This rivalry used to be magnificent.
Before the days of the internet and people moving a million miles an hour... time once stood still when these two powerhouses collided. The storied history is littered with pranks and shenanigans, debauchery and tomfoolery. There was the time when Cowboys fans left a wild turkey in Washington’s owner George Marshall's hotel bathtub. Imagine that.
Dallas’ founding owner Clint Murchinson, Jr. was finally approved for an NFL expansion franchise in the late 1950's. This was his third attempt to bring a team to Dallas, as seperate bids to buy two teams fell through. How’d he get it done when Marshall’s team was essentially T.I., King of the South? Marshall, after all, was the lone dissenting vote keeping Murchinson from the unanimous approval of league owners.
Fortunately, this franchise’s owenership lineage sports a long history of alienating those that should be held close. Murchison was able to purchase the rights to the Fight Song from Barnee Breeskin, a disgruntled musician of 'Hail To The Redskins' (Marshall’s wife wrote the original lyrics which would set off political correctness alerts near and far in today’s times). Breeskin sold the rights for the song to Murchinson, who returned them to Marshall in exchange for his vote in approving the new franchise.
The Cowboys, and the rivalry, were born. In a time when Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray are paying homage to Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith, and the entire offense tipping their hats (fedoras) to Tom Landry with “The Shift” for victory formations, traveling back to yesterday is a must. Especially during Washington Week.
The two teams have combined for 28 division championships and eight Super Bowls. The division championships feel like decades ago and the trophy ceremonies actually are that far in the past. Doesn’t matter much when gameday comes around, though.
There are classic games between the clubs throughout the rivalry, but with neither team winning a championship or maintaining excellence since the mid-90's, fans are left to battle each other, or reminisce.
Fine and Dandy, Don.
Reminisce to the Sonny Jurgensen and Don Meredith battles of the Sixties, where four games were decided by 10 points total. Reminisce to October 1967 with the Cowboys going 71 yards in 63 seconds to have Dan Reeves score the winning touchdown, then sweat as they had to tackle Charley Taylor at their 20-yard line as time expired. Mad Men indeed.
Reminisce to 1974 Thanksgiving, when rookie Clint Longley came in for an injured Captain Comeback and did his best Roger Staubach impersonation, connecting on a 50 yard pass to Drew Pearson with only 28 seconds left and a 24-23 victory.
Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach throws a pass in spite of being in the grasp of Redskins defensive tackle Bill Brundidge during the Cowboys 13-0 victory on November 21, 1971 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
Reminisce to 1979, when Staubach would throw two late fourth-quarter scores in the final week of the season to win the NFC East crown and knock the Redskins out of the playoffs.
Reminisce to the 1983 season opener, when Danny White engineered a comeback from a 23-3 deficit with 28 straight points. Or ending the Washington undefeated campaign in 1990.
Or the previous season’s lone victory, a 13-3 Monday night victory in Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman’s inaugural season in Dallas.
Blastoff, another Rocketship run.
Reminisce to Opening Day 1999, when Aikman led a furious fourth-quarter comeback from 21 points down, to see Washington miss a field goal that sent the game into overtime. Then play-action happened. Then Norv Turner’s “Bang 8” happened. Then Rocket Ismail happened.
All isn’t favorable in the history of the rivalry for Cowboys fans; just most of it. Mark Brunell to Santana Moss, twice, still stings for most. There was the scab game of 1987 where a team of Cowboys vets were upended by street signings of Washington. Those scars, amongst many other, still linger.
As the old saying goes for Washington, beat Dallas and nothing else matters.
Beating Dallas hasn't been something the Redskins have been particularly adept at in recent years, however. Dallas has won eight of the last 11 meetings between the club and 24 of the last 33; a mind-boggling yet sustained ratio.
Let's be honest, that's no rivalry... that's domination.
In fact, Dallas owns the upper hand when looking at the lifetime series between the teams, 64-42-2. The two teams have been in the same division since 1961, and have played twice a year ever since. The team were almost moved to Dallas, but owner George Marshall changed the deal at the last minute and it fell through.
Series History: Dallas leads, 64-42-2 Current Streak: Dallas has won last two in series, eight of last 11 Last Matchup: 2013 Week 16, Dallas wins 24-23 at FedEx Field. The “Willis Romo Reed” Game.The “4th and Goal” Game. The “Romo Will Never Be The Same Again” Game. This Year’s Matchups: Weeks 8 & 17
Looking over the history, Dallas has come out on top in each decade they've been in existence, and the gap is widening.
|Decade||Cowboys Wins||Redskins Wins||Ties|
Is it safe yet?
New Washington Coach, Jay Gruden
After such a dismal season, and really, a tradition of lackluster performance, Dan Snyder fired yet another coach in Mike Shanahan and brought in Jay Gruden as their new head coach. Gruden, younger brother of Super Bowl-winning coach John, was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. It’s an interesting hire, as Gruden generates conflicting opinions as to whether his Bengals offense was the problem or the players in the scheme. He is a former QB who has head coaching experience in the AFL and the UFL, where his offenses received positive reviews. Things have started off for the new regime the same way the old regime left it.
The team, its players and its front office, had gone out of their way to blame Mike and Kyle Shanahan for the team’s 2013 woes. Reports that RGIII shouldn’t have played, that he and the coaching staff didn’t get along, as well as word that Mike Shanahan would often overrule Jim Haslett (who was retained) on defensive play-calling, have circulated the Ashburn offices. Meanwhile in 2014, Kyle Shanahan’s offense is humming along in Cleveland, and Washington’s defense doesn’t appear to be much improved.
DeSean Jackson gets down with future Washington lineman Lil Terio (Getty Images)
The biggest news of the offseason for the franchise representing the Nation’s Capital was the signing of DeSean Jackson after his strange departure from division rival, Philadelphia. The move made perfect sense, considering that a deep threat with speed was a key ingredient that was missing from their offense and the team hasn’t shied away from controversial figures in the past. So much so, that I predicted the move immediately after his release from the Eagles. Jackson was surrounded by strange questions of character that seemed to be a smear campaign enacted to relieve Philly of the public outcry factor. Jackson has lived up to his big play reputation, but it hasn’t been enough to make the offense as a whole potent.
Trademark? What trademark?
Appearance Fee Optional. Might not be a ticket in pocket.The other major storyline for the club has been a long-standing one that seems to have bubbled to the surface yet again. This time, it appears that the naming controversy isn’t going away. Regardless of where you stand on the team’s need to make a change or not, one cannot deny they have completely screwed up almost every aspect of the ordeal. From hiring fake Native Americans to say they aren’t offended by the name, to hiring PR people that have tweeted insensitive remarks about Native Americans’ in their past, to setting up a “facts” website that skirts around the edges of truth, it’s been a giant cluster. Through it all, owner Dan Snyder has remained belligerent to the call for politically correct action. Earlier in the offseason, the patent and trademark office rescinded their nickname trademarks. Word is that a major protest and demonstration is scheduled for Washington’s trip to Minnesota on November 2nd to face the Vikings.
In free agency, the team decided not to give a long-term deal to their key defensive player Brian Orakpo; instead slapping him with the franchise tag. Orakpo was having a solid year in the run game, but little pass rush and has now injured his pectoral muscle and is lost for the year. As is their custom, they overpaid for a Cowboys free agent, stealing away Jason Hatcher as he enters his ninth year in the league. Hatcher had his best season in a contract year, which is normally a red flag, especially for someone that is 32 years old in a game that isn’t kind to players on that side of the hill. Hatcher has fared well on a floundering franchise.
Without a first round pick, Washington was able to snag Stanford pass rusher Trent Murphy in the second round, after moving back in a draft-day trade with Dallas (who selected Demarcus Lawrence). These two players will be linked throughout their career as the two teams face-off twice a season. The team also selected University of Virginia OT Morgan Moses, as well as Nebraska G Spencer Long.
If healthy, the Washington skill position players are some of the best in the league. WR Pierre Garcon is a workhorse that led the NFL in receptions and Desean Jackson, while not exactly a one-trick pony, is great at forcing the over-the-top safety to key on him for his speed factor. Jordan Reed would be the x-factor at tight end, as he has the skillset to be in the Top 3 at the position. However, on the heels of last year’s concussion issues have been several injuries in 2014 that have him on the weekly report.
Heavy interest was shown in whether or not Alfred Morris could continue the rushing he’s done over the first two years of his career, now that the Shanahan “one-cut” zone rushing scheme is gone. So far it hasn’t happened, with Morris averaging under 60 yards a ball game. Most importantly, though, was whether or not Griffin can effectively distribute the ball to all of the weapons. He suffered another brutal non-contact injury in Week 2, and the Kirk Cousins train derailed with hideous performances that included 7 interceptions combined over two consecutive fourth quarters.
The defense added aged skill in Hatcher, and lost leader London Fletcher who looked long in the tooth last season. Adding Trent Murphy could see Washington utilize a three pass rusher set more frequently, as they try to cover for a questionable secondary. Second-year CB David Amerson and rookie Brashaud Breeland are manning the outside after DeAngelo Hall suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
Later in the week, CowboysHQ will have a conversation with Redskins’ analyst Ken Meringolo of HogsHaven.com, along with our look inside the advanced stats world to get a beat on exactly what the Cowboys will be facing in the latest edition of the rivalry.