Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #11

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Nine players have worn number 11 for the Cowboys, including eight quarterbacks and a kicker/punter.

Jersey #11

Bob Belden, QB, Notre Dame, 1969-70

Note: Belden is misspelled as “Beldon” on the Dallas Cowboys’ website and some other sources.

Statistics: Belden did not play a down in two seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Belden was the backup to Craig Morton and Roger Staubach in 1969 and 1970. He never played for another team.

Intangibles: Belden apparently had some success as a college quarterback at Notre Dame, but he is little more than a footnote in Cowboys’ history.

Drew Bledsoe, QB, Washington State, 2005

Statistics: Bledsoe passed for 4803 yards with a 58.4 percent completion percentage and 30 touchdowns. He went 12-10 as a starter in 22 games.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Bledsoe was part of the How-Do-We-Replace-Troy-Aikman? problem in the 2000s. Once Tony Romo took over as the starting quarterback, Bledsoe never again played a down.

Intangibles: Bledsoe had pretty good stats and was more successful than anyone else after Aikman (notwithstanding the Cowboys’ 10-6 record with Quincy Carter in 2003). However, his complete lack of mobility and his habit of holding onto the ball too long was frustrating to watch. Dallas fans turned on him heading into the 2006 season.

Sonny Gibbs, QB, TCU, 1963

Statistics: Gibbs never played during a regular season game with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Gibbs only lasted one season with the Cowboys as a third-stringer.

Intangibles: He was best known for his height of 6’7″. Otherwise, he did nothing with the Cowboys.

Don Heinrich, QB, Washington, 1960

Statistics: Heinrich threw for 371 yards and 3 TDs in limited action during the Cowboys’ inaugural season in 1960.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Heinrich was a long-time backup with the Giants, but he lasted only one season with Dallas. He played in 1962 with the Oakland Raiders.

Intangibles: Heinrich expected to start for the Cowboys in 1960, but the team signed Eddie LeBaron and played Don Meredith more than expected.

Buddy Humphrey, QB, Baylor, 1961

Statistics: Humphrey completed one pass for 16 yards in 1961.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Humphrey lasted only one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Humphrey was one of several backup quarterbacks in the 1960s who saw little action. He started a few games with the Cardinals and Oilers later in his career.

Mike Quinn, QB, Stephen F. Austin, 1998-99

Statistics: Quinn completed one pass for 10 yards in 1998.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Quinn was a third-stringer in 1998 and 1999 but saw very little action.

Intangibles: Quinn played for the Steelers in 1997 and became one of Chan Gailey’s favorites. Gailey brought Quinn to Dallas, but we saw little from him.

Danny Villanueva, P/K, New Mexico State, 1965-67

Statistics: In three seasons with Dallas, Vallanueva made 53.2% of his field goal attempts and also had a 40.4 yard punting average.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Villanueva lasted three seasons with Dallas, serving as punter and kicker during team’s first appearances in the NFL Championship Game.

Intangibles: Villanueva stands out slightly because he served as both kicker and punter. However, he was not especially talented in either area, at least as far as statistics are concerned. Mike Clark and Ron Widby replaced him at those positions in 1968.

Danny White, QB/P, Arizona State, 1976-1988

Statistics: In 13 seasons, including nine during which he started at least some of the games, White threw for 21959 yards with 155 TDs. His career passer rating of 81.7 is one tenth of a point better than Troy Aikman’s rating of 81.6. Roger Staubach, by comparison, had an 83.4 rating.

Accolades: White was a three-time All-Pro (once as a punter) and made the Pro Bowl once.

Longevity: White lasted 13 total seasons, including four as the team’s punter and backup QB and nine when he was usually the starting quarterback.

Intangibles: White was a very good punter and a great quarterback. As explained below, he should be considered the third greatest QB in team history, ahead of Don Meredith and Tony Romo.

Wade Wilson, QB, East Texas State, 1995-1997

Statistics: In limited action, Wilson threw for 585 yards during three seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Wilson was the team’s primary backup for three seasons, relegating Jason Garrett to third-string status. He played for Dallas very late in his long career.

Intangibles: Wilson is better remembered as a player with the Vikings during the 1980s. He was something of a journeyman during the 1990s, playing with New Orleans, Atlanta, and Oakland, as well as the Cowboys. He is probably better remembered by some fans for being suspended as a coach in 2007 for using performance-enhancing drugs.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #11

  • Danny White (96%, 257 Votes)
  • Drew Bledsoe (3%, 7 Votes)
  • Wade Wilson (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Bob Belden (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Sonny Gibbs (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Buddy Humphrey (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Don Heinrich (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mike Quinn (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Danny Villanueva (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 269

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

My Vote: White

Danny WhiteWhite should be remembered more fondly than he has been. He stepped into a most difficult situation, taking over for Roger Staubach in 1980. The team barely missed a beat by making three consecutive NFC championship games. However, the team’s failure to make and to win a Super Bowl hurt White’s reputation. His career had a number of comparisons with Steve Young’s career before Young finally won a title with the paid-for 1994 49ers. The bottom line is that White was just as successful as Don Meredith and suffered just as much criticism as Dandy Don, except that Meredith is now held in much higher regard than White. At any rate, he is better than anyone else on this list.

  • Danny White is the obvious pick here. White was much better than he gets credit for. He held most of the Cowboy passing records until Aikman broke them. He led the Cowboys to a dramtic come from behind win vs the Falcons in the ’80 Playoffs. He did’nt play exceptionally well vs the Eagles in the ’80 NFC Championship game but neither did any one on the team. He played well in the ’81 Championship game only to loose to the 49er’s in a squeaker. He was knocked out of the ’82 NFC Championship game early vs the Redskins. All 3 of these were on the road and they for reason or another they define Danny White’s career, close but no cigar. Danny was great, one of the best QBs during his ERA he just happened to be following a legend, which as we all know is nearly impossible to do, especially in the eyes of the fan. Well, in the eyes of this FAN, Danny White was a GREAT QB and is only behind Aikman and Staubach as greatest QBs in Cowboy history.

  • Fred Goodwin

    White also had a rep as a management “boy” because he never made waves during contract negotiation, and because he crossed the picket line during the ’82 strike.

    His fellow Cowboys never forgave him for that, but they never held it against Randy White and Tony Dorsett, both of whom also crossed the picket line (albeit after Danny led the way).

    As I mentioned in the Romo thread, Danny and Tony share certain similarities: following legends (although Tony didn’t follow Troy immediately, he was the first successor to actually be successful!), and losing in the playoffs.

    I’m hoping Tony’s legacy will be different than Danny’s. I agree Danny was a great talent — but other than three-consecutive losses in NFC Championship games, the lasting image of Danny is unfortunately that of Tom Landry shouting “No Danny, no!” when White chose to audible out of 4th down play called by coach Landry.

  • Dammit Fred,
    I had almost totally wiped 4th down that memory out of my mind. ARGH!

  • Fred Goodwin

    Believe me, that’s not how I remember Danny White — he was a great talent, who unfortunately was surrounded by an aging Cowboys team (with the exception of T.D. and Thrill Hill).

    But its undeniable that the average Cowboy fan recalls the 3 NFC losses and “No Danny no!” anytime White is mentioned among the all-time greats.

  • Reg Junzun

    True, White never got the credit he deserved. As a kid when he was the punter and backup Qb, we called him Butterfinger White because he constantly dropped the ball. When he became a starter, he was better than I thought, but age did not serve Landry’s schemes and the players’ abilities well.

  • Mike Donahoe

    Danny White will always hold a place in my heart. I was in the first grade when he started at Dallas QB and and I grew up watching him. I wish fellow Cowboy fans and the NFL in general would take a 2nd look at him. He did not have Staubach’s team of the 70’s and taking the Boys to the NFC title game 3 years in a row is impressive. I beg people to look at his record and what he fought against. He came “literally” right after Staubach and Dallas did not draft well to replace their star players in the 80’s. A football team is just that —a team!! You can have the greatest QB in the world, but if he does not have an offensive line to block for him—His not going to be able to do squat!! Remember Football teams have 11 guys on offense and 11 different guys (save Dion Sander Types) on defense. In those three NFC title games, it was the defense that let Philly, San Fran and Wash. to score. Danny White could not control that.
    The Middle Linebacker should be blamed more than Danny White!!
    Remember in 1979 Dallas had an opportunity to get Joe Montanna. They skipped him to get a Tight End. Even if they had Montanna and not White in the latter part of the 80’s I do not think things would have been that much better. Montanna did well because San Fran. had a superb team in that era!!

    Please it is time for Football Historians and Cowboys fans to give Danny White his long overdue credit. Remember, in Arena Football he took the Rattlers to their Championship game several times and have come out with two Championship victories with him as their Head Coach!!

    Thank you and God Bless America and God Bless the Dallas Cowboys!!

    Ad me as a friend on myspace or facebook under Staubachcowboy12

  • Anonymous

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  • Belden’s claim to fame?  

    He played for two of the greatest coaches ever (Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame and Tom Landry in Dallas), and he backed up four great QBs: Terry Hanratty & Joe Theismann at Notre Dame and Craig Morton & Roger Staubach in Dallas.

    Other than that?  Not so much . . .

  • Dutch Robbins

    Dutch Robbins
    Danny White got my vote for all time #11.
    His all time passing stats almost even with Staubach’s career stats. But Roger qb rating (83.4) a slite higher than White’s (81.7)
    I would also vote Danny White for the future ring of honor.
    Drew Bledsoe and Wade Wilson played for other teams with bigger careers else where.
    Both quarterbacks play a short time with the Dallas Cowboys.