Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #3

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #3

Five players have worn jersey #3, including three kickers, a punter, and a quarterback.

2012 Update: This list now includes QB Jon Kitna.

1. Jim Miller, Punter, Mississippi, 1983-84

Statistics: Miller had a total of 10 punts in three games with Dallas over a two-season span. He averaged 35.1 yards per punt.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Miller only played three games for Dallas. The Cowboys had three punters during those two seasons, including Miller, Danny White, and John Warren.

Intangibles: None. Very few, if anyone, remember him.

2. Steve Walsh, QB, Miami (Fla.), 1989-1990

Statistics: Walsh completed 114 of 228 passes for 1411 in just over a season of work for Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Dallas gave up a draft pick to obtain Walsh, and that pick would have been the top overall pick in the 1990 draft. However, the Cowboys obtained three draft picks when they traded him to New Orleans.

Intangibles: Walsh led Dallas to the team’s only win in 1989, a 13-3 victory over Washington.

3. Eddie Murray, K, Tulane, 1993, 1999

Statistics: In two seasons (separated by six years), Murray hit 35 of 42 field goal attempts and did not miss an extra point (48/48).

Accolades: None, though he was a five-time Pro Bowler with the Lions and made the Pro Bowl again in 1994 with the Eagles.

Longevity: Murray was signed twice by Dallas, once to replace Lin Elliott and again to replace Richie Cunningham.

Intangibles: Murray made the game winner against the Giants in overtime in the final week of the 1993 season. The field goal gave Dallas the NFC East title and home field advantage in the playoffs.

4. Richie Cunningham, K, SW Louisiana, 1997-99

Statistics: Cunningham made 34 of 37 field goals in his rookie season in 1997, but started to decline after that. In less than three full seasons with Dallas, Cunningham made 79.8% of his field goals.

Accolades: Cunningham was named an all-pro in 1997.

Longevity: He was cut by the Cowboys during the 1999 season because he missed several key kicks. He only made 60% of his field goals in 12 games before his release that year.

Intangibles: His name was certainly recognizable, and the Cowboys looked as if they had found yet another quality kicker when he came on the scene. However, he was no longer dependable by the time he was released.

5. Billy Cundiff, K, Drake, 2002-05

Statistics: Cundiff made 60 of 82 field goals in fewer than four full seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Cundiff was a strong-legged kicker who had promise but who lacked consistency. He never made more than 80% of his field goal attempts. After a poor performance against the Panthers in 2005, Dallas cut him for good.

Intangibles: Other than looking like a 12-year-old, Cundiff did not stand out. The one big exception: he made seven field goals against the Giants in the Cowboys’ 35-32 overtime win over the Giants in 2003, the first win by Dallas under Bill Parcells.

Poll

Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #3

  • Billy Cundiff (30%, 39 Votes)
  • Eddie Murray (26%, 33 Votes)
  • Steve Walsh (22%, 29 Votes)
  • Richie Cunningham (21%, 27 Votes)
  • Jim Miller (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 129

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If you still want to vote, please make a comment below.

My Vote: Walsh

Steve WalshThree players on this list are known primarily for one game during their Dallas careers– Walsh vs. Washington in 1989, Murray vs. Giants in 1993, and Cundiff vs. Giants in 2003. Several fans probably thought that Cunningham had red hair and worn a sweater vest (which he did not), but he did have one good season. Nevertheless, I’m going to take Walsh, because he led Dallas to its only win in a dreadful season, and the Cowboys were at least able to salvage some picks for him when he was traded to the Saints.

Side story about Cunningham: When I was putting myself through school in the late 1990s, I worked at a restaurant near Valley Ranch. Late one afternoon, Cunningham and his significant other (wife, fiancee, girlfriend) came in when we were otherwise empty. I knew he was someone I should know, but I thought he was a hockey player, since hockey players really aren’t all that big and neither was he. Just as I took his order, it occurred to me who he was, so I blurted out, “Oh, you’re the Cowboys’ kicker! I was trying to figure out which hockey player you were.” The significant other laughed. He didn’t.

So of the small handful of Dallas Cowboys that I have ever seen in person, I spoke with only one of them. And it was a kicker that I confused for a hockey player. Yes, I’m just that dumb.

2012 Update:

Jon Kitna, QB, Central Washington, 2009-2011

Kitna served as Tony Romo’s backup for three seasons and started nine games in 2010 when Romo injured his shoulder. Kitna had a QB rating of 88.9 that year.

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Article by Matt Cordon

Blogging impatiently about the Cowboys since 2006. Being a fan since 1977 hasn't required quite as much patience.
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