1979 Rogers Staubach’s Last Miracle

The last weekend of 1979 saw a tight situation in the NFC East.   Three teams the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins, and the Philadelphia Eagles,  had 1o-5 records.  As the math revealed, the Eagles had the Wild Card  and could do no better or worse.  The winner of the Cowboys and Redskins game would be in first place  heading into the post season.  The loser would have to plan for 1980.  A few weeks earlier at Washington, the Redskins  defeated the Cowboys 34 to 21.

At Dallas, the Redskins got off to a quick start leading 17 to 0.  The Cowboys came back and it was a back and fourth game until the fourth quarter.   With seven minutes left in the game the Diesel, John Riggins, went 66 yards for a touchdown  and a 34 to 21 lead for DC.   After a 7-1 start, Dallas had been floundering and few thought that Dallas would win. Then came Roger Staubach throwing  two touchdown passes-26 yards to Ron Springs and  eight yards pass to Tony Hill.  Only eight seconds remained in the game and the crowd went wild.

Joe Theisman had a good game but he was no match for Roger Staubach.  RS completed 24 of 46 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns.  Tony Hill caught eight of these passes for 113 yards  and three touchdowns.   John Riggins kept the Redskins in the game by carrying 22 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns.  This was the last of the Staubach lead come from behind victories.

The Eagles, on the road, defeated the Houston Oilers 26 to 20.

Slow Starts, Late Wins 2006-2011 Why?


2006-After 11 games, the Eagles were 5-6;  counting playoffs the Eagles then won six in a row;  defeated the New York Giants twice in a four game span;  lost to the New Orleans Saints 27 to 24 in the second round of the playoffs;  lost earlier in the season to the Saints by the same score.

2007-Floundering through 13 games with a record of 5-8;  the team should have won five of the eight but simply could not turn the page for a happy ending;  Eagles won their final three games to reach .500; the first of these three was a 10 to 6 win over the Cowboys at Texas Stadium;  with Dallas winning 13 games,  this was no small feat.

2008-What Eagle fan forget this  sensational comeback winning six of seven after going 5-5-1 ?  This included two wins over the New York Giants, 20 to 14 and 23 to 11, with both games at the Meadow Lands.  The loss to the Cardinals in the NFC Title Game 32 to 25 was to me the  biggest disappointment  in over 60 years of rooting for Philadelphia.

2009-In Week 9, the Eagles  gave away a 20 to 16 game to the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia.  After that the Eagles won six in a row.  In three of these games,  the team was passing up scoring opportunities, muffing pass interceptions,  and not always making third down stops.  They were close rather than easy wins.  Before playing at Dallas in the final game, I had doubts about how good the team  really was.

Dallas white washed the Eagles 24 to 0.  Instead of a BYE and the home field advantage, the Eagles went to Dallas on the Wild Card Week.  Playing in Dallas on successive weeks is cruel and unusual punishment.  Cowboys won 34 to 14. 

2011-After  12 weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles were 4-8. They caught fire and won their last four games by  comfortable margins.The biggest win was a 20 to 7 affair with at the Dallas Cowboys.

A  footnote- the Eagles won both games with the Dallas Cowboys.  They came very near a double shut out.   In Philadelphia  the Eagles were leading 34 to 0 with about four minutes left in the game.  Tony Romo threw a 56 yard touchdown pass to Laurent Robertson bringing the score to 34 to 7.  In Dallas it looked like a sure shout out.   The Eagles were leading 20 to 0 with only 25 seconds left.   Our guys  were  punting from their own goal line.  After Russ Carter blocked a punt,  Stephen McGee threw a four yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin.    Final again Eagles 20 Dallas 7.

Here were the four games.

@ Miami won 26 to 10;

@ home defeated the New York Jets 45 to 19;

@ Dallas won 20 to 7;

@ home  defeated the Washington Redskins 34 to 10.      


1972 Roger Staubach First Comeback

The Dallas Cowboys had defeated the San Francisco  the NFC title in both 1970 and 1971.    1970 at San Francisco 17 to 10;  1971 at Dallas 14 to 3.  In 1972 it looked like it would be different.   On Thanksgiving Day, San Francisco demolished Dallas 31 to 10.  The 49ers lead 14 to 10 at halftime and Dallas did nothing in the second half.  Ted Kwalick, the Penn State All American, caught four  passes for 68 yards.

The defense and linebacker Skip Vanderbunt were the real st0ry.  The 49ers sacked  Craig Morton and Roger Staubach nine times for 66 yards in loses.  Skip Vanderbunt had a day that defensive players wish for.  In the first quarter, Vanderbunt recovered a fumble and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown.  With less than three minutes remaining, he sealed the game with an interception and return 21 yards for another score.   Dallas finished 10-4  to 8-5-1 for the 49ers;  but this day the 49ers were clearly better. 

One month later, the Cowboys went to San Francisco in the first round of the playoffs.  Despite the better record the 49ers were first in the NFC West while Dallas was second to the Redskins in the NFC East.  This game had some novel twists. After three quarters, the 49ers lead  28 to 13.  

Keeping the game close for Dallas was Craig Morton throwing yard 27 yard touchdown pass to Lance Alworth.  Then game a 27 yard field goal from Tony Frisch.  For San Francisco, Vic Washington  returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.  Larry Scieber  capped three  touchdown drives with 1 yard plunches.  Dallas recorded five sacks for 33 yards.

Behind 28 to 30, Tom Landry inserted Roger Staubach at quarterback in the fourth quarter.  There was allot of second guessing when the Cowboys kicked a field goal making the score 28 to 16.   Fans thought it was too late for that  The next two drives Staubach threw  for touchdowns- 20 yards to Bill Parks and 10 yards to Ron Sellers.   The Cowboys were really ecstatic jumping all over the  bench.  The crowd was quite; Dallas had beaten the Forty Niners in the playoffs  for three consecutive years.  Twice in the NFC Title game and now at the first round.

Often teams with great come behind victories fall flat the following week.   And so with the Dallas Cowboys  in the NFC Title game that year.  They were like jelly fish going to DC.  The Redskins beat them 26 to 3.  

This was Roger Staubach’s first come from behind victory.  

Harold Carmichael HOF

The Philadelphia Eagles, during Harold Carmichael playing years,  were in the Super Bowl only once.   Multiple Super Bowl appearances really grease the road to Canton.   In the 1980 season, the Eagles at home defeated the Oakland  Raiders 10 to 7.  Minus an 86 yard touchdown pass, Jim Plunkett to Cliff Branch, this was a splendid defensive performance.   Ron Jaworski threw a 43 yard pass to Leroy Harris to set up the winning touchdown.    The Eagles sacked  Jim Plunkett eight times for 62 yards in losses;  and the  Eagles got two turn overs.

Two months later saw the Eagles and Raiders in  Super Bowl XV at New Orleans.    Harold Carmichael was to make the biggest mistake of his career.   Behind 7 to 0 at the enemy 45, Harold went in motion,  something he had never done during the season.  He  cut sharply to his left as Jaworski lofted a 45 yard touchdown pass to Rodney Parker.   The penalty negated the score.  There were two other plays in the first half, neither involving  Carmichael, that the Eagles failed to make.  Oakland won easily 27 to 10.

Here are some highlights for Carmichael:

In 1973, he lead the NFL with both receptions with  67 and yards gained  with 1,115.  He also gained 1,078 yards in 1978 and 1,025 yards in 1981;

1975 at home vs. the Redskins.  Caught a pass deflected off Charlie Young and ran into the End Zone;  17 point underdogs Eagles won 26 to 10.

1979 at the New York Jets.  Caught two touchdown passes and blocked an extra point.  Eagles won 17 to 9. 

1983 at home with the Baltimore Colts.  On an End Around play threw a 45 yard touchdown pass to Mike Quick.  This was the only pass attempt in his career.

St Louis Cardinals 1963 to 1965

Previously I mentioned the Cardinals  late season losses.     In 1963,  St Louis  lost two of the last three to finish 9-5.   In 1964, there was a midyear  dip where the Cardinals lost three of four games.  The final record was 9-3-2 one half game behind conference winning Cleveland Browns.  For consolation, the Cardinals bettered the Browns  head to head games.  There was an early season tie at Cleveland 33-33 and they defeated the Browns 28 to 19 at home in December.

1965- For a complete picture I mentioned the 1965 season a few weeks ago.  After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles on opening day, the Cardinals won four consecutive games.  The 49 to 13 win at Cleveland was one of the best games  in St Louis history.  The final game of that  stretch was a 20 to 7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They lost the next two bringing their record to 5-3. 

In week nine,  Charley Johnson fired a 59 yard touchdown pass to Billy Gambrel for a 21 to 17 win.  Then came disaster came as the  Cardinals lost their  remaining six games for a 5-9 record.


Ice Bowl Dec 31, 1967 QUESTIONS

Growing  older I become more cynical.  This piece of work rains on the Ice Bowl but I just can’t pass it up. Think back as you watched the game.  You can get the details elsewhere.   Points here: Green Bay did nothing on offense after getting  a 14 to 0 lead; and the Packers used an Ivy League castoff from the New York Giants to help win the game.

–Green Bay scored touchdowns the first two series.  Bart Starr really was an expert passer with the right touch on the football making the score 14 to 0.

–Dallas got back in the game on two Packer fumbles.  On a blitz, Bob Lilley and Willie Townes  hit Starr and he fumbled.   George Andre scooped up the football and ran into the End Zone.  The score GB 14 Dallas 7.  After that, Willy Wood fumbled a punt  return inside his own 20 and the Cowboys kicked a field goal.   This was great field possession and  settling for three points  really hurt Dallas.    Score at the half.  GB 14 DAL 10.

Green Bay spent the third quarter turning back two Cowboy drives.  Early in the fourth quarter Dan Reeves, on a half back option threw some 50 yards to Lance Renzell.    Dallas now lead 17 to 14.

The Packer offense was on their  own 30 yard line with just under five minutes to play. A few weeks back the  Packers claimed Chuck Mercein from the New York Giants on waivers.  He graduated from  Yale and  was one of  the few League players to have an impact on a post season game.   After Green Bay moved 40 yards to the Cowboy 30, Chuck Mercein wrote his name on NFL history.  CM caught a screen pass from Bart Starr for 22 yards to the Cowboy eight.  He then ran for seven yards just short of the End Zone.  Bart Starr took the Quarterback  sneak   for a touchdown with 15 seconds to go.

Why couldn’t  the Packers move the ball  after the first two touchdowns  until the last drive.



The Defenders

Let me continue with the Defenders.   To me this was the most socially conscience and the best dramatic series in TV history.  A father and son law firm team tackled different cases every week.  Ken Preston,  only a few years out  of law school,  has allot to learn and  from his father, a sharp veteran litigator.  Lawrence Preston is a well respected man in both academic and legal circles  in New York City.  This is no small task.  Since the colonial days, NYC has always  an abundance of lawyers.

 There were clashes  between father and son that emphasized the generation  gap.  * The younger Preston sometimes wanted to use a client to help correct a social ill that related to the case.   Lawrence had to reign in his son.  The elder Preston emphasized they were defending a client and not on a crusade.   Ken Preston often used instinct and emotion rather than drawing conclusions from the facts.   Once in a while, Ken’s approach turned out to be correct. Lawrence was even more proud of his son when this occurred.

The clients  they represented  ran all across the social spectrum.   There were poor, rich, pleasant, seedy, or hostile. Issues involved were various degrees of murder and its companion issue of the death sentence,  manslaughter,  robbery, larceny; divorce, euthanasia, treason, repatriation, abortion,  and many more.   As a high school kid,   I learned  allot from this show.  

The learning was because the show was about social issues an not a who-done-it  like Perry Mason.   Here was the basic plot with Perry  Mason- the real culprits,  on the witness stand,  admitted  their guilt through questions  from Mason.   There is no  quarreling with Mason’s brilliance and insight.  However,  this become so repetitive that, to me, it was boring.   This occurred with the Defenders as well as but not  very often.

Also unlike  Mason, the  Defenders lost cases, made poor judgment,  and had Judges threaten with contempt of court.  Mail came onto CBS saying that the Defenders  had better start winning some cases and having some better natured clients  or they would lose  interest.

About four years was appropriate for a drama series like The Defenders.  The real problem was the show not being available on  syndication until now .   Most of the shows on TV Land and Nick at Night were not worth  watching the first time.  Finally, the Shout Factory released Season 1 in July.  I hope to see Season 2 3, and 4 very soon.