1966 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1966 Dallas Cowboys season was the seventh for the franchise in the National Football League. The Cowboys, who had never previously finished with a winning record in their history, would improve dramatically. Dallas finished 10-3-1 and won the Eastern Conference title, their first of six consecutive division titles. They hosted the NFL Championship Game at the Cotton Bowl, where they lost to the defending NFL champion Green Bay Packers, thus missing out on the chance to play in the first Super Bowl which the Packers went on to win two weeks later.

1966 Dallas Cowboys season
OwnerClint Murchison, Jr.
Head coachTom Landry
Home fieldCotton Bowl
Local radioKLIF
Results
Record10–3–1
Division place1st NFL Eastern
Playoff finishLost NFL Championship
(vs. Packers) 27–34
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros

Quarterback Don Meredith had the best season of his career throwing for 2,805 yards, 24 touchdowns (both career highs) and 12 interceptions.

NFL Draft

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1966 Dallas Cowboys draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 5 John Niland *  OG Iowa
2 22 Willie Townes  DT Tulsa
5 79 Walt Garrison *  FB Oklahoma State
6 86 Bob Dunlevy  OT West Virginia
7 100 Arthur Robinson  WR Florida A&M
8 116 Don Kunit  RB Penn State
9 130 Darrell Elam  WR West Virginia Tech
10 146 Mason Mitchell  RB Washington
11 160 Austin Denney  TE Tennessee
12 173 Les Shy  DB Long Beach State
12 176 Craig Baynham  RB Georgia Tech
13 190 Ron Lamb  RB South Carolina
14 206 Lewis Turner  RB Norfolk State
15 220 Mark Gartung  OT Oregon State
16 236 Tom Piggee  RB San Francisco State
17 250 George Allen  DT West Texas State Signed with the AFL
18 266 Steve Orr  OT Washington
19 280 Byron Johnson  OT Central Washington
20 296 Lou Hudson  WR Minnesota Signed with the NBA
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Regular Season

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Schedule

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Week Date Opponent Result Record Game Site Attendance Recap
1 Bye
2 September 18 New York Giants W 52–7 1–0 Cotton Bowl 60,010 Recap
3 September 25 Minnesota Vikings W 27–17 2–0 Cotton Bowl 64,116 Recap
4 October 2 at Atlanta Falcons W 47–14 3–0 Atlanta Stadium 56,990 Recap
5 October 9 Philadelphia Eagles W 56–7 4–0 Cotton Bowl 69,372 Recap
6 October 16 at St. Louis Cardinals T 10–10 4–0–1 Busch Memorial Stadium 50,673 Recap
7 October 23 at Cleveland Browns L 21–30 4–1–1 Cleveland Stadium 84,721 Recap
8 October 30 Pittsburgh Steelers W 52–21 5–1–1 Cotton Bowl 58,453 Recap
9 November 6 at Philadelphia Eagles L 23–24 5–2–1 Franklin Field 60,658 Recap
10 November 13 at Washington Redskins W 31–30 6–2–1 D.C. Stadium 50,927 Recap
11 November 20 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 20–7 7–2–1 Pitt Stadium 42,185 Recap
12 November 24 Cleveland Browns W 26–14 8–2–1 Cotton Bowl 80,259 Recap
13 December 4 St. Louis Cardinals W 31–17 9–2–1 Cotton Bowl 76,965 Recap
14 December 11 Washington Redskins L 31–34 9–3–1 Cotton Bowl 64,198 Recap
15 December 18 at New York Giants W 17–7 10–3–1 Yankee Stadium 62,735 Recap

Conference opponents are in bold text

  • A bye week was necessary in 1966, as the league expanded to an odd-number (15) of teams (Atlanta); one team was idle each week.
  • This year was the first time the Dallas Cowboys played on Thanksgiving Day

Game Summaries

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Week 2 vs. New York Giants

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Week Two: New York Giants (0-0-1) at Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
Period 1 2 34Total
Giants 0 7 007
Cowboys 7 24 14752

at Cotton Bowl, Dallas

  • Date: September 18
  • Game weather: 73 °F (23 °C)
  • Box Score
Game information

Week 8 vs Steelers

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Week Eight: Pittsburgh Steelers (1–4–1) at Dallas Cowboys (4–1–1)
Period 1 2 34Total
Steelers 7 7 7021
Cowboys 0 24 21752

at Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas

  • Date: October 30
  • Game weather: 64 °F (18 °C)
  • Game attendance: 58,453
  • Box Score
Game information

Week 10 at Redskins

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Week Ten: Dallas Cowboys (5–2–1) at Washington Redskins (5–4)
Period 1 2 34Total
Cowboys 7 7 71031
Redskins 6 0 17730

at District of Columbia Stadium, Washington, D.C.

  • Date: November 13, 1966
  • Game weather: 40 °F (4 °C)
  • Game attendance: 50,927
  • Box Score

Don Meredith played through a broken rib

Team Category Player Statistics
Cowboys Passing Don Meredith 21/29, 406 Yds, 2 TD, INT
Rushing Dan Reeves 13 Rush, 59 Yds
Receiving Bob Hayes 9 Rec, 246 Yds, 2 TD
Redskins Passing Sonny Jurgensen 26/46, 347 Yds, 3 TD
Rushing A.D. Whitfield 7 Rush, 17 Yds
Receiving Charley Taylor 11 Rec, 199 Yds, 2 TD

Week 12 vs Browns

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Week Twelve: Cleveland Browns (7–3) at Dallas Cowboys (7–2–1)
Period 1 2 34Total
Browns 0 14 0014
Cowboys 6 7 6726

at Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas

  • Date: November 24
  • Game weather: 71 °F (22 °C)
  • Game attendance: 80,259
  • Box Score
Game information

Week 15 at New York Giants

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Week Fifteen: Dallas Cowboys (9-3-1) at New York Giants (1-11-1)
Period 1 2 34Total
Cowboys 7 0 01017
Giants 0 0 077

at Yankee Stadium, New York City

  • Date: December 18
  • Game weather: 50 °F (10 °C)
  • Box Score
Game information

Postseason

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Round Date Opponent Result Game Site Attendance Recap
NFL Championship January 1, 1967 Green Bay Packers L 27–34 Cotton Bowl 75,504 Recap

NFL Championship Game

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Period 1 2 34Total
Packers 14 7 7634
Cowboys 14 3 3727

at Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas

  • Date: Sunday, January 1
  • Game attendance: 74,152
  • Box Score
Game information

Green Bay took an early 14–0 lead on two first-quarter scores; a 17-yard touchdown pass from Bart Starr to Elijah Pitts and an 18-yard fumble return by Jim Grabowski on the ensuing kickoff. The Cowboys tied the score with two touchdowns towards the end of the quarter.

Starr's third touchdown pass of the game gave the Packers a 34–20 lead with 5:20 left in the game, but the Cowboys responded with a 68-yard touchdown pass from Don Meredith to Frank Clarke. Dallas advanced to the Green Bay 22-yard line on their next drive, when a pass interference penalty gave the Cowboys a first down at the Packer 2-yard line. But Green Bay's Tom Brown intercepted a Meredith pass in the end zone with 28 seconds left to play to preserve the victory for the Packers.

Standings

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NFL Eastern Conference
W L T PCT CONF PF PA STK
Dallas Cowboys 10 3 1 .769 9–3–1 445 239 W1
Philadelphia Eagles 9 5 0 .643 8–5 326 340 W4
Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 9–4 403 259 W1
St. Louis Cardinals 8 5 1 .615 7–5–1 264 265 L3
Washington Redskins 7 7 0 .500 7–6 351 355 L1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 8 1 .385 4–8–1 316 347 W2
Atlanta Falcons 3 11 0 .214 2–5 204 437 L1
New York Giants 1 12 1 .077 1–11–1 263 501 L8

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Season recap

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With the growth in popularity of televised NFL games, the league began looking for a second team in addition to the Detroit Lions, to host an annual Thanksgiving Day game. Every team turned down the offer, except for the Dallas Cowboys. General Manager Tex Schramm recognized this as an opportunity for the franchise to increase its popularity and establish its own Thanksgiving Day game tradition.

In 1966, the Cowboys who had been founded six years earlier, adopted the practice of hosting Thanksgiving games. It is widely rumored that the Cowboys sought a guarantee that they would regularly host Thanksgiving games as a condition of their very first one (since games on days other than Sunday were uncommon at the time and thus high attendance was not a certainty). Since then, the two "traditional" Thanksgiving Day pro football games have been in Detroit and Dallas.

Roster

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Dallas Cowboys 1966 roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Rookies in italics
42 active, 1 inactive

Statistics

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Team leaders

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Category Player(s) Value Rank
Passing yards Don Meredith 2,805 4th
Passing touchdowns Don Meredith 24 3rd
Rushing yards Dan Reeves 757 6th
Rushing touchdowns Dan Reeves/Don Perkins 8 t2nd
Receiving yards Bob Hayes 1,232 2nd
Receiving touchdowns Bob Hayes 13 1st
Points Danny Villanueva 107 2nd
Kickoff return yards Mel Renfro 487 12th
Punt return yards Mel Renfro 123 8th
Interceptions Cornell Green 4 t6th
Sacks George Andrie 18.5 1st

Note that sack totals from 1960 to 1981 are considered unofficial by the NFL.[1]

Awards and honors

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References

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  1. ^ "Pre-1982 Sacks Added To Pro Football Reference". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  2. ^ "Maxwell Football Club". Archived from the original on June 19, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
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