1971 Dallas Cowboys

Texas Stadium

Texas Stadium

The 1971 Dallas Cowboys season began rather auspiciously. They opened their new home, Texas Stadium in 1971. All seemed to be in line except for one little bump. The Cowboys rookie of the year running back Duane Thomas wanted a new contract. The Cowboys were not a franchise that simply renegotiated a players contract because of that players demands. Instead, the Cowboys traded Duane Thomas to the New England Patriots. Thomas enraged the Patriots head coach and the NFL granted the Patriots request to void the trade. So, a few days after being traded away, Duane Thomas was back with the Cowboys. In protest, Thomas simply refused to speak to the Cowboys team (players and coaches) and to the media for the entire season.

The Cowboys found only a few contributors from the 1971 NFL Draft. Their first pick, Tody Smith, played only a few years with the Cowboys before being traded to Houston. Bill Gregory played 7 years with the Cowboys but was a backup the entire time. Ron Jessie, drafted in the 8 round played 11 seasons in the NFL but none with the Cowboys as he was cut during training camp.

1971 Dallas Cowboys draft picks

Rnd Pos College/Univ
1 Tody Smith DE USC
2 Ike Thomas DB Bishop
3 Sam Scarber RB New Mexico
3 Bill Gregory DE Wisconsin
4 Joe Carter TE Grambling St.
4 Adam Mitchell T Mississippi
5 Ron Kadziel LB Stanford
6 Steve Maier WR Northern Arizona
7 Bill Griffin T Catawba
8 Ron Jessie WR Kansas
9 Honor Jackson DB Pacific
10 Rodney Wallace T New Mexico
11 Ernest Bonwell DT Lane
12 Steve Goepel QB Colgate
13 James Ford RB Texas Southern
14 Tyrone Covey DB Utah St.
15 Bob Young TE Delaware
16 John Brennan T Boston Col.
17 John Bomer C Memphis

The Cowboys were easy favorite to win the NFC and advance to the Super Bowl when the season began and that seemed more likely after winning their first two games overwhelmingly. Then things began to unravel. Landry was struggling with the decision of who to start at QB. Veteran Craig Morton or Roger Staubach. Both played well during training camp but neither distanced himself from the other. Landry originally started swapping the QBs for every other game. After loosing 2 of their next 4 games, Landry decided he would swap Staubach and Morton after ever play. That decision was disastrous as the Cowboys lost to the Bears 19-23 dropping the Cowboys mid season record to 4-3.

Landry eventually came to his senses and named Roger Staubach as his starting QB and the Cowboys responded by winning their final 7 regular season games to finish the season at 11-3 and win the Eastern Division for the 5th season in a row. The Cowboys offense led the league with 406 points and was led by Roger Staubach who was named to the Pro Bowl and led the league in passer ratings. Disgruntled RB Duane Thomas ran for 793 yards and 11 TDs. Garrison and Hill both added over 400 yards each. Bob Hayes was their leading receiver with 840 yards and 8 TDs. Lance Alworth added 487 yards and 2 TDs. The Cowboys Defense allowed only 222 points and was led by All Pro DT Bob Lilly and Pro Bowlers Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro and Cornell Green.

The Cowboys faced the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st round of the playoffs in Minnesota. The Cowboys got 2 third quarter TDs by Duane Thomas and Bob Hayes to pull away from the Vikings and win 20-12. The Cowboys then faced the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The Cowboys would play the 49ers at their new home, Texas Stadium. This was the first playoff game ever at Texas Stadium and the Cowboys awarded the home fans with a 14-3 win and a trip to Super Bowl VI.

Landry Super Bowl VI

Super Ride for Landry

The Cowboys faced off against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in Louisiana. The Cowboys shrugged off all the past disappointments with one of the most dominating performances in Super Bowl History. The Cowboys shut down the Dolphins vaunted offensive attack. The Dolphins could only muster 3 points as the Cowboys rolled for over 250 yards rushing and a 24-3 win. The Cowboys had finally lived up to their high expectations and won their first Super Bowl and World Championship!

1971 Dallas Cowboys schedule and results

Score
Week Date Opp Tm Opp
1 September 19 W Buffalo Bills 49 37
2 September 26 W Philadelphia Eagles 42 7
3 October 3 L Washington Redskins 16 20
4 October 11 W New York Giants 20 13
5 October 17 L New Orleans Saints 14 24
6 October 24 W New England Patriots 44 21
7 October 31 L Chicago Bears 19 23
8 November 7 W St. Louis Cardinals 16 13
9 November 14 W Philadelphia Eagles 20 7
10 November 21 W Washington Redskins 13 0
11 November 25 W Los Angeles Rams 28 21
12 December 4 W New York Jets 52 10
13 December 12 W New York Giants 42 14
14 December 18 W St. Louis Cardinals 31 12
Playoffs
Division December 25 W Minnesota Vikings 20 12
ConfChamp January 2 W San Francisco 49ers 14 3
SuperBowl January 16 W Miami Dolphins 24 3

1971 Dallas Cowboys roster

1971 Dallas Cowboys

No. Pos G GS College/Univ
26 Herb Adderley DB 12 0 Michigan St.
23 Margene Adkins WR 3 0 Henderson JC
19 Lance Alworth FL-WR 12 11 Arkansas
66 George Andrie DE 14 0 Marquette
60 Lee Roy Caffey LB 6 0 Texas A&M
83 Mike Clark K 12 0 Texas A&M
63 Larry Cole DE-DT 14 0 Air Force,Houston,Hawaii
89 Mike Ditka TE 14 4 Pittsburgh
52 Dave Edwards LB 14 0 Auburn
62 John Fitzgerald C-G 14 0 Boston Col.
45 Richmond Flowers DB-WR 5 0 Tennessee
15 Toni Fritsch K 2 0 none
32 Walt Garrison RB 13 0 Oklahoma St.
34 Cornell Green* DB 14 0 Utah St.
79 Forrest Gregg T-G-DT 6 0 SMU
77 Bill Gregory DE-DT 14 0 Wisconsin
43 Cliff Harris DB 14 11 Ouachita Baptist
22 Bob Hayes SE-WR 14 0 Florida A&M
35 Calvin Hill RB 8 5 Yale
54 Chuck Howley* LB 14 0 West Virginia
55 Lee Roy Jordan LB 14 0 Alabama
50 D.D. Lewis LB 14 0 Mississippi St.
74 Bob Lilly*+ DT-DE 14 0 TCU
64 Tony Liscio T-G 5 5 Tulsa
51 Dave Manders C 14 0 Michigan St.
14 Craig Morton QB 10 4 California
73 Ralph Neely T-G 7 7 Oklahoma
76 John Niland*+ G 14 0 Iowa
61 Blaine Nye G 14 0 Stanford
75 Jethro Pugh DT-DE 12 0 Elizabeth City St.
30 Dan Reeves RB 14 0 South Carolina
20 Mel Renfro* DB-RB 14 0 Oregon
31 Gloster Richardson WR-FL 11 3 Jackson St.
88 Reggie Rucker WR 2 0 Boston Univ.
85 Tody Smith DE 7 0 Michigan St.,USC
12 Roger Staubach* QB 13 10 New Mex. Mil. Inst.,Navy
56 Thomas Stincic LB 7 0 Michigan
72 Don Talbert T-LB 9 0 Texas
33 Duane Thomas RB 11 9 West Texas A&M
37 Ike Thomas DB-WR 7 0 Bishop
67 Pat Toomay DE 14 0 Vanderbilt
87 Billy Truax TE 12 10 LSU
71 Rodney Wallace T-G 11 0 New Mexico
46 Mark Washington DB 2 0 Morgan St.
41 Charlie Waters DB 14 3 Clemson
42 Claxton Welch RB 14 0 Oregon
10 Ron Widby* P 14 0 Tennessee
36 Joe Williams RB 12 0 Wyoming
70 Rayfield Wright*+ T-TE 14 0 Fort Valley St.