The Steelers have 10 players left from the 2004 duel in Dallas: Ben Roethlisberger, Max Starks, Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, Larry Foote, James Harrison, Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Charlie Batch, and Plaxico Burress. The Cowboys only have 2: Jason Witten and Tony Romo.
The Steelers have 4 coaches left from the 2004 duel in Dallas: defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, tight ends coach, James Daniel, defensive line coach John Mitchell, and linebackers coach Keith Butler. The Cowboys have no one. In fact, Todd Haley, who was the Cowboys receivers coach at the time, is now the offensive coordinator with Pittsburgh.
The last time the Cowboys faced two AFC opponents in December was in 2008 when the Cowboys traveled to Pittsburgh on 12/7/08 and faced the Ravens in Dallas on 12/20/12.
The Steelers are the first AFC team since the Kansas City Chiefs (’98, ’05) to have faced the Cowboys in consecutive Decembers (’08, ’12).
The Steelers are the only team the Cowboys have played a regular season game against in the month of August. The Cowboys opened up in Pittsburgh on 8/31/97 and beat the Steelers 37-7.
Cowboys Stadium is the third Metroplex venue in which the Steelers have played. They won in the Cotton Bowl 35-28 on 9/24/60 and lost in Texas Stadium 13-17 on 10/8/72.
An average Steelers frontrunner will remind you that the Steelers lead in Super Bowl wins with 6. However, the Steelers and Cowboys are tied for most appearances with 8 each, and tied for most postseason wins with 33 each.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys both have Catholic references in two of their memorable playoff wins: The Immaculate Reception (1972 AFC Divisional Playoffs) and the Hail Mary (1975 NFC Divisional Playoffs). Interestingly enough, the two teams that lost those games, the Raiders and Vikings, ended up facing each other in Super Bowl XI.
The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers were once division rivals from 1961 to 1966 in the old NFL Eastern Conference with the division series standing at 6-6. The Steelers swept the Cowboys in ’63 and the Cowboys swept the Steelers in ’66.
The Dallas Cowboys’ first ever game was a 28-35 loss to Bobby Layne and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Cotton Bowl on 9/24/60, a Saturday game.
The Cowboys earned their first franchise victory on 9/17/61 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Cotton Bowl.
Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau are each 0-1 against the Cowboys as head coaches. However, Haley is 1-0 against the Cowboys as an offensive coordinator and Dick LeBeau is 5-1 against the Cowboys as a defensive coordinator.
Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s father is George “Dick” Haley, who was the Steelers’ Director of Player Personnel from ’71 to ’90.
Dick LeBeau was the Steelers’ defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXX when the Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17.
On 12/11/60, Dick LeBeau picked off Cowboys quarterback Eddie LeBaron in the Detroit Lions’ 23-14 win over the expansion franchise.
Dick LeBeau’s only playoff game came against the Dallas Cowboys in the Cotton Bowl, where the Cowboys prevailed 5-0 to advance to the first ever NFC Championship game in 1970.
In Cincinnati, the Dallas Cowboys faced old defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. This week, they are facing their former “passing game coordinator” in Todd Haley. The last time the Dallas Cowboys faced a former defensive coordinator and then a former offensive coordinator was in 1999 when the Cowboys played the Miami Dolphins defensively coordinated by Dave Wannstedt only to face the New England Patriots the next week offensively coordinated by Ernie Zampese.
The Dallas Cowboys have been defeated by each of their Modern Era NFC East rivals, while the Pittsburgh Steelers have never lost to their AFC Central/North rivals. Only when the Jaguars and Titans left the AFC Central to go to the AFC South did those former AFC Central teams defeat Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
By the time the NFL-AFL Merger was complete in 1970, the ten year-old Dallas Cowboys played in five postseason games, two NFL title games, and had one playoff win compared to the 37 year-old Pittsburgh Steelers who only had one playoff game to show for it.
The last time the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas was on Thanksgiving Day 1991 when Michael Irvin had 8 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ 20-10 victory.
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-2 in December against the Pittsburgh Steelers:
1963 (DAL): 24-19 Steelers
1964 (DAL): 17-14 Cowboys
1968 (DAL): 28-7 Cowboys
1969 (PIT): 10-7 Cowboys
2008 (PIT): 20-13 Steelers
The Steelers have played in four venues in Pittsburgh: Forbes Field (’33-’63), Pitt Stadium (’58-’69), Three Rivers Stadium (’70-’00), and Heinz Field (’01-present). Here’s the Cowboys’ record in all four venues:
Forbes Field: 0-3
Pitt Stadium: 3-2
Three Rivers Stadium: 2-3
Heinz Field: 0-1
The Steelers played in Cowboys Stadium in Super Bowl XLV without having yet faced the home team. This has never happened, because they faced the Saints prior to playing in Tulane Stadium for Super Bowl IX, the Dolphins before playing in Super Bowls X and XIII, and the Rams before playing near Los Angeles in Super Bowl XIV.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of two teams to have claimed Comiskey Park as a home venue. The other team was the Chicago Cardinals.
The Steelers have the NFL’s second-longest streak of having an African American quarterback on their roster:
Kordell Stewart: 1996-2002
Charlie Batch: 2002-present
Byron Leftwich: 2008, 2010-present
The Eagles have the longest going back to 1985, while the Minnesota Vikings have the third-longest going back to 1997. The Steelers are the only team Randall Cunningham did not begin that streak with.
JASON GARRETT FACTS
Jason Garrett coached against the Steelers only once before as the Dolphins quarterbacks coach in Week 1 of 2006. Miami quarterback Daunte Culpepper went 18/37 for 262 and 2 INT’s.
Jason Garrett was born in Abington, Pennsylvania. He joins Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells as the only Cowboys head coaches to have coached against two teams playing in the state of his birth.
Last year, against the AFC East, Jason Garrett went 2-2, winning two games at home. This season, Jason Garrett is 2-1 having won one game on the road.
Jason Garrett currently has a 5-5 December record, which ties for the franchise’s second-best. Here’s how Cowboys head coaches compared after their first 10 December games (Chan Gailey only coached in 8 total):
Tom Landry: 1-8-1
Jimmy Johnson: 4-6
Barry Switzer: 6-4
Dave Campo: 4-6
Bill Parcells: 5-5
Wade Phillips: 3-7
MIKE TOMLIN FACTS
Jason Garrett is now 20-17 in his first 37 games. By the time Mike Tomlin had coached in 37 games, he was 25-12 with two playoff appearances, two playoff wins, and a Super Bowl victory.
Jason Garrett and Mike Tomlin were both members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 when Garrett backed up Brad Johnson and Tomlin coached the defensive backs.
Going back to 1970, the Dallas Cowboys have faced only 3 Steelers head coaches: Noll, Cowher, and Tomlin. The only two teams that come close are the Broncos and Dolphins who have each trotted out 5 different head coaches against Dallas in the same span.
Since 1960, the Steelers have had 6 head coaches compared to the Cowboys’ 8. Frontrunners and bandwagon riders cite this as evidence of the Steelers being a great franchise and the Rooneys being a great family. But consider this: from 1933 to 1960, Art Rooney’s Steelers had 14 head coaches. Only the Bidwill’s Cardinals had a worse track record with 15 head coaches in the same span. A Steelers’ head coach could expect to stay 1.9 seasons before being canned.
Here’s the Steelers head coaching records against Dallas, including postseason:
Buddy Parker: 6-3
Mike Nixon: 1-1
Bill Austin: 0-4
TONY ROMO FACTS
Not counting division games, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of 5 teams that Tony Romo has lost his initial encounter with and had a chance to rematch (NO, Det, NE, Pit, Bal). In rematch games, the only teams Romo has lost to have been AFC teams (NE & Det).
Tony Romo is 3-2 in third December games. His stats are 104/174 for 1,305 yards, 8 touchdowns, 6 INT’s, and an 84.1 passer rating.
Romo’s interception to Reggie Nelson last week in Cincinnati was Romo’s first interception since 12/27/07 against the Washington Redskins.
Here’s how Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks have performed against the Pittsburgh Steelers, including postseason:
Don Meredith: 6-4
Eddie LeBaron: 0-2
John Roach: 0-1
Craig Morton: 2-0
Roger Staubach: 0-4
Danny White: 1-1
Steve Pelluer: 0-1
Steve Beuerlein: 1-0
Troy Aikman: 3-0
Vinny Testaverde: 0-1
Tony Romo: 0-1
Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman are the only Cowboys quarterbacks who faced the Steelers in the Super Bowl. They are also the only Cowboys quarterbacks who faced the Steelers exclusively in Three Rivers Stadium in the regular season.
Aside from Super Bowl XXX, Troy Aikman only played twice against the Steelers in Pittsburgh and each time was on Opening Day.
Here’s how other Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks’ records in their third December games (playoffs where applicable):
Don Meredith: 3-2
Roger Staubach: 6-1
Danny White: 3-3
Troy Aikman: 4-5
BEN ROETHLISBERGER FACTS
Ben Roethlisberger is 2-0 against the Cowboys. Here’s how other Steelers quarterbacks have compared:
Bobby Layne: 2-2
Rudy Bukich: 1-0
Ed Brown: 3-1
Bill Nelsen: 1-1
George Izo: 0-1
Ron Smith: 0-1
Kent Nix: 0-1
Dick Shiner: 0-1
Terry Hanratty: 0-1
Terry Bradshaw: 5-1
Mark Malone: 0-1
Bubby Brister: 1-0
Neil O’Donnell: 0-3
Kordell Stewart: 0-1
Ben Roethlisberger: 1-0
Including division games, the Dallas Cowboys are one of 8 teams that Ben Roethlisberger has faced at least three times and won the first two encounters (Cin, Cle, Hou, Mia, NYJ, Sea, Was, Dal). Only the Jets and the Texans have defeated Roethlisberger in that third encounter, and they each did it in their respective home stadiums.
Ben Roethlisberger is 2-1 in the state of Texas. His lone loss came at the Texans last season 17-10.
Ben Roethlisberger is the 5th first round quarterback the Steelers have taken since 1953. The others were Ted Marchibroda (1953), Len Dawson (1957), Terry Bradshaw (1970), and Mark Malone (1980).
In the month of December, Ben Roethlisberger is 23-10. He is 597/971 for 7,890, 47 touchdowns, 26 INT’s, and a 92.2 passer rating.
Ben Roethlisberger has a 24-6 record against the NFC. The only teams he’s lost to are the Giants, Eagles, Falcons, Cardinals, 49ers, and Bears. The Giants were the only NFC team to beat him in Pittsburgh.
With last week’s loss against the Chargers, Ben Roethlisberger is currently on a two-game losing skid in December for his career (last loss: 12/19/11 at San Fransisco).
This is the fourth time since Super Bowl X in January 1976 that the Cowboys have played the Steelers on CBS.
This is only the second time the Steelers have played the Cowboys on CBS since gained the AFC package in 1998. Only the Jaguars (’00, ’02, ’10) and Dolphins (’99, ’03, ’11) have faced Dallas on CBS the most times.
In the Landry era, the Cowboys could only win their Super Bowls when broadcast by CBS (Super Bowls VI and XII). The Steelers are the only team to have beaten the Cowboys in a CBS-broadcasted Super Bowl (Super Bowl X).
The last time the Steelers played the Cowboys on CBS was on 10/17/04 when rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh to a 24-20 fourth quarter comeback, the first of his career.
This will be Jim Nantz and Phil Simms’ first Cowboys game to call for the season. The Cowboys’ record with Nantz and Simms’ calling the action is 9-5.
The last time Jim Nantz and Phil Simms called a Cowboys game was Thanksgiving Day 2011 when the Cowboys edged the Dolphins 20-19.
Since 1972, the Cowboys have played 5 early games, 4 late games, 1 Monday night game, and 1 Thanksgiving game against the Steelers. They are 3-2 in early games, 1-3 in late games, 0-1 on Monday night, and 1-0 on Thanksgiving.
This is the first December game that the Cowboys have played on CBS since 12/13/09 when the San Diego Chargers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 20-17. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms called that match.
Last week, the Cowboys faced Marvin Lewis, who coached linebackers under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh in 1995. The last time the Cowboys faced an “apprentice” and then the “master” the following week was in 2008 when the Cowboys faced John Harbaugh’s Ravens and then Andy Reid’s Eagles.
The Dallas Cowboys have been 7-6 only thrice in their history: 1986, 1999, and 2011. Only once did they make the playoffs. If the Dallas Cowboys fell to 7-6, as they did in ’86 and ’11, they failed to qualify. If they improved to 7-6, as they did in 1999, then they made the playoffs.
The AFC is currently 3-4 in Cowboys Stadium, with the AFC being on a three-game losing streak.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had three different head coaches for all eight Super Bowl appearances. But they have only had two different defensive coordinators for all eight appearances: Woody Widenhofer and Dick LeBeau.
In each of his three seasons with Dallas, Shaun Suisham missed at least one field goal (2005: 3/4; 2006: 1/2; 2009: 2/3).
Since 2011, Shaun Suisham is 47/56 (83.9%) while Dan Bailey is 57/64 (89.1%).
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-4 on 12/16. Perhaps the most memorable game played on this date was Roger Staubach’s last regular season game where he led the Cowboys on double-comebacks to best the Redskins and take the NFC East and home field advantage:
2007: PHI – 6-10, L
2001: @SEA – 3-29, L
1990: Cardinals – 41-10, W
1979: WAS – 35-34, W
1973: @Cardinals – 30-3, W
1967: @SF – 16-24, L
1962: @NYG – 31-41, L
Sunday’s game does not bode well for the Cowboys when taking into account the moon phases. The Cowboys are 0-2 on 12/16 under new moons, and Sunday’s game will be played under a new moon. Here’s how Dallas has done during the other phases on 12/16:
New Moon: 0-2
First Quarter: N/A
Full Moon: 0-2
Last Quarter: 3-0
HOW TO STUMP A STEELERS FAN
Because the Steelers are like the Packers and Cowboys in their national following, they are susceptible to getting obnoxious bandwagon riders. Here’s one way to root them out: ask them who has the only retired number in Steelers’ history. Naturally, answers containing Terry Bradshaw and Joe Greene will be common, but the shibboleth is when they answer with Ernie Stauter, whose #70 has been retired with the Steelers since 1964. For Cowboys fans, this should be an easy fact to remember since Ernie Stautner coached with Tom Landry from 1966-88.
Special Thanks to assistant Brady Miller who helped in the assembly of this week’s photos.