Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #22

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #22

Seven players have worn #22, including three running backs, three defensive backs, and a wide receiver. This is one of only two numbers worn by members of the Ring of Honor (#54 is the other)

Amos Bullocks, RB, Southern Illinois, 1962-64

Statistics: Bullocks rushed for a total of 537 yards as a member of the Cowboys. He also averaged 21.7 yards per kick return.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Bullocks lasted three seasons with Dallas, playing in only one game in 1964.. He later played a season with the Steelers.

Intangibles: Bullocks played in the shadows of Don Perkins and Amos Marsh. He was better known as a kickoff return man.

Bill Butler, S, Tenn. Chattanooga, 1960

Statistics: Butler had one interception as a member of the Cowboys. He was also a returner, averaging 10.1 yards per punt return and 20.0 yards per kickoff return.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Butler lasted just one season with Dallas. He later played for the Steelers and Vikings.

Intangibles: The Cowboy obtained Butler in the 1960 expansion draft from the Green Bay Packers. He has some decent years with the Vikings (5 picks in 1962), but never did much with the Cowboys during the 1960 season.

Bob Hayes, WR, Florida A&M, 1965-74

Statistics: Hayes had 7295 receiving yards with the Cowboys, as well as 71 TDs. He averaged 11.1 yards per punt return and had three returns for touchdowns in his career.

Accolades: Hayes was named to the Pro Bowl three times and as an All Pro twice. He is a member of the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

Longevity: Hayes played ten seasons with Dallas. His productivity tailed off after the 1971 season, however.

Intangibles: Hayes forced defenses to develop creative means to stop him due to his speed. Defenses had to start using zone defenses to stop him. His total yardage figure may not be terribly impressive, but his yards-per-catch average is. No regular starter in team history comes close to his 26.1 ypc average in 1970, and only Alvin Harper matches Hayes’ 20.0 yards per catch average for a career among receivers who played more than one season with Dallas.

Wade Manning, DB, Ohio State, 1979

Statistics: Manning averaged 5.5 yards per punt return and 20.7 yards per kickoff return in limited action in 1979.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Manning lasted only one season with Dallas. He later played for the Broncos.

Intangibles: Manning was a free agent pickup who played in nine games with Dallas.

George Peoples, RB, Auburn, 1982

Statistics: Peoples rushed for 22 yards in limited action in 1982.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Peoples played in eight games with Dallas during the strike-shortened 1982 season. He later played with the Patriots and Buccaneers.

Intangibles: Peoples was an eighth round pick in 1982 who had few opportunities.

Victor Scott, DB, Colorado, 1984-88

Statistics: Scott had five career interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He lasted a total of five seasons but seldom started.

Intangibles: Scott was a member of Thurman’s Thieves. He saw action in passing situations, including times when Dallas switched to the rather infamous 4-0 defense. I personally remember him because he played for East St. Louis High School, not far from my hometown (and far, far superior in terms of collective football talent).

Emmitt Smith, RB, Florida, 1990-02

Statistics: Smith rushed for an NFL-record 18,355 yards, of which 17,162 came as a member of the Cowboys. Other stats as a member of the Cowboys are equally impressive: 3012 yards receiving, 153 rushing touchdowns, 11 receiving touchdowns.

Accolades: Eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro. He is a member of the Ring of Honor and will soon be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Longevity: Smith lasted 13 seasons with Dallas, enough to allow him to break Walter Payton’s rushing record while still a member of the Cowboys. He played two seasons with the Cardinals before retiring.

Intangibles: Smith was one of the most complete backs in NFL history. He could break arm tackles at the line, and even though he lacked breakaway speed, he had the vision that allowed him to take angles that led to long runs (a great line helped, of course). He was a very good receiver and an excellent blocker.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #22

  • Emmitt Smith (88%, 246 Votes)
  • Bob Hayes (11%, 31 Votes)
  • Amos Bullocks (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Wade Manning (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Bill Butler (0%, 0 Votes)
  • George Peoples (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Victor Scott (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 279

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

My Vote: Smith

Emmitt SmithAlthough I think that Hayes deserves a slot in the Hall of Fame, there is little question that this one has to go to Smith. He may have been the most valuable member of the Dallas franchise in its history, for even the great teams of the 1990s struggled to win any time that Smith was out or at less than full strength. He ranks right next to Walter Payton as one of the most complete backs in NFL history.

  • It’s unfortunate for Bullet Bob Hayes to fall under the same number with Emmitt. Hayes was great, Hall of Famer material if you ask me, but Emmitt was not only the greatest #22 in Cowboys history, he was the greatest #22 in NFL history.

  • Fred Goodwin

    I also voted for Emmitt. I’m a longtime fan of the older Cowboys and it was hard for me not to vote for Hayes, but Emmitt’s accomplishments simply cannot be ignored.

  • Glad to see that Wade Manning got a vote. His impact very nearly equaled that of Hayes and Smith…!

  • Boa noite.
    Realmente fica dificil, eu voto em Emmitt, mais não podemos deixar de considerar Bob H. ele foi incrível também.
    Prof. Douglas Bete

  • Essie Salazar

    Emmit was the work horse that got the “Da Boys” to superbowl and helped Troy from getting hit by the defense. Just to watch him cut and move was a beautiful sight! The power of those legs.

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  • Emmitt Smith the best.

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  • miguel

    el mejor de todos los tiempos…

  • james

    bob hayes won tha forget a smith

  • Emmitt has the stats and was a real workhorse. But unless you were there to actually feel and witness the IMPACT of Bob Hayes, you can’t really make a solid judgement. Hayes was totally radical. Something pro football had never seen. The “World’s Fastest Human” had crazy football skills and absolutely terrorized NFL defenses with a level of speed no one has since come close to, both in pass recieving and punt returns. Hayes led the NFL in punt returns in 1968. One of the intangibles Hayes brought to the game was his very presence on the field created a serious defensive imbalance. Teams were so afraid of “the bomb” that they’d overcompensate to try and harness Hayes and inadvertently open up the field for Dallas’ running game and free up the other Cowboy receivers. They say a great man is someone who reminds us of no one else. There was/is no one like Bob Hayes. He gets my vote as the greatest Cowboy to wear # 22!  

  • Becky

    My vote is for Emmitt Smith all the way! My favorite player of all time and the best #22 out there

  • HuggieBear39 .

    #22 Emmitt all the way. When ever I buy an jersey it has to be #22 :o)

  • Chris Belk

    You dumb

  • Dusty Dog

    Watching Bullet Bob Hayes was a thrill. Dandy Don Meredith would heave the ball as deep as he could and Hayes would adjust. The saying at the time was if Hayes caught the ball and had one step on the defender, he was gone. Look at the YouTube clips of Hayes and you will be Impressed.