The (4-5) Dallas Cowboys will face the (2-7) Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Cowboy’s Stadium. Both teams are historic franchises within the NFL. But here are some facts about their past and upcoming match-ups that you probably didn’t know about, provided by our resident Cowboy genius, Mark Lane.
The last time the Cleveland Browns beat the Dallas Cowboys was in 1994 when Bill Belichick was the head coach, and the contest was in Dallas.
Bill Belichick’s first NFL game as a head coach was with the Cleveland Browns as they faced the Dallas Cowboys on Opening Day 1991.
The Cleveland Browns’ first game at the Cotton Bowl was a 48-7 win in 1960, while their first game at Texas Stadium in 1974 was a 41-17 defeat.
The Cleveland Browns are one of four select teams to have beaten the Cowboys both home and away in a playoff game. The other three teams are the Packers, Vikings, and Rams.
The Dallas Cowboys have lost to the Ravens, who were the Browns, since the Ravens came into the league. Conversely, the Cowboys have beaten the Browns since they returned to the league.
The last time these two teams met was in 2008 in Cleveland. The Cowboys are only starting 4 players from that last encounter (Romo, Witten, Ratliff, and Ware), while the Browns are starting two (Joe Thomas and D’Qwell Jackson).
In the years the Cowboys have defeated the Browns, Dallas has never gone on to win a Super Bowl.
The Browns had a 7-game winning streak against the Cowboys from 1963-66. The longest streak the Cowboys have had is three games from 1966-69.
Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had 15 first round draft picks to the Cowboys’ 12. The Cowboys and Browns have had comparative value with 4 Pro Bowlers and 2 All Pros to 4 Pro Bowlers and 1 All Pro respectively. The Browns’ most common pick has been a tie between offensive lineman, defensive lineman, and quarterback, while the Cowboys’ most common pick has been defensive back.
In 2007, the Dallas Cowboys traded their first round pick to the Browns for the Browns’ 2008 first rounder, which was used to select Felix Jones. However, the first transaction these two teams made since the Browns’ return was in 2004 when the Cowboys dealt mercurial receiver #88 Antonio Bryant to the Browns for receiver Quincy Morgan.
The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Cleveland Browns 31-14 on Thanksgiving Day 1982. Unless the TV contracts are changed, the Browns will never play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving again because Thanksgivings occurring during even numbered years are broadcast by FOX Sports, and CBS Sports holds the rights to the Cowboys’ AFC home games.
Since 1999, the Browns have finished dead last 8 times compared to the Cowboys finishing 3rd five times.
The last time the Dallas Cowboys had a two-game home losing streak was in 2010 when they lost to the Bears and Titans in Weeks 3 and 6. Sadly, this streak swelled into a four-game losing streak.
The Browns are on a four-game losing streak to the NFC East. The last time they defeated an NFC East team was in 2008 when they crushed the defending Super Bowl champion Giants 35-14 in Cleveland.
The last AFC team the Cowboys have lost to at home was the 2010 Jacksonville Jaguars, who used to be in the defunct AFC Central division with the Browns from 1999-2001.
The Cleveland Browns are one of two teams that have their origins neither as a founding NFL team, an AFL team, or an expansion team. From 1946-49, the Cleveland Browns and the San Fransisco 49ers were members of the All American Football Conference.
The Cleveland Browns have had 5 head coaches and 1 interim since 1999. So have the Cowboys.
The Browns aren’t Cleveland’s original NFL team. The Rams, of L.A. and St. Louis fame, are. Similarly, the Cowboys aren’t Dallas’ original NFL team. The Texans from 1952 are, not to be confused with Lamar Hunt’s 1960 AFL team.
Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns are 1-3 in the state of Texas. Their lone win came in 2004 against the Texans 22-14.
Since returning operations in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had three owners: Al Lerner (1999-2002), Randy Lerner (2002-2012), and now Jimmy Haslam. The Cowboys have only had three owners in their entire 53-season history: Clint Murchison (1959-1984), Bum Bright (1984-1989), and Jerry Jones.
Jerry Jones drew the ire of NFL Properties in 1995 for violating the league’s revenue-sharing program. In David Magee’s Jerry Jones biography, Playing to Win, Art Modell said of Jones, “He’s going to tear down this league!” Interestingly enough, Modell was the one who shook one of the league’s pillars months later by announcing the relocation and renaming of the Browns to Baltimore to become the Ravens.
Art Modell and Jerry Jones both share the distinction of firing their respective franchise’s inaugural head coaches (Paul Brown and Tom Landry).
The first head coach Art Modell fired was Paul Brown. His last was Bill Belichick.
As of October 16th, Jimmy Haslam has been the official owner of the Cleveland Browns. Their win over the Chargers two weeks ago gives Haslam as many wins as Jerry Jones had in his first season with the Cowboys.
In 1989, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $140 million dollars. In October, Jimmy Haslam purchased the Browns for $1 billion.
Since 1998 when the NFL returned to CBS, except as the AFC package, the Dallas Cowboys have been 15-12. Their most common opponent has been a tie between the Dolphins and Jaguars with 3 appearances each. Forever their least common opponent will be the Seattle Seahawks with 1 appearance due to the Seahawks going to the NFC West, and thus FOX Sports broadcasting their inter-conference matches.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms became CBS Sports’ #1 team in 2004. The Dallas Cowboys are 9-6 when Nantz and Simms call the action.
In 2008, the Cowboys only played one AFC game at home on CBS in 2008 as opposed to the customary two. The AFC broadcaster rarely gives up one of its two Cowboys home games to a prime time telecast. The last time the AFC broadcaster (NBC: ’70-’97; CBS: ’98-present) gave up a Cowboys game was in 1987 when the Cowboys lost to the Dolphins 20-14.
The last time the Dallas Cowboys faced a rookie quarterback on CBS was in 2004 when Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a 24-20 victory in Texas Stadium.
Tony Romo has a 6-3 record on CBS. Here’s how the other Cowboys quarterbacks since ’98 shape up:
Quincy Carter — 2-1
Drew Bledsoe — 2-1
Troy Aikman — 2-2
Chad Hutchinson: 1-0
Vinny Testaverde — 1-1
Ryan Leaf — 0-1
Randall Cunningham — 0-1
Jon Kitna — 0-1
Jason Garrett — 0-1
BRANDON WEEDEN FACTS
Brandon Weeden and Dez Bryant were both Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2008 and 2009, but Weeden never threw a pass to Bryant.
Brandon Weeden was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2002. Similarly, Drew Henson, Cowboys’ 6th rounder from ’04, was drafted by the Yankees in 1998.
All three of the quarterbacks the Cowboys drafted from Troy Aikman to Tony Romo (Carter, Hutchinson, Henson) had past experience trying their hand at Major League Baseball.
Brandon Weeden graduated from Oklahoma State at age 28. When Romo was 28, he had played in two playoff games, been a two-time Pro Bowler, and set Cowboys season records for touchdowns, passing yards, and completions.
The Dallas Cowboys are 9-3 in their pre-Thanksgiving games since 2000 with only three of them being played on the road (’00 Ravens, ’04 Ravens, Redskins ’11). In those games, the Cowboys have played a .500 or below team 6 times (’02 Jaguars, ’05 Cardinals, ’08 49ers, ’09 Redskins, ’10 Lions, ’11 Redskins).
Tony Romo is 7-0 in pre-Thanksgiving games, with his most recognizable win coming against the 9-0 Colts in 2006.
The Dallas Cowboys’ last home pre-Thanksgiving loss was in 2001 when the Eagles crushed them 36-3.
This is the first AFC team the Cowboys have faced in a pre-Thanksgiving game since they took on the 9-0 Colts in 2006.
Sunday will be Jason Garrett’s first game to coach against the Browns. He has still yet to coach against the Packers, Vikings, Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Bengals, and Steelers. Garrett will need to stay until the conclusion of the 2014 season to have coached against all 32 teams.
Pat Shurmur served as one of Andy Reid’s assistant coaches from 1999-2008, and thus is from the Andy Reid coaching tree. This is the first time since 2006 that the Cowboys are facing a head coach after facing the coaching tree he came from (2006: Dennis Green with the Cardinals, then Tony Dungy with the Colts).
Pat Shurmur served as the Eagles quarterbacks coach from 2002-2008. Similarly, Jason Garrett served as a quarterbacks coach with the Dolphins from 2005-06.
Pat’s uncle, Fritz Shurmur, was the defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers in Jason Garrett’s heroic 1994 Thanksgiving Day game.
Jason Garrett’s career 17 wins is more wins than the Browns have had in the past three full seasons with only 14 (2009-2011).
Pat Shurmur and Jason Garrett both share the distinction of coaching at least two years under Nick Saban. Shurmur was Saban’s tight ends coach at Michigan State from 1995-97, while Garrett was Saban’s quarterbacks coach with the Dolphins from 2005-06.
Since 2003, the Dallas Cowboys are 6-4 against rookie quarterbacks (I’m counting Foles’ playing time as a start). Aside from Russell Wilson in Week 2, the only other rookie quarterbacks that have beaten them are Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning.
Since 2004, the Dallas Cowboys are 0-2 against AFC North rookie quarterbacks with both of those losses coming at home. (Roethlisberger in ’04; Flacco in ’08)
The Dallas Cowboys’ most common 11/18 opponent is a tie between the Eagles and the Redskins at two apiece.
This is the first time the Cowboys will play an AFC team at home on 11/18, and the first time since 1984 to play an AFC team at all (@BUF in 1984).
Troy Aikman has the most starts on 11/18 with three. Tony Romo will have two by Sunday, yet would need to play until the year 2018 to match Aikman’s record.
Pat Shurmur’s uncle, the aforementioned Fritz Shurmur, coached the Packers defense in a 11/18 contest on Monday Night Football where the Cowboys won 21-6.
The Dallas Cowboys are 4-4 on 11/18. Sunday’s game will be played under a new moon. Here’s the results broken down by moon phases:
New Moon — 0-1
First Quarter — 2-0
Full Moon — 0-1
Last Quarter — 2-2