FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys and Chiefs will play for the 12th time Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, the Cowboys leading the series that began in 1970 at 7-4.
The first time the two franchises met on the field occurred on Oct. 25, 1970, a 27-16 Cowboys victory. That was the year the NFL-AFL merger officially began under the NFL umbrella, one that Cowboys president Tex Schramm and Kansas City owner Lamar Hunt negotiated in a car parked out at Love Field.
But the two franchises began competing against each other in 1960, the year the Dallas Cowboys began playing in the National Football league while Hunt's Dallas Texans began in his upstart American Football League. The two teams making their foray into professional football didn't play against each other, but butted heads off the field.
Both played home games at the Cotton Bowl. Both were doing whatever they could, nothing short of nefarious, to gain fans, to put butts in seats in a city and state obsessed with college football. Why, they would give away tickets. Have special "kids get in free" games. And each would pose at times as the other team, trying to sell tickets to their own games.
So, it is only fitting that in 1998, 10 seasons after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989 and 36 years after Hunt relocated his AFL franchise to Kansas City in 1963 to become the Chiefs, this rivalry rose to another level.
Meet the Preston Road Trophy, brainchild of the late Lamar Hunt, whose more noted brainchild was, thanks to a great idea from his wife Norma, naming the NFL-AFL Championship game the Super Bowl.
Let Jerry tell you the trophy story.
"Lamar made the Preston Road Trophy," Jones regaled on his Tuesday 105.3 The Fan radio segment. "And I live on Preston Road and Lamar lives about, as a cat or dog would walk, probably 200 yards from me. He built what looks like a birdhouse, and he had it all fixed up real nice, maybe 25, 26 years ago, and presented me with that Preston Road Trophy.
"He said whether it's preseason or whether its regular season, the winner will get the Preston Road Trophy. And it was really something. He presented it to me at a meeting over at SMU that he was having – so much fun."
Lamar's son Clark, now CEO and chairman the Chiefs, tells the story of his dad going to pick up the trophy from the designer in 1998.
"So, when he went to pick it up from the gentleman who built it for him, the bill was $50 or something like that, and my dad was very offended by that, and said, 'Look, no respectful trophy costs under $100.' So he gave him $100."
The inscription on the trophy reads:
Created In Friendship On Dec. 13, 1998 On The Occasion Of The Game Between The Kansas City Chiefs – Dallas Cowboys.
To Be Held In The Possession Of The Winner Until The Next Game Between The Two Teams.
Thus began the neighborhood rivalry between two NFL owners, and what would be Jerry's luck, the Chiefs won that first meeting of the trophy's existence, 21-17, in 1998, so it was Lamar's. Jerry tells the story of then asking if he could come get the trophy to show some friends over at his house.
Ha, a little Lamar gamesmanship.
"The first time I asked him, he said, 'No I don't think I'll let you have possession because we earned the possession. But tell you what, we'll let you drive by with your friends and I'll put it in the window and you can look at it," Jerry recalls.
- No Holds Barred: The Cowboys are becoming known for being aggressive on fourth down, going for it so far in nine games 17 times, converting eight. But that only leaves the Cowboys in a three-way tie for the fourth-most attempts in the NFL so far. Here might be the reason for this perception. They have gone for it on fourth down seven times in the last two games and 11 times in three of the past four. Plus, they have converted seven of their past 13 attempts, so just better than 50 percent. So why not? They have the No. 1 offense in the NFL, and when it comes to pressure throws on third down, Dak Prescott ranks second in the NFL with a 112.1 QB rating while completing 66 percent of his passes. And it's not a spur of the moment decision. Head coach Mike McCarthy points out that he alerts offensive coordinator Kellen Moore of what he's thinking early, saying, "I like to give it to him on second down … as soon as possible."
- Flags Flying: Did you realize the Cowboys have committed the second-most penalties in the NFL heading into Week 11, their 71 behind only Carolina with 74? And while Connor Williams is criticized for his 10 fouls accepted (13 flags), tops in the NFL, did you realize Treveon Diggs ranks fourth with eight of his 10 flags accepted? Amazing what an interception or eight can do for you.
- Scores Of Points: The Cowboys lead the NFL with a 31.6-point average in nine games. Man, with 284 points already scored and a 17-game season now, they are on pace to total 536, which would shatter the franchise record set in 1983 of 479 in those 16 games back then, an average of 29.9 a game. Another reason why the Cowboys aren't shy about going for it on fourth down.
- Seventy-What: Thought I was getting fooled again when looking at receptions, mistakenly last week looking at targets instead of catches for Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts. But this week did a doubletake when looking at the Chiefs leaders in receptions. Do you realize Tyreek Hill already has caught 75 passes, second in the NFL to only Cooper Kupp's 85? And all of those after just 10 games.
· Little Shots: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes from Tyler, Texas, and Whitehouse High School, has played against every team in the NFL with the exception of Minnesota and … the Cowboys … How good is Mahomes? Why, from 2018 on he leads all NFL quarterbacks with the most passing yards (16,808), passing touchdowns (139), pass plays of 25-plus yards (142) and red zone passing TDs among active quarterbacks (86) … With optimism surrounding Tyron Smith's ability to return from his ankle injury Sunday, at least he was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, likely just individual and positional drills. Appears to be on a we'll-see basis for the Kansas City game, Thursday's practice a significant indicator. No other Cowboys player was less than listed as fully practicing … And good timing for Dak to climb to No. 1 in the QB ratings at 110.8, since NFL Pro Bowl voting began this week.
And this week's last word goes to McCarthy, who is quite familiar with the noise level at Arrowhead Stadium with a sellout crowd of 76,000-plus expected on Sunday, and probably with this rabid fan base not many tickets available for Cowboys fans. Remember, Mike coached in Kansas City for six seasons, so he is quite aware of what his players are in for.
"You look at the statistics, the crowd noise, I think when we went up to Minnesota it was about 120 decibels, and Arrowhead's been to 140, so that's what we're preparing for," he says. "It's an incredible environment. Not a lot of our players have played there, so just give them a little snippet of what it looks like today, what it sounds like.
"Noise will be a big part of our preparation this week."
I hear that.