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Fun Facts for Patriots-Cowboys Matchup



This weekend the New England Patriots (1-2) hit the road to take on the Dallas Cowboys (2-1). Both franchises have been around since 1960, but they have only played one another 14 times to date. For comparison’s sake, the Patriots have played the New York Jets 15 times since the start of the 2016 NFL season alone (going 15-0).

The Patriots and Cowboys do not have a ton of history, but they have certainly crossed paths several times throughout their existences.

New England has played in the Super Bowl more than other NFL franchise (11). Dallas played in more Super Bowls than any other NFC team (eight). But despite combining to play in 19 of the 57 Super Bowls (33.3%) they have never faced each other in the big game.

Common Players/Coaches

There have been 54 players to play for both the Patriots and Cowboys, or at least be on their active rosters. This includes four players set to dress on Sunday: Ezekiel Elliott, Will Grier, Stephon Gilmore, and Brandin Cooks.

The first player to ever play for both franchises was Dick Klein. The offensive tackle from Iowa was on the Dallas Cowboys original roster in 1960. “Sleepy” Klein then played for the Boston Patriots for the next two seasons. In 1962 he was named an AFL All Star while playing for the Patriots.

Only one player has played at least 50 games for both the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys: Terry Glenn. The wide receiver from Ohio State was a Patriots first round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft. He helped New England reach the Super Bowl as a rookie. Glenn played his first six seasons with the Patriots. After spending the 2002 season with the Green Bay Packers, Glenn played his final five NFL seasons in Dallas.

Among the other notable NFL players to play for both the Patriots and Cowboys are Drew Bledsoe, Matt Cassel, Steve DeOssie, Joe Galloway, Nick Folk, Eugene Lockhart, Sammy Morris, Vinny Testaverde, and Brian Waters.

Bill Parcells is the only person to be head coach of both teams. He spent four years with each franchise. From 1993-1996 Parcells led the New England Patriots to a 32-32 regular season record (2-2 in the playoffs). The Patriots won the 1996 AFC Championship with Parcells as head coach.  From 2003-2006 Parcells was in charge in Dallas, leading the Cowboys to a 34-30 regular season record (0-2 in the playoffs). Bledsoe and Glenn were among the players to play for Parcells in each location.

Drew Bledsoe of the Dallas Cowboys stretching pregame. Chad Riley (chad050) from West Seattle, WA, US,

Head-to-Head Meetings

In the 14 regular season meetings between the Patriots and Cowboys, Dallas owns an 8-6 advantage in wins. They have never played in the postseason.

Their first game was in 1971, with Cowboys QB Roger Staubach leading the team to a 44-21 victory over the Patriots and rookie QB Jim Plunkett.

In their most recent meeting, on Oct. 17, 2021, Dallas defeated the Patriots 35-29 in overtime. The Cowboys tied the game on a Greg Zuerlein 49-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in regulation. They then won the game in OT on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb.

The Cowboys defeated the Patriots in the first seven meetings. The Patriots then won six consecutive times, before Dallas winning their most recent matchup.

CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys. Photo courtesy of AlexanderJonesi, CC

Trade History

The most recent trade between the two teams involving a player came on Oct. 24, 2019. Disgruntled New England defensive lineman Michael Bennet was traded to Dallas after only six games with the Patriots. New England got back a sixth-round pick, which would eventually be swapped multiple times.

Two of the most crucial trades between the franchises involved draft picks…

In 1991 the New England Patriots owned the number one pick in the NFL Draft. It was assumed Notre Dame WR/KR Raghib “Rocket” Ismael was a prime candidate to be selected. However, the Patriots traded the pick to the Cowboys, in exchange for the relatively low cost of a first-round pick (#14), second-round pick (#41) and players Ron Francis, Robert Williams, and Eugene Lockhart. Rocket Ismail opted to sign for a financial windfall with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian football League two days before the 1991 NFL Draft. The Cowboys selected Miami (Fla.) DL Russell Maryland first overall. The Patriots used their picks on USC OT Pat Harlow and Clemson DB Jerome Henderson. Ismail would eventually play his final three NFL seasons (1999-to-2001) as a member of the Cowboys

In 2010 the teams got together for another swap of first round picks. This one resulted in a win-win scenario. Dallas traded #27 and #90 to move up three spots and select at #24. The Cowboys used their pick to take WR Dez Bryant, who would go on to be a three-time Pro Bowl selection. The Patriots picked Devin McCourty at #27, a three-time Super Bowl Champion, Pro Bowl defensive back, and longtime team captain. The third-round pick acquired by New England in the deal was used to take WR Taylor Price from Ohio.

New England Patriots DL Michael Bennett. Phot courtesy of All-Pro Reels, CC

Statistical Leaders in the Series

Passing Yards
1,354 – Tom Brady, NE

Passing Touchdowns
10 – Tom Brady, NE

Passing Interceptions
5 – Drew Bledsoe, NE

Rushing Yards
265 – Tony Dorsett,, DAL

Rushing Touchdowns
1 – 20 Players Tied

17 – Wes Welker, NE

Receiving Yards
246 – Tony Hill, DAL

Receiving Touchdowns
3 – Wes Welker, NE

Points Scored
32 – Stephen Gostkowski, NE

24 – Patrick Chung, NE

3.0 – Andre Tippett, NE;
3.0 – Greg Ellis, DAL
3.0 – DeMarcus Ware, DAL

4 – Ty Law, NE

New England Patriots Patrick Chung is the leading tackler in the Patriots-Cowboys series. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall, CC

The New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys play on Sunday at 4:25 PM EST.