Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #15

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #15

Four players have worn #15 for the Dallas Cowboys, including two quarterbacks, a kicker, and wide receiver.

Tom Crowder, WR, Arkansas, 2004

Statistics: Crowder was on the Cowboys’ roster for one game in 2004, which was the season finale vs. the Giants. He never caught a pass.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: One game.

Intangibles: According to Wikipedia, Crowder has played for Team Arkansas in the All American Football League. Quite frankly, I remember the name but very little about him.

Tony Fritsch, K, Vienna, Austria, 1971-73, 1975

Statistics: In parts of four seasons with Dallas, Fritsch made 61.7% of his 107 field goal attempts.

Accolades: Fritsch made the Pro Bowl in 1975.

Longevity: Fritsch replaced Mike Clark for part of the 1971 season and remained with the team until 1973. Efren Herrera replaced Fritsch in 1974, but an injury to Herrera the following year allowed Fritsch to return for one more season with Dallas.

Intangibles: Fritsch was the Cowboys’ first soccer-style kicker. During his first season with Dallas, he was called upon to kick what turned out to be the game-winning field goal against St. Louis. A member of the Cardinals tried to distract Fritsch by yelling at him, prompting Cowboys players to inform the Cardinal that Fritsch could not understand a word he was saying. He became a more accurate kicker in his years with the Oilers later in his career.

Babe Laufenberg, QB, Indiana, 1989-90

Statistics: In two seasons with the Cowboys, Laufenberg completed only 35.8% (24 of 67) of his passes for 279 yards, with one touchdown and six interceptions. His passer rating with Dallas was 16.9.

Accolades: None with Dallas. In fact, I have an well-respected encyclopedia that refers to Laufenberg’s efforts in 1990 as “LAUFable”

Longevity: Laufenberg was the third string quarterback in 1989 and was elevated to second string in 1990 when Dallas traded Steve Walsh.

Intangibles: The Cowboys could have made the playoffs in 1990 had they beaten either the Eagles or the Falcons. An injury to Troy Aikman forced Dallas to play Laufenberg, and the results were disastrous, as the Cowboys lost 17-3 to the Eagles and 26-7 to the Falcons. Laufenberg is well-known for his work as a journalist in the Dallas area, but his efforts as a backup QB were entirely forgettable.

Brad Wright, QB, New Mexico, 1982

Statistics: Wright was a third-string quarterback with Dallas in 1982. He never played a down.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Wright only lasted one season.

Intangibles:I frankly know nothing about Wright, except that the Miami Dolphins originally selected him during the fourth round of the 1981 draft.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #15

  • Tony Fritsch (77%, 118 Votes)
  • Babe Laufenberg (20%, 30 Votes)
  • Tom Crowder (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Brad Wright (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 153

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

My Vote: Fritsch

Toni FritschIf you care to vote for Babe Laufenberg because he is more familiar due to his television and radio work, please feel free to do so. Here’s what I remember: if only one backup quarterback has single-handedly kept the Dallas Cowboys from making the playoffs in any given season, that would have to be Babe Laufenberg (although we could make a case for Gary Hogeboom…).

Does Fritsch deserve this? I personally remember him better as a member of the Houston Oilers, but he was noteworthy as the first soccer-style kicker for the Cowboys. Unlike Laufenberg, he also actually won some games for Dallas, which should give him the edge.

  • Tim Truemper

    Tom Crowder was one of Bil Parcell’s projects due to his speed (track star) and versatility (played different positions at Arkansas in college). I think the drawback on Tom was that he could not quite catch well enough for the NFL.

    On Toni Fritsch–all of old timers remember when he replaced Mike Clark. “I keek a touchdown” was a favorite quote attributed to him (I think Alex Karras actually said this about another foreign kicker). Toni is also notable because he kicked for the first Cowboy SB champs.

  • I cringe when I hear the name, Babe Lafenburg, and i concur whole heartidly that he single handedly kept the Cowboys out of the Playoffs in 1990. However, his poor play did force the Cowboys to go out and sign Steve Beurlien who was VERY instrumental in the Cowboys playoff run in 1991.

    I voted for Toni Fritsch. I remember very little about him except he was from Australia and he was the first soccer style kicker for the Cowboys. He had to be better than Lafenburg…

  • Thanks for the note about Crowder, Tim. That 2004 season was frustrating, and I did not play close attention then to all of the players that Dallas picked up.

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  • rikntx

    Am really surprised no one mentioned Toni Fritsch’s onside kick in the 1972 Divisional Playoff game against the 49ers. Staubach rightfully gets all the credit for leading the Cowboys comeback in that game, the game that began his “Captain Comeback” reputation, but without Fritsch’s funny little squib of a kick and Mel Renfro’s subsequent recovery, there is no comeback.

  • rikntx