The Dallas Cowboys ruined my childhood as much as the Minnesota Vikings. Despite a 4-4 playoff record against the Cowboys, I remember more painful losses to this team growing up then any other.
So with kleenex in one hand and an eye to the future this Saturday, let us relive the moments that turned us diehard Los Angeles Rams fans into Cowboys haters.
December 23, 1973
First of all, it was my birthday. Second, it was also the date the Los Angeles Rams had last one a NFL Championship in 1951.
The Rams were 12-2; the Cowboys, 10-4. In the old days, the Rams were forced to travel to Dallas for the playoff game. The rules have changed since then. Had the Cowboys been forced to travel to LA, maybe things would have been different.
Earlier that year, I remember wide receiver Harold Jackson torching the Cowboys at home in the Coliseum. The Rams won that game 37-31, a breakout game for the 1970s Rams under Head Coach Chuck Knox. The aerial display by first-year Ram QB John Hadl in 1973 was a thing of beauty, surprising the Ground Chuck style Rams fans were accustomed to.
The game was close. The Rams battled back from a 17-0 deficit. It was in the fourth quarter, down by just one point at 16-17. Cowboys QB Rodger Staubach went back to pass and threw a bomb to WR Drew Pearson. The Rams secondary had him covered, or so I thought, but Pearson split the double team, caught the ball and went untouched 83 yards into the end zone.
That was the game that gave me the mantra that become all too familiar to me in my teens.
“Wait till next year...”
The Cowboys ruined my birthday and ruined my dream of a Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl with a 27-16 win.
January 4, 1975
NFC Conference Championship
The Cowboys played the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round. For those too young to remember, this game is where the “Hail Mary” phrase came from. With no time left, Staubach just chucked a ball deep, and guess what...That’s right. Pearson caught it for a touchdown.
So now this luckier then luck 10-4 Dallas Cowboys team heads to LA for the NFC Conference Championship game against a Rams team who at 12-2 had easily disposed of the St. Louis Cardinals. the week before. At home, I was sure the Rams were going to win; I had already made my plans to storm the field as the clock ran out.
This game was over at halftime when it was 28-0 as the Cowboys destroyed the Rams. This loss now only solidifies my feeling of utter futility about those 1970s Rams who ultimately lost 37-7.
It also solidified my feeling of hate for the Cowboys.
January 7, 1976
The Rams at 10-3-1 once again to headed to Dallas to play the 11-3 Cowboys in Texas Stadium, a place with a hole in the roof. This time the Rams prevailed 14-12, but wound up blowing the NFC Championship against the Minnesota Vikings in 19-degree weather.
That game remains infamous for being robbed of a touchdown by WR Ron Jessie and therefore forced to attempt a field goal from the 1-yard line. The field goal attempt got blocked, and CB Bobby Bryant ran it 90 yards for a Vikings touchdown.
Prior to the game, I had waited for the Rams’ bus to arrive. As soon as it did, I took off my Rams jacket, sweaters, shirts and gloves screaming “Don’t worry about this weather! It’s mind over matter! If you don’t mind, it don’t matter, and I don’t mind! Let’s go Rams!”
Frozen, I returned to Los Angeles with equal hate for anything having to do with Minnesota as with the Cowboys.
December 30, 1979
Gone was Chuck Knox. In came new Head Coach Ray Malavasi. The Rams headed to Dallas again.
I was pumped.
The Rams were going to beat down the Staubach-led Cowboys to a pulp. QB James “Shack’ Harris and QB Pat Haden had been replaced with QB Vince Ferragamo. That summer, avid swimmer and owner of the Rams, Carol Rosenblum mysteriously died drowning. His wife, Georgia Rosenblum aka Frontiere, a former nightclub singer, inherited the team.
This was the Rams last year in the Coliseum before moving to Anaheim.
The game was memorable. HOF DE Jack Youngblood suffered a broken leg. He went into the locker room, ordered the doctors to tape it up and finished the game.
This was also the game where the Rams, down 14-19, came up with their own Hail Mary, a tipped pass from Ferragamo that somehow found a way to float into the arms of Rams WR Billy Waddy on a 50-yard miracle.
So ended the Staubach’s reign after having suffered yet another concussion. He retired after the game.
The Rams would go on to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game, 9-0, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl.
This was the first and last time the Los Angeles Rams would play in the Super Bowl.
December 28, 1980
Wild card playoffs
Lightning doesn’t strike twice. The Anaheim-based Rams lost 34-13 to the Cowboys in Dallas.
December 26, 1983
Wild card playoffs
The Cowboys, now known as “America’s Team” lost 24-17 to the Rams featuring RB Eric Dickerson under Head Coach John Robinson. The Rams follow up this win, with a 51-7 loss to Washington.
January 4, 1985
The Cowboys came to Anaheim Stadium. Eric Dickerson ran a playoff record 248 yards with two touchdowns one of which went 55 yards. It was a delight watching Dallas suffer total humiliation, although the Rams couldn’t follow this win with another losing the NFC Championship game the following week against ‘85 Chicago Bears’ defense.
The Rams haven’t played the Cowboys in the playoffs since, but the storied history of these two teams playoff battles lives on.
Our Rambassdor, Eric Dickerson, has to put Skip Bayless in his place this week on Undisputed. It will also be time for Angelenos to rise up, pack the house and aid our Los Angeles Rams on our mission to defeat this decrepit franchise who pretends to be America’s Team
Let’s send them packing for the 2018 season.
I was taught that I should use the word “dislike” rather then “hate” since hate is a too strong a word when describing people or things. But all those years ago, the Cowboys ruined my birthday and my memories of what could have been and my dreams of running onto the field screaming “We’re Going To The Super Bowl!” I will never forget or forgive...so to heck with that!
I HATE the Cowboys!