The Dallas Cowboys will face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night. Most fans know that the Falcons are the only undefeated team left in the NFL this season. Here are ten other facts about their upcoming match-up that you probably didn’t know, provided by our resident Cowboy genius, Mark Lane.
25. The last time the Dallas Cowboys played on November 4th was on the road in an NBC telecast in 2007 against the Eagles. The Cowboys won 38-17.
24. The last time Al Michaels called a match between the Cowboys and Falcons was Week 2 of 1999, when the Cowboys beat the Falcons 24-7.
23. The last time Cris Collinsworth called a match between the Cowboys and Falcons was in Week 15 of 2006 when the Cowboys won 38-28.
22. The Cowboys have a 7-8 record on NBC telecasts since 2008:
2008: @Packers – W, @Redskins – W, Giants – W
2009: Giants – L, @Eagles – W, @Redskins – W, Eagles (playoffs) – W
2010: @Redskins – L, @Packers – L, Eagles – L
2011: @Jets – L, @Eagles – L, Giants – L, @Giants – L
2012: @Giants – W
21. The Falcons have a 2-2 record in NBC telecasts since 2008:
2008: @Cardinals (playoffs) – L
2009: @Bears – W
2011: Eagles – W, Packers – W
20. The last time the Cowboys lost to the Falcons in Atlanta was on 11/11/01, 10 years, 51 weeks to the day of this encounter.
19. The longest stretch of these two clubs not playing each other in the regular season was 1976 to 1985, while their longest stretch of playing one another was from 1985 to 1993.
18. This is the third time the Cowboys and Falcons will square off before a presidential election. While the Cowboys won both contests, the Republicans and Democrats took one game each.
17. This is only the fifth time the Cowboys have played in November against the Falcons. They are 1-3 when playing the Falcons in November.
16.The Falcons are one of four teams to have never beaten the Cowboys in a postseason encounter (min. 2 attempts). The other teams are the Buccaneers, Bears, and Bills.
15. The Falcons came into the league in 1966, which was the same year the expansion Cowboys played in their first NFL Title Game.
14. Matt Ryan is the first Falcons quarterback since Chris Miller (’88-’89) to start in consecutive encounters against the Cowboys.
13. Tony Romo is the fourth quarterback in Cowboys history to have 3 consecutive starts against the Falcons (Staubach, White, Aikman)
12. Along with the Cowboys, the other teams Matt Ryan hasn’t beat are the Patriots, Giants, Steelers, and Texans.
11. Matt Ryan will be facing Dallas for the second time in his career. Here’s how other distinguished non-divisional quarterbacks have fared after having lost their first match against Dallas:
Fran Tarkenton – L
Bob Griese – W
Terry Bradshaw – W
Dan Fouts – L
Warren Moon – W
Jim Kelly – W
Brett Favre- L
Drew Bledsoe – W
Kurt Warner – W
Drew Brees – W
Aaron Rodgers – W
10. Tony Romo has a 2-0 record against the Falcons (2006, 2009).
9. The Atlanta Falcons join the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers as the only NFC #1 seeds to have lost in the first round since the playoffs were re-formatted in 1990.
8. Jason Garrett is the eighth head coach in Cowboys history. The eighth head coach in Falcons history was Jim Hanifan, who was also an interim head coach as replaced Marion Campbell for the 1989 season.
7. The Falcons need just two more wins this season to have put together 5 consecutive winning seasons. That’s quite a feat considering they never had consecutive winning seasons past 2007.
6. Mike Smith joins John Harbaugh, Vince Lombardi, Mike Holmgren, George Seifert, George Allen, Don Shula, Jerry Burns, Mike Tomlin, and Bill Cowher as the only head coaches to have 4 consecutive winning seasons at their first head coaching job. What’s impressive about that feat is who’s not on the list (Landry, Noll, etc.)
5. Nick Eatman and Todd Archer wrote articles how the Cowboys have been undefeated team killers since 1991. That’s true, but here’s two factors that they didn’t mention:
A. The Cowboys had winning records at the time (’91: 6-5; ’06: 5-4; ’09: 8-5) compared to their 3-4 record.
B. The Cowboys were near even in the turnover battle (’91: -2; ’06: +4; ’09: -1) compared to their -11 margin.
4. The Dallas Cowboys are 3-2 in the Georgia Dome and had a 3-3 record at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the Falcons’ home from ’66 to ’91. The Cowboys played two separate postseason games at those respective venues: the 1980 divisional playoffs against Atlanta at Fulton County Stadium, and Super Bowl XXVIII against Buffalo in the Georgia Dome.
3. In the Falcons’ inaugural season in the Georgia Dome in 1992, the Cowboys defeated them 41-17. In the Cowboys’ inaugural season in Cowboys Stadium in 2009, the Cowboys defeated the Falcons 37-21.
2. When Romo lost the 2007 divisional playoffs, the media went tulipomaniacal over his 0-2 record. However, Matt Ryan has a free pass with his 0-3 record. Only Peyton Manning and Steve Grogan had an 0-3 record after their first three playoff games.
1. The Cowboys have never played the Falcons and 49ers as same place division finishers since the 2002 realignment.
Bonus: The Cowboys are 4-4 on 11/4 with 6 of their 8 contests having been played on the road. Here’s the results broken down by moon phase: New Moon — 1-0, First Quarter — 1-1, Full Moon — 2-2, Last Quarter — 0-1.