Dallas Cowboys: Steve Sabol

Jerry Jones reflects on Steve Sabol's passing

September, 18, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- The death of NFL Films president Steve Sabol on Tuesday at the age of 69 from brain cancer hit the NFL hard and the Dallas Cowboys were no different.

NFL Films labeled the Cowboys “America’s Team,” a nickname that has stuck through the years even as the Super Bowls did not remain. The Cowboys are the only team to do “Hard Knocks,” produced by NFL Films, twice.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones told NFL Network on Tuesday that part of the inspiration for the center-hung digital board at Cowboys Stadium came from Sabol’s innovations through the years.

Jones said Sabol was a “precious asset,” to the NFL.

“I really believe Steve was put on earth to do this job and be a part of what he contributed to the NFL,” Jones said. “I honestly don’t know of anyone who loved, understood or appreciated the NFL more than Steve did. He was one of the greatest storytellers of our time, not just in sports but in any part of the American society. I’ve often said that they only throw ticker-tape parades for war heroes, astronauts and people that win games or championship sports figures because they’re larger than life. Well somebody has to take the accomplishments of these people and make them larger than life. Someone had to take that moment and turn it into a legend and that’s what Steve Sabol did for the NFL better than anyone.”

50 years of bad blood for Cowboys, Eagles

January, 8, 2010
The 1,400 miles between their stadiums are the least of what separates the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys.

If Philadelphia has grit, Dallas has glitz. The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, the Eagles none. No one is spared the wrath of Eagles fans -- not even Santa Claus.

Cowboys fans tend to be more genteel. If Tom Landry's suit and fedora epitomized the Cowboys' corporate culture, the Eagles' aggressive stance was embodied by that old school brawler Buddy Ryan.

In the fifty seasons they've been playing against each other, the Cowboys have won 56 times, the Eagles 44. But the bad blood those games generated can hardly be measured, nor the real blood spilt.

Some of the participants in the rivalry's recent years recalled some of the more memorable moments:

[+] EnlargeBuddy Ryan
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesBuddy Ryan (1989)
BUDDY RYAN (Eagles head coach, 1986-90): What made me mad was in the strike year [1987] he [Tom Landry] played his front four, which were his starters and the running back and the quarterback. And we had people off the street, you know, you weren't supposed to be playing them. I told him after the game 'When you come back to Philly we're gonna whip your butt.' And of course we did for the next five years.

DARREN WOODSON (Cowboys safety, 1992-2003): I remember the play when Michael Irvin went down. To have a guy laying on the field with a neck injury, and then the fans ... it was classless. But this is what you expect from an organization, well, not an organiztion, but a fan base that booed Santa Claus.

RON JAWORSKI (Eagles QB, 1977-86): I really think when Steve Sabol and NFL Films coined the term America's Team, I think it just ticked everybody off. Why are they America's Team? Why wasn't Philadelphia America's Team? Yeah, obviously, the Cowboys were winning and everything else, but the people in Philadelphia were very provential saying, 'Hey we don't like that term. Why are they America's Team?' So they became the team that the people in Philadelphia hated ...

ED 'TOO TALL' JONES (Cowboys DE, 1974-78, 1980-89): I think those rivalries for years took football to another level. I think that whether you're a Cowboys fan or an Eagles fan, I think the public appreciates good hard-nosed football from very talented ball clubs and coaching staffs. And again I think that it's made a difference in why we love the game of football. Those rivalries of the Cowboys and Eagles.

DREW PEARSON (Cowboys WR, 1973-83): We didn't expect what we got [in losing to Philadelphia in the 1980 NFC Championship]. We were too concerned maybe about their fans. We were too concerned maybe about the weather, what to wear, what not to wear. Maybe too concerned about the field, what cleats worked, what didn't work on that sorry field at the Vet.