During his 14-year career, Mel Renfro had some great moments. Perhaps his best post-season was 1970, when he recorded an interception in each of the Cowboys’ playoff games, including Super Bowl V.
By 1977, however, Renfro’s career was winding down. He became the team’s nickel corner, so for the only time since he entered the league in 1964, he was not a starter.
He nevertheless had a few good moments in 1977. He intercepted two passes that year, including a pick in a game against Philadelphia where Dallas clinched the NFC East. (I have that game on VHS tape but cannot access it at the moment.) That pick was Renfro’s last, giving him 52 for his career.
Unlike nearly every other legendary Cowboy, Renfro was able to end his career on a high note. He played sparingly in Super Bowl XII, but he was active and even recorded a tackle.
Renfro is at the bottom of the screen. He played right cornerback in the nickel formation.
Rob Lytle came near Renfro (#20).
Renfro hits Lytle and drives him to the ground.
One great career, one final tackle for Renfro.
No, it wasn’t like Ted Williams hitting a home run in his final at-bat, but at least Renfro was still involved as the Cowboys won their second Super Bowl. In today’s game, Renfro probably would have already been a salary-cap casualty.
Renfro’s final play in the NFL was the Broncos’ last offensive play with just over three minutes remaining and the Cowboys leading 27-10.
Denver faced a 4th and 23 from the Dallas 24. Renfro entered the game and played right corner again.
Hard to tell, but Renfro is at the top of the screen playing right corner.
Denver’s Norris Weese had attempted a pass to Rick Upchurch near the Dallas 5. Renfro was near the ball and appears here on the right side of the picture. This was Renfro’s last NFL play.
Three game minutes later, and the Cowboys were celebrating their Super Bowl win. Renfro retired after that season. He became a member of the Ring of Honor in 1981, and he became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
Final Career Interception: Came against Philadelphia on December 4, 1977. He returned the pick 25 yards.
Final Career Tackle: Renfro tackled Rob Lytle near the end of the first half in Super Bowl XII.
Final Career Play: He played nickel corner on the Denver Broncos’ final offensive play in Super Bowl XII.