Tag Archives: NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame

SHAME BY THE FAME: Former Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Haley worthy of Pro Football Hall of Fame induction

SHAME BY THE FAME - Former Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Haley worthy of Pro Football Hall of Fame induction - The Boys Are Back 2014

NEW YORK — Peyton Manning’s legacy is a recurring theme in the buildup to this Super Bowl. If the quarterback stands victorious Sunday evening, if he helps lead his second franchise to a title …

Well, then he’ll be only three rings behind Charles Haley.

The night before Denver and Seattle take the field, the Hall of Fame will announce its class of 2014. Haley is a finalist for the fifth time.

Two of those rings came as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. The final three came as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys.

Receiver Michael Irvin and quarterback Troy Aikman played with Haley on those Super Bowl teams. Both have busts in Canton.

They believe it’s time for Haley to join them.

“I think Charles should be in,” Irvin said. “We’re willing to give Peyton Manning credit, so much credit, if he wins this game because we’re going to say he led two different teams to Super Bowl championships. He deserves the credit.

“But we won’t give Charles Haley any of that credit? He led two different teams to Super Bowls, but we won’t give him any kind of credit?”

Haley was part of 10 division championship teams in his 12 years in the NFL. He played in six NFC Championship Games in a span of seven seasons. He was voted to the NFL Pro Bowl five times, was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice and finished his career with 100 1/2 sacks.

Credit isn’t the issue. No one can discredit those numbers. What Haley lacks is the historical affirmation only the Hall of Fame can provide.

Irvin is no stranger to off-the-field issues. Those didn’t prevent him from enshrinement in his third year as a finalist.

But Irvin can’t help but wonder if Haley’s well-documented troubles have worked against him in the committee’s discussions. Haley’s abusive behavior during his playing days won few friends in the media.

Aikman has the same questions.

“I don’t like the process,” said the quarterback who joined the Hall in 2006 in his first year of eligibility. “I don’t like the way that it’s done.

“I do believe he should be in the Hall of Fame. I’ve said that. I’m biased because I watched him every weekend. I’m amazed that he’s not in the Hall of Fame.

“I’m sorry, but if him being rude to some writers or not being accommodating to those in the media keeps him from being in the Hall of Fame, then I really disagree with the process, because that’s not what this is about. I don’t know what happens, but I know he was largely responsible for a big amount of the success that we had during those years.”

Former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson is curious as to why Haley has yet to be enshrined.

“I’ve said many, many times that Charles Haley should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago,” Johnson said. “No offense to any of the players in there, but I coached and coached against a lot of the players that are in the Hall of Fame, and Charles Haley is better than them.

“Again, I don’t know the rhyme or reason by some of the voting.”

Aikman, Irvin and Johnson hope someone is listening to them when it comes to Haley.

“A man that holds as many rings as digits on a hand,” Irvin said, “he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley a finalist for the fifth time

PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME - Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley a finalist for the fifth time - Dallas Cowboys living legend

IRVING, Texas – Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley is once again one of the finalists for the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Haley, a finalist for the fifth time, joins four first-year eligible nominees among the 15 modern-era finalists to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the selection committee meets in New York City on Feb. 1.

If Haley made it this year, he’d be the 15th Cowboys player to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Troy Aikman, Larry Allen, Tony Dorsett, Bob Hayes, Michael Irvin, Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Deion Sanders, Tex Schramm, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, Randy White, and Rayfield Wright.

Haley played 12 seasons and in 169 games and is the only player in NFL history to play on five Super Bowl winning teams between his time in Dallas and San Francisco.

He began his career as a linebacker in San Francisco, where he recorded four double-digit sack seasons. He’d later get traded to the Cowboys, where he’d record two more double-digit sack seasons in 1994 and 1995 as a defensive end.  Haley finished his career with 100.5 total sacks, getting named to five Pro Bowls and garnering two All-Pro selections.

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, who was a semifinalist this year and won two Super Bowl titles during his time in Dallas, didn’t make the list of finalists.

The 15 modern-era finalists will be the only ones considered for Hall of Fame election when the 46-member selection committee meets. A finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent to be elected.

To be eligible for election, players and coaches must have last played or coached more than five seasons ago. Derrick Brooks, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and Walter Jones are the four first-year eligible nominees. Haley and Kevin Greene have both been eligible for 10 years.

All the finalists were determined by a vote of the selection committee from a list of 126 nominees, which was reduced to a list of 25 semifinalists. In addition, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, leaving 15 modern-era and two senior nominees among the full list of finalists.

Here’s a list of all the finalists:

    Morten Andersen, Kicker

    Jerome Bettis, Running Back

    Derrick Brooks, Linebacker

    Tim Brown, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner

    Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner

    Tony Dungy, Coach

    Kevin Greene, Linebacker/Defensive End

    *Ray Guy, Punter

    Charles Haley, Defensive End/Linebacker

    Marvin Harrison, Wide Receiver

    *Claude Humphrey, Defensive End

    Walter Jones, Tackle

    John Lynch, Free Safety

    Andre Reed, Wide Receiver

    Will Shields, Guard

    Michael Strahan, Defensive End

    Aeneas Williams, Cornerback/Safety

    NFL HALL OF FAME: Dallas Cowboys Larry Allen enshrinement just days away

    nfl pro football hall of fame in canton - 2013 inductees - Larry Allen - the boys are back blog

    Seven new legends were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans, La. The group – Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson, and Warren Sapp – will be formally inducted during a memorable Enshrinement Ceremony at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 3.

    LARRY ALLEN Guard/Tackle … 6-3, 325 … Sonoma State, Butte Junior College (CA) … 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys, 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers … 14 seasons, 203 games … Selected by Cowboys in 2nd round (46th player overall) of 1994 draft

     

    Cowboys Seahawks Football

    Versatile, played every position on offensive line except center during 12 seasons with Dallas … Led way in second season for Emmitt Smith who set Cowboys’ franchise record with 1,773 yards … Started at right guard in two NFC championship games and Super Bowl XXX victory … Named NFL Alumni’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1997 and the NFL Players Association NFC Lineman of the Year twice (1996-97) … Named first-team All-Pro seven straight years … First-team All-NFC six times, second-team once … Moved to tackle late in 1997 and entire 1998 season, earned All-Pro honors at position … Signed as free agent with San Francisco in 1996 … First season with 49ers led way for Frank Gore who set team single-season rushing record (1,695 yards) … Elected to 11 Pro Bowls … Named to NFL All-Decade Teams of 1990s and 2000s … Born November 27, 1971 in Los Angeles, California.

     

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    SONOMA STATE OF MIND

    Allen played for four high schools and then Butte College for two years. He then sat out a year before playing at Division II Sonoma State in California. Allen caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys, who selected him in the second-round of the 1994 NFL Draft.

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    CLUB RECORD

    Allen set a club record with 10 starts during his rookie season. He even admirably filled in for the injured Erik Williams in the 1994 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco as Allen himself played on a hurt ankle for most of the game.

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    PRO BOWLER

    Larry Allen earned the first of seven consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl in 1995. He was one of four Cowboys’ offensive linemen to be selected to the Pro Bowl for the season.

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    SUPER BOWL XXX

    Larry Allen helped the Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX. It was the first Super Bowl ring for Allen, but the third for the 1990s Cowboys and fifth in club history.

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    UNSTOPPABLE

    Larry Allen broke his right hand during 2000 training camp, but he played every game that season for the Dallas Cowboys to earn a sixth-consecutive Pro Bowl spot.

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    PLAYOFF CONTENDER

    Larry Allen missed most of the 2002 season with injuries that required surgery. He returned in 2003 to earn his eighth Pro Bowl nomination, and he helped lead the Cowboys to the playoffs.

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    ALL-DECADE

    Allen played his final two seasons with the 49ers and again continued to pile up Pro Bowl nominations. He would be selected to 11 Pro Bowls and was a member of the All-Decade Teams of the 1990s and 2000s.

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    INTO THE SUNSET

    Larry Allen signed a one-day contract with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, so he could retire with the team that drafted him.

    ANALYST’S INSIGHT: Stephen Jones helped Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells help each other

    ANALYST’S INSIGHT - Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells helped each other - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

    IRVING, Texas — If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Nick Eatman’s interview with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, you need to find time to do so.

    The piece was well written and points out the relationship that Parcells had with Jerry and Stephen Jones during his time as the head coach of the Cowboys. I thought his answers were honest and truthful but more importantly, accurate about his feelings toward the Joneses.

    Bill Parcells was not an easy man to work for, but neither was Tom Coughlin, and I respected what they accomplished in their years in the NFL. Parcells was unique because he always had a plan in mind.

    If you remember those teams under Dave Campo, we had no plan nor did we have any direction. During his seasons in Dallas, Parcells gave us both. Sure there were times he was stubborn and his ego got in the way, but it was honestly for the betterment of the team.

    I have always said that one of Jerry Jones’ greatest traits was his ability to listen, but you can also say that it’s one of his greatest faults. Parcells had Jones’ ear, but in turn, Parcells was the same with Jones.

    What Parcells did better than anyone I had ever worked with is that he understood how to play the game. Parcells was a master at getting what he wanted but he also knew that getting what he wanted also came with a price.

    In my time with both of these gentlemen, it was always interesting to see that dynamic at work. There was a huge amount of give and take between these two, and both of them went to work each day with that understanding.

    If there was a buffer between Parcells and Jerry Jones, it was Stephen Jones. I have always called Stephen the voice of reason, who is a clear thinker and always has the big picture in mind. Parcells showed a great deal of respect for Stephen, and, when he became frustrated with Jerry, would knock on Stephen’s door and voice his views.

    ANALYST’S INSIGHT - Stephen Jones helped Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells help each other - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 (2)

    Stephen had a way of calming Parcells down and working through the issues with him. Stephen was also able to take Parcells’ ideas to Jerry and explain them in a way that would help him understand where he was coming from. Stephen was outstanding for both parties and the reason why many things were accomplished between Bill and Jerry.

    Parcells was absolutely correct in his assessment of Jones as an owner. He is willing to do everything in his power to give the head coach the opportunity to win. In my time with them both, it was rare that Parcells didn’t get the players he wanted. 

    Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells helped each other - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

    Huge free agency dollars were spent on guys like Marco Rivera, Anthony Henry, Jason Ferguson — all Parcells players. Money was spent on Ryan Young, who was broken down but Parcells wanted to sign.

    Terry Glenn, Ritchie Anderson, Drew Bledsoe and Vinny Testaverde were all players brought in by Parcells. I remember the previous year in 2004, during free agency, when Parcells didn’t want to sign anyone because there was no value there to be signed, although Jones was willing to spend the money. We were coming off a playoff season but Parcells wanted to stand pat, and Jones granted the wishes of his coach. 

    In looking back during those years Parcells was here, Jerry Jones made the right decision in hiring a big-time coach but more so, he hired a man who brought us creditability. 

    Jerry Jones helped Bill Parcells and Parcells did the same for Jones. It wasn’t always easy but it was truly necessary at the time. There were so many that believed this partnership would have never worked but to both men’s credit, it did. It’s nice to see that the respect still remains throughout the years.

    Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

    INDUCTEE’S INSIGHT: Bill Parcells says Dallas Cowboys are "lucky" to have Jerry Jones

    dallas cowboys owner jerry jones, stephen jones, and bill parcells - the boys are back blog

    In his 25 years as Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones has hired seven head coaches. One becomes a Hall of Famer next month.

    Bill Parcells spent four years with the Cowboys and still speaks fondly of Jones despite the differences they had, among them the signing of Terrell Owens.

    “He’s a straightforward, honest guy,” Parcells said of Jones during a conference call about his induction into Canton. “He really is. That’s all I look for. He was very supportive of me as a coach. Now were there things going on that occasionally I didn’t like? Yeah, there were, but that didn’t inhibit me from going to him, talking things out. He’s really great about that.”

    The Cowboys have won three Super Bowls since Jones took over ownership in 1989, but their last championship season was in 1995. The Cowboys were 34-30 with Parcells as their coach from 2003-06 with two first-round playoff losses.

    But Parcells’ tenure helped usher in Cowboys Stadium as Arlington voters approved a tax increase in 2004 to pay the city’s $325 million share of the billion-dollar project. The stadium opened in 2009 to rave reviews.

    Parcells defends Jones, citing the owner’s passion for winning.

    “I have a high regard for him,” Parcells said. “He has a tremendous amount of passion for the franchise, and I think the people are lucky to have him, lucky to have him as an owner, because [owners are] not all the same. I can tell you that. Having a guy like that and what he tries to do on a yearly basis there is great.”

    flashback 2006 - tony romo's first start as dallas cowboys qb - bill parcells - the boys are back blog

    Parcells, 71, was 65 when he resigned as Cowboys coach after a heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks in 2006 when Tony Romo’s botched hold denied Martin Gramatica a chance for a 19-yard, go-ahead field goal with 1:14 remaining. The Cowboys went 13-3 the next season under Wade Phillips but were upset by the Giants in a divisional playoff game.

    Parcells, though, doesn’t look back with any regret on leaving when he did. He never returned to the sideline, though he was executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins from 2008-10.

    “I was at a different age,” Parcells said of leaving the Cowboys. “To me, I’m trying to win the championship, and when you lose like we lost that game, and I’m down the road coaching-wise and age-wise and quite frankly energy-wise at that time, I think about all the things that you’ve got to do just to get back to where you were at that moment, and sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming. I just decided, you know what, that’s enough, and I’m getting off the field, and this time I stayed off the field. I still like football I still watch it and with interest and all those things.”

    FIGHTING HIS OWN BATTLE: Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg suffering from Parkinson’s disease, won’t sue NFL

    Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg is pictured during an interview Greenwood Village, Colo. Gregg is raising awareness for Parkinson's disease 18 months after his diagnosis - The Boys Are Back blog

    GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg says that while he and his neurologist blame concussions for his Parkinson’s disease, he’s not going to sue the NFL like thousands of other former players.

    The 79-year-old says he doesn’t begrudge those who have joined the lawsuits but he has his pensions from his playing and coaching days and “I don’t need anything from anybody but what I earned.”

    He said he’s an “independent type” and doesn’t believe in holding others accountable for his well-being.

    “And my experience in the National Football League was good,” said Gregg, who is promoting UCB, Inc.’s “Parkinson’s More Than Motion” campaign during Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

    Gregg said he’s doing well 18 months after his diagnosis and credits medicine, exercise and daily phone calls from his son and former teammates to reminisce about the good ol’ days, which keeps his mind sharp.

    The former offensive lineman known as “Iron Man” said he wants to help others recognize the signs of Parkinson’s and seek treatment early enough to delay the degenerative effects of the chronic, debilitating disease on both mind and body.

    When Gregg was diagnosed, his neurologist, Dr. Rajeev Kumar, a Parkinson’s expert and medical director of the Colorado Neurological Institute’s Movement Disorders Center in Denver, said the many concussions Gregg suffered during his playing days may have served as a trigger for Parkinson’s.

    Dallas Cowboys Forrest Gregg - The Boys Are Back blog

    More than two dozen Hall of Famers are among the 4,200 former players who contend the league misled them about the harmful effects of concussions.

    In recent years, scores of former NFL players and other concussed athletes have been diagnosed after their deaths with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, including popular Pro Bowler Junior Seau and lead plaintiff Ray Easterling. Both committed suicide last year.

    About one-third of the league’s 12,000 former players have joined the litigation since Easterling filed suit in 2011. Some are battling dementia, depression or Alzheimer’s disease, and fault the league for rushing them back on the field after concussions. Others are worried about future problems and want their health monitored.

    “I have been asked to join these lawsuits and my gut feeling, first thought is no,” Gregg said. “I’ve always been an independent type, I never believed in somebody else being responsible for my life and for my well-being.”

    Gregg praised the NFL for its crackdown on illegal hits and enhanced protocol on concussions and said he applauds Roger Goodell for saying his top priority as commissioner is reducing head trauma in the game even though it’s changing the sport that he played and coached.

    At the owners meetings last month, the NFL barred ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make forcible contact with a defender in the open field and also eliminated the peel-back block everywhere on the field.

    The game looks different from the one Gregg played from 1956-71 with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys and later coached, but Gregg said he doesn’t mind that.

    “Anything that can be done to help in that respect, in that regard, I think is good, any time you prevent an injury by changing the rules,” Gregg said. “I know it’s not easy because these players are going to have to relearn how to play the game.

    “Right now if I was coaching defensive linemen, it would be a hard matter for me to tell my linemen where to tackle the quarterback. If you tackle him above the shoulders, you hit him in the head and that’s a penalty. You tackle him below the hips, that’s illegal. Or if you have a hold of him and you slam him down to the ground, that’s illegal. So, what’s left? Maybe his belt buckle, that’s about it,” Gregg said.

    “And I don’t say that’s wrong, because anything that can prevent injuries to ball players is good.”

    Gregg said he was taught in high school in the 1950s that “the helmet was part of the weaponry.”

    “My high school coach said if they try to run you over, you give them some plastic,” he recalled. “That was just the game, it really was. Nobody thought anything about getting hurt.”

    Gregg sustained so many concussions he lost count, although he recalls one time he was so dazed he sat on the other team’s bench and when he came to with an ice pack on his neck, players on the other team told him he’d been “gone for a while.”

    Gregg said he would still have chosen to play the sport even if he’d known there would be a price to pay later in life, however.

    A guard and tackle, Gregg is one of three NFL players to win a-half dozen NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls with the Packers. Gregg finished his career with another Super Bowl title with the Cowboys in 1971. He went on to coach the Bengals, Browns and Packers.

    There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but a combination of drugs, exercise and physical therapy can delay the effects of the disease that strikes more than 50,000 Americans every year.

    Gregg said he first went to the doctor when he noticed his left hand trembling in 2011. Although his motor symptoms began to show up over the year or two before that, Gregg’s wife, Barbara, said he began acting out his dreams about 15 years ago. Kumar said this phenomenon, known as REM sleep behavior disorder, was a possible early warning sign of Parkinson’s.

    One time he dreamed he was trying to strangle a snake and his wife had to sock him to get him to let go of her wrist. Another time he dreamt he was back blocking for Bart Starr and knocked her out of their bed.

    Sleep problems, memory loss and fatigue are some of the possible symptoms of Parkinson’s along with the typical motor aspects such as slowness or tremors.

    The Greggs are sharing their story through a reality-style video series that is part of “Parkinson’s More than Motion” Facebook community and follows the couple as they cope with the disease and its treatment.

    “I’ll tell you what, it’s emotional. You have to fight getting down,” Gregg said. “And I’ve been on the physical regimen. In fact, I think I was working out too much. I forget I was 79 instead of 39. And so I had to back off a little bit and now I don’t worry if I miss a day working out. The main thing is to continue to work out, try to keep a good attitude.”

    FIVE GAME PRESEASON: Jerry Jones excited about Cowboys being in Hall of Fame game, early camp

    The Dallas Cowboys got their wish and will play in the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game on August 4 in Canton, Ohio, against the Miami Dolphins.

    Cowboys guard Larry Allen is being inducted this year along with former coach Bill Parcells clearing the way for a Cowboys-themed weekend. Allen played for the Cowboys from 1994-2005. Parcells coached the team from 2003-2006.

    The Cowboys last played in the Hall of Fame Game in 2010 when Emmitt Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will present Allen, a first-ballot selection in this year’s class. Jones was also Smith’s presenter.

    Being in the game means the Cowboys will play five preseason games and will this have an earlier start to training camp. The Cowboys plan to report to camp in Oxnard, Calif. July 19 with first practice set for July 21.

    Jones and coach Jason Garrett also wanted the game so they could have the extra practice time as they transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense under new coordinator Monte Kiffin.

    “We will start camp early,” Jones said. “Excited, because we’re going to go to Canton. Jason’s excited, we’re excited. … we’ve known the possibility for two or three weeks.”

    Why do you want to do it other than you’re there presenting?

    “Well that’s a reason, I’d like the free ride to Canton,” Jones “Always nice to have one you can be going anyway. But the other thing is I like the extra game. I like the extra game, the fifth game, I like the extra practice.”

    And because you’re going to 4-3?

    “Just in general. But that’s also good reasoning,” Jones allowed. “The more practice we can get here, the better off we are.”

    THROWBACK GAMES: Dallas Cowboys past trips to Canton

    nfl pro football hall of fame - fifty years - the boys are back blog
    1968 – Chicago Bears 30, Dallas Cowboys 24

    Aug. 3, 1968 – This was a game of big plays. Five out of the seven touchdowns scored came from 47 yards or longer. The scoring began right from the opening kickoff. The Cowboys were forced to retry that kickoff due to a penalty. Cecil Turner then fielded the retake and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown.
    Dallas responded midway through the second quarter when quarterback Don Meredith connected with Hall of Fame wide receiver
    Bob Hayes on a 68-yard touchdown catch and run. Following a second TD throw from Meredith to Lance Rentzel, Turner struck again when he caught a 74-yard touchdown reception from Jack Concannon to tie the game 14-14.
    Dallas then took the lead on a field goal, before Hall of Famer
    Gale Sayers grabbed a short pass from Larry Rakestraw and ran it 47 yards for the score and the lead. Chicago added to their margin with a 32-yard field goal near the end of the third period.
    The Cowboys tied the game at 24 on a 15-yard TD pass from Craig Morton to Rentzel at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The game’s final score came with 6:13 left when Dallas punted the ball away and Chicago’s return man Willie Dearion found a seam up the right sideline and returned it 62 yards for the game winning score.

    1979 – Oakland Raiders 20, Dallas Cowboys 13

    July 28, 1979 – The 1979 Hall of Fame game featured four Hall of Fame players on each of the sidelines. The Cowboys lineup included Tony Dorsett, Roger Staubach, Randy White and Rayfield Wright and was coached by another future Hall of Famer in Tom Landry. Meanwhile, the Raiders had Dave Casper, Ted Hendricks, Art Shell and Gene Upshaw on their roster.
    Oakland scored the first 10 points of the game on a one-yard run from running back Art Whittington and a 27-yard field goal by Errol Mann in the first quarter. Dallas got on to the scoreboard in the second quarter with a one-yard plunge by Staubach, but the point after attempt was no good.
    Following another field goal by Mann, the Raiders went up 13-6 and as the Cowboys attempted to cut into the deficit before halftime their field goal was blocked by Charles Philyaw and recovered and returned 63 yards for a touchdown by Henry Williams to put the Raiders in front, 20-6. Dallas tacked on a touchdown in the fourth quarter with just over 6 minutes remaining to make it interesting down the stretch. With 25 seconds left the Cowboys had three shots to tie the game from the Raiders 30-yard-line. The final pass from Danny White to Drew Hill fell incomplete in the end zone as time expired.

    1999 – Cleveland Browns 20, Dallas Cowboys 17 (OT)

    1999 Hall of Fame game – Cleveland Browns 20, Dallas Cowboys 17 OT - The Boys Are Back blogAug. 9, 1999 – After a three-season hiatus, the Cleveland Browns franchise was back in the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game provided a great stage for fans to welcome them back. Extra seating was brought into Fawcett Stadium to accommodate the record crowd.
    The fans got their money’s worth as the game needed an overtime period to decide the contest. It remains the only sudden death contest in Hall of Fame Game history.
    The game’s first score came early when Terry Kirby plunged in from one yard out to put the Browns up 7-0. The Cowboys knotted up the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter when quarterback Jason Garrett connected with MarTay Jenkins on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
    Cleveland struck next and claimed the lead 14-7 with a Tim Couch to Kevin Johnson 24-yard touchdown pass. Dallas responded by scoring 10 points in the last 4 minutes of the first half to take the lead 17-14 into halftime.
    Browns kicker Phil Dawson booted a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter to tie the game at 17-17. Both offenses struggled to move the ball in the fourth quarter and with five seconds remaining the Browns tried to win the game in regulation with a 46-yard field goal attempt. But, backup kicker Danny Kight missed wide right and the game was sent to overtime.
    The Browns got great field position in the extra period after Daylon McCutcheon intercepted Mike Quinn at the Dallas 49-yard-line. Following a 20-yard pass interference penalty and a few runs up the middle, the Browns sealed the victory with a 20-yard field goal by Dawson at the 8:06 mark of the extra quarter.  

    2010 – Dallas Cowboys 16, Cincinnati Bengals 7

    Aug. 8, 2010 – Through the first three quarters of the game the only points on the scoreboard came from three David Buehler field goals (20, 34, 23 yards). With Dallas leading in the fourth quarter 9-0, they essentially shut the door on any comeback chance for the Bengals when linebacker Brandon Williams stepped in front of a Jordan Palmer pass and returned it 6 yards for a touchdown.
    Cincinnati would tack on seven points with 51 seconds remaining in the game after Jordan Shipley returned a punt 63 yards to the Dallas two-yard line. From their Palmer hit Darius Hill for the score.
    The big story coming out of this game was the play of both teams’ defenses. Both the Cowboys and Bengals harassed each other’s quarterbacks throughout the evening. Dallas defense racked up four sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and the pick-six.
    Cincinnati amassed five sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. 

    2013 NFL HALL OF FAME GAME: Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys to meet in Canton

    Dallas Cowboys OL Larry Allen - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

    We still aren’t sure what teams will open up the NFL regular season, but we know how the preseason will start now.

    The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys will play in this year’s Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on August 4 at 8 p.m. ET. The Cowboys organization will be on hand the day before to see one of their great players, guard Larry Allen, get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    The Dolphins also have a connection to this Hall of Fame class: Bill Parcells finished his career as Executive Vice President of Football Operations. (Parcells also coached the Cowboys to the playoffs in Tony Romo’s first season as a starter.)

    Dolphins coach Joe Philbin spoke about the game on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” on Tuesday.

    “We have 11 draft picks, we have a young football team, so I think this will be a good opportunity for us to get a little more game experience for some of our guys, get a chance to evaluate our rookies one extra time in a game atmosphere.

    “It’s a privilege, it’s an honor for our organization to take part in the festivities surrounding the 50thanniversary of the Hall of Fame Game,” Philbin said.

    The game will be the first chance to see Mike Wallace and all the other Miami signings as the Dolphins play in Miami’s new uniform for the first time. (The new uniform and logo will be unveiled officially on April 18.)

    Playing in the Hall of Fame Game means that the Cowboys and Dolphins will play five preseason games in 2013, instead of the usual four. They will also be allowed to start training camp early.

    HALL OF FAME DUEL: Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins

    NFL 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony - The Boys Are Back blog

    The Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins will kick off the 2013 preseason in the NFL/Hall of Fame Game. Tickets to the 2013 edition of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The nationally televised NFL preseason classic is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. EDT kickoff at Fawcett Stadium on Sunday, August 4th and will be broadcast by NBC.

    The Cowboys return to Canton for the fifth time. Dallas holds a 1-3 record in the Hall of Fame series. Their last appearance came in 2010 with a 16-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. That game was preceded by an overtime loss, the only sudden death occurrence in Hall of Fame Game history, to the Cleveland Browns in 1999. Dallas’ two other appearances were against the Oakland Raiders in 1979 and the Chicago Bears in 1968.

    This year’s contest marks the Dolphins’ fourth journey to Canton. Miami is 0-3 in previous visits. Miami suffered losses in the Hall of Fame Game to the Bears in 2005, St. Louis Rams in 2001, and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978.

    The game will be played just one day after the newest class of enshrinees is formally inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 3. Three of the seven members of the Class of 2013 have ties to the participating teams.

    Guard Larry Allen is the 14th longtime member of the Cowboys franchise to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He starred for the team from 1994 to 2005 during which time he was named All-Pro seven times. Bill Parcells finished his Hall of Fame coaching career with four seasons in Dallas from 2003-06. He also spent time in the Dolphins front office after his coaching career as the club’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations from 2007-2010. Wide receiver Cris Carter closed out his playing career with the Dolphins in 2002.

    Joining Allen, Carter, and Parcells in the Class of 2013 are defensive tackles Curley Culp and Warren Sapp, tackle Jonathan Ogden, and linebacker Dave Robinson.

    The demand for tickets for this year’s NFL/Hall of Fame Game is expected to be substantially higher than previous years. This year’s game will serve not only as the culminating event of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, but as an exclamation point for the Hall of Fame’s 50th Anniversary Golden Reunion Celebration. More than 120 previously elected members of the Hall of Fame are expected to be in Canton to celebrate the Hall of Fame’s 50th Anniversary. It will be the largest gathering of Hall of Famers in one place at the same time.

    In addition to recognizing the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 during the game, plans are being formulated to also recognize many of the returning Hall of Fame members.

    DALLAS COWBOYS 2013 NFL DRAFT: Alabama’s Chance Warmack can see himself with Dallas Cowboys

    Chance Warmack - Alabama - participates in an offensive line drill during 2013 NFL Combine - Joe Robbins of Getty Images - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

    With two draft analysts aligning Chance Warmack with the Cowboys and their pick at No. 18 overall, it makes sense to look for connections between the 6-2, 317-pound guard from Alabama and the Dallas franchise.

    As was discovered in a talk Thursday with Fitzsimmons & Durrett on ESPN-FM 103.3 in Dallas, he’s happy to think of himself with the Cowboys, even though he’s not keeping up with what the mock drafts are saying.

    “I’m actually headed over there to Dallas in early April,” Warmack said. “We’re talking about America’s Team, you know? They have a lot of history. My favorite player actually played for the Dallas Cowboys. Larry Allen played for the Dallas Cowboys. So much tradition, just like Alabama in itself, on a pro level.”

    When asked his thoughts on the current team, he seemed at ease.

    “Excellent athletes, excellent program.” Warmack said. “The owner is great, he takes care of his players. The GM is great. The coaches are great so it’s a wonderful place to be at.”

    Can he walk in the footsteps of the Cowboys’ great linemen? If that includes Larry Allen, it would be just another step in a career patterned after the three-time Super Bowl winner.

    “He is one of the greatest, man,” Warmack said of Allen. “He’ll be inducted in the Hall of Fame in August. He’s on another level of playing the position, and I always try to seek the great players that play the same position I play. How can you not pay attention to a guy so exceptional? He’s a freak of nature. He gets it done all the time. It’s hard to pass up watching a guy like that.”

    RELATED:  Chance Warmack to visit the Dallas Cowboys

    NFL teams are allowed 30 visits from prospective draft picks.

    The Dallas Cowboys are still finalizing their list, but according to a source, the team has scheduled a visit for Alabama guard Chance Warmack.

    ESPN NFL Draft expert, Mel Kiper projects Warmack to go to the Cowboys at No. 18 overall.

    At Alabama’s Pro Day, Warmack didn’t lift, but based on reports, did a good job during positions drills.

    “I’m athletic and trying to show what I can bring to the table if anybody wants to draft me,” Warmack said in quotes released by Alabama. “I’m really excited to just get on a team and get started with football, but just to show what I can do and show what my strengths are.”

    Adding Warmack upgrades the Cowboys interior which struggled in 2012. Currently, the starters at guard are Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau and the center is Phil Costa.

    There are several guards along with Warmack who are seeing their stock rise in the draft as a result of Pro Day and combine workouts.

    “I’m really not paying attention to the stock thing so much as just trying to improve myself as a player,” Warmack said. “I didn’t get a chance to do much at the combine, so I wanted to prove to myself that I could do the drills here, and that’s what I did. I’m happy I did it.”

    RELATED COVERAGE: TOP OFFENSIVE LINE PROSPECTS: Dallas Cowboys 2013 NFL Draft ranking worksheet

    PLAYER

    POS

    HT

    WT

    COLLEGE

    GRADE

    Warmack, Chance

    OG

    6’2″

    317

    Alabama

    95.9

    Joeckel, Luke

    OT

    6’6″

    306

    Texas A&M

    94.3

    Fisher, Eric

    OT

    6’7″

    306

    Central Michigan

    93.3

    Johnson, Lane

    OT

    6’6″

    303

    Oklahoma

    92.9

    Warford, Larry

    OG

    6’3″

    332

    Kentucky

    88.3

    Cooper, Jonathan

    OG

    6’2″

    311

    North Carolina

    86.9

    Fluker, D.J.

    OT

    6’5″

    339

    Alabama

    85.5

    Watson, Menelik

    OT

    6’5″

    310

    Florida St.

    85.0

    Armstead, Terron

    OT

    6’5″

    306

    Arkansas-Pine Bluff

    84.0

    Thomas, Dallas

    OT

    6’5″

    300

    Tennessee

    82.7

    The Boys Are Back Top Ten offensive line prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft. Click HERE to see the full list.

    NFL PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Projecting the finalists for the Class of 2013 (Special Feature)

    NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame - Fifty Years - The Boys Are Back blog

    The race to the postseason presses on, with some teams vying for playoff spots while others deal with the walking wounded and the disappointment only a lost season can bring.

    That’s the basis of the NFL — competition. So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to celebrating the all-time greats of the game, a certain level of competition exists before determining just who those "greats," or, as it were, Hall of Famers, are. This competition doesn’t take place on the playing field; rather, it’s a game of survival of the fittest in the Hall of Fame voters’ hearts and minds. Who will make the cut?

    Well, much as with the playoffs, there’s an elimination process. A giant initial list is reduced to 25 (plus two Senior Committee nominees), with the next big cut paring the group down to 15 finalists early next month. With that in mind, evaluate the field to determine who makes the next jump.

    Here are a couple of notes to get you in line, with regard to handicapping the field of outstanding former players looking to don the coveted yellow jacket:

    » Only consider what occurred on the field. Can’t guarantee that same stipulation is made by every voter.

    » Pro Bowls mean very little, especially in the Y2K era, when a trip to Hawaii was more about reputation and popularity than it had ever been.

    » Some guys dominated for a short period of time; others excelled for more than 10 years. Both types of legacies are valuable to these eyes.

    Semifinalists are broke up the into five categories, according to their likelihood of making it to the next stage. Here goes …

    SHOO-INS

    Larry Allen (G/T, 1994-2007) and Jonathan Ogden (T, 1996-2007): Both are first-ballot Hall of Fame players all the way. It would be shocking if both don’t make it to Canton right away. Allen was dominant at two line positions and has a Super Bowl ring. So does Ogden, who, along with Walter Jones, was the dominant left tackle in pro football during the Y2K era.

    LIKELY FINALISTS

    Tim Brown (WR/KR, 1988-2004): A finalist last year, Brown, who retired with more than 1,000 career pass receptions, has gotten some juice in the media. What shouldn’t be forgotten is what a good returner he was out of the gate. He’ll be a finalist again this year.

    Cris Carter (WR, 1987-2002): Like Brown, Carter was a finalist last year and also has more than 1,000 catches to his credit. This is the year the former Minnesota Vikings great gets in. Of all the Hall of Fame "injustices," Carter is the new Art Monk, i.e., the guy who must not wait any longer.

    Bill Parcells (head coach, 1983-2006): Parcells should be a shoo-in. Winning two Super Bowl rings and taking four franchises to the playoffs should be enough. And what about spawning Bill Belichick’s career? He’ll be a finalist again this year. (Prediction: The Tuna goes all the way.)

    Andre Reed (WR, 1985-2000): So many fans feel sorry for Reed, particularly those in Buffalo. He’ll make the finalists’ cut again, but I’m not convinced he’s a Hall of Fame player. Evidently, the voters aren’t, either. The wide receiver tally reads Carter, Brown … and then Reed.

    Warren Sapp (DT, 1995-2007): One of the dominant defensive tackles, if not the dominant DT of his era, he should be a finalist in his first year of eligibility. Bear in mind the fact that Sapp won a Super Bowl on a team known for its defense. That’s key.

    Will Shields (G, 1993-2006): This guy was about as premium a player as a club could have on the offensive line. Take a look at Priest Holmes’ insane numbers from 2001 to 2003, or Larry Johnson’s campaign in 2005, when he gained 1,750 yards. During Shields’ last season, Kansas City ranked ninth in the league in rushing. The year after? The Chiefs finished 32nd. He was a great offensive lineman, but with Allen and Ogden locks, this might not be his year.

    Jerome Bettis (RB, 1993-2005): Bettis is a sure bet to make the finalist list, due to his popularity and his status as the NFL’s sixth all-time leading rusher. He’s a 50-50 proposition for enshrinement this year.

    Edward DeBartolo, Jr. (owner, 1977-2000): The recent "A Football Life" documentary gave DeBartolo some run, but the concern here stems from the well-documented issues surrounding his involvement with former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards and a river-boat casino controversy. He makes the finalists’ list. DeBartolo was too influential — and too successful (five rings) — not to be considered a strong candidate.

    Kevin Greene (LB/DE, 1985-1999): Like Bettis, Greene is probably a 50-50 proposition to make the Hall, if his odds aren’t a little lower. The man with 160 sacks (third all-time) was a finalist last year and should be again.

    Charles Haley (DE/LB, 1986-1996, 1999): If there’s one guy you can’t believe is not yet in the Hall of Fame, it’s got to be Charles Haley. Haley has five Super Bowl rings, and he was a disruptive force, the linchpin that pushed the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s to the highest levels of success. Those factors easily push Haley into the finalists’ group … again.

    John Lynch (S, 1993-2007): Lynch was an incredibly popular player. His pedigree and affable nature, and the fact that he — like Sapp — was a key cog on a Super Bowl-winning team known for its defense, will easily be enough to get him on the finalists’ list. Lynch brought a Ronnie Lott-type mentality to the safety position.

    Aeneas Williams (CB/S, 1991-2004): The NFC’s second-best corner (behind Deion Sanders) of the 1990s will eventually get in the Hall of Fame, because there aren’t many corners of his ilk not already in.

    Don Coryell (head coach, 1973-1986): Coryell was a master innovator whose tweaks to offensive football, as well as the numbering system used for route trees, made the modern passing game simpler for quarterbacks. He turned around two franchises – the Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers — and will eventually have a bust in Canton. It’s a matter of when, not if.

    CLOSE … BUT NOT THIS TIME

    Morten Andersen (K, 1982-2004, 2006-2007): The NFL’s only player to be the all-time leading scorer of two franchises, Anderson probably won’t make it — rightly or wrongly — because he was a kicker.

    Steve Atwater (S, 1989-1999): Atwater would knock your lights out. Sometimes, he’d inadvertently destroy his fellow DBs in the process. The former Denver Broncos great was impactful from his first training camp on, something that can’t be said about everyone on the semifinalists’ list. Projection: Atwater’s votes are cannibalized by another heavy hitter, John Lynch.

    Terrell Davis (RB, 1995-2001): This is Davis’ seventh year of eligibility. That should tell you something. All those Mike Shanahan-coached running backs who’ve gained 1,000 yards — like Alfred Morris — aren’t helping Davis’ cause. It’s unfortunate.

    Joe Jacoby (T, 1981-1993): Teammate Russ Grimm was inducted into the Hall in 2010. Grimm is still coaching in the NFL, which probably kept him on the radar. The pantheon of Washington Redskins greats includes a few names before we get to Jacoby, despite the fact he was quietly effective for the better part of 13 years.

    Art Modell (owner, 1961-2011): The recently deceased owner will probably fall short. The fear is that when he moved his team from Cleveland to Baltimore, where they became the Ravens, will never be overlooked. Modell did much for the league in six decades of service. It won’t be enough.

    Michael Strahan (DE, 1993-2007): Strahan’s popular, he’s in the public eye, and he was an outstanding pass rusher with 141.5 career sacks. This is the toughest former player to project, but with Haley and Greene still waiting, Strahan may be the odd man out.

    Paul Tagliabue (commissioner, 1989-2006): Back in the public eye due to the New Orleans Saints’ bounty fiasco, the former de facto CEO will eventually reside in Canton. Voters haven’t been impressed enough by Tagliabue’s contributions to push him forward in the selection process.

    Steve Tasker (ST/WR, 1985-1997): The greatest special teams player in the modern history of the league, Tasker’s viability doesn’t improve … because he is the greatest special teams player. The reason he could be a possible Hall of Famer is the same factor that keeps him out. Odd.

    George Young (contributor, 1968-2001): "Contributor" is hard for some fans to contemplate and, at the end of the day, appreciate. The former New York Giants general manager drafted Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, and built excellent football teams in the 1986 and 1990 Giants. Still, is he among the top 15 names mentioned? Don’t imagine the voters lean that way.

    HALL OF VERY GOOD

    Roger Craig (RB, 1983-1993): Craig was a fantastic all-around player and, ultimately, a Hall-of-Very Gooder. He was a three-dimensional running back, much like Walter Payton, but without the far-reaching numbers. With just three 1,000-yard rushing seasons (and another receiving), Craig faces a long road to enshrinement.

    Karl Mecklenburg (LB, 1983-1994): Versatile and consistent, Mecklenburg was the kind of player who could play with his hand in the dirt, stand up at outside linebacker, or play inside, like Sean Lee. Call him an athlete who defensive coordinators in 2012 could wrap their arms around. Nonetheless, the Hall of Fame is for the elite of the elite.

    SENTIMENTAL CHOICE

    Albert Lewis (CB, 1983-1998): Albert Lewis was a remarkable football player. At 6-foot-2, he could lock up with the giants of today, like Brandon Marshall. Besides having 42 career interceptions, and starting at corner until he was 38 — 38! — Lewis blocked an astounding 11 kicks in his career.

    Courtesy: Elliot Harrison

    More coverage on Profootballhof.com
    Learn all about the illustrious careers of the 2013 Hall of Fame semifinalists, including highlights from hopeful enshrinee Warren Sapp.More … 

    » Hopefuls photo gallery 
    » Semifinalists by year
     
    » Selection process

    CANTON COWBOYS: Larry Allen joins Charles Haley on 2013 Hall of Fame ballot

    Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Larry Allen was among the 27 Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists announced Friday.

    Allen was joined on the list by former Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley and former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, both finalists last year.

    Allen is among six first-year eligible candidates, joining kicker Morten Andersen, safety John Lynch, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and defensive end Michael Strahan.

    In addition to the six first-year eligible nominees, one other previously eligible candidate, cornerback Albert Lewis, is a semifinalist for the first time.

    Each of the remaining 20 nominees on the selection committee’s list has been a semifinalist at least once before this year.

    Charles Haley 1

    Haley, who played for the Cowboys from 1992-96, has been eligible eight years and a finalist the past three years. Parcells, who coached the Cowboys from 2003-06, was a finalist last year.

    Flashback 2006 - Tony Romo's first start as Dallas Cowboys QB - Bill Parcells - The Boys Are Back blog

    The list of 27 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of senior committee nominees defensive tackle Curley Culp and linebacker Dave Robinson.

    The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January 2013.

    The Class of 2013 will be determined at the selection committee’s annual meeting Feb. 2, the day before Super Bowl XLVII, in New Orleans. The Class of 2013 will be enshrined Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.

    NFL FORGOTTEN RIVALRY–Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns (Special Feature)

    Dallas Cowboys Vs Cleveland Browns rivalry game - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    1960 Dallas Cowboys 0-11-1 - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    The arrival of Tex Schramm (left) and Tom Landry in 1960 was not immediately followed by much more than losses in Dallas. But the Cowboys stuck with their leadership - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    Dallas Cowboys end Billy Howton - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    Dallas Cowboys Vs Cleveland Browns rivalry Cotton Bowl - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    Paul Eugene Brown September 7, 1908 – August 5, 1991 - The Boys Are Back blog

    “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.

    Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry and quarterback Eddie LeBaron - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    1967 Dallas Cowboys defeated Cleveland Browns in Eastern Conference Championship game - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    1967 Ice Bowl - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    1968 Cleveland Browns - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton (14) talks to Tom Landry - The Boys Are Back blog

    “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.”

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    Bob Hayes' speed gave opposing cornerbacks fits and Cowboys QB Roger Staubach an easy target down the field - The Boys Are Back blog

    “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.

    Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns rivalry - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    Football is back in Cleveland - The Boys Are Back blog

    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.

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman Roger Staubach Don Meredith Craig Morton Danny White - The Boys Are Back blog

    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

    The Boys Are Back bonus: The History of the American Football League

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    STEVE SABOL FINALE: NFL films to release Super Bowl collection

    Vince Lombardi trophy - The Boys Are Back blog

    NFL Films has compiled a Super Bowl collection with 45 hours of content that features highlights from all 46 of the games.

    The 23 DVDs and a 26-page retrospective book with a foreword by the late Steve Sabol will be released through Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment on Nov. 13. It also includes an NFL Network program counting down the top 10 Super Bowls, and a year-in-review film for each team that lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

    Since 1965, NFL Films has been a ground breaker in telling the stories of the league. It has won 107 Emmy awards.

    Founded by Ed Sabol, his son Steve began as a cinematographer and eventually became president of the company. Steve Sabol died in September, a year after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    "Steve always loved the Super Bowl films," said Todd Schmidt, senior producer at NFL Films. "He either cut them himself or put one of the top producers on it. Steve knew that the Super Bowl transcended the average football fan and he wanted films that told the story in historical context with an emphasis on the personal triumph on the largest stage imaginable."

    NFL Films

    Sabol was one of a handful of people who attended every Super Bowl. So his perspective from the days of Paul Hornung and Joe Namath to the Steel Curtain, the West Coast offense and the Mannings at quarterback was particularly insightful.

    "The first law in the entertainment business is that you have to know how to put on a big show," Sabol wrote in the foreword. "After 46 years, the Super Bowl isn’t merely big, it’s an enormous, excessive, preposterous extravaganza — which is what’s so great about it."

    ROAD TRIP: NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame going on the road

    Pro Football Hall of Fame - Canton, Ohio - The Boys Are Back blog

    The Pro Football Hall of Fame is taking some of its show on the road, sharing parts of its shrine in Canton, Ohio, with fans around the country.

    Barry Sanders’ jersey from the 1997 game in which he reached the 2,000-yard rushing mark, the Vince Lombardi Trophy and an authentic interactive instant replay booth are among the hundreds of items that will be on display in Gridiron Glory.

    The 5,000-square-foot traveling exhibition will make its debut Oct. 6 in Pittsburgh at the Heinz History Center.

    "The coolest thing is the replay booth," Hall of Famer and Gridiron Glory ambassador Sanders said. "You step into it and can review a play and make the call to see if you can get it right."

    Will the infamous ending of the Green Bay-Seattle game be a reviewable play for fans?

    Green Bay Packers vs Seattle Seahawks game-ending call sparks outrage - The Boys Are Back blog

    "That would be ideal for this," Sanders said. "You figure that play is going to make it into NFL history books."

    Gridiron Glory will move to New Orleans — where the next Super Bowl will be — this winter before going on to St. Louis next summer, the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, Detroit and Minneapolis.

    "It really gives people a good taste and feel for what they can see in Canton," Sanders said. "This will reach people who haven’t been to Canton and might give them even more motivation to make the trip. They’re going to tailor it to each city they’re in, so there will be things that will really appeal to fans in each city."

    NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton - The Boys Are Back blog

    Someone visiting the exhibit might even run into Sanders, who was inducted in 2004, and share a laugh about how he was an elusive player to interview and has become a spokesman in retirement.

    "I think it’s pretty ironic," he acknowledged. "I wouldn’t figure I’d be at the top of their list."

    Barry Sanders rushed for over 2,000 yards in 1997 - The Boys Are Back blog

    PHOTO: Barry Sanders’ jersey from the 1997 game in which he reached the 2,000-yard rushing mark against the Chicago Bears.

    FLIGHT OF FAME: Pro Football Hall of Fame to help Flight 93 memorial

    Flight 93 National Memorial

    CANTON, Ohio (AP) — The Pro Football Hall of Fame plans to raise funds and awareness for the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pa.

    The 911 Flag being displayed at the Flight 93 Memorial - The Boys Are Back blog

    The hall announced Thursday that it will donate $9.11 from every adult admission from Sept. 9-12 to the memorial, which was established on the site where the United Airlines flight crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, after passengers attempted to take back the jet from terrorists. The memorial is the only national park dedicated to the events of 9/11 and serves as a place of remembrance as well as education.

    United States of America Flight 93 National Memorial - The Boys Are Back blog

    Neil Mulholland, president and of the National Park Foundation, is grateful for the hall’s support and said "the story of Flight 93 and the tragic events of September 11, 2001 must never be forgotten."

    Pro-Football-Hall-of-Fame-Canton Ohio - The Boys Are Back blog

    NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame – Canton, Ohio

    HISTORIC DAY: Shannon Eastin breaks NFL’s on-field gender barrier

    PHOTO: Line judge Shannon Eastin, left, takes the field prior to an NFL preseason football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Green Bay Packers, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in San Diego. Eastin is a replacement line judge who will make her NFL debut in the exhibition game. The regular officials are locked out by the league after their contract expired. Photo: Denis Poroy / AP - The Boys Are Back blog

    PHOTO: Line judge Shannon Eastin, left, takes the field prior to an NFL preseason football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Green Bay Packers, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in San Diego. Eastin is a replacement line judge who will make her NFL debut in the exhibition game. The regular officials are locked out by the league after their contract expired. Photo: Denis Poroy / AP

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Shannon Eastin has become the first woman to officiate an NFL game.

    Eastin broke the NFL’s on-field gender barrier Thursday night, serving as the line judge for a seven-man crew working a preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers.

    The 42-year-old from Tempe, Ariz., was dwarfed by the players as she lined up in front of San Diego’s sideline and had a camera following nearly every move just before kickoff. She seemed at ease in the spotlight and had at least two players shake her hand.

    She is among a group of replacement officials working NFL games while the regular refs are locked out.

    Eastin is a referee in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, college football’s second-highest level, and a 16-year veteran of officiating.

    The cap she is wearing will be sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Courtesy: JOHN MARSHALL | AP Sports Writer

    NFL official Shannon Eastin works during the Seahawks' NFL football training camp in Renton, Wash. The Associated Press examines six of the top questions that will be answered in the preseason starting on Thursday, Aug. 9, including how replacement referees will perform while traditional officiating crews are locked out due to labor negotiations. Photo: Seattle Seahawks, Rod Mar / AP

    NFL official Shannon Eastin works during the Seahawks’ NFL football training camp in Renton, Wash. The Associated Press examines six of the top questions that will be answered in the preseason starting on Thursday, Aug. 9, including how replacement referees will perform while traditional officiating crews are locked out due to labor negotiations. Photo: Seattle Seahawks, Rod Mar / AP

    NFL HALL OF FAME: Charles Haley, Bill Parcells named as finalists

      Former Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley and head coach Bill Parcells are among 15 modern-era finalists for the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

      The full finalist list is 17 with the inclusion of two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel.

      Parcells, the Cowboys’ head coach from 2003-06, joins guard Will Shields as one of two first-year eligible candidates. Parcells has been a finalist twice before (2001, 2002) following his retirement as Jets head coach in 1999, but at the time, the Hall of Fame by-laws did not require a coach to be retired the now mandatory five seasons.

      Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants (1986 and 1990) and compiled a 34-32 record with the Cowboys, becoming the first head coach in NFL history to lead four different teams to the playoffs (Giants, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys).

      Haley won an NFL player-record five Super Bowls in 13 NFL seasons — two with the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-91 and three with the Cowboys from 1992-96. He finished with 100.5 career sacks and was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor last November.

      The Selection Committee will elect the 2012 Class on Feb. 4 in Indianapolis, the site of Super Bowl XLVI.

      Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.

      The complete list of 17 finalists, courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

      • Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

      • Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

      • Jack Butler – CB – 1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers

      • Cris Carter, WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

      • Dermontti Dawson, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

      • Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers

      • Chris Doleman, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

      • Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

      • Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

      • Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

      • Curtis Martin, RB – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets

      • Bill Parcells, Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys

      • Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

      • Willie Roaf, T – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

      • Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

      • Dick Stanfel – G, 1952-55 Detroit Lions, 1956-58 Washington Redskins

      • Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams

      JERRY JONES: I don’t see myself stepping down as GM or retiring any time soon

      Daniel Snyder Jerry Jones Dallas Cowboys

      Not happy with Jerry Jones the general manager? Well, don’t expect anything to change in the near future. The Dallas Cowboys owner and GM made it known on Monday that he isn’t going anywhere. After all, it’s his team, so he can do whatever he wants.

      But considering the Cowboys haven’t played for a Super Bowl since the mid-90s, critics have asked for Jones to step aside and hire someone to handle that position.

      So does Jones ever sit back and ponder the idea of moving aside and hiring a GM?

      "No, I don’t," Jones said during a local radio interview with The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310). "When I bought the team I said that there’s no way I could make the kind of commitment that I’m making to buy the team … and not have the final say relative to the kinds of things that general managers decide. So, I don’t see that at all. What I do see is a better straight line way of making decisions and that has born out over the years. Now we need to win a Super Bowl."

      During a two-part, 25-minute interview with host Norm Hitzges, Jones answered several questions about the Cowboys and his future with the franchise, including his thoughts on possibly being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

      Here are some of the highlights.

      On if he envisions his organization ever changing:

      "Well we change. We change from within. I’ve always been self-employed and in a way, was self-employed right out of college because I was in sales and on a sales commission. And when it didn’t work or you made mistakes, then you had to adjust that mirror. You had to take care of that guy in that mirror and have him go in a different direction, and we do that. I do that."

      On if he ever considers backing out of his position with the club:

      "I would hope that nature would be the decision that prevails. That’s hopefully good health. But I know that I should know more about what we’re doing and what I’m doing then I did 22 years ago. I’ve had a lot of experiences. I’ve had a lot of things that I thought was going to work that didn’t work. But we’ve got a lot of experiences and hopefully we can make better decisions than we did 10 years ago or five years ago."

      On if he can picture himself retiring:

      "Well, when you enjoy what you’re doing as much as I do then what are you retiring from? I understand and I’ve done that. I’ve had that briefcase in my particular case and made calls 17 hours a day. I would probably stop that at some point to do something that I enjoyed more. But as far as running the Cowboys, being involved in the NFL, being involved in sports, I don’t know what I would do relative to what you’d be doing that I enjoy more than what I’m doing. So I don’t see retiring from that."

      On if he’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame some day:

      "Oh I don’t know about that. What I do know is that I want to try to do everything, whether it be my decision on spending resources or whether it be my energy, I want to do everything to win. And that stadium is about winning. That’s what it was about. I know that that stadium can generate revenue and can help us win. I know that stadium creates attention. That stadium was built for television, so that Al Michaels and people would really talk it up when we were playing at the stadium. That ultimately evolves around to more revenue. The healthier you are, no matter if it’s a church or it’s a city or it’s individuals, the healthier you are in that area, the more you can cut and shoot, the more you can use your athletic ability, so to speak. I think that bodes well for the Dallas Cowboys and I think it bodes well for the Cowboys of the future."

      Courtesy: Jon Machota | Dallas Morning News

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