NFL History 101 – The Cowboys

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Take another dive into NFL history, but use proper pressurized air breathing, for we’re plunging into a void…

Know thy enemy… [Since they’re next. Ed.]

History of the Cowboys:

The Dallas Cowboys were the NFL’s first modern-era expansion team.   In a way, the Chiefs caused this team to exist because the NFL wouldn’t give Lamar Hunt a franchise in Dallas, so he formed the AFL.  The NFL felt they didn’t want to lose the South to the AFL, so they awarded Dallas an NFL franchise.  By the time the NFL gave them the franchise it was already after that year’s draft, so they had to start with undrafted players. Back then there were 20 rounds in the draft so there wasn’t much high level talent left.

The creation of a Texas franchise was heavily resisted by Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who were considered the team of the South at the time.  (I never considered Washington DC to be southern, but this was before Google Maps, so maybe folks just didn’t know.)  The Cowboy’s future owners responded by buying the rights to the Washington fight song “Hail to the Redskins”, and then told the Redskins they couldn’t use it.  Believe it or not, this is what forced the Redskins allow the Cowboys to exist.  This was also the birth of the rivalry between the two teams. 

The first name of the team was the Dallas Steers, but they didn’t feel this was steering them in the right direction so they changed to the Dallas Rangers for a short period, finally changing it to the Cowboys to avoid confusion with the Dallas Rangers baseball team.  They hired Tex Schramm as the president and general manager, and the defensive coordinator from the New York Giants named Tom Landry as their head coach.  Their helmet consisted of duct tape silver with a spur on it.  Maybe it was a star.  Same thing.

They started playing games in 1960 at the Cotton Bowl.  This stadium was shared with the Dallas Texans, the real America’s team, until 1963 when the Texans moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs.  The attendance at the Cowboys games was so poor that it was said at the time that the cowboys and Texans flipped a coin, and the winner got to leave.   The people in Dallas were also upset because the Cowboy games interfered with the SMU and high school games that they really wanted to see.   To try and drum up interest, for the Cowboys’ first-ever home game, GM Tex Schramm hired movie cowboy Roy Rogers to sit in back of a convertible to smile and wave to the crowd. One lap around the Cotton Bowl was planned, but Roy came under such heavy fire from the fans—ice cubes, mostly—that team officials cut his trip short.

Their record the first year was 0-11-1.  Pretty Binary.  Their quarterback for the first two years was Eddie LeBaron, but the first quarterback they signed was Don Meredith.  Like all things Don Meredith, his signing wasn’t normal.  Since the cowboys weren’t officially a team in time for the 1960 draft, Meredith signed a five-year personal services contract with the Tecon Corporation, which was also owned by the Cowboys owner.  This contact stated that he would play with the Cowboys if and when they were awarded a franchise.  He was also drafted by the Bears in the 3rd round.  The NFL ended up honoring the contract he had already signed so he stayed with Dallas.  He was also drafted by the Texans/Chiefs in their AFL draft, but they were too late to sign him.

 In 1961 they went 4-9-1, and followed that with a 5-8-1 year.  They seemed to like ties to go along with their coach’s hat.   They would continue to have losing seasons until 1965 when they went 7-7, and followed that up in 1966 by going 10-3-1 and make the playoffs for the first time.  They’d continue to be in the playoffs the next seven years, setting an NFL record at the time.  This was also the beginning of a streak of 20 seasons with winning records, which is still an NFL record.  1966 is also when Dallas would play the first Thanksgiving Day game.  It’s a day made for Turkeys so it’s only appropriate the Cowboys should be involved.

The Cowboys would continue to be a top team for most of the 60’s, but would never make it to the super bowl.  They earned the nickname “next year’s champions”.   On a side note, Peter Gent, who was a wide receiver with the Cowboys from 1964 to 1968, wrote a book called “North Dallas Forty” based on his experiences with the Cowboys.  It was made into a movie in 1979.  Don Meredith said about the book: “If I’d have known Gent was as good as he said he was, I’d have thrown to him more”.  Don Meredith surprisingly retired in 1969 and Craig Morton took over the reins in 1970 leading them to their first super bowl, which they lost to the Colts via a field goal with 5 seconds left.  Cowboy’s linebacker Chuck Howley was named the Super Bowl MVP, the only time in history that a member of the losing team won MVP.

In 1971 Roger Staubach was named the starting quarterback in the middle of the season.  They won their last seven regular season games and continued winning, beating the Dolphins 24-3.  The next year the Dolphins would have their undefeated season.  The 1972 season was the greatest year for the Cowboys.  They started the cheerleaders.  After this, it didn’t matter that Pittsburg was winning all the super bowls – fans started liking the cowboys.   The term “America’s Team” came about when the Cowboys were working on their 1978 season highlight film.  Bob Ryan had noted that wherever the Cowboys played there were people in the stands wearing their jerseys and suck, so he had the highlight film narrator introduce start the film with this intro: “ They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars.  They are the Dallas Cowboys, ‘America’s team.’”  This name caught on, and they quickly became America’s most annoying team.

The next several years were a bunch of winning seasons and other blah, blah, blah stuff, other than Roger Staubach retiring after the 1979 season, largely due to repeated concussions.  Danny White took over the quarterbacking duties and they continued having more blah blah @#$%# winning seasons.  In 1984 the owner, Clint Murchison, ran into financial issues with the collapse in oil prices and had to sell the team to H.R. “Bum” Bright.  Bum is the key word here. They would have losing seasons from 1986 to 1990.  America’s team was fun again.  In 1989 Bum Bright’s savings and loan was seized by the feds and he was forced to sell the team. Enter Arkansas oil man Jerry Jones.  The next day his first act was to fire Tom Landry and hire his old college teammate Jimmy “hair spray” Johnson.  Jimmy managed a 1-15 record his first year, earning them the first pick in the draft, but – they had already used it the year before in the supplemental draft to get Steve Walsh.  In the middle of the year, the Cowboys traded Hershel Walker to the Vikings for five players and eight draft choices. 

Unfortunately, Jimmy Johnson manage to turn the team around and started having more @#$% winning seasons..  This is the era of “the Triplet” consisting of a couple football commentators and a ball room dancer.  However, In 1998 the “scissor Gate” occurred, when Michael Irvin allegedly assaulted fellow cowboy Everett McIver, stabbing him with a pair of scissors in the neck, just missing his carotid artery.  The reason – Michael didn’t want to have to wait for a haircut.  Jerry Jones quickly brokered a six-figure settlement between the two to clamp a lid on the situation.

In the 2006 season Tony Romo won the quarterbacking duties early in the season.  They made it to the playoffs when Romo made the infamous fumbled field goal hold.  Bill Parcells retired after this.

Jerry Jones then hired Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator, and then realized he’d probably need a head coach as well so he hired Wade Phillips.  Like most things Jerry, he seems to flip the order around – like his W-L records…   Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips in the middle of the 2010 season, promoting Jason Garrett to head coach.    They would continue to hover around the .500 mark with a couple better years and a couple worse years mixed in just to keep Jerry’s blood pressure up.  In the 2016 season Romo was lost in a preseason game with a back injury, and would retire at the end of the season and move into announcing.   He’s probably the only good thing that came out of Jerry Jones cowboy’s organization for a long time. 

After firing Garrett in 2019, Jones hired Mike McCarthy as coach.  McCarthy had spent the last couple seasons screwing up the Packers team, so he felt like a good fit. Their 6-9 record kept them from making the playoffs, even in the toilet bowl division they are in.

In closing, there are only two NFL owners that are also the general managers of their teams – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown of the Bengals.   Of the 8 GM’s with 10 or more years of experience managing a team, they are the bottom two.   Anyone else that bad would have been fired.  The good news for everyone not a Cowboys fan is that Jerry doesn’t plan on quitting.  The bad news is that they’ll still get a boatload of prime-time games that no one wants to watch.

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Chief-Blinders-On
Chief-Blinders-On(@chiefblinderson)
11/20/2021 2:14 am

Pretty Binary

Chief-Blinders-On
Chief-Blinders-On(@chiefblinderson)
Reply to  Chief-Blinders-On
11/20/2021 2:15 am

Excellent writing additions. Loved it.

steve_chiefs
steve_chiefs(@steve_chiefs)
11/19/2021 4:07 pm

well

When the Dallas Cowboys take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, all eyes will be on Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes. It’s what will happen in front of the former that might raise some eyebrows though, with the Cowboys looking to make a change on their offensive line they hope will give them a better chance at stealing a victory at Arrowhead Stadium. Connor Williams, the team’s resident starter at left guard, will be replaced by Connor McGovern, a talented former third-round pick who has been quietly improving in the background; and in a game that will likely see the return of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.
The swap at left guard is a significant development for the Cowboys, and particularly for Williams, who is playing in the final year of his rookie deal and entered the 2021 season hoping to increase his value in Dallas. Instead, Williams was forced into a preseason experiment at center that was a complete failure before being moved back to left guard — playing mostly well to this point. 

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/cowboys-o-line-audible-connor-mcgovern-to-get-snaps-at-left-guard-vs-chiefs-connor-williams-on-notice/

what odd timing to do this in Arrowhead?

steve_chiefs
steve_chiefs(@steve_chiefs)
11/19/2021 4:03 pm

had no idea thanks Hoosier

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs(@novachiefs)
11/19/2021 3:29 pm

So Cooper is in the Covid list?

probablyamistake
probablyamistake(@probablyamistake)
11/19/2021 11:15 am

So football fans back in the day never heard of the Civil War? Pretty sure DC wasn’t part of the confederacy. 😁

Nasrani
Nasrani(@nasrani)
Reply to  probablyamistake
11/19/2021 11:17 am

Virginia (where they’re based*) was.

*They play home games at Landover, Maryland, which was not part of the Confederacy, but according to Wikipedia, are headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia.

Last edited 12 days ago by Nasrani
probablyamistake
probablyamistake(@probablyamistake)
Reply to  hoosierchief
11/19/2021 1:44 pm

You mean the statues of traitorous a……s that tried to destroy the United States of America? Good.

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs(@novachiefs)
Reply to  hoosierchief
11/19/2021 3:41 pm

They might have been morally upstanding then, but what do you say to the great grandchildren of the people they owned, sold, beat, and generally abused? How can you leave up a statue to a person who thought that was right? We want to teach the entire historical story, not just the good parts that are easy to live with.

MasterChief
MasterChief(@masterchief)
Reply to  NovaChiefs
11/19/2021 5:36 pm

Even then, people knew slavery was wrong, but they did it anyways because that’s the way it was. If they didn’t, it’s because they either chose to ignore the morality, were evil, were stupid, or had questionable morality.

It was even illegal in most western countries and half of our own country, so I don’t buy the crap about people not realizing it was immoral 200 years ago.

probablyamistake
probablyamistake(@probablyamistake)
Reply to  hoosierchief
11/19/2021 3:55 pm

Will agree that some things need to be kept in context of the culture at that time and other things are obviously wrong regardless of context.

steve_chiefs
steve_chiefs(@steve_chiefs)
Reply to  hoosierchief
11/19/2021 4:50 pm

I could say so many things regards this

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs(@novachiefs)
Reply to  hoosierchief
11/19/2021 3:29 pm

Glorification of treason is being removed. Actual history is being taught. FIFY

MasterChief
MasterChief(@masterchief)
Reply to  NovaChiefs
11/19/2021 5:40 pm

Where are all the hitler statues in Germany? There aren’t any because they aren’t glorifying their past evils, at least not publicly.

To say we’re erasing history by removing statues of generals from another country (CSS) who supported evil ideas and practices… is just absurd. Yes, I consider the CSS another country separate from the USA because that’s what they were trying to do.

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs(@novachiefs)
Reply to  MasterChief
11/19/2021 10:29 pm

So we agree

Nasrani
Nasrani(@nasrani)
11/19/2021 11:14 am

the real America’s team

comment image

river
river(@river)
04/24/2021 8:16 pm

Meredith in KC would of been interesting, I wonder why he retired?
He was probably part of the most interesting broadcasting team MNF ever had.
Great story, really enjoy the history of it all.

steve_chiefs
steve_chiefs(@steve_chiefs)
Reply to  river
11/19/2021 4:02 pm

agree Hoosier gets an atta boy!!

pompano
pompano(@pompano)
04/23/2021 1:59 pm

Good stuff, as usual.

3rdnlong
3rdnlong(@3rdnlong)
04/23/2021 12:56 pm

Out of all the non-AFC West teams, I hate the Dallas Cowboys the most.

rip58
rip58(@rip58lovealways)
04/23/2021 11:44 am

Awesome read, this may be your best work yet..

NM_ChiefsFan
NM_ChiefsFan(@nm_chiefsfan)
04/23/2021 11:30 am

Brilliant. Thank you.

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