Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #80

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #80

Fifteen players have worn #80 for the Cowboys. This includes 12 wide receivers and three tight ends. Assuming that Martellus Bennett makes the squad, he will be the 16th player to wear the number.

Note: Several players have worn #80 in preseason games, while others have been assigned the number but did record at least one official game. These players played in at least a single game.

Rod Barksdale, WR, Arizona, 1987

Statistics: Barksdale caught 12 passes for 165 yards and 1 TD for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas traded Ron Fellows to the Raiders for Barksdale in 1987, but the former sprinter did not get many chances with the Cowboys.

Gary Barnes, WR, Clemson, 1963

Statistics: Barnes caught 15 passes for 195 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys picked up Barnes from Green Bay in 1963, and he saw quite a bit of action. He was traded to Chicago before the 1964 season.

Anthony Fasano, TE, Notre Dame, 2006-07

Statistics: Fasano caught 28 passes for 269 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys picked up Fasano in the second round of the 2006 draft. However, he did not progress as quickly as the team would have liked, and the Cowboys shipped him to Miami during offseason in 2008.

Bernard Ford, WR, Central Florida, 1989

Statistics: For caught 7 passes for 78 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a free agent who made the team during the dreadful 1989 season. Ford played for Houston in 1990.

Everett Gay, WR, Texas, 1988

Statistics: Gay made 15 receptions for 205 yards and one touchdown.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Gay made the team in 1988 after spending the 1987 season on injured reserve. He was traded to Tampa Bay in 1989.

Alvin Harper, WR, Tennessee, 1991-94, 1999

Statistics: Harper caught 124 passes for 2486 yards (a 20.0 average) and 18 TDs.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Harper is very well remembered for his many playoff heroics, including the famous catch and run against San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game in 1992. He was well-known for his athletic catches, but he was never as productive as he should have been. The most catches he had in one season in Dallas was 36, and he never surpassed 50 in a single season during his career. He left via free agency in 1995. He returned briefly in 1999 following Michael Irvin’s career-ending neck injury, but Harper did nothing at all once he was back in Dallas.

Rod Harris, WR, Texas A&M, 1990

Statistics: Harris had 12 receptions for 63 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades:None.

Longevity: He played less than one full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Harris was traded to the Eagles midway through the 1990 season.

Tony Hill, WR, Stanford, 1977-86

Statistics: Hill caught a total of 479 passes for 7988 yards and 51 TDs. He ranks fourth in team history in receptions and second in receiving yards.

Accolades: He earned three trips to the Pro Bowl.

Longevity: Hill played 10 seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Hill was a big-play receiver throughout his career in Dallas. He famously caught Roger Staubach’s lob pass against Washington in the final game of the regular season in 1979, and he had other huge games as well. He is sometimes forgotten when the names of Irvin and Pearson were brought up, but Hill was one of the great receivers in franchise history.

David McDaniels, WR, Mississippi Valley, 1968

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: When the Cowboys selected McDaniels in the second round of the 1968 draft, it was apparently a mistake by the scouting department. He was slower and smaller than expected and was traded to Philadelphia in 1969.

Ola Lee Murchison, WR, Pacific, 1961

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Murchison made the team in 1961 and primarily played on special teams.

Sean Ryan, TE, Boston College, 2004-05

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Ryan was primarily a blocking tight end in Dallas. He later played for the Jets.

O.J. Santiago, TE, Kent, 2000

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys traded with Atlanta for Santiago in 2000, but he never caught a pass in the one season in played in Dallas.

Sebron Spivey, WR, Southern Illinois, 1987

Statistics: Spivey caught two passes for 34 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in two of the replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Reggie Swinton, WR, Murray State, 2001-03

Statistics: Swinton averaged 24.0 yards per kickoff return.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Swinton showed some promise as a return specialist, but once Bill Parcells arrived in 2003, Swinton was no longer returning kicks regularly. He later played for the Lions and Cardinals.

Stepfret Williams, WR, Northeast Louisiana, 1996-97

Statistics: Williams caught 31 passes for 340 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Williams played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Taken in the third round of the 1996 draft, Williams was not as skilled as Kevin Williams or Kelvin Martin as a slot receiver. He caught 30 passes in 1997 but did not make the squad in 1998.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #80.

Greatest #80

  • Tony Hill (85%, 182 Votes)
  • Alvin Harper (14%, 30 Votes)
  • Reggie Swinton (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Anthony Fasano (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Gary Barnes (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Bernard Ford (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Sebron Spivey (0%, 0 Votes)
  • O.J. Santiago (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Sean Ryan (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ola Lee Murchison (0%, 0 Votes)
  • David McDaniels (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Rod Harris (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Everett Gay (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Rod Barksdale (1%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 215

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My Vote: Hill

Tony HillThis one is clearly between Hill and Harper, but I do not think this is much of a competition. Hill may not be as well-known for his big-time plays as Harper. But he was more accomplished as a receiver and played much longer in Dallas than Harper. Harper had some huge plays during his time in Dallas, but he underachieved for the most part. Thus, Hill gets my vote.

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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.
  • http://www.cowboycards.com/ cowboycards

    Clearly the choice is between Tony Hill and Alvin Harper. Both had big play ability and some clutch performances. I voted for Hill because of Longevity and the fact that he was the No. 1 receiver for quite a few years. Harper always played second fiddle to Irvin and was a great second option for Aikman. I think Harper really paved the way for Irvin to have Hall of Fame numbers during the early part of the 90s. I don’t think you can underestimate just how valuable Harper was to this early 90s Cowboys dynasty. Just ask any 49er fan, he will tell you. Regardless, Hill has my vote for the best player to wear #80 for the Cowboys but I certainly wouldn’t disparage anyone for voting for Harper..

    “Harper is breaking away, Harper’s got mid field, Harper’s got the 40, Harper’s got the 30, Harper’s got the 20, Harper’s down at the 10!”
    Still gives me CHILLS!!!

  • Fred Goodwin

    Tony “Thrill” Hill also gets my vote.

    Tony’s father recently (January, 2008) wrote a book about him: “From Selma to the Super Bowl: The Story of a Boy from the Bottoms”, by Leroy Hill and Joyce Foy.

    http://www.amazon.com/Selma-Super-Bowl-Story-Bottoms/dp/0976867710/

    Leroy Hill, a boy from the bottoms, was born the poorest of poor in the South long before the words “equal rights” were used in the same sentence. He faced racial profiling, job and housing discrimination, bigotry, and hatred for decades and despite it all-he joined the navy, served aboard the USS Lexington during World War II, fought in the Korean War, and had a successful career in the private sector. Leroy Hill never used his blackness as an excuse to waive his responsibilities to his God, his family, his friends or his profession. One of his sons, Anthony (Tony) Hill, became one of the youngest players to ever be drafted by the NFL. Earning a position as wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, Tony was awarded #80 on his jersey and the nickname “Thrill Hill” for his explosiveness. Tony played for the Cowboys from 1976 to 1986 and won two Super Bowl rings. His father, Leroy, acted as his manager and agent-a first ever in the NFL.

    [note: Tony won only one Super Bowl ring, for the Cowboys win over the Broncos in SB 12]

  • http://godfatheroftech.blogspot.com/ GodFatherofTech

    You gotta go old school on this one.

    Harper gets a nod, but Hill gets the vote.

  • WO4TG

    The poll on this page is for #87.

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