Just The Facts: Cowboys Vs. Redskins


The (5-5) Dallas Cowboys will face the (4-6) Washington Redskins on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, at Cowboy’s Stadium. Both teams have a storied and very heated rivalry. 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.

November 18, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen (82) is congratulated by wide receiver Josh Morgan (15) after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE


The Washington Redskins have not yet won a contest in Cowboys Stadium after three tries. It took them six tries to finally win in the old Cotton Bowl (1966) and only four to win in Texas Stadium (1975).

The last Redskins rookie quarterback who started against Dallas was Patrick Ramsey in Week 17 of 2002. He defeated the Cowboys 20-14.

The Dallas Cowboys have faced three Redskins rookie quarterbacks: Mark Rypien (1988), Heath Shuler (1994), and Patrick Ramsey (2002).

The Dallas Cowboys are waiting until Thanksgiving to have their first match with the Redskins. Here’s a list of the other years where the Cowboys have waited until Thanksgiving, 11/22, or later to face Washington: 1970, 1982, 1996, 2002, 2009

The Washington Redskins are one of six teams to have never lost to Dallas in the playoffs. The other five teams are Baltimore (Colts), Carolina, Arizona, Seattle, and the New York Giants.

Dallas has taken the first wins in the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium, and Cowboys Stadium. Similarly, the Redskins took the first wins in Griffith Stadium, D.C. Stadium, and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. However, when D.C. Stadium and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium were renamed to RFK and FedEx Field respectively, the Cowboys won both of those first contests.

The Cowboys’ highest points scored in the series is 45 points; their lowest is 5 points. The Redskins’ highest points scored is 41; their lowest is 0 points.

The Dallas Cowboys have 16 sweeps with their first coming in 1968. Conversely, the Redskins only have 4 sweeps with their first coming in 1984.

From 1997 to 2002, the Cowboys won 10 straight contests against the Redskins, and went 14-1 from ’97 to ’04. The closest Washington has ever come is 4 straight wins from ’86 to ’88 and a 9-6 record from ’83 to ’90.

A Cowboys win would be their third-best start in rivalry history. Tied for first are the 1980’s and 2000’s when the Cowboys started off 5-0.

The Dallas Cowboys own all 4 shutouts in the series with three of them coming on the road.

Since 2000, the Cowboys have had 10 starting quarterbacks to the Redskins’ 9.

Since 2000, Tony Romo has the most starts for the Cowboys in the series with 10, while Jason Campbell and Mark Brunell both tied with 5 starts. The last Redskins quarterback to have 10 or more starts for the Redskins was Mark Rypien.

Since 1999, the Dallas Cowboys have had 5 head coaches (Gailey, Campo, Parcells, Phillips, Garrett) and 1 interim (Garrett) to the Redskins’ 6 head coaches (Turner, Schottenheimer, Spurrier, Gibbs, Zorn, Shanahan) and 1 interim (Robiskie).

There have only been 3 overtime contests in the series with the Cowboys having a 2-1 record. However, there are also 2 ties in the series because the NFL did not institute regular season overtime until 1974.

The Dallas Cowboys are 4-1 in 1-point contests with Washington.

The Washington Redskins have never beaten Dallas on Thanksgiving. However, George Allen, Jack Pardee, and Mike Shanahan did coach victoriously on Thanksgiving. Shanahan has a 2-1 record with both wins coming against Dallas when he coached Denver.

Jim Ninowski, Billy Kilmer, Joe Theismann, Mark Rypien, Gus Frerotte, and Danny Wuerffel all lost to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. However, Billy Kilmer led the Redskins to a Thanksgiving victory over the Lions in ’73 and Ninowski completed the same feat with the Lions in 1960.


Dan Snyder is in his fourteenth year of ownership. Comparatively, when Jerry Jones was in his fourteenth year, he had already won three Super Bowls and was in the midst of Emmitt Smith’s final season as a Cowboy.

The Redskins have only won two playoff games since 1991. In that span, they’ve had 2 different owners (Jack Kent Cooke and Dan Snyder) and three different general managers (Charley Casserly, Vinny Cerrato, Bruce Allen).

Vince Lombardi had a 5-2 record against the Dallas Cowboys. His two losses came in 1969 when he was Washington’s head coach and the Cowboys swept the Redskins.

The Dallas Cowboys had nine quarterbacks in between Troy Aikman, their last Super Bowl-winning quarterback, and Tony Romo. The Washington Redskins have had 19 quarterbacks since Mark Rypien: Heath Shuler, Gus Frerotte, John Friesz, Jeff Hostetler, Trent Green, Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Patrick Ramsey, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck, and Robert Griffin III.

None of the Redskins’ Super Bowl winning quarterbacks were first round picks. However, Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh did help the Redskins win two NFL Championship games over the Chicago Bears in 1937 and 1942.

Here’s the list of Redskins quarterbacks taken in the first round: Robert Griffin III (20120, Jason Campbell (2005), Patrick Ramsey (2002), Heath Shuler (1994), Norm Snead (1961), Richie Lucas (1960), Don Allard (1959), Ralph Guglielmi (1955), Jack Scarbath (1953), Harry Gilmer (1948), Jim Hardy (1945), Sammy Baugh (1937). Compare that to the Cowboys only drafting two (Morton in ’65; Aikman in ’89).

Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy last year at Baylor. The last quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy and then later win a Super Bowl was Jim Plunkett, who only won with his third team (Oakland Raiders).


This will be the first time since Week 11 2009 that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call a Cowboys-Redskins game. Incidentally, that game was played on 11/22 with Dallas winning 7-6.

Dallas is 4-1 when Joe Buck and Troy Aikman call the Thanksgiving game on FOX. The last Thanksgiving game Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called was the infamous 2010 affair with the Saints when Roy “Thanksgiving” Williams fumbled the ball to give the Saints possession and subsequently the 30-27 win.

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, along with Cris Collinsworth, called the 2002 Thanksgiving game against the Redskins where Dallas prevailed 27-20.

The Dallas Cowboys are 6-3 on Thanksgiving games broadcast by FOX Sports. Only their CBS Sports record through the first 9 games of 6-2-1 is slightly better. The Cowboys were 2-2 with Pat Summerall and John Madden announcing on FOX and 4-1 with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman currently announcing.

This will be the first time NBC will broadcast a Thanksgiving game. The last Thanksgiving game they broadcast was the 1997 encounter between Tennessee and Dallas, when the Oilers defeated the Cowboys 27-14.


Mike Shanahan is 1-3 against Dallas. At least he has been able to coach 4 games against Dallas, which is more than can be said of Mike Nixon, Vince Lombardi, Bill Austin, Richie Petitbon, and Marty Schottenheimer’s tenures with the Redskins.

Mike Shanahan has only had two other rookie quarterbacks in his coaching career: Jarious Jackson (2000) and Jay Cutler (2006). Jackson only attempt a single pass his rookie year, while Shanahan went 2-3 with Cutler in ’06.

Through 42 games with Washington, Mike Shanahan is 15-27. In Denver, he was 30-12.

Mike Shanahan led Denver to two-straight Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998. Here’s the list of other Super Bowl winning coaches through their first 42 games of their second stint:

Tom Flores: 11-31
Joe Gibbs: 19-23
Mike Ditka: 14-28
Bill Parcells: 19-23 (Patriots), 25-17 (Jets), 23-19 (Cowboys)
George Seifert: 16-26
Jimmy Johnson: 23-19
Mike Holmgren: 20-22
Dick Vermeil: 23-19

Interestingly enough, Hank Stram is the only Super Bowl-winning coach who was not retained past 32 games during his second and final stint with the Saints.


Tony Romo is 32 years old on this Thanksgiving Day. Here’s how other Cowboys quarterbacks have done when playing a Thanksgiving game at age 32:

Troy Aikman: 34/57, 455 yards, 1 TD (MIN-L)
Danny White: 14/26, 235 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT (NE-W)
Roger Staubach: 3/11, 32 yards, 1 INT (WAS-W)

Tony Romo is 6-4 against the Redskins. Here’s how the other Cowboys quarterbacks did in their first 10 games:

Danny White: 7-3 (playoffs included)
Don Meredith: 5-3-2
Roger Staubach: 5-5 (playoffs included)
Troy Aikman: 5-5

Since 2000, when quarterbacks other than Romo have started on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys are 2-5.


Here’s a list of Cowboys quarterback Thanksgiving records:

Most Touchdowns: 5 (Romo, ’06)
Most Passing Yards: 455 (Aikman, ’98)
Most Completions: 34 (Aikman, ’98)
Most Attempts: 57 (Aikman, ’98)
Best Completion %: 77.4% (White, ’83)
Most INTs: 3 (Morton, 69; White, ’87; Aikman, ’89; Carter, ’03)
Best Passer Rating: Tony Romo, 148.9
Worst Passer Rating: Roger Staubach, 1.7
Best Record — Danny White: 6-1
Youngest Starter: Troy Aikman, 23
Oldest Starter: Jon Kitna, 38

Here’s a list of the Top 10 Cowboys Passer Ratings on Thanksgiving:

1. Tony Romo — 148.9 (2006)
2. Roger Staubach — 141.4 (1971)
3. Tony Romo — 121.2 (2009)
4. Tony Romo — 113.7 (2008)
5. Troy Aikman — 113.0 (1995)
6. Don Meredith — 110.0 (1967)
7. Jason Garrett — 109.6 (1994)
8. Danny White — 109.2 (1983)
9. Danny White — 108.2 (1985)
10. Danny White — 103.4 (1982)

From 2000-2006, the Dallas Cowboys rolled out seven different starting quarterbacks for Thanksgiving (Troy Aikman, ’00; Ryan Leaf, ’01; Chad Hutchinson, ’02; Quincy Carter, ’03; Drew Henson, ’04; Drew Bledsoe, ’05; Tony Romo, ’06)

Here’s the list of Cowboys quarterbacks’ records on Thanksgiving:

Don Meredith: 3-0*
Craig Morton: 1-1-1
Roger Staubach: 4-2*
Danny White: 6-1
Steve Pelluer: 0-2
Troy Aikman: 5-5*
Steve Beuerlein: 1-0
Jason Garrett: 1-0
Ryan Leaf: 0-1
Chad Hutchinson: 0-1
Quincy Carter: 0-1
Drew Henson: 0-1
Drew Bledsoe: 0-1
Jon Kitna: 0-1
Tony Romo: 5-0

*beat Redskins

Here’s a list of the Cowboys head coaches’ records on Thanksgiving:

Tom Landry: 14-6-1
Jimmy Johnson: 3-2
Barry Switzer: 3-1
Chan Gailey: 1-1
Dave Campo: 1-2
Bill Parcells: 2-2
Wade Phillips: 3-0
Jason Garrett: 1-1

In 1975 and 1977, the St. Louis Cardinals replaced the Dallas Cowboys as a Thanksgiving game host with unfavorable results.

The Dallas Cowboys will wear their throwbacks this Thanksgiving, and are 7-4 since 2005 in these current throwbacks with an 0-2 (WAS ’05; PHI ’06) record against the NFC East. Tony Romo is 6-1 in these throwbacks, including a 1-0 record on the road.

The longest Thanksgiving winning streak the Cowboys had was from 1980 to 1985. Their longest losing streak is from 1986 to 1989.

In 1983 and in 1985, the Dallas Cowboys beat the St. Louis Cardinals on CBS with each score being 35-17.

The Dallas Cowboys’ biggest Thanksgiving win was a 51-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

In 1989 and 1990, the Dallas Cowboys played two NFC East teams back to back (Eagles, Redskins).

The Dallas Cowboys were shutout by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1989 and then pitched their own against the Miami Dolphins in 1999. Troy Aikman started both contests.

The Washington Redskins are 0-6 against Dallas on Thanksgiving. However, they did beat the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving in 1973 on 11/22.

Robert Griffin III will be the first Redskins rookie quarterback to start on Thanksgiving, the fifth to start against the Cowboys, and the ninth African American quarterback to start in any Thanksgiving contest.

Opposing rookie quarterbacks:

1991 — Neil O’Donnell, PIT – L
1992 — Kent Graham, NYG – L
2004 — Craig Krenzel — CHI – L
2006 — Bruce Gradkowski, TB – L

African American quarterbacks:

Warren Moon: 1-1*
Randall Cunningham: 2-0*
Rodney Peete: 1-0
Steve McNair: 1-0*
Charlie Batch: 1-0
Kordell Stewart: 0-1
Daunte Culpepper: 1-1*
Quincer Carter: 0-1
Michael Vick: 1-0
Donovan McNabb: 1-0

*played Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are 3-2 on 11/22 Thanksgiving Day games:

1973 — Miami Dolphins – L
1979 — Houston Oilers – L
1984 — New England Patriots – W
1990 — Washington Redskins – W
2001 — Denver Broncos – L
2007 — New York Jets – W

The last time both the Lions and the Cowboys have won together on Thanksgiving was in 1995.

The Dallas Cowboys played all of their Modern Era NFC East rivals with the Eagles being the only undefeated team. Second-most to the Redskins for Thanksgiving Day appearances in Dallas for an NFC East team is the St. Louis Cardinals.

The first Cowboys rookie quarterback to play on Thanksgiving was Chad Hutchinson in 2002. The most recent was Drew Henson in 2004. Both won and both wore #7 and both games were called by Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Cris Collinsworth.

This Thanksgiving, with the Texans playing in Detroit, will be the first time since 1992 that two Texas teams will play on Thanksgiving. The Oilers and the Cowboys both won.


There have been 3 instances where the Dallas Cowboys have beaten the Cleveland Browns and then faced the Redskins the following week (’82, ’91, ‘04). The Cowboys are 2-1 against the Redskins in such instances (Week 2 of 1991).

The last times the Dallas Cowboys were 5-5 were in 1974, 1987, 1997, 1999. Only in 1999 did they qualify for the playoffs.

The Dallas Cowboys are 4-1 against the Redskins 11/22. Overall, they are 7-5 on this calendar date, and Thursday’s game will be played under a first quarter moon. Here’s the breakdown by moon phases:

New Moon: 3-2
First Quarter: 1-1
Full Moon: 0-1
Last Quarter: 3-2