Cowboys 100: Facts + Figures For 49ers

IRVING - how many facts and figures do you need to get you ready for Sunday's Cowboys vs. 49ers kickoff at 3:25? We've got 'em on the players. The coaches. The history. And even the referees ... and we think you'll enjoy 100 of 'em!


Since 2002, the Dallas Cowboys have compiled a winning preseason record six times: 2002, 2004-06, 2010, and 2012. The San Francisco 49ers have had a winning preseason record five times in the same span: 2003, 2009-10, 2012-13.

The 49ers-Cowboys series is tied at an even 16-16-1. It is the only truly .500 series in the Cowboys franchise. However, for the 49ers, they have other .500 records with Jacksonville, Minnesota, Miami, and Oakland.

The Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers haven’t ever faced each other in Week 1 of the regular season. The Cowboys are 10-7-1 in initial Opening Day encounters compared to the 49ers’ 10-11 record.
The 49ers are 14-6 in late afternoon games in the Central Time zone compared to 31-39 in early afternoon games in the Central Time zone.

The Cowboys are 3-0 against the San Francisco 49ers in September.

The 49ers are opening up their new home venue, Levi Stadium, in Week 2. The last team to open up their home stadium in Week 2 was the Cowboys in 2009. Since 1999, 5/16 venues opened in that span have had their home openers beyond Week 2. Heinz Field in 2001 and CenturyLink Field in 2002 were the only stadiums to have home openers in Week 3.

The 49ers have made the NFC Championship game the past three seasons, putting their 15 appearances as the most since its 1970 inception. Second-most belongs to the Dallas Cowboys with 14. However, Dallas has a .571 winning percentage to San Francisco’s .400.

The 49ers are the 23rd team to play the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium. There are only eight more teams to go with the final team either being the Baltimore Ravens or Cincinnati Bengals in 2020.

NFC teams making their first appearance at AT&T Stadium are 9-4.

Here is how the Cowboys performed against the 49ers in their previous home venues:

Cotton Bowl: 1-1-1
Texas Stadium: 6-7

AT&T Stadium had to wait 5 seasons for its first Opening Day game, which was played last season against the New York Giants. Among active NFL venues, this is the second-longest wait. The longest wait goes to Soldier Field. Opened in 1924, Chicago fans had to wait 7 seasons until Opening Day 1930 to see the Bears play in Week 1.

Jason Garrett and Tony Romo are the only two Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks to have defeated 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Romo did it in Week 2 of 2011 in San Francisco, while Garrett beat him in Week 6 of 1998 when Fangio coached the Panthers’ defense. Coincidentally, Garrett beat the Panthers when they used to be in the NFC West (1995-01). Both Garrett and Romo threw two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Romo is 12-17 against 3-4 defenses. He averages 24/38 for 275 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and an 88.7 passer rating.

Since 2007, eight different 49ers quarterbacks have combined for 139 touchdown passes. In the same span, Tony Romo has thrown for 189 and played in 10 fewer games.

Romo is 1/5 quarterbacks to have started on Opening Day since 2007 for the same team. The other four quarterbacks are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers. It is the fifth-longest active streak in the league.

Tony Romo is 5-2 in Opening Day games. Since 2007, only Tom Brady’s 7-0 record is better.

Tony Romo and Cleveland’s Brian Hoyer are the only undrafted free agent quarterbacks to be backed up by first round picks in Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel respectively. Both Weeden and Manziel were taken by the same franchise (Browns) at the same spot (22nd overall) two years apart.

Romo is 9-4 against the NFC West, including playoffs. Only against the NFC South does Romo have a better record at 11-4.


Against 4-3 alignments last year, Colin Kaepernick had a 72.6 passer rating, going 14/25 for 163 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and taking two sacks on average.

Colin Kaepernick is 4-2 in the Central Time zone, including playoffs.

Kaepernick is 2-2 in the month of September.

Kaepernick holds a 1-0 record against NFC East teams, having defeated the Washington Redskins 27-6 last year. Kaepernick is 1/8 quarterbacks in the NFL to have been taken in the second round or later and yet have a backup taken in the first round. The other seven teams are Cincinnati, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Dallas, and the New York Jets.

As a coordinator in Minnesota (2002-04), Miami (2005), and Detroit (2009-13), Scott Linehan has faced 3-4 defenses 42 times with a 14-28 record. His quarterbacks are 22/39 for 252 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and a 77.3 passer rating while taking two sacks on average. His rushing attack averages 4.1 yards per carry and scores a touchdown on average.

Scott Linehan has faced 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on two different occasions.

When Linehan was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator and Fangio Houston’s defensive coordinator, on 10/10/04, the Vikings beat the Texans 34-28 in overtime. Daunte Culpepper went 36/50 for 396 yards, five touchdowns, and had a 128.4 passer rating while taking three sacks. The ground game gained 122 yards on 26 carries, and the offense had no giveaways.

The second time Linehan and Fangio faced off was when Linehan was in Detroit and Fangio with San Francisco on 10/16/11. The 49ers beat the Lions 25-19. Matt Stafford went 28/50 for 293 yards, two touchdowns, and had an 86.5 passer rating while taking five sacks. Lions backs gained 66 yards on 18 carries, and the offense had no giveaways.

The last time the Cowboys had a player rush for 100 yards at home in Week 1 was 1998 when Emmitt Smith rushed 29 times for 124 yards.

In the past two Opening Days, the Cowboys offense’s first play from scrimmage has been a handoff to DeMarco Murray to the left side. Each time, he has gained three yards.

Jason Witten only had one catch in preseason. The last time Witten had one catch or fewer in the preseason was 2007 when he caught 96 passes for 1,145 yards and 7 touchdowns in the regular season.

The Cowboys are 1/4 teams in the NFL with three first round offensive linemen. The other three teams are the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and San Francisco 49ers.


49ers coordinator Greg Roman has faced 4-3 fronts 38 times since joining the team in 2011. In that time, the Niners have gone 29-7-1. His quarterbacks have completed 17/25 for 192 yards, one touchdown, and a 100.0 passer rating while taking 2.5 sacks on average. The rushing game averages 4.8 yards per carry and scores one touchdown on average.

Roman has only faced Rod Marinelli once. On 11/19/12, the 49ers defeated the Bears 32-7 on Monday Night Football. In Kaepernick’s first ever NFL start, he went 16/23 for 243 yards, two touchdowns, and had a 133.1 passer rating while taking only two sacks. Roman’s offense also gained 121 yards and scored a touchdown on 29 carries while having zero giveaways.

On Opening Day, Frank Gore averages 17 carries for 60 yards and one touchdown. His worst performance was in 2009 against Arizona when he had 22 carries for 30 yards and one touchdown. His best performance was 2012 in Green Bay when he rushed 16 times for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Since 2011, Gore has scored 25 rushing touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys, as a team, have also scored 25 rushing touchdowns in the same span.

Davis has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season. Jason Witten has four.

In playing only three seasons fewer, Vernon Davis has 53 career receiving touchdowns to Jason Witten’s 52.

Rod Marinelli was the Bears defensive coordinator from 2010-12. The Bears went 3-0 in all three of their Opening Day games. On average, Marinelli’s defense sacked the passer three times, picked off two passes, forced two fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and held the opposing quarterback to a 58.3 passer rating. Additionally, Marinelli’s defenses only gave up 64 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Marinelli was the defensive coordinator Colin Kaepernick faced in his first ever start. On 11/19/12, the 49ers defeated the Bears 32-7 on Monday Night Football. Kaepernick went 16/23 for 243 yards, two touchdowns, and had a 133.1 passer rating. The 49ers also gained 121 yards and scored a touchdown on 29 carries. Marinelli’s defense forced no turnovers and only sacked Kaepernick twice.

On the Cowboys roster, only defensive ends Jeremy Mincey and George Selvie recorded sacks last season with nine between the two of them.

Veteran defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford and Lavar Edwards have yet to record their first career sacks.


San Francisco coordinator Vic Fangio has a 4-2 record against the Cowboys. On average, his defenses only surrender 20 points, sack the passer three times, pick off one pass, and recover a fumble. They also limit the passing game to just 17/30 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and a 77.9 passer rating. The running game averages 4.0 yards and scores one touchdown.

In 2013, opposing quarterbacks had a 76.4 passer rating against the 49ers defense, which was fourth-best in the league.

Aldon Smith is facing a nine-game suspension. Last season, Smith missed five games due to personal reasons, yet San Francisco went 5-0. In those five games, the 49ers gave up 3.9 yards per carry and 83.6 rushing yards per game. Passers went 24/42 for 248 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a 102.2 rating. Per game, the defense also sacked the quarterback twice, forced three turnovers, and held the opposing team to 12.2 points.


49ers kicker Phil Dawson is 7/7 on field goals all-time against the Cowboys in three games with the Cleveland Browns from 1999-12. He is 2/2 in AT&T Stadium.

Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey was 93.3% on field goals last season, which would have been the highest field goal percentage in 49ers franchise history. In Cowboys annals, Bailey’s performance only ranks third.
AT&T Stadium hasn’t seen an opposing kicker miss a field goal since 10/13/13 when Washington kicker Kai Forbath missed a 49-yard attempt.

Cowboys receiver Dwayne Harris has scored two punt returns for touchdowns since entering the league in 2011. The 49ers haven’t scored a punt return for a touchdown since 9/11/11 when Ted Ginn, Jr. returned a 55-yard punt against Seattle.

Harris has had a punt return for a touchdown in each of his past two seasons. Last Cowboy to do that was Deion Sanders from 1997-99. Only other Cowboys to do it were Kevin Williams (1993-94) and Bob Hayes (1967-68).


Jason Garrett has a 4-3 record against the NFC West, his best record against the rest of the conference.

Garrett has already defeated the 49ers. In rematches against teams Garrett has beaten initially, he is 3-3. Garrett joins John Harbaugh and Ron Rivera as the only coaches who have beaten Jim Harbaugh in initial encounters.

Garrett is 4-2 against former college head coaches. However, he is 0-2 against former college head coaches in rematches.

In Garrett’s head coaching career, he has thrown the challenge flag 15 times with an overturn rate of 10/15.


In facing teams he has lost to initially, Jim Harbaugh is 1-1.

Jim Harbaugh has not lost a season opener in the past three tries. Harbaugh joins Buck Shaw and George Seifert as the only coaches to have won three consecutive season openers or more:

George Seifert: 5-0 (1992-96)
Buck Shaw: 4-0 (1951-54)
Buck Shaw: 3-0 (1947-49)

In his NFL career, Harbaugh is 1-2 against the Dallas Cowboys with a 1-1 record as a player and 0-1 record as head coach.

Harbaugh and Garrett join Sean Payton as the only three ex-quarterbacks who serve as NFL head coaches in 2014.

Jim Harbaugh is 0-1 against the Dallas Cowboys. Here is how he compares to other San Francisco 49ers head coaches after one game against Dallas:

Red Hickey: 1-0
Jack Christiansen: 1-0
Dick Nolan: 0-1
Ken Meyer: 0-1
Bill Walsh: 0-1
George Seifert: 1-0
Steve Mariucci: 1-0
Mike Nolan: 0-1
Mike Singletary: 0-1
Jim Harbaugh: 0-1

Against the NFC East, Harbaugh is 4-3 against the NFC East, his lowest record against any division in the NFC.

In Harbaugh’s NFL coaching career, he has thrown the challenge flag 29 times with an overturn rate of 11/29.

Harbaugh has a 1-2 record against the San Francisco 49ers as a quarterback for the Chicago Bears (1987-93) and Colts (1994-97). He is 1/3 current coaches to have played a game against the team he would eventually coach. The other two are Sean Payton and Jeff Fisher.


The Cowboys are 107-101 on FOX.

The Cowboys are 28-26 with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling the action, including playoffs.

The 49ers are 13-11 with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling the action, including playoffs.

The last time Buck and Aikman called a 49ers-Cowboys match together was 11/23/08 at Texas Stadium. Dallas prevailed 35-22.

Since becoming a commentating team in 2002, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have seen the home team prevail on Opening Day 7/12 times.


This week’s referee is Terry McAulay, who refereed the Denver and Chicago games last season or the Cowboys. Dallas has a 10-5 record when McAulay officiates their games:

2001 – PHI, 3-36 – L
2002 – WAS, 27-20 – W
2003 – @DET, 38-7 – W
2004 – @SEA, 43-39 – W
2005 – @SEA, 10-13 – W
2005 – @CAR, 24-20 – W
2006 – @WAS, 19-22 – L
2007 – @MIA, 37-20 – W
2008 – PHI, 41-37 – W
2009 – @NO, 24-17 – W
2010 – PHI, 27-30 – L
2011 – SEA, 23-13 – W
2011 – @TB, 31-15 – W
2013 – DEN, 48-51 – L
2013 – @CHI, 28-45 – L

Dallas also has fewer penalties than their opponents 7/15 times when McAulay referees:

2001 – PHI: 3/22; DAL: 10/81
2002 – WAS: 6/56; DAL: 6/48
2003 – DET: 9/96; DAL: 6/65
2004 – SEA: 6/44; DAL: 6/49
2005 – SEA: 9/83; DAL: 9/81
2005 – CAR: 6/49; DAL: 5/44
2006 – WAS: 5/41; DAL: 11/153
2007 – MIA: 7/57; DAL: 11/101
2008 – PHI: 5/44; DAL: 10/108
2009 – NO: 4/30; DAL: 6/49
2010 – PHI: 6/59; DAL: 5/40
2011 – SEA: 10/88; DAL: 7/82
2011 – TB: 6/46; DAL: 2/15
2013 – DEN: 5/55; DAL: 9/81
2013 – CHI: 2/15; DAL: 4/50

Last year, Terry McAulay ranked near the bottom of the pack in terms of home team winning percentage at .529:

Tony Corrente: .813
Clete Blakeman: .688
Pete Morelli: .688
Jerome Boger: .733
Ed Hochuli: .625
Walt Anderson: .625
Gene Steratore: .625
Jeff Triplette: .625
Walt Coleman: .600
Bill Vinovich: .563
John Parry: .533
Scott Green: .533
Terry McAulay: .529
Bill Leavy: .438
Ron Winter: .400
Carl Cheffers: .375

Similarly, McAulay was among the league’s worst when it came to how many times the home team had fewer penalties:

Walt Anderson: .750
Scott Green: .633
Bill Vinovich: .625
Pete Morelli: .625
Gene Steratore: .563
Clete Blakeman: .563
Ed Hochuli: .563
Jerome Boger: .533
Bill Leavy: .500
Tony Corrente: .500
Jeff Triplette: .500
Walt Coleman: .467
Ron Winter: .467
Terry McAulay: .375
Carl Cheffers: .375
John Parry: .267

Since becoming a referee in 2001, McAulay has refereed 10 San Francisco games. The 49ers have a 4-6 record thus far:

2001 – CAR, 24-14 – W
2002 – @Rams, 20-31 – L
2004 – @TB, 3-35 – L
2006 – PHI, 24-38 – L
2006 – @Rams, 20-17 – L
2007 – CIN, 20-13 – W
2008 – SEA, 13-34 – L
2011 – TB, 48-3 – W
2012 – @ATL, 28-24 – W
2013 – Colts, 7-27 – L

The Niners also win the penalty battle 5/10 times when McAulay officiates their games:

2001 – CAR: 8/95; SF: 8/47
2002 – Rams: 5/33; SF: 6/48
2004 – TB: 5/50; SF: 4/30
2006 – PHI: 9/72; SF: 8/64
2006 – Rams: 5/35; SF: 5/34
2007 – CIN: 1/15; SF: 3/15
2008 – SEA: 3/15; SF: 7/65
2011 – TB: 3/9; SF: 3/30
2012 – ATL: 2/30; SF: 4/24
2013 – Colts: 1/10; SF: 6/48

Terry McAulay has refereed six contests between the NFC East and NFC West with the East holding a 5-1 record:

2001 – New Orleans at Giants – 21-13 Giants
2004 – Dallas at Seattle – 43-39 Dallas
2005 – Dallas at Seattle – 13-10 Seattle
2006 – Philly at San Francisco – 38-24 Philly
2011 – St. Louis at Giants – 28-16 Giants
2011 – Seattle at Dallas – 23-13 Dallas

Additionally, the NFC East has an edge in the penalty battle, winning it 4/6 times:

2001 – NO: 14/92; NYG: 11/100
2004 – SEA: 6/44; DAL: 6/49
2005 – SEA: 9/83; DAL: 9/81
2006 – PHI: 9/72; SF: 8/64
2011 – Rams: 7/62; NYG: 5/55
2011 – SEA: 10/88; DAL: 7/82

The home team on Opening Day doesn’t go home disappointed having an 8-1 record when McAulay calls their contests:

2002 – Philly at Tennessee – 27-24 Tenn
2003 – Houston at Miami – 21-20 Houston
2004 – Tampa Bay at Washington – 16-10 Wash
2005 – Chicago at Washington – 9-7 Wash
2006 – Buffalo at New England – 19-17 New England
2007 – Baltimore at Cincinnati – 27-20 Cincinnati
2008 – Houston at Pittsburgh – 38-17 Pittsburgh
2009 – Washington at Giants – 23-17 Giants 2010 – Minnesota at New Orleans – 14-9 New Orleans
2011 – Minnesota at San Diego – 24-17 San Diego

In the penalty battle, the home team also holds an 8/9 advantage:

2002 – PHI: 10/113; TEN: 6/50
2003 – HTX: 8/67; MIA: 11/87
2004 – TB: 6/44; WAS: 3/23
2005 – CHI: 8/86; WAS: 5/45
2006 – BUF: 7/53; NE: 1/5
2007 – Ravens: 10/86; CIN: 5/41
2008 – HTX: 5/43; PIT: 4/41
2009 – WAS: 4/32; NYG: 4/30
2010 – MIN: 6/60; NO: 3/20
2011 – MIN: 9/78; SD: 4/26

In 2013, McAulay was 7/19 on instant replays, overturning 2/8 booth reviews to 5/11 coaches challenges. During the preseason, McAulay was 3/6 on instant replays, overturning 3/5 booth reviews to 0/1 coaches challenges.


Since 2002, 98 out of the 192 Opening Day winners have made the playoffs (51% chance) versus the 50 out of 192 Opening Day losers (26% chance).

Since 1990, when our editor-in-chief, Mike Fisher, became a part of the Cowboys beat, Dallas is 10-12 against teams he used to cover (Denver, San Francisco).

Last week, Dallas lost 27-3 to Denver in the preseason finale at AT&T Stadium. Since 2000, teams that have scored 3 points in the final preseason game have gone 11-9 on Opening Day.

The Cowboys offense has not had the opening possession in Week 1 games at home since 1998.

Last year, Dallas called 55 of their allotted 96 timeouts. 26 were called in the first half while 29 were called in the second half.
Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Andy Lee, Jason Witten, Tony Romo, and L.P. Laodecuer all share the distinction of being teammates of Hall of Famer Larry Allen.

Cowboys defensive linemen George Selvie and Terrell McClain used to play collegiately for 49ers linebackers coach Jim Leavitt at South Florida – Selvie from 2006-09, McClain from 2007-09.

Barry Switzer is the only Dallas Cowboys head coach to have never opened at home. He was 3-1 in Opening Days.

Dallas lost last week 27-3 to Denver in the preseason finale. Here is the correlation between losing the preseason finale to winning on Opening Day since 2002:

2002: W-L
2003: W-L
2004: W-L
2005: W-W
2006: T-L
2007: L-W
2008: W-W
2009: W-W
2010: W-L
2011: L-L
2012: W-W
2013: L-W

The Dallas Cowboys have three birthdays to celebrate on 9/7:

Dick Bielski, FB, 1960-1961 – 9/7/1932
Erik Williams, OT, 1991-2000 – 9/7/1968
Robert Chancey, RB, 1999 – 9/7/1972

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