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Schedule Release | 2021

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Schedule Notes: Rare Occurrences In 2021 Schedule


FRISCO, Texas – The 2021 schedule is here. We know the Cowboys' opponents, the dates, the times and the locations. Now let's dig a little deeper with some facts you might not know about this year's 17-game regular-season slate, plus four preseason games:

  • The Sept. 27 home opener against the Eagles is the latest the Cowboys have ever kicked off a regular season at home since the 1987 strike-shortened season. That year, a Sept. 27 game was canceled, pushing the first home game to Oct. 11.
  • This will mark the first time in nine years the Cowboys open the season with two road games. And just like the 2011 season that saw them travel from coast to coast to play the Jets and 49ers, the Cowboys will again make trips to both sides of the country. The Cowboys play at Tampa and then at the Los Angeles Chargers in Weeks 1 & 2.
  • For just the third time since 2012, the Cowboys will start and finish a season on the road: the opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs, and a season-finale trip to Philadelphia for the third time since 2016.
  • The Cowboys will play both Super Bowl teams on the road this year for the seventh time in franchise history, but just the second time both games are on the road. In 1970, the Cowboys visited Kansas City and Minnesota, the participants in Super Bowl IV, and split the two games.
  • The Cowboys have only opened the NFL season once before, but not on a Thursday. In 2012, the Cowboys faced the defending-champion Giants on a rare Wednesday night game due to President Obama's Thursday night address at the Democratic National Convention.
  • The Cowboys are 1-1 in season openers against the Bucs, losing a 10-6 game in 2001 at home. They defeated Tampa Bay on the road, 34-21 in 2009.
  • The Cowboys have never defeated Tom Brady, losing all five matchups to the Patriots in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.
  • The matchup with the Chiefs will be the first time the Cowboys will face Patrick Mahomes, a former NFL MVP.
  • · The Cowboys will face the Chargers in their new stadium for the first time. But it won't be the team's first trip to SoFi Stadium, where the Cowboys played the inaugural game last season against the Rams.
  • For the third consecutive trip to Dallas, the Raiders will play on Thanksgiving Day. They also were Turkey Day visitors in 2009 and 2013. The last meeting the Raiders had in Dallas that didn't involve Thanksgiving was 1998.
  • Historically, the NFL has highlighted division battles heavily in December, and 2021 will mark the 15th straight season that the Cowboys play the Eagles, Giants or Washington in the regular-season finale.
  • Because the NFL has added a 17th game to the schedule – Oct. 17 at New England -- the Cowboys' Jan. 9 finale in Philadelphia will be the latest-ever end to the regular season.
  • The Cowboys and Steelers will open the preseason schedule Aug. 5 in Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio. It will be the seventh Hall of Fame Game appearance for both teams, tied for the most all-time. Both teams are 3-3 all-time.
  • Jacksonville first-overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence and the returning Tim Tebow are on Week 4 of the preseason schedule when the Jaguars visit AT&T Stadium (date and kickoff time TBD), though it's unclear if either would play in the final game on the preseason slate.