Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #7

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #7

Six players have worn number 7, including five quarterbacks and a kicker.

Randall Cunningham, QB, UNLV, 2000

Statistics: In six total games in 2000, including three starts, Cunningham completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 6 TDs and 4 Ints. Dallas went 1-2 during his three starts.

Accolades: None with the Cowboys.

Longevity: Although quite a few fans wanted Cunningham to start over Troy Aikman, Cunningham showed no durability. He did not play in the final six weeks of the season despite the fact that Aikman was also out for most of those games.

Intangibles: Having Cunningham was somewhat strange. The Cowboys had essentially closed the door on Cunningham’s Philadelphia career when he appeared to be unprepared to fill in for an injured Rodney Peete for a 1995 divisional round game between the Cowboys and Eagles. He had a resurgence in 1998 with the Vikings, but by the time Dallas signed him, he had little left in the tank. He showed a few flashes, but not many.

Steve Beuerlein, QB, Notre Dame, 1991-92

Statistics: Beuerlein threw for 1061 yards and 5 TDs with 3 picks. Much more importantly, though, Beuerlein won all four of his starts in 1991. He also led Dallas to wins over the previously unbeaten Redskins during the regular season and the heavily favored Chicago Bears in the playoffs.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Beuerlein tried to catch on as a starter for other teams but essentially became a journeyman. He only lasted two years with Dallas.

Intangibles: Since Roger Staubach retired in 1979, only three quarterbacks have won playoff games as starters: Danny White, Steve Beuerlein, and Troy Aikman. Unlike Aikman, who relied heavily on Jay Novacek, Beuerlein’s first option was Michael Irvin. He led the team to a roll at the end of the 1991 season that Cowboys had not seen since the mid-1980s.

Chad Hutchinson, QB, Stanford, 2002-03

Statistics: Hutchinson threw for 1555 yards with 7 TDs and 8 Ints. in nine starts with Dallas in 2002. Dallas went 2-7 during that stretch.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Hutchinson became the quarterback the first time that Dallas gave up on Quincy Carter. He started nine games, but lost the starting job to Carter in 2003. He played in only one game during that season before joining the Bears in 2004.

Intangibles: Hutchinson was the first version of Former-College-Quarterback-Turned-Minor-League-Baseball-Player-Who-Later-Decided-To-Give-Pro-Football-a-Shot. You will discover in two lines that the Cowboys did learn their lesson with the Hutchinson experiment.

Drew Henson, QB, Michigan, 2004-05

Statistics: Henson threw for a total of 78 yards in two appearances in 2004.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Henson led Dallas on one drive in one game, then started and played the first half of the second game. After that, he never saw action.

Intangibles: The Cowboys finally learned, apparently, that former college quarterbacks who play pro baseball generally have trouble returning to football to play quarterback in the pros. To make matters worse, Henson never showed the type of arm strength that Hutchinson had, and so there was very little reason to be optimistic about Henson’s chances in the NFL.

Hugh Millen, QB, Washington, 1993

Statistics: Millen never played a down with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Dallas signed Millen as a backup in 1993 after Millen had started several games with Atlanta and New England in the previous four seasons. However, he was released when Dallas signed Bernie Kosar during week 11 of the 1993 campaign.

Intangibles: Few probably remember that Millen was on the Cowboys’ roster because more will remember that Dallas had Kosar and Garrett.

Martin Gramatica, K, Kansas State, 2006

Statistics: In five games in 2006, Gramatica went 6 of 8 in field goal attempts.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Gramatica lasted about half of the 2006 season. He was released during training camp in 2007.

Intangibles: He will be best remembered as the team’s kicker when Tony Romo bobbled the snap against Seattle in the 2006 playoffs. He also made a huge field goal to beat the Giants at the Meadowlands during week 13 that year. And he also wasn’t Mike Vanderjagt, which was a good thing at that point.

Poll

Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #7

  • Steve Beuerlein (70%, 146 Votes)
  • Randall Cunningham (20%, 43 Votes)
  • Martin Gramatica (5%, 11 Votes)
  • Chad Hutchinson (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Drew Henson (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Hugh Millen (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 210

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

My Vote: Beuerlein

Steve BeuerleinIf you don’t remember the 1991 season, you may not understand why some of us remember Beuerlein so fondly. Let’s try this: assume that Dallas limps along a little bit next season, starting out 6-5 and having trouble with consistency. Then Tony Romo is injured and will miss the rest of the regular season. In comes Brad Johnson, who had done very little up to that point. However, Johnson leads Dallas to five straight wins to get the team into the playoffs and then leads the team to a win in the playoffs, marking the first Dallas playoff win in 12 years. Would you hold Johnson in high regard?

Well, that was Beuerlein in 1991. Dallas had not won a playoff game in nine years when Beuerlein led the Cowboys to a 17-13 win over Chicago in the wildcard round of the playoffs. He didn’t make big mistakes, and he let his playmakers make big plays. You have to believe that Aikman learned more than a little bit about how to win by watching Beuerlein led Dallas that year.

  • I voted for Beuerlein. This was an easy one for me because I do remember that run he had at the end of the 1991 season. That run set the Cowboys up for back to back Super Bowls. I believe that final stretch run in 1991, under Beuerliens guidance, is what gave the team a confident swagger going into the next season. They played the 1992 season with a confidence not seen in over a decade, they had a taste of the playoffs and I think they went into the 1992 traning camp knowing they could win the whole thing. Beuerlein help give them that confidence. If had faltered during those final weeks in 1991, I am not sure this team would have had the same confidence or the same results. I was very pleased to see Beuerlein on the sidelines of the 1992 Super Bowl, apart of a team he helped propel into a dynasty.

    All cowboy fans owe Steve Beuerlein a big THANK YOU!!!

  • Fred Goodwin

    Marty I’m with you — I also remember watching Beuerlein get on that hot streak in ’91, leading the Cowboys to five straight wins to close out the regular season, then leading them to the win over Chicago — didn’t Troy start the next week, in the loss to Detroit?

    I remember many of us at the time thought Jimmy should’ve stuck with Steve, but I guess like most coaches, he didn’t want Troy to lose his job on an injury — still, it seems like most coaches today will stick with the hot hand (recall Brady in NE and Warner in St. Louis).

    And Jimmy had the additional baggage of a strained relationship with Troy in the early years, so I guess he felt like he needed to limit any damage to Troy’s ego & psyche that might’ve happened had he started Beuerlein over a healthy Aikman.

    Still, one wonders how far that ’91 team would’ve gone had Steve remained at the helm for the remainder of the playoffs?

    What makes this vote so easy is comparing the situation to a year earlier — Troy was injured in the 14th game of the ’90 campaign (1Q against the Eagles). After a horrendous 1-3 start, the Cowboys clawed back to 7-7, which included a four-game win streak before traveling to Philly to meet the bad-boy Eagles.

    All Dallas had to do was win one of its last two games to clinch a WC spot in the playoffs.

    But the Eagles sidelined Aikman with a separated shoulder, and Babe could not do much better in a 17-3 loss; and he could not pull out a win the following week in the season finale against the Falcons, who trounced us 26-7.

    All Babe had to do was win one of two games, and he couldn’t deliver. At that point, Jimmy recognized that he needed a solid backup for the fragile Aikman; thank goodness he brought in Beuerlein the following year.

    Like I said, this vote was easy!

  • Our defensive backs were no match for the run-and-shoot of the Lions in the 1991 game, and so I am not sure it mattered who we had at quarterback. The biggest key to Beuerlein’s run was that the Cowboys proved they could win when their playmakers made plays. Aikman was a much better quarterback in 1992 than he was prior to his injury in 1991, and I have to believe that it was due in large part to what Beuerlein had done the prior year.

  • Tim Truemper

    An aside on Steve Beurlein. When he left Dallas to play for Arizona, he did not excel. But at Carolina he had three good seasons including throwing for 4000 yards. His career after Dallas was a bit better than kickholder suggests (see Pro Football Reference.com)