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Sports Then and Now



Classic Rewind: Eagles Stop Smith and the Cowboys 4

Posted on December 08, 2010 by A.J. Foss

One of the most memorable moments in the 2009 NFL season was the Indianapolis Colts scoring a last-second touchdown to pull out a 35-34 victory against the New England Patriots after the Patriots were stopped on 4th-and-2 at their own 28-yard-line, despite holding a six-point lead  with about two minutes to play.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s decision to go for the first down in this game was reminiscent of former Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer’s gamble to go for a first down in his team’s own territory with the game tied in the final minutes of a December showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The former Oklahoma head coach became head coach of the Cowboys following the departure of Jimmy Johnson after the 1993 season.

Johnson had led the Cowboys from a 1-15 season in his first year in Dallas to two straight Super Bowl titles, behind the famed “Triplets”; quarterback Troy Aikman, wide receiver Michael Irvin, and running back Emmitt Smith.

In Switzer’s first season, the Cowboys finished with a 12-4 record but were knocked off by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

In 1995, the Cowboys jumped out to an 8-1 start before being humiliated by the 49ers 38-20 in Dallas, leading owner Jerry Jones to come out and say that the team was outcoached.

The Cowboys would win the next two games before dropping another home game, this time against the Washington Redskins, as they entered their late-season showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Under first-year head coach Ray Rhodes, the Eagles had complied a 8-5 record entering this game,  but had gone 7-2 ever since Rhodes had benched starting quarterback Randall Cunningham and replaced with veteran backup Rodney Peete.

Still, Rhodes played the “no respect” card for the Eagles as they hosted the Cowboys on a 13-degree afternoon in Veterans stadium, with a wind chill of minus seven degrees. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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