann, and Brian Baldinger each predicted a Dallas win. In fact, Sharpe thinks that the Cowboys have a chance to make it to Super Bowl XLIV.

2009-09-13_003836.gifDallas Morning News

Among the four columnists voting in the Dallas Morning News poll, only Rick Gosselin predicted a Tampa Bay win. That is disconcerting, given that he is the least likely among the four to criticize the Cowboys.

Rick Gosselin: Tampa Bay
Tim Cowlishaw: Dallas
Kevin Sherrington: Dallas
Jean-Jacques Taylor: Dallas

ESPN Experts

ESPN experts were unanimous in their picks for the Dallas game, with all taking the Cowboys to win. No surprise there.

Will Allen: Dallas
Mike Golic: Dallas
Merrill Hoge: Dallas
Ron Jaworski: Dallas
Chris Mortensen: Dallas
Adam Schefter: Dallas
Mark Schlereth: Dallas
Seth Wickersham: Dallas

Accuscore

Dallas won 65% of the Accuscore simulations, with an average score of 22.3 to 17.2. Here is a summary:

The Bucs defense fell apart the final month of 2008, but they still
should be a better than average defense in 09. They also have a
potentially great running game with Derrick Ward, Earnest Graham, and a
healthy Cadillac Williams. The Cowboys are winning 60 percent of
simulations, but if TB can intercept Tony Romo at least 1 time and the
team has at least 115 rushing yards TB improves its chances to 54
percent. Tony Romo is averaging 1.4 TDs per simulation. When he has at
least 2 TDs the Cowboys win over 70 percent of the time, but when he
has 1 or 0 the cowboys win just 53 percent of the time.

WhatIfSports

Dallas did better in the WhatIfSports simulations, winning 74.3% of the games.

My Guess

Although the Buccaneers might be able to keep the ball out of the Cowboys’ hands thanks to a good running game, Tampa Bay does not have the firepower that Dallas has. Nevertheless, I think that game will feature more scoring than some expect. Dallas will pull ahead early and hold off a late Tampa rally.

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The Cowboys’ Biggest Playoff Rout: Dallas 38, Tampa Bay 0 (1981)

This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

12695616.jpgThe Cowboys have won some playoff games in blowout fashion, including the 52-14 win over Cleveland in 1966, the 37-7 destruction of the Rams in the 1975 NFC Championship Game, the 28-0 shutout of the Rams in the 1978 NFC title game, and the 52-17 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII.

The biggest rout, though, had to be the divisional playoff win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 2, 1982. 
Tampa Bay made the 1981 playoffs as the NFC Central champions but only had a 9-7 record. That said, the Buccaneers had won four of their last five to pull out the division title.
Dallas harassed quarterback Doug Williams all day, sacking him four times and forcing four interceptions. The Dallas passing attack had trouble getting going, but the team was effective on the round, gaining 212 yards and rushing for four touchdowns. Three of those touchdown runs came in the third quarter, putting the game away.
With the win, Dallas planned a trip to San Francisco to take on the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Things certainly seemed to look promising for Dallas.

Today’s Research: When the Cowboys Gain Fewer Than 200 Total Yards

In 48 out of 730 regular season games over the past 49 seasons, the Cowboys have gained fewer than 200 total yards. These 48 games thus represent only 6.6% of the total regular season games played. With Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay, the Cowboys’ record in games where they gain fewer than 200 yards improved to 8-40.

Several stories have noted that the 172 total yards is the fewest ever recorded in a Dallas win. This rather infamous mark breaks the previous one set against Cleveland on December 12, 1970, when Dallas survived a mud bowl to beat the Browns 6-2. The Cowboys came very close to that mark in 1968 when the gained only 177 yards in a 20-7 win over Minnesota.

Not surprisingly, many of the games listed in the table below took place during dark times in the franchise’s history, such as the early years (1960-1965), the transition years between Landry and Jimmy Johnson (1986-1990), and the post-dynasty depression (2000-2002).

Five of the teams that have kept Dallas below 200 yards were eventually Super Bowl (or NFL) champions: Green Bay (1965), San Francisco (1981), Chicago (1985), New York Giants (1990), and Baltimore Ravens (2000).

Several of these teams are also highly regarded in NFL history for their defenses, including the New Orleans Saints of the late 1980s, the Philadelphia Eagles of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the Tennessee Titans of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Note: the eight wins are listed in bold.

Date Opponent Score Total Yards (Dallas)
Oct. 16, 1960 Cleveland L 48-7 167
Oct. 23, 1960 St. Louis L 12-10 175
Oct. 30, 1960 Baltimore Colts L 45-7 147
Oct. 1, 1961 Cleveland L 25-7 152
Nov. 12, 1961 Pittsburgh L 37-7 185
Dec. 10, 1961 St. Louis Cardinals L 31-13 126
Nov. 22, 1964 Washington L 28-16 196
Nov. 29, 1964 Green Bay L 45-21 132
Dec. 6, 1964 Philadelphia L 24-14 132
Oct. 4, 1965 St. Louis Cardinals L 20-13 181
Oct. 24, 1965 Green Bay L 13-3 192
Dec. 4, 1966 St. Louis Cardinals W 31-17 190
Oct. 20, 1967 Minnesota W 20-7 177
Dec. 12, 1970 Cleveland W 6-2 174
Dec. 17, 1972 N.Y. Giants L 23-3 132
Nov. 11, 1973 N.Y. Giants W 23-10 195
Nov. 23, 1980 Washington W 14-10 199
Oct. 11, 1981 San Francisco L 45-14 192
Nov. 21, 1982 Tampa Bay W 14-9 185
Nov. 17, 1985 Chicago L 44-0 171
Nov. 13, 1988 Minnesota L 43-3 159
Sept. 10, 1989 New Orleans L 28-0 174
Sept. 24, 1989 Washington L 30-7 190
Nov. 23, 1989 Philadelphia L 27-0 191
Dec. 10, 1989 Philadelphia L 20-10 194
Dec. 16, 1989 N.Y. Giants L 15-0 108
Sept. 16, 1990 N.Y. Giants L 28-7 156
Oct. 14, 1990 Phoenix Cardinals L 20-3 100
Nov. 11, 1990 San Francisco L 24-6 158
Sept. 15, 1991 Philadelphia L 24-0 90
Dec. 24, 1994 N.Y. Giants L 15-10 183
Dec. 10, 1995 Philadelphia L 20-17 196
Sept. 22, 1996 Buffalo L 10-7 192
Sept. 28, 1997 Chicago W 27-3 180
Dec. 21, 1997 N.Y. Giants L 20-7 184
Dec. 6, 1998 New Orleans L 22-3 182
Sept. 3, 2000 Philadelphia L 41-14 167
Nov. 19, 2000 Baltimore Ravens L 27-0 192
Dec. 17, 2000 N.Y. Giants L 17-13 145
Dec. 25, 2000 Tennessee L 31-0 95
Sept. 9, 2001 Tampa Bay L 10-6 127
Nov. 22, 2001 Denver L 26-24 191
Nov. 17, 2002 Indianapolis L 20-3 178
Dec. 21, 2002 Philadelphia L 27-3 146
Dec. 29, 2002 Washington L 20-14 186
Oct. 26, 2003 Tampa Bay L 16-0 178
Dec. 30, 2007 Washington L 27-6 147
Oct. 26, 2008 Tampa Bay W 13-9 172

Cowboys 13, Buccaneers 9: Not a Work of Art, but It Works

The Cowboys’ 13-9 win over Tampa Bay had all of the ingredients of a potential loss:

* The Cowboys had trouble protecting Brad Johnson, who very rarely threw the ball further than 10 yards. Gaines Adams nearly broke Johnson in half on one of Adams’ sacks.

* Johnson’s passes were off, and several were nearly picked. He threw for only 122 yards in the game.

* Terrell Owens was once again a non-factor, catching five passes for 33 yards.

* Thanks to the Cowboys’ inability to move the ball, Tampa Bay had great field position through much of the first half.

But then there was the good, even though some of these items won’t look very impressive in the stats:

* The defense kept Tampa Bay out of the end zone. That was huge in the first half, when it looked like the game could easily get away from the Cowboys.

* The defensive line consistently pressured Jeff Garcia, which helped the secondary. The pressure was crucial, because at one point the three corners were Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, and Alan Ball.

* Penalties were not a huge problem (5 fo 35 yards). In fact, the biggest penalty was a 15-yarder called on Tampa Bay late in the first half, which kept a Dallas drive alive. Thanks to a total of four Buccaneer penalties on one drive, the Cowboys eventually scored a touchdown to take a 10-6 halftime lead.

* Roy E. Williams had only two receptions for 10 yards, but his touchdown reception (video) at the end of the first half was big. He also had another great catch on a play where Dallas took a pass interference penalty instead of letting his reception stand.

There were still some missed opportunities. Dallas looked as if it could extend its lead early in the third quarter when Bobby Carpenter recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff. However, Patrick Watkins was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, which move the ball back to the Tampa Bay 48. Dallas could not even get into field goal position and had to punt.

On the other hand, Dallas took some chances that paid off. The touchdown pass to Roy Williams at the end of the first half came with just six seconds left.  The Cowboys also converted two fourth down plays in the second half.

The Cowboys moved to 5-3, which at the least moves Dallas ahead of Chicago, Atlanta, and Arizona by a half-game in the NFC rankings.

* * *
Jason Witten missed most of the second half with a rib injury. Martellus Bennett and Tony Curtis combined for four receptions.

* * *

The last time that the Cowboys won a game when their starting quarterback threw for fewer than 122 yards was 2005, when Drew Bledsoe threw for 110 yards in a 20-7 Dallas win over Detroit.