WALL OF SHAME TO HALL OF FAME: Flashback–Change of scenery worked for Charles Haley; he thinks Dallas will help Hardy | Counseling was key to smarter decisions, funneling rage and leaving aggressiveness on the field
Greg Hardy isn’t the first player the Dallas Cowboys have ever brought in with baggage.
“Bags?” Charles Haley mused, “I had suitcases. Full suitcases.”
Haley was one of the NFL’s best pass rushers at the turn of the 1990 decade. He hit double figures in sacks in four of his first six seasons and went to three Pro Bowls. He was San Francisco’s dominant pass rusher on back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 1988-89.
But Haley had issues. Anger issues. There were confrontations with his coaches and teammates. Continue reading →
‘BOYS BROKEN BRAND: Jason Garrett believes Greg Hardy can become a second-chance success | Troy Aikman advocates action | Moose calls for redemption plan
RIVAL HEADLINE–PHILLY: Why do YOU hate the Cowboys?
THERE IS a great Christmas song that proclaims, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” While I love the season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day because people are actually nice to each other and concentrate on things that are most important – family and friends – it is not the most wonderful time of the year!
That’s actually October, if you are a sports fan.
There is a plethora of football to watch, both college and pro. The baseball playoffs are in full swing, culminating with the World Series and all its tension and excitement. Hockey season has begun in earnest and the NBA launches at the end of the month.
To cite one example of how great October can be, consider if you lived in Boston. Last Sunday was a day you would never forget – unbelievable comebacks by the Patriots and Red Sox in big games. Yes, October is the most wonderful time of the year – the only month all four major sports are going on at the same time.
This year, October is even more special because tomorrow the Eagles play the Cowboys at home with first place in the NFC East at stake. Good god, I hate those Cowboys!
On Wednesday, I was on the train coming back from New York and I was sitting with my cousin Steven, a brilliant psychiatrist, his aide, Marguerite, and two rambunctious women named Sarah and Jennifer. We had a great time as they helped me create the “Top 10 Reasons I Hate the Cowboys.” Though they were my reasons, the crew helped me put them in descending order. It was great fun and I strongly recommend you do it with your friends. We share many of the same reasons, but ranking them as to which make you hate the ‘Boys the most is a hoot.
So here’s my Top 10:
10. The Star – What unbelievable conceit to make a star the symbol of your team and paint it right smack in the middle of the field. How did that star look at the end of the pickle-juice game (the 2000 season opener when the Eagles consumed pickle juice to combat dehydration from the 109-degree game-time temperature and beat the hosts, 41-14)?
9. Jimmy Johnson’s hair – Gelled and lacquered into a steel-like, immovable ‘do, and harder than those obnoxious Cowboy helmets. (I must admit to a tad of envy here.)
8. Cowboy (or AT&T) Stadium – A gaudy, incredibly extravagant mausoleum to Jerry Jones’ ego. Hey, Jerry, with Texas having the highest percentage of people without healthcare coverage of any state in the nation, couldn’t you have thought of a better use for your money?
7. Troy Aikman on TV – This ex-Cowboys QB has never gotten over the physical and scoreboard beating administered to him by the Buddy Ryan-led Birds. He takes it out on the Eagles every chance he gets with his slanted, hateful anti-Eagles commentary.
6. The “Don’t Mess With Texas” attitude – Everything is bigger and better in the Lone Star state, or so they think. Rick Perry as governor? Not so much. Cowboy Stadium is a great example of this. One thing that’s for sure: Everything is more arrogant in Texas, especially if it has anything to do with this football team!
5. Conceited, cocky, arrogant stars, past and present – Michael Irvin, Neon Deion, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant: I can’t stand any of them. (Jason Witten is an exception, but he should have been an Eagle. Remember, we picked L.J. Smith in the draft when Jason was still available.)
4. No cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels or Tastykakes are sold at Cowboy Stadium – Hard to believe, but true. I went to see the Birds play in Dallas once and sat in Ross Perot’s box. There was white wine, caviar, smoked salmon, Brie and crudités served with nary a soft pretzel to be found. They wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in the 700 level at the Vet!
3. Jimmy Johnson’s favorite phrase, “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” – I’m sick and tired of hearing it! Hey, Jimmy, how ’bout the fact that “Them Cowboys” have only won one playoff game (the dreaded “air guitar” game vs. the Birds, unfortunately) in more than a decade?
2. Jerry Jones – Need I explain? This unbelievably arrogant owner is the epitome of the conceit, braggadocio and excess that makes us hate the Cowboys.
1. “America’s Team” – Aaaaagh!! Who would have the gall to call themselves America’s Team? Who nominated them? Did we get to vote on this? This self-proclaimed title has inspired many faux fans around the nation to claim to be Cowboy rooters, but they all probably think a rollout is what you do with toilet paper and that the wildcat formation is found at the zoo.
So that’s my list. Have fun coming up with yours. To sum it up: “Cowboys suck,” and with injuries to Ware and Murray, the Birds win easily, 34-23.
Courtesy: Edward Rendell | The Daily News
Editors comment: Pretty lame article, granted. Not much creativity in Philly. After all, why remain bitter about Jimmy Johnson (and his hair) 25 years later? Seems like a “if you can’t beat ‘em … bash ‘em” mentality in the City of Brotherly Love (and resentment). Still, take a moment to vote in their poll. As you’d expect, it’s tilted towards a Philly win on Sunday. Let your voice be heard! While we’re at it … how ‘bout serving cheesesteak on Texas Toast with BBQ sauce for your gameday tailgate? Cheesesteak is basically shaved Texas beef brisket! Go Cowboys … hard pretzels, star and all!!
BREAKIN’ BRONCOS: Time for the Dallas Cowboys to become roughriders
IRVING, Texas – Talk about a Texas-sized order for these Dallas Cowboys.
Why, the Denver Broncos are coming to AT&T Stadium Sunday afternoon with a 4-0 record.
They haven’t been beaten in their past 15 regular-season games.
During this franchise record 15-game winning streak, no one has even come within seven points of the Broncos, which is one game shy of the Chicago Bears NFL record set in 1941-42, if that’s even possible to comprehend. Heck, in the four games this season, no team has come within the 16 Oakland has.
This also means the Broncos have tied their franchise record with seven consecutive road victories, no matter if they have been playing at the world champion Baltimore Ravens or in the supposedly indomitable collegiate atmosphere of Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium last year, or at MetLife Stadium (Giants) this season.
They are currently averaging 44.7 points a game, as if they are some Alabama playing a bunch of directional schools to start the season. And to think, the Cowboys have already given up thirty-something twice this season: 31 to the now 0-4 Giants and 30 this past Sunday to the then 1-2 Chargers.
The quarterback, The Peyton Manning, leads the NFL in nine of 10 statistical QB categories, most importantly a ridiculous 138 passer rating. Not to mention averaging 367.5 passing yards a game. And just think what that average might be if the Broncos were not winning each of these four games so far by an average of 22 points.
Considering opposing quarterbacks in three of their past six games, stretching back to last season, have thrown for more than 400 yards: Drew Brees (446), Eli Manning (450) and, most recently, Philip Rivers (401). Which brings to mind that the franchise record for most passing yards by an opposing quarterback is 486, set back in 1962 by Chicago’s Billy Wade.
Oh, if this all is not enough, the Broncos kicker, Matt Prater, has not missed a field-goal attempt yet (6 of 6) and their return specialist, Trindon Holiday, has just been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month, mostly for his 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and 81-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Beaten team walking?
Well, as a public service announcement, don’t try peddling any of this overwhelming evidence to these underdogs out here at The Ranch, an inherent danger to yourself yesterday, a danger today and even more dangerous come Sunday before the 3:25 p.m. kickoff that is being preceded this season with a little Texas Stadium old-school trumpet-playing of the national anthem.
“We ain’t scared of nobody,” a defiant Jason Hatcher said this week.
“I’m sick of hearing about Peyton Manning this and that and that,” said starting linebacker Ernie Sims of the Dallas Cowboys nickel defense Sunday, which might as well be called their base defense since the Broncos are expected to do exactly what Rivers and the Chargers did this past Sunday: Go three-wide, hurry-up.
Well, you wanted to know what the mood has been out here at The Ranch, didn’t ya?
Testy, for sure.
And that’s certainly a good thing. I mean, you don’t want this 2-2 team coming into a game like this, especially at home, meekly tiptoeing around, as if being led down a gangplank.
That’s why I am not one subscribing to this theory of playing some cozy, ball-control offense, as if the Cowboys should set up in some Carolina Four Corners from back in the day when shot clocks were an NBA thing.
Run the ball, absolutely, all you can – all you need to – but you can’t go into some offensive shell just to keep Manning off the field. You’ve got to go into offensive overdrive. You’ve got to score points. You’ve got to take some shots at the bow. Let your hair down and take some chances
Doggoneit, be aggressive, and same on defense. You can’t just sit back passively on defense, giving ground in fear of giving up a big play, betting Manning and this high-powered Broncos offense won’t execute like 12 plays to cover 80 yards. Ha, do so and you’ll be the one executed.
This all brings back to mind 1991, when the 6-5 Dallas Cowboys, losers of consecutive road games marching into Washington D.C. to play a third against the 11-0 Washington Redskins, who by the way were on their way to winning a Super Bowl title that season.
And just might have done so as the first 19-0 team had the overwhelming underdog Cowboys not kicked their headdress feathers, 24-21, that Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Did they come in playing conservatively, just trying not to lose?
Oh, contraire. On this day they were swashbuckling roughriders, then head coach Jimmy Johnson deciding before the game that they would not cower to a soul nor any Redskins.
Afterward, here is what Jimmy stated he said beforehand:
“I told the players, ‘Don’t ever hit a guy lightly. If you have a big ol’ gorilla in front of you, you don’t tap him on the shoulder.’ And I threw a punch at [guard] John Gesek, and I told them, “If I hit him lightly, I’ll get killed. I’d better take my best shot.’
“Teddy Roosevelt said one time, don’t ever hit lightly.”
OK, Jimmy had a master’s in psychology, not history, sort of twisting Roosevelt’s line about “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
But you get the idea, right? Don’t be taking a twig into a shootout.
That day the Cowboys went for it on fourth down three times. They eschewed a 51-yard field goal at the end of the first half for a “Hail Mary” into the end zone that Alvin Harper pulled in for a touchdown. They successfully executed an onside kick. And defensively, they did not sit back in fear of a Redskins offense that had scored 97 points the previous two weeks, coming with blitzes and stunts they had not shown the entire season.
Oh, and did I mention that even after Troy Aikman went down early in the third quarter with a sprained knee, offensive coordinator Norv Turner did not baby backup Steve Beuerlein, having him immediately firing aggressively down field, even without the services of injured tight end Jay Novacek and injured guard Nate Newton. They even had the audacity to attack Pro Bowl corner Darrell Green, wide receiver Michael Irvin burning his man-coverage with nine catches for 130 yards and a huge 22-yard scoring grab from Beuerlein to provide clinching separation late in the game.
And get this, Cowboys linebacker Jack Del Rio at the time, eerily now the Broncos defensive coordinator, said afterward, “I was just happy we didn’t go into a shell and play conservatively.
“We attacked, gave them everything we had.”
Shhhh, don’t tell Jack. Don’t remind him of the gorillas and the stick and the “best shots.”
And please don’t tell him “Hatch” has been doing a slow burn all week in continued defiance, insisting as he was stewing, “We’re not a pushover team at all. We’re definitely ready to play.”
So, almost time to sound that trumpet, sing the anthem and aggressively barge onto the AT&T Stadium field with them big sticks.
Don’t you think?
TWO SIDES OF THE FENCE: Tony Romo’s NFL legacy is still being written
On a picture-perfect Southern California afternoon, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo took a break from the daily grind of training camp to chase 16-month-old son Hawkins around the field.
A few days after Romo’s family left training camp, news broke that his wife, Candice, is expecting the couple’s second child after the season.
Five months ago, Romo signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension to make him the highest-paid Cowboys player in franchise history. In Jerry Jones’ office that day at Valley Ranch, a photographer captured Hawkins taking a pen out of the Cowboys owner’s hands, with Hawkins’ smiling parents holding him.
For Romo, it seems, life couldn’t get much better. He has it all: faith, family, football, fame and fortune.
But one dream has proved elusive for Romo: a Super Bowl.
He hasn’t even taken baby steps to approach the milestone. He has one playoff win in his 6 1/2 seasons as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback.
At 33, the oldest player in the Cowboys’ locker room, Romo knows he must strike quickly. He has never wanted it more, but not just for himself.
“When you’re young, you want to be the best, you want to be the starter, you want to do these things to get to that point to win a championship,” Romo said. “And when you’re older, you want all those same things, but you want it for a lot of other people as well, because you see all the people that have put so much into it and it really matters to them as well.
“That’s where I’m at. It’s not just for me. It’s about a lot of other people. I see it with the fans.”
Recent history says Romo isn’t likely to lead the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl win since the 1995 season.
Only one starting quarterback in the last 14 seasons has won the Super Bowl at 33 or older. That was 34-year-old Brad Johnson in 2003, but he was just a game manager for Tampa Bay’s defensively led team.
Romo isn’t paid to be a game manager.
Only 11 quarterbacks in NFL history have won a Super Bowl at 33 or older. One of those happens to be an unabashed Romo supporter: legendary Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.
When he was 35, Staubach led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win in 1978.
Thirty-five years later, Staubach believes Romo can do the same.
“If you’re in your 30s and you’re a quarterback, it’s not like other positions,” Staubach said. “He’s at the prime of his career right now.”
The Cowboys have gone all-in on Romo. They’re not only paying him as an elite quarterback, they’ve given him more say-so than ever in the offensive game plan.
In training camp, Romo often held teaching sessions with receivers and running backs. During the season, he’ll be in coaching meetings early in the week to help formulate game plans.
Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who spent 19 years as a quarterback in the NFL, said Romo has “always had input on things” but never to the point that he was side-by-side with coaches.
In fact, Wilson said he’s never been involved with a similar situation in his almost 35 years in the NFL as a player and coach.
Wilson said Romo always offered ideas, but now the process is streamlined.
“Any ideas that he’s had, they may show up later in the week,” Wilson said. “But now, with him in those meetings, he’s watching it with us and we’re talking about things. Maybe those ideas come earlier in the week and we get a chance to practice them.”
The Cowboys view Romo as a “young” 33 by NFL standards, because most starting quarterbacks his age have more mileage on their throwing arms. The Cowboys signed the undrafted Romo in 2003, but he didn’t attempt his first NFL pass until midway through the 2006 season.
“He started later and he takes real good care of himself,” Wilson said. “He plays the different sports in the off-season. He’s in great condition and he’s very instinctive, and those things will stay with you throughout your career.”
Sure, Romo’s arm is fine. But he’s withstood much abuse over the last six seasons — particularly the last three — because of the team’s poor offensive line play.
Romo didn’t participate in the Cowboys’ off-season workouts because he had back surgery to remove a cyst. Two years ago, he played a game with a broken rib and a punctured lung.
Soon to be 71, Jones has said he doesn’t have time to wait for the Cowboys to show improvement.
That also holds true for Romo. But for better or worse, Jones is committed to Romo, thanks to the quarterback’s new contract.
Romo is 1-6 in win-or-go-home games, and hasn’t been able to get it done in the regular-season finale the last two seasons in games that could have given the Cowboys the NFC East title.
For one of the league’s most talented quarterbacks, Romo is aware his legacy will ultimately be defined by his playoff success.
“It’s not fair, but that’s just the way it is,” Staubach said of how Romo will be judged. “I really feel it’s important to him. The most important thing for him is to win and to get to that playoff level where he can win some playoff games. But you can’t do it by yourself. It’s not a one-man game. It’s a team game. Dallas has a quarterback who can be a franchise quarterback. But you need other pieces, too.”
What will be Romo’s legacy? Will he be the next Staubach or Troy Aikman — who have combined for five Super Bowl wins — or will he fall woefully short?
Aikman has said Romo is a better quarterback than he was and believes Romo will lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win one day.
Pro Football Hall of Famers Aikman and Staubach believe in him. But time is running out on Romo to make believers out of his critics.
“This team is going to win a Super Bowl at some point. It’s going to be exciting when that time comes,” Romo said. “And when we look back, we know who was on what side of the fence during the tough moments.”
EVE OF THE ENSHRINEMENT: Gil Brandt’s 50 memories for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary
Gil Brandt has watched the Pro Football Hall of Fame grow with the game since it opened in 1963 — and he had an up-close-and-personal view in his capacity as a key member of the Dallas Cowboys’ front office. In honor of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, Gil offers 50 thoughts and memories about the Hall that he’s accumulated over the decades as a football lifer.
STANDOUT HALL OF FAMERS
1) The Hall of Fame is full of guys with great backgrounds, but one of my favorite personal stories belongs to Rayfield Wright (Class of 2006), who was, of course, a key cog on the Dallas Cowboys when I was with the team. At his enshrinement, he told the story of how he was ready to quit football before his Fort Valley State coach kind of turned him around, getting him to play safety and tight end — and then he ended up getting into the hall as an offensive lineman. Fittingly, he had his college coach introduce him at the Hall.
2) One of the first players I saw who I knew was going to get into the Hall someday was Forrest Gregg, the longtime Green Bay Packers offensive lineman who spent a season with the Cowboys at the end of his career. I saw him at SMU and then as a rookie. He probably played the offensive tackle position as well as anyone, period — as good as Johnny Unitas was at quarterback. Obviously, offensive tackles don’t get the attention quarterbacks get, but I thought Gregg was probably the best.
3) If I had to pick the best class, I’d have to say it was the first class, from 1963, just because of all the people in it: guys like Sammy Baugh, George Halas, Don Hutson, Curly Lambeau, John (Blood) McNally, Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe.
4) I also liked the Class of 1994, because it included two Cowboys, Tony Dorsett and Randy White, plus a third guy, Jackie Smith, who ended his career in Dallas. I liked that class a lot.
5) The Class of 2000 had really good players: Howie Long, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana and Dave Wilcox, plus Dan Rooney. Wilcox was one of those guys who fought for success the hard way after starting out at Boise Junior College.
6) Roger Staubach is one of the Hall of Famers who wowed me the most on the field, though of course he had plenty of chances to do so, given how much time I spent watching him. I also thought Deacon Jones and Ray Nitschke were special.
7) When it comes to the guys we can see on old film, one of the most impressive Hall of Famers is Arnie Weinmeister, who played defensive tackle for the New York and Brooklyn Yankees football teams in the 1940s before joining the New York Giants in the ’50s. He was just the toughest guy.
8) The best quarterback in the Hall is Roger Staubach. First of all, he came back to the game after being in the armed forces for five years, which is something, because historically, guys never came back from breaks like that without losing a step or two. Staubach was the catalyst for the Cowboys; he was a great leader, both on and off the field — even the guys on the other teams respected him greatly.
9) One of the best non-quarterbacks in the Hall has to be Eric Dickerson. He was a dominant guy; he was Adrian Peterson during a time when it was much harder to be Adrian Peterson, because we didn’t have things like motion or do things like split people out.
10) Also, of course, there was Jim Brown. What Jim Brown did was unbelievable, especially when you consider that offensive linemen had to block with their shoulders at the time.
11) Other standouts: Merlin Olsen, a 14-time Pro Bowler who was simply a dominant factor for his team, and Bob Lilly, who was light years ahead of his time. Lilly was bigger, faster and quicker than anybody you’ll ever see.
12) The most impactful coach/contributor in the Hall is George Halas. He helped form the league and run the league, and he dictated policy. Plus, he was a great coach for the Chicago Bears.
13) Ray Nitschke was one of the more influential players in the Hall in terms of being the leader at the luncheon on enshrinement weekend. I think it was his idea to have the luncheon on Friday. Deacon Jones took over that role from Nitschke. It will be interesting to see who takes up the mantle this year, now that Jones is gone.
14) Of course, I like to think that I have about 85 good friends in the Hall (because I think I know just about every guy in there), but one of my best friends is probably Green Bay Packers fullback Jim Taylor. I’ve known him a long time. You know, when you’ve competed against somebody and he’s beaten you twice for the right to go to the Super Bowl, he tends to stick out in your mind.
LIVING LEGEND: Danny White always seems to end up with the Dallas Cowboys (Special Feature)
The path Danny White took from Arizona State to becoming the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys made San Francisco’s Lombard Street look like a drag strip.
Selected in the third round of the 1974 NFL draft, the odds White would see much playing time under center as a rookie were lessened due to the presence of veteran quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Craig Morton.
If anyone ever needed a Plan B …
“It was just pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to be playing anytime soon. And then it kind of came down to money,” said White. “John Bassett, who was one of the founders of the World Football League and the owner of the Memphis team, called and basically offered twice what the Cowboys had offered. So between the money and the opportunity to play it just seemed like the best thing to do.”
After two seasons, the WFL closed shop, and White discovered he was still in Dallas’ plans as well as its Rolodex.
“The Cowboys immediately called after the league folded and basically doubled their offer,” White said. “I had the experience and Craig Morton had just been traded, so everything just kind of fit. It was almost like it was kind of meant to be.”
Eventually. After signing with Dallas in 1976, White took over the punting duties and watched Staubach from the sideline. Did he find it tough to be in No. 12’s shadow?
“By the time I had been backing him up for four years, it was getting difficult,” said White. “I had a meeting with Coach Landry and told him that I was to the point where I felt like I needed to play. I was six years out of college and if I wasn’t going to be playing there soon I wanted him to consider trading me.
“I loved being with the Cowboys, so I had mixed feelings about it. But I knew that my time was running out. I needed to start competing. Roger always made it seem like I was competing with him. To his credit, he’d always say things like, ‘I can’t let you get in a game or I’ll never get back in.’
“And he would compete. It wasn’t like he was just there and it was his job. He never took on that kind of an attitude. He treated me like a competitor, like an equal. He was a great mentor for me in that respect.”
Playing with the Cowboys for 13 seasons, White passed for 21,959 yards, 155 touchdowns and 132 interceptions, and was chosen for the Pro Bowl in 1982. He led Dallas to three consecutive NFC Championship Games [1980-82] and to the playoffs on two other occasions before retiring in 1989.
“My favorite memories were things that happened as a result of being a Dallas Cowboy with my teammates,” said White.
Video: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White catches a touchdown pass from Ron Springs in this Oct. 23, 1983, game against the Los Angeles Raiders at Texas Stadium
“As far as games go, that first season (as a starter in 1980) was a dream season for me. I inherited a great team and all the pieces were there. I remember thinking, ‘This is easy. It is like shooting fish in a barrel.’ Of course, that would change by the end of my career, but at least those first few years were.
Video: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White and the plays AFTER ‘The Catch’
“The Atlanta playoff game [1980: 30-27 win] was a great game. The 49ers game with ‘The Catch’ was a great game, too [1981: 28-27 loss]. It was just great being part of that. I wish we would have come back and won that. We should have, but it was still a great experience.”
Video: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White fake punt vs. Washington Redskins
“I would have to say the highlight of my career was being a Dallas Cowboy. Being a part of that era and playing for Tom Landry. Things like that you don’t appreciate until many years later. I look back on that now and realize how lucky I was to play for that team and that coach at that time.”
Following a successful career as a head coach, general manager and team president in the Arena Football League, White is set to begin his third season as the radio analyst for Dallas’ games on Compass Media Networks.
“They approached me and I kind of thought twice about it and said, ‘You know what? I haven’t been real close with the Cowboys mostly because I live in Phoenix and here’s a chance to kind of get back in the fold,’” White said. “I loved what Jerry Jones had done with the new stadium and everything that had happened, so why not? Let’s do it for a year and see what happens.
“And so I did and I just loved it. I love being back in the Cowboy family. I love working with [play-by-play announcer] Kevin Burkhardt and the Compass people, Michelle Salvatore, who is our producer. Everything just kind of clicked.”
Having played in 166 regular-season games with the Cowboys, White has an on-the-job advantage in the broadcast booth. It’s that he’s done the job on the field.
“Knowing what’s going on in a quarterback’s head can be a huge, huge advantage,” said White. “Everyone is so quick to say, ‘Well, the guy was open and the ball was thrown over his head.’ Just knowing, you say, ‘Wait a minute. Maybe there’s a reason that the ball was thrown over his head.’ And you go back and look and sure enough there was a defensive lineman right in his face as he throws the ball. He can’t follow through. There’s always more to the story.
“Everybody’s so quick to judge the quarterback. The quarterback isn’t good one day and bad the next day. There are reasons for it and I think more than anything else that one single advantage of having played quarterback just gives you a whole different perspective on the game. You can counter some of those lazy critics that just want to say, ‘The ball was overthrown,’ or whatever the obvious is on the field.”
White and his wife, Jo Lynn, make their home in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Ari. They have four children, Ryan, Geoff, Heather and Reed, and 13 grandchildren.
LEGACY OF AMERICA’S TEAM: Past and Present Dallas Cowboys add to the mystic
A grand ol’ back
Emmitt Smith owns almost every rushing record in the NFL. In his 15-year career, Smith had an NFL-record 11 consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards from 1991-2001. Smith accounts for nearly half of the Cowboys’ 23 1,000-yard seasons. Since he left Dallas in 2002, the Cowboys have had only one 1,000-yard rusher — Julius Jones in 2006.
Never forget 1995
In 1995, Michael Irvin had 1,603 receiving yards and Emmitt Smith rushed for 1,773 yards. They are the only running back-wide receiver combo to individually put up 1,600 yards in a single season. Both totals set franchise records that still stand today. In 1995, both Smith and Irvin had 11 100-yard games. Irvin’s total of 11 100-yard games mark set the single-season record for a receiver; it is a record that wasn’t matched until Calvin Johnson did so in 2012. The Cowboys finished the 1995 season with their fifth Super Bowl victory, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX
Pro Football Hall of Famer Roger Staubach led the NFL in passer rating (104.8) during his first full season as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback in 1971, a season in which the franchise captured its first Super Bowl with a 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins. Staubach was the MVP of Super Bowl VI. Staubach’s impressive passer rating in 1971 would have ranked third in the NFL last season behind only Aaron Rodgers (108.0) and Peyton Manning (105.8). The list of quarterbacks who have never had a passer rating that high includes Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Dan Fouts and Jim Kelly. The number is also tops for a single season in Cowboys history, meaning it is higher than any passer rating of Tony Romo or Troy Aikman’s career.
The longest yard
Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett has the only 99-yard run in NFL history. It came at the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 3, 1983 under some unique circumstances. First, it was on “Monday Night Football”, meaning much of the nation was watching. Second, the game was the final one of the entire strike-shortened 1982 season. Dorsett rushed for 153 yards in that game, but finished just short of the rushing title during the nine-game season with 745 yards, behind only Freeman McNeil and his 786 yards for the New York Jets.
TALKING TEXAS-2 DEFENSE: The versatility of DBs should be effective in new 4-3 scheme
The Cowboys have picked 20th overall four different times in club history, getting Marcus Spears in 2005, Ebenezer Ekuban in 1999, Billy Joe DuPree in 1973 and Dennis Homan in 1968.
IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.
Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.
With 19 days (July 20th) until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., one question centers on the versatility of defensive backs.
The versatility of DBs should be effective in new 4-3 scheme
Last year, we saw the Cowboys use a variety of defensive back rotations – some of which because of injury and other times to simply put players in effective spots.
Brandon Carr manned the cornerback spot most of the year, but he spent some time at safety early in the year after the Cowboys lost both Barry Church and Gerald Sensabaugh to injury.
Orlando Scandrick has played primarily slot corner, but has been used as a safety in certain packages. The Cowboys also signed Sterling Moore in midseason from the Patriots’ depth chart and he immediately helped at both safety and cornerback.
In this new 4-3 scheme from Monte Kiffin, the Cowboys might have to rely on their versatile players more than ever.
Looking back in Cowboys’ history, no player excelled at both cornerback and safety better than Mel Renfro. The 10-time Pro Bowler made it five times as a safety and five times as a corner – often going back and forth later in his career. If anyone came close to excelling like that, it would be Renfro’s teammates Cornell Green, who often swapped roles with Renfro on those early Doomsday Defenses.
Obviously it’s a stretch to assume the Cowboys will have any player on this roster, or any in the future, that can be as dominant as Mel Renfro, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
However, having versatility at any position is clutch, especially in the secondary. With the NFL becoming a more passing league by each year, having players with the ability to cover ground like a safety, coupled with the skills to cover in the slot is almost a lost art.
That trait alone might keep a player like Moore on the roster and actually get him activated on game day as well.
This team suffered many injuries last year so guys like Carr and Scandrick might be asked to play some safety in a pinch as well.
They don’t have to be all-world like Renfro or even Green, but just serviceable at another position can be beneficial.
A closer look at the number 20:
No player has ever worn No. 20 as long as Mel Renfro, who had it from 1964-77. Other notable players to wear No. 20 include Ron Springs, Ray Horton and Richie Anderson.
Currently, rookie B.W. Webb wears No. 20.
Roger Staubach’s 20 rushing touchdowns are the most by any Cowboys’ quarterback and ranks 11th all-time in Cowboys history.
Preston Pearson ranks 20th in Cowboys history with 1,207 rushing yards.
NFL LOST LEGEND: Sportscaster Pat Summerall (1930-2013)
Pat Summerall died Tuesday. He was 82.
That’s how Summerall, almost a decade ago, said he would craft the first sentences of his obituary — short and to the point.
The legendary sports broadcaster died in his hospital room at Zale Lipshy University Hospital, where he was recovering from surgery for a broken hip, a family friend said.
Summerall’s comment about his obituary was made at his Southlake home after a 2004 liver transplant that saved his life. He was serious.
Typical … succinct … vintage Summerall.
His minimalist staccato style coupled with a deep, authoritative voice was his trademark as the pre-eminent NFL voice for a generation of television viewers.
Summerall worked 16 Super Bowls in a network career that began at CBS in 1962 and ended at Fox in 2002.
FLASHBACK–COWBOYS VS. PACKERS: Brett Favre dreamed of playing for the Dallas Cowboys
Before capping the 1996 season by leading the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory, Brett Favre was 4-3 in playoff games. Not bad for a 26-year-old who at the time probably didn’t know he’d play another 15 NFL seasons.
The four wins came against the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and twice against the division rival Detroit Lions. The losses? Well, they all came at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. And all were played at Texas Stadium.
The Cowboys, who were favored by at least nine in each of those games, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, won 27-17 in 1994, 35-9 in 1995 and 38-27 in 1996.
“I remember what the biggest issue was, we couldn’t get past Dallas,” Favre said Friday before a SMU Athletic Forum luncheon at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. “Now, they were good. They were good. Each year we felt like we were gaining. But I always felt like, if we don’t get them at our place, we’re always going to be second fiddle.”
Favre completed 56 percent of his passes in those games, averaging 283 passing yards per contest and totaling five touchdowns and five interceptions.
The following season when Favre and the Packers went on to defeat the New England Patriots, 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI, the Cowboys lost to the Carolina Panthers, 26-17, in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Although some of his teammates wanted their Super Bowl run to go through Dallas, Favre admitted that he was rooting for the Panthers to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs.
“I was thinking, ‘Please, please, beat them.’ I just had enough,” Favre said. “Other guys were saying, ‘I want them again.’ I’d had them enough. That was the biggest issue, we just couldn’t get past Dallas.
“It’s just hard to stay on top. It’s hard to get to the top. What they did was really amazing.”
Following his 10 minutes with the media and some time to eat lunch, Favre sat down with the voice of the Cowboys, Brad Sham, to entertain the guests with stories of his career. While sitting center stage, Favre said although growing up in Kiln, Mississippi made him want to see the New Orleans Saints do well, their lack of success turned him into a Cowboys supporter.
“I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan. I loved Roger Staubach,” he said. “That was back when teams kept the same players on the roster for a long time. Drew Pearson, Randy White, Charlie Waters, Danny White, Robert Newhouse, Tony Dorsett, Billy Joe DuPree, I could go just on and on. I always dreamed of playing for the Cowboys, playing in the Super Bowl.”
Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, no doubt about it. But it’s unlikely that the Cowboys would’ve had more success in the 1990s with Favre than they did with Troy Aikman.
Now, how Favre could’ve helped the Cowboys from 2001 and beyond is a different story.
TRENCHED IN HISTORY: Dallas Cowboys Offensive linemen
Rayfield Wright, Fort Valley State
1967, seventh round (No. 182 overall)
Wright’s career as an offensive lineman landed him in the Hall of Fame. It’s an honor that would have been impossible to predict from his start.
The Cowboys bounced Wright between tight end, tackle and defensive end during his first three years in the league before establishing him at right tackle. Once there he became a fixture with six consecutive Pro Bowl selections. Wright was named All-Pro four times and earned a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1970s.
Larry Allen, Sonoma State
1994, second round (No. 46 overall)
He is the second Cowboys offensive lineman to earn a bust in Canton and will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year.
Allen is arguably the most dominant lineman of his era. His 10 Pro Bowl appearances with the Cowboys is the most of any offensive player in club history. Allen was named to the Pro Bowl as a right guard, a left tackle and a left guard, something no one else has done.
Honorable mention: Herb Scott (13th round, 1975), Mark Stepnoski (third round, 1989), Erick Williams (third round, 1991), Flozell Adams (second round, 1998).
Howard Richards, Missouri
1981, first round (No. 26 overall)
Until Tyron Smith with the ninth overall pick was selected in 2011, this was the last time the Cowboys have used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman. Richards was primarily a backup for five of his six seasons with the Cowboys. He started 16 games during a disappointing, injury-prone career.
Robert Shaw, Tennessee
1979, first round (No. 27 overall)
This is the first time the Cowboys used a first round pick on an offensive lineman. Shaw began his career backing up John Fitzgerald at center and showed promise. But two months deep into his third season, a season that saw the only three starts of his career, Shaw blew out his right knee in a loss to San Francisco. He tried to come back for 20 months but was never able to pass his physical and retired.
TODAY IN COWBOYS HISTORY: 1980 – Roger Staubach announces retirement
Roger Staubach, with his wife Marianne at his side, takes to the microphones at Texas Stadium Monday, March 31, to announce his retirement as quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. DMN file photo
ROGER HANGS ‘EM UP – March 31, 1980
Roger Staubach, the man who became the yardstick to measure the success of the Dallas Cowboys during the ’70s, announced his retirement from football Monday at one of the largest news conferences ever held in Dallas.
Roger and Marianne Staubach (backs to camera) are shown at Texas Stadium as he announces his retirement from football. DMN staff photo by John F. Rhodes
12 Roger Staubach
Good things come to those who wait, and certainly the Dallas Cowboys’ patience in the mid-60’s was supremely rewarded, landing one of the best players in franchise history because they were willing to wait for Roger Staubach to fulfill his military commitment.
For that five years of patience, the Cowboys landed the guy who became better know as “Roger The Dodger” over the next 11 years when he was selected to six Pro Bowls – including five consecutively – and was named the NFL Players Association Most Valuable Player in 1971. Staubach led the NFL in passing four times and was selected to the All-NFC team four times.
“He is one of the finest to ever play the game,” Green Bay Packers Quarterback Bart Starr once said of Staubach. “I think if I had some of that Staubach competitiveness, I’d have been much better.”
Staubach was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1964 from the Naval Academy, but did not join the team until 1969 due to his Navy commitment. Former president and general manager Tex Schramm signed Staubach to a futures contract in a hotel room in 1964, actually scribbling out the details on a legal-sized tablet that would have Staubach paid annually to participate in training camp practices when he had enough leave built up.
The 1963 Heisman Trophy winner showed up in Dallas as a 27-year-old rookie, but in those 11 seasons still managed carve out the franchise’s all-time leading quarterback rating of 83.42 and became a five-time NFL passing champion. But Staubach almost became better known for his scrambling ability, and to this day ranks eighth on the Cowboys’ all-time rushing list with 2,264 yards.
FIVE FINGER FAMELESS: Former Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Haley missed out on HOF again
Former Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley and his five Super Bowl rings belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He was denied again this year, largely because of the logjam of first-time eligible, shoo-in candidates like Larry Allen, Warren Sapp and Jonathan Ogden.
But with former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison and Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks as the only big name first-time candidates up next year, Haley, a four-time finalist, should finally get his gold jacket in 2014.
He finished his career with 100.5 career sacks, was a five-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro twice.
All that pales in comparison to being a key member of five title teams, two with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys.
As much as the Cowboys were about the Hall of Fame triplets on offense in Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, they didn’t sniff the Super Bowl and become champions until they made the trade with San Francisco for Haley.
He was the final piece to the Cowboys’ dynasty team of the 1990’s and very much deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame.
That should come next year.
COMING HOME: Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan
Even though Phil Dawson has become the face of the Browns as their longest-tenured player during the expansion era, he will always have a special place in his heart for his first love — the Dallas Cowboys.
Dawson, the Browns’ reliable kicker, grew up a die-hard football fan in Dallas. In the mid-to-late 1980s, Dawson’s father received Cowboys season tickets for a few years in exchange for his services as an accountant. The father-son duo attended virtually every home game when Dawson was in middle school. They were at legendary coach Tom Landry’s final game in 1988 at the old Texas Stadium.
“I can remember taking history books and having to do my homework and claiming I was doing it because I took my book with me,” Dawson said Wednesday after practice. “I have some very good memories. I learned the game of football from my dad and a lot of that was sitting there watching Cowboy games. He taught me a few things and helped me look at things and explain things. Those were some good memories.”
Dawson, 37, is eager for his homecoming Sunday, when the Browns (2-7) visit the Cowboys (4-5). It will be the Browns’ first appearance at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which opened in 2009, and Dawson hopes the retractable roof is closed so he can play in favorable kicking conditions. Since the Browns’ rebirth in 1999, the only time they have played the Cowboys on the road was in 2004.
“It’s fun to share it with family and friends and go back to my hometown,” said Dawson, whose wife, Shannon; sons, Dru and Beau; and daughter, Sophiann, live in Austin, Texas. “I know they’ll all enjoy it, which makes it special for me. But I’m going down on a work trip. I have plenty of time in the offseason to enjoy friends and family and the environment and the cuisine and the whole deal. But when I get off the airplane, it’s all business, and I’ve got a job to do.”
Dawson’s job this week has included playing the role of a ticket agent. He expects more than 30 friends and relatives to attend the game.
“[The list is] growing each and every day,” he said. “I’m about to close down the ticket office. I can’t afford many more.”
Dawson’s family has strong allegiances to the Cowboys. His son, Dru, is not an exception.
“My son, Dru, has a Cowboys room,” Dawson said. “His bedroom is blue, all the Fathead stuff all over the walls. He’s got the star [logo], the NFL emblem. He’s got the stadium. I don’t know if he has any of the players. He has the mural-type stuff all over the place. And then there’s obviously Browns helmets.”
The setting isn’t unlike that of the bedroom Dawson had as a youngster.
“I had a Doomsday Defense poster on my wall,” Dawson said. “I’m kind of dating myself. Obviously, my high school years were the dynasty with the three Super Bowls. I was pretty spoiled as a football fan.”
Dawson was a huge fan of special-teams standout and safety Bill Bates, who played for the Cowboys from 1983-96.
“I loved Bill Bates,” Dawson said. “I didn’t know I’d wind up being a special-teams guy, but I always kind of pulled for the underdog and he was an undrafted guy that was supposed to be too small and too slow but played forever down there, was just a special-teams ace and even when he got in on defense, he did a tremendous job. I’ve always pulled for guys like that.”
When Dawson was an offensive tackle and kicker for Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, he even tried to adopt the style of his favorite player.
“I can remember playing in high school and everyone wanting to look like Bill Bates — the neck roll and the gloves and the wrist bands and the towel, all that stuff,” Dawson said. “… Football is king down there. Unless you grow up in Houston, the rest of the state is Cowboys, and that’s all you did was follow the Cowboys.”
Dawson, of course, won’t be cheering for the Cowboys this weekend. He has made 23 consecutive field goals dating to last season and hopes to keep the streak alive at the expense of his hometown team.
“We’re off to a good start,” Dawson said of his streak. “I certainly don’t want to diminish that, but there’s still seven games to go. So I could screw this whole thing up pretty quick. I like where I am right now, but I’m only as good as my next kick, and the last thing I want to do is to go home to my hometown and poop the bed, so to speak.”
Courtesy: Nate Ulrich | Akron Beacon Journal
NFL FORGOTTEN RIVALRY–Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns (Special Feature)
These Cleveland Browns have never beaten the Dallas Cowboys. These Browns – the new Browns, founded in 1999 as a sequel to the historic original franchise. They are 0-2 against Dallas in the regular season heading into today’s important matchup.
The Paul Brown Browns, however, certainly had the Cowboys’ number over the years, beating up on the NFL newcomers for the majority of the 1960s in a series of matchups that bloomed into a classic rivalry, including three playoff games. After the league’s 1970 merger, when Cleveland moved to the AFC, the rivalry unfortunately faded into history, with the teams meeting only sparingly in the regular season until the late Art Modell relocated the club to Baltimore in 1996.
The Cowboys’ luck in their series with the Browns-Ravens lineage has taken a turn for the worse, of course, with Dallas having never beaten Baltimore in four tries, including the heartbreaker earlier this season and the woeful Week 16 matchup in 2008, when the Ravens turned out the lights on Texas Stadium with a 33-24 victory.
These things go in cycles, evidently. The original Browns whipped Tom Landry’s upstart team in each of their first four meetings, beginning with their first game, in Week 4 of the Cowboys’ expansion season, 1960. To that point, the team of undrafted rookies and castoffs from other clubs had acquitted itself fairly well against established NFL competition, having lost to the Steelers, Eagles and Redskins in consecutive weeks, but only by a combined 21 points.
The Browns welcomed the Cowboys into the NFL rather rudely, however, one gorgeous October afternoon at the Cotton Bowl, allegedly in front of 28,500 fans, though many reports suggest the stadium wasn’t nearly as full as the club claimed in those early days. Cleveland scored first on a 46-yard carry by future Hall of Fame runner and receiver Bobby Mitchell in the first quarter, before the great Jim Brown plowed in from five yards out in the second. Mitchell then jaunted 30 yards to make the score 21-0 as the floodgates opened, with the Browns returning an interception for a score before halftime, and Mitchell coasting 90 yards for another touchdown on the opening kickoff in the second half. The Browns led 48-0 before backup quarterback Don Heinrich tossed a garbage-time touchdown to Billy Howton.
It was a sign of things to come that season, as the Cowboys went on to post an 0-11-1 record, managing one tie, late in the season against the Giants, while falling by multiple scores in six of the seven losses to come following the trouncing by Cleveland.
The Browns would repeat the favor twice in 1961, as they joined the Cowboys, Steelers, Eagles, Giants, Redskins and St. Louis Cardinals in the newly formed Eastern Conference. That October, they knocked off a surprisingly 2-0 Dallas team, 25-7, at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, and in December helped eviscerate any hopes of a playoff berth for the Cowboys by beating them 38-17 in Fair Park, in the second of four straight Cowboys losses that sunk their record to 4-9-1.
The Browns won a 19-10 decision over Dallas at home in the teams’ first meeting in 1962, but the second matchup was a different story, seen as something of a pivot point game for the Cowboys franchise and their young quarterback, Don Meredith. Dallas had jumped out to a fine start to the season again, sitting 4-3-1 on the year before losing five of their last six. The lone exception came on Dec. 2, when they tanned the Browns, 45-21, at the Cotton Bowl, in arguably the best performance of the club in its existence to that point.
“You writers and the football public here don’t realize what a fine team you have here in Dallas,” Paul Brown, an admirer of Landry’s, told the assembled media after the game. “You folks just don’t seem to realize this team can give you a championship. They outplayed us all the way … they deserved to win. I congratulate Tom for a fine job.
“Dallas was an inspired team. They’d never beaten us and it had to come sometime, and they did it to us good today.”
The Browns had traded Cowboys-killer Mitchell to Washington the previous offseason (he scored on a 92-yard kickoff return against the Cowboys in his first game with the Redskins) and Dallas managed to hold Jim Brown to only 29 yards on eight carries. Meanwhile, Cowboys running backs Don Perkins and Amos Marsh combined for 209 yards on the ground, while Meredith was 10-of-12 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns, keeping Cleveland’s defense off balance all day.
Meredith had been struggling in previous games, and hadn’t yet wrestled full-time duties away from veteran Eddie LeBaron, but the fine day against Cleveland was a prelude of what was to come in his career.
“Meredith certainly had better results today,” Landry said after the game he called the Cowboys’ “best showing against a good team at home.”
Still, that impressive day remained the exception rather than the rule in the early years of the series. The Cowboys continued to muddle along in mediocrity while the Browns remained among the NFL’s elite. Cleveland won the next seven games in the series, not to mention an NFL Championship in 1964, while the Cowboys didn’t even experience their first winning season until 1966.
Once Jim Brown retired after the 1965 season, the series turned a bit. Dallas won a measure of confidence that year with a 26-14 home win over a good Browns squad on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys’ debut on the holiday, in what would become an annual tradition. By 1967, the ghosts of Cleveland’s domination had been fully exorcised, or so it would seem. The Cowboys beat Cleveland twice that year, including a 52-14 destruction of the Browns in the Eastern Championship Game, the first playoff win in the club’s eight-year history.
A week later, on New Year’s Eve, the Cowboys lost to Green Bay on a last second Bart Starr sneak in the NFL Championship, the game better known as the Ice Bowl. It was the beginning of the Cowboys’ “Next Year’s Champions” era, though the unwanted legacy was only furthered by playoff slip-ups against … Cleveland.
After beating the Browns convincingly in their run to a 12-2 record in 1968, the heavily favored Cowboys fell to the Browns in the Eastern Championship Game.
“A whole year shot in two-and-a-half hours,” Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm surmised afterward.
It turned out to be the last game of Meredith’s career and a rather disgraced ending. He completed only three of nine passes, connecting with the Browns as often as his own receivers. Meredith’s interceptions led to 17 Cleveland points, and he eventually gave way to Craig Morton under a deafening swarm of boos, the Cotton Bowl crowd en masse deciding their team could never win with Dandy Don, despite the fact he’d posted his best season yet in 1968.
“We needed a psychological lift,” Landry said following the loss. “Morton was the only thing I had that I could use. I took Meredith out not so much for what he was doing, but to try to shake them up. … I hated to take him out. In my opinion, he wasn’t wholly responsible. I don’t know what he will do (in the offseason). I can’t speak for him, but you can bet he feels worse than anybody right now about this game.
“I wouldn’t say (we) got whipped physically – it was more mentally than physically.”
With Meredith retiring after the season, Morton accepted the offensive reins, but his luck against the Browns and in the playoffs was no better. He threw three picks in a 42-10 Week 7 drubbing at Cleveland in 1969, one of just two Cowboys losses in the regular season. Yet again, Dallas was favored in an Eastern Championship matchup with the Browns, and yet again they came up short. Way short.
The Browns jumped out to a 24-0 lead at the Cotton Bowl, and put the finishing touches on the game when Walt Sumner returned a Morton interception 88 yards for a fourth quarter score. Roger Staubach took over for Morton, but the lead was too far out of reach even for “Captain Comeback,” and the Browns advanced with a 38-14 victory.
“We’re not choke-ups,” receiver Bob Hayes said after the game. “There were 40 guys out there and every one of them played his heart out. … I don’t know what happened. Nobody does. It’s a mystery to all of us. We were ready.
“I looked over to our bench and I could see shoulders sag. Guys who had been eager and jumping to get into the game seemed to be saying, ‘Oh no, here we go again. You play hard to get to this game – the playoffs – and you either have it or you don’t have it. We didn’t have it. Why? It’s a mystery to me. We’ve been pointing to this particular game since last September. It’s one we knew we had to win. We have to win a big one to shake off this image. Some day we’re going to do it.”
The Browns had played a huge role in the Cowboys’ earning of the “Next Year’s Champions” moniker. Cleveland had dominated the all-time series to that point, with 14 wins against only five losses, but Dallas has gotten the best of Browns since, winning seven of the 10 matchups between the clubs. None of the games was bigger than 1970, the Browns’ first year in the AFC, when chance pitted the teams in a late season battle once again. The Cowboys had opened the season 5-4, and needed a serious winning streak late in the season to earn a playoff spot. On a muddy, near-freezing day at Municipal Stadium, Dallas triumphed 6-2, the product of two Mike Clark field goals and an excellent day for Landry’s defense, which shut down the Browns running game and recorded four takeaways.
When the Cleveland franchise was reformed in 1999 – four years after the original club moved to Baltimore – their first preseason outing was against the Cowboys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. It would prove to be a remarkable night, not only for the Browns’ rebirth, but also as the rare preseason contest that reached overtime, something coaches typically try their best to avoid.
Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, Don Meredith and Bob Hayes had given way to the likes of Karim Abdul-Jabbar at running back and Tim Couch at quarterback for the Browns, with backups such as Ryan Neufeld and Singor Mobley playing big roles for the Cowboys by the end, when Cleveland’s Phil Dawson decided the game with a field goal.
“It’s good to see the Dawg Pound back in the NFL,” Troy Aikman said afterward, welcoming the return of the new, old Browns, three years after their apparent demise, and some 30 years since they last played the Cowboys for something truly meaningful.
The teams had certainly played bigger contests, but the history behind the preseason opener made it at least noteworthy, just like today’s game, echoes of an all-but-forgotten rivalry.
Photo: Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Don Meredith, Craig Morton, and Danny White
Blog hint: With nearly every photograph on The Boys Are Back blog, you can get additional information by hovering over the photo with your cursor. Many times, if you’ll click on the photo you’ll see a larger image.
First photo: Amos Marsh Jr. (jersey #31), Full Back/Return Specialist, 1961-1964
Amos Marsh Jr. was signed as a rookie undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 1961, because they were impressed by his speed. Back then his nicknames were "Moose" and "Forward Marsh".
He started his career as a wide receiver and special teams player. In 1962 to take advantage of his size and speed, he was moved to fullback, playing alongside Don Perkins where he became one of the league top 10 rushers with 802 yards and a 5.6 yards average per carry. That year he also set the franchise record for the longest kickoff return with 101 yards, a record that was broken by Alexander Wright 29 years later in 1991. The play came against the Philadelphia Eagles, when the Cowboys became the first NFL team in history to produce two 100-yard plays in the same game: a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown by strong safety Mike Gaechter and the 101 yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Marsh.
Marsh’s production regressed during the following years, leading the Cowboys to trade him to the Detroit Lions in 1965 after the team acquired fullback J.D. Smith
Courtesy: Dallas Star magazine | Cleveland Plain Dealer archives | NFL | Dallas Cowboys
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DALLAS STAR WATCH: Trent Richardson hopes idol Emmitt Smith will be in Dallas
Photo: Trent Richardson named SEC Player of the Week
BEREA, OHIO — Trent Richardson attended the same high school as Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. The talented rookie also owned a No. 22 Cowboys jersey with Smith’s name on it.
Photo: Trent Richardson, talking with high school students
On Sunday afternoon, Richardson hopes to play in front of his idol for the first time as a professional when the Browns travel to Dallas.
“I’m one of Emmitt’s biggest fans, so it would mean a lot to me if he’s at the game,” Richardson said Wednesday following practice. “He’s someone who I’ve gotten to know pretty well and he’s a great man.
“We talk probably two or three times a month, and the thing I appreciate the most is he’ll be straight with you. He’ll tell me exactly how I’ve been doing and what I need to do to get better.”
Smith regularly attends Cowboys home games and resides in North Texas, but team officials couldn’t guarantee his attendance this weekend. The Pensacola Escambia High graduate is completing on the all-star edition of “Dancing With The Stars,” which airs live from Hollywood each Monday.
Not surprisingly, Richardson said he is tuning in each week to watch Smith strut his stuff in the ballroom.
“Definitely, he got moves, man,” the third overall draft pick said, laughing. “He’s a champion in all phases; dancing, playing football, everything.”
Smith still sits atop the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 18,355 yards (eight years after his retirement), while Richardson leads Cleveland with 575 yards through nine games this season.
Though Richardson is quick to say he hasn’t earned the right to be compared to his mentor, it’s worth noting that he is on pace to eclipse Smith’s rookie rushing total of 937 yards with Dallas in 1990.
“He’s the person I wanted to be like the most when I was growing up,” Richardson said. “I watched him all the time, just like I go back and watch tapes of Walter Payton and Jim Brown.
“How can you be a great running back if you don’t watch tapes of guys like that to learn from?”
Photo: Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith – NFL’s all-time leading rusher
Richardson added that his ailing ribs feel much better after the Browns’ bye week, but he still isn’t close to 100 percent healthy. The 5-foot-9, 230-pounder suffered torn cartilage during Cleveland’s Oct. 14 victory over Cincinnati.
“He says he’s healthier, but I haven’t like punched him in the ribs or anything to check,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur joked. “But he’s going to be out there practicing and said he feels good. That’s a positive sign for our team.”
Courtesy: Brian Dulik | Chronicle-Telegram (Ohio)
Editors Comment: It should be noted that while Emmitt Smith is his idol and mentor, Cleveland’s stud running back Trent Richardson sports a jersey of another famous Dallas Cowboy … Tony Dorsett.
DREAM TEAM: Charlie Peprah finally plays for his favorite team
IRVING, Texas — Growing up in Plano, Texas, Charlie Peprah was a Dallas Cowboys fan. Emmitt Smith is the reason he’s playing football now.
So when Peprah walked into the Cowboys locker room this week after signing a contract, the safety was living the dream.
"I love the Cowboys," Peprah said. "Once I was employed by the Packers, they became the enemy and I could care less about them, other than that, that was my squad. That’s the reason why I started playing football was Emmitt Smith. That’s why I wore 22 in high school. To be here is cool to become full circle. I would love to finish my career here, it would be great. Just something you thought wouldn’t actually happen, but I’m glad it did."
After graduating from Plano East High School, Peprah went to Alabama and played in 50 games. In 2005, he was a second-team All SEC selection at defensive back. He was a fifth-round pick of the New York Giants but didn’t make the roster and signed with the Green Bay Packers. He played with the Packers from 2006 to 2008 and then spent one season, 2009, with the Atlanta Falcons. But in 2010 and 2011 he returned to the Packers and earned a Super Bowl ring.
In the offseason, Peprah underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and his recovery took a while. He turned down opportunities to sign with several teams, including the New York Giants, and he took physicals for the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears.
But nearly two weeks ago, a healthy Peprah worked out with 14 other players at Valley Ranch. The Cowboys said of the defensive backs that worked out, he was the best.
This week, the Cowboys made the move official.
"I mean that’s the business and once (the surgery) happened, my main focus was to get healthy before I throw myself out there," he said. "That was the hardest thing for me is to not bite on some of the opportunities that were out there coming my way."
Peprah will see limited work on special teams and certain defensive packages to give Danny McCray a break.
"I’m trying to learn the defense and contribute in any way I can," he said. "The goal for me is obviously be a starter, but who knows what plans they have for me."
SPORTS MEDIA FAMILY NEWS: Longtime Dallas Cowboys beat writer Frank Luksa passes away
When Frank Luksa wrote, folks read.
When Luksa spoke, folks listened.
Luksa was a long-time member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. Having covered the Cowboys from the 1960s, he was the perfect Dallas representative on the panel, having seen all the players and coaches in franchise history.
Mel Renfro was one of the best Luksa had seen. A second-round pick in 1964, Renfro went on to become both a Pro Bowl cornerback and safety, intercepting a franchise-record 52 passes. He went to 10 Pro Bowls and three Super Bowls.
Renfro was a Pro Football Hall of Famer if Luksa had ever seen one. Renfro retired after the 1977 season, then waited the mandatory five years before becoming eligible for induction in 1983.
But his wait lasted 10 more years before Renfro become a finalist for the first time in 1993. But the committee passed him over that year – and also in 1994 and 1995.
So in his fourth Renfro presentation to the committee in 1996, Luksa voiced his frustration.
“If you’re not going to do it for Mel, do it for me,” Luksa told the committee. “I’ve got to get this thing over with. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and you’re making me look bad. People are wondering why I can’t get him in.”
The committee voted Renfro into the Hall of Fame that day.
Luksa’s words were powerful, both those spoken and in print. His words will be missed.
One of Luksa’s two daughters, Elise Daniel, said her father died peacefully at a Plano rehabilitation center. Luksa had triple heart-bypass surgery in August, Daniel said, and had been in and out of medical facilities since then.
Luksa had long and distinguished careers at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News. He retired from The News in 2004.
Luksa was a longtime voter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which, in 1992, bestowed Luksa with the Dick McCann Memorial Award. The award is annually presented by the Pro Football Writers of America in recognition of long and distinguished reporting in the field of pro football.
During the week of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, Luksa, Pat Summerall and Dan Jenkins were presented with the Blackie Sherrod Award for their long and distinguished careers in North Texas covering pro football.
Elise Daniel said that a memorial service for her father has been set for 2 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church in Dallas, on 1928 Ross Avenue. Luksa is survived by his wife, Henrietta, daughters Elise Daniel and Laura McMillin, and five grandchildren.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs inspires 2012 Dallas Cowboys (Bonus: Throwback photos)
PHOTO: Jan. 22, 1983 – Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, center, is in the crush with members of his team after they beat the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship at RFK Stadium
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – With their season hovering on the brink, the Dallas Cowboys turned to inspiration from former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said coach Jason Garrett invited the team’s former rival coach to speak to his players for the chapel service at the team hotel Saturday night in Charlotte before their game against the Carolina Panthers.
It must have helped because the Cowboys won 19-14 on Sunday.
Gibbs lives in Charlotte and owns a stock car racing team, Joe Gibbs Racing located just north of the city in Huntersville, N.C.
“He was saying to us that when they called him and asked him to speak he was like, `Are you crazy?’ knowing what that rivalry was like,” Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor said with a laugh.
Connor said Gibbs talked about “battling through adversity,” something the Cowboys (3-3) needed to do on Sunday against Carolina.
Dallas overcame a 14-13 deficit in the fourth quarter to break a two-game losing streak.
“He was talking about different situations he’s been in and how he fought through them,” Connor said. “He said when you’re in a situation you think it’s the worst thing ever, but when you have to have faith in God and push through it. That was the message. He was unbelievable.”
Jones said he and his players have “immense respect” for Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls with the Redskins. Jones said he even consulted with Gibbs when he was looking to hire a coach to replace Barry Switzer.
Gibbs’s message came after Garrett was criticized for poor clock management last week in Dallas’ 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
“He came into chapel, and talked about some of his low times,” Jones said. “He spoke about some of the coaching errors. He wasn’t directing it to the team at all, relative to our criticism this week of our sideline coaching decisions, but he talked a little about a couple that bit him.
“The players told me that when they hear Joe Gibbs talk about a few bad decisions, they know anybody can make them.”
Nov. 28, 1974 – Cowboys rookie QB Clint Longley leaves Texas Stadium with game ball after bomb to wide receiver Drew Pearson in final seconds of game with Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins throwback game – Superman closing in.
Nov. 16, 1969 – President Richard Nixon watching Washington Redskins play Dallas Cowboys RFK. Charles Bud Wilkinson, presidential assistant and former coach, at left.
Oct. 2, 1978 – President Jimmy Carter waves as he watches Redskins and Cowboys in Washington. Seated beside his wife Rosalynn and Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams
Dec. 16, 1979 – Fullback John Riggins is slowed down near the Dallas goal line by Cowboys cornerback Benny Barnes, left, and linebacker Bob Breunig
REDSKIN HASBEEN: Joe Theismann takes a shot at Tony Romo
IRVING, Texas — Joe Theismann is among the most hated opponents for Dallas Cowboys fans for his years as the quarterback of the Washington Redskins. A new generation of fansmight add Theismann to the most-hated list after his comments about Tony Romo to a radio show Tuesday.
“Sooner or later we have to come to the realization Tony isn’t a very good quarterback,” Theismann said on the Brady & Lang show (Canada) on Sportsnet 590 The Fan (link below).
Romo tied his career high with five interceptions in Monday’s loss to Chicago.
Theismann had four four-interceptions games in his career and his only five-pick game came in the 1985 season opener during a 44-14 loss to the Cowboys.
“What hit me (Monday night) is, Tony isn’t really that good,” Theismann said. “Just because he wears a star on his helmet, we all think that people who are Dallas Cowboys, ‘Ooh they’re wonderful,’ and ‘Ooh they’re terrific, ooh they’re the next Roger Staubach’ or whatever the heck they want to say. They’re full of bologna. Tony makes bad decisions with the football. And I’ll tell you something else; he missed two wide open touchdowns last night that nobody’s talking about. Forget about the five interceptions. He misses Miles Austin and Dez Bryant with easy touchdown throws, and he airmails the ball over their heads.
“You can say, ‘Well, everybody has a bad game.’ Tony has too many bad games. Tony Romo is not a very good quarterback. Somebody has to say it so I just did. He should be a lot better or the reputation he’s carried should have him play a lot better.”
Romo has the fourth-best passer rating in NFL history at 95.9 behind Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young and Tom Brady. He entered the season at No. 2 but he has fallen with his poor start to this season.
Romo’s 78.5 passer rating this season is higher than Theismann’s for a career (77.4). Different eras of the game with different rules are a big reason why but Theismann had 160 touchdowns and 138 interceptions in his career to go with 25,206 yards.
Romo has 154 touchdowns and 80 picks with 21,982 yards passing.
The Cowboys quarterback wasn’t Theismann’s only target. He took on owner and general manager Jerry Jones, too.
“It took him five years too long to change the offensive line, which isn’t very good,” Theismann said. “It took him three years too long to change his secondary. He’ll do the same thing again. This is what happens when you’re not a football guy. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is the owner holding back this football team with football decisions?’ And I think yes.
“I think you have a couple issues in Dallas. No. 1, I think you have a team, they think they’re pretty good. They’re not. No. 2, their quarterback thinks he’s pretty good. He’s really not. No. 3, their owner is their general manager and he doesn’t make good decisions from a personnel standpoint.”
Theismann later apologized to Jones for his criticism of the Cowboys owner in an interview on ESPN (clip below) but just slightly upgraded his opinion of Romo, calling him an average quarterback.
“I guess my expectation of Tony is really high,” Theismann told ESPN, “and right now he’s average.”
Click HERE to listen to EPSN’s lame follow-up interview with Joe Theismann.
DIRECT VIDEO LINK: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8456779 (Updated 10/04/12)
SOURCE: Brady and Lang in the Morning – 8am
A’s clinch playoff berth, Jays’ voice Buck Martinez, and NFL Network analyst Joe Theismann.
Listen now | Right-click to download
MILESTONES: Achieved during Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears game
Here are the notes compiled after tonight’s game:
Jason Witten (112 yards) and Dez Bryant (105) each topped 100 receiving yards to mark the first time the Cowboys had a pair of100-yard receivers in a game since Miles Austin (143) and Witten (102) did it at San Francisco (9/18/11).
Miles Austin’s 57 yards tonight gave him 3,594 for his career to pass Billy Joe DuPree (3,565), Jay Novacek (3,576) and Terrell Owens (3,587) for eighth in club record books.
Austin’s touchdown catch gave him his 31st career scoring reception to tie Lance Rentzel for ninth in Cowboys history.
Cole Beasley had his first career reception tonight, finishing with two for 14 yards.
Josh Brent notched his first career sack tonight.
Dez Bryant’s eight receptions tonight gave him 129 for his career to pass Pettis Norman, Alvin Harper (124 each) and Eric Bjornson (127) and tie Dan Reeves for 33rd in franchise history.
Bryant totaled 105 receiving yards tonight to give him 1,758 yards for his career to pass Pettis Norman (1,672) and Dan Reeves (1,693) for 31st in club history.
Bryant’s 105-yard performance was his second career 100-yard game and a career-high. His first was at the N.Y. Giants (11/14/10) when he finished with 104 yards.
Victor Butler recovered his second career fumble following the force by DeMarcus Ware’s sack.
Andre Holmes had caught his first career pass tonight for seven yards.
Danny McCray made the first start of his career, filling in at safety after Barry Church was placed on Reserve/Injured (Achilles) last week.
Brian Moorman made his Cowboys debut, punting in place of Chris Jones (knee). Moorman punted three times for a 37.0 average, a 34.3 net and two downed inside the Bears 20.
DeMarco Murray rushed 11 times tonight to give him 237 career rushing attempts. He passed Chris Warren (217) and Daryl Johnston (232) for 25th in Dallas record books.
Murray rushed for 24 yards tonight to up his career rushing yards total to 1,134 and pass Doug Dennison (1,112) for 22nd in franchise history.
Kyle Orton made his Cowboys debut tonight in the fourth quarter and completed nine-of-10 passes for 89 yards with a touchdown.
Tony Romo’s touchdown toss tonight was his 154th career touchdown throw. He broke a tie with Roger Staubach for sole possession of third place on the Dallas Cowboys all-time touchdown pass list.
Romo finished the game with 307 passing yards, to up his club record of 300-yard passing games to 33.
Romo also suffered five interceptions tonight to tie his career high previously established at Buffalo (10/8/07).
Phillip Tanner had his first career catch tonight and finished with two grabs for 20 yards.
DeMarcus Ware had a sack tonight in which he forced his 30th career fumble to extend his club record. His last three sacks (two from last week) have each resulted in a forced fumble.
Ware now has three forced fumbles on the season, his sixth career season with three-or-more forced fumbles which ties the fifth-highest figure by a defender in league history.
Jason Witten finished with 13 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown tonight. His 112 yards tied the ninth-most receiving yards in a game in his career while his 13 receptions were the third-most in his career, tied the third-most by a Cowboys pass catcher in franchise history – Lance Rentzel (vs. Washington, 11/19/67) and tied the eighth-most by a tight end in a single game in NFL history.
Witten’s Single-Game Receptions
15………… at Detroit (12/9/07)
14………… at N.Y. Giants (12/6/09)
13………… vs. Chicago (10/1/12)
Witten’s 100-yard outing upped his Cowboys tight end record of 100-yard games to 15.
Witten’s touchdown reception tonight was his 42nd career scoring grab and his first since his 59-yard score at Washington (11/20/11). His 42 touchdown catches broke a tie with Billy Joe DuPree for sole possession of sixth on the club’s all-time touchdown receptions list.
WHITE IN SIGHT: Tony Romo continues to move up in the Dallas Cowboys record books
The best number Tony Romo can reach this week is 3. We all know that. We all know the top priority will be for Romo to lead his team a victory, put this team at 3-1 heading into the bye week.
For those who care about nothing else, the rest of this won’t matter much in the short term.
But Tony Romo is quietly moving up the charts on the Cowboys’ all-time passing charts.
With one good performance here Monday night against the Bears, Romo has a chance to surpass Danny White in three prominent passing categories.
Romo currently ranks fourth on the Cowboys’ list in passing yards with 21,675. He’s just 284 yards away from White’s mark of 21,959.
He’s third in franchise history in completions with 1,742 and needs just 20 to pass White (1,761) for second place.
Romo is tied for third with Roger Staubach for third most passing touchdowns at 153, just two behind White at 155.
So against the Bears, if Romo can complete 20 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns, not only would be quite a performance and one that would likely lead the team to a victory, he’d move into second place in completions, second in touchdowns and third in passing yards.
Troy Aikman is the Cowboys’ leader in those categories with 2,898 completions for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns.
Romo has a good chance to surpass Aikman for the most touchdown passes in franchise history later this season, currently trailing by only 12.
BIG D FLEX IS BACK: Brandon Carr’s position move not without Dallas Cowboys precedence
The Dallas Cowboys’ use of $50.1 million cornerback Brandon Carr as a nickel safety against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week was born out of necessity.
With free safety Gerald Sensabaugh sidelined with a calf strain, the Cowboys felt Carr had the best combination of size and athleticism among the cornerbacks to make the move and help the team. That Carr was willing to move showed his team-oriented attitude, which is another reason why the Cowboys were excited to add him as a free agent from Kansas City in the off-season.
"Brandon embraced this," coach Jason Garrett said. "He saw how he could help our football team absorb an injury."
Sensabaugh should be back for the Chicago Bears game on Monday. But with strong safety Barry Church out for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon, Carr might be called on again to help out at safety. The Cowboys have yet to make a final decision.
Either way, Carr joins an elite list of Cowboys whose greatness was founded or enhanced by their in-game and in-career position flex and versatility.
S/CB/KR Mel Renfro
The epitome of versatility. Renfro was a two-time All-America running back in college at Oregon who moved to defense after being drafted by the Cowboys in 1964. He made the Pro Bowl at safety in each of his first six seasons then moved to cornerback and made four consecutive Pro Bowls, making him arguably the best safety/cornerback in NFL history. He led the NFL as rookie in kick and punt returns and had seven interceptions. He is still the team leader with 52 career interceptions, including 30 during his first six years at cornerback. His 26.4-yard career kickoff return average is also a club record. In the 1971 Pro Bowl, Renfro started at cornerback and returned two punts for touchdowns, earning Most Valuable Player honors in the NFC’s 27-6 victory.
S/CB Darren Woodson
An undersized linebacker in college, Woodson moved to safety after being drafted by the Cowboys. He proved to be a hard-hitting strong safety who had the range of a free safety and the coverage ability of a cornerback. He is the team’s all-time leading tackler and a five-time Pro Bowler, arguably the Cowboys best safety and best special teams player. It was the Cowboys’ use of him as a nickel cornerback covering slot receivers on passing downs that really stands out. Playing close to the line allowed him to support the run, pressure the quarterback as well as cover receivers such as Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in the slot. It made him the most versatile safety in the league but hurt his overall numbers, as he was unable to pile up interceptions.
OG/OT Larry Allen
There has never been any questioning Larry Allen’s greatness and dominance as an offensive lineman. He is a member of the NFL All-Decade team of the 1990s and 2000s. He made 11 trips to the Pro Bowl in 14 seasons in the NFL. A career guard, Allen started at left tackle in 1998 and made the Pro Bowl. He is one of three players in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl at two line positions. Allen played right guard, right tackle, left guard and left tackle during his career. It was in 1997 when Allen helped invent a new position for the Cowboys, the nickel tackle. George Hegamin replaced injured Mark Tuinei at left tackle midway through the season. He was a good run blocker, but weak pass blocker. For a two-game stretch, the Cowboys moved Allen from guard to left tackle on passing downs to protect Troy Aikman’s blindside. He did it so well, he became the full-time starter there for the final four games of the season.
CB/WR/KR Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders is the ultimate Mr. Versatile. A former football, baseball and track standout at Florida State, he joined Bo Jackson as the most decorated modern-day, two-sport professional when he played in the NFL and Major League Baseball at the same time. In 1998, he became the first player to hit a home run and score a touchdown in the same week. He is also the only player to play in a Super Bowl and in the World Series. His versatility in football was always evident during his Hall of Fame career because of his shutdown play at cornerback and game-changing play as a returner. He joined the Cowboys in 1995 for a then-record $13 million signing bonus for the chance to win back-to-back Super Bowls and the opportunity to play receiver on offense. In helping the Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX, Sanders started at cornerback, returned a punt and caught a 47-yard pass to set up the first touchdown. He went on to make eight starts at receiver in 1996 because of injuries, as well as play at cornerback, catching 36 passes for 475 yards, ranking second on the team in receiving yards.