Imagine the Dallas Cowboys of the 1970s Without Drew Pearson

Drew Pearson's induction into the Ring of Honor is long overdue.

In 1974, the Cowboys were in a state of transition. Many of the legendary players had retired or were about to retire, and team needed to restock. This was one year before the Dirty Dozen draft, and the team struggled to an 8-6 finish.

It was during that disappointing season that an undersized receiver from the University of Tulsa developed into one of the best receivers in the game. It was thanks to Pearson that we have memories such as the following:

Pearson played during a time when few receivers surpassed the 1,000-yard mark. Between 1968 and 1979, no NFL receiver surpassed 1,200 yard in a single season (though to be sure, some AFL receivers in late 1960s had more yardage), and it was hardly surprising that Pearson led the league in receiving yards in 1977 with only 870 yards. Those stats reflect the era, not the quality of the receivers.

Lynn Swann never had 1,000 yards in a single season, but he made the Hall of Fame. Both Pearson and Swann earned first-team selections on the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s.

Imagine the images from the 1970s if we removed Swann’s performances in Super Bowls X, XIII, and XIV. Swann caught a total of 16 passes in those Super Bowls, and it was those receptions that put him in the Hall of Fame.

Pearson doesn’t have a realistic shot at the Hall of Fame, bu this omission from the Ring of Honor is ridiculous. Take away Pearson and you take away the Hail Mary play. More importantly, take away Pearson, and there’s a pretty good chance the Cowboys don’t appear in three Super Bowls in a four-year period from 1975 to 1978. The Cowboys struggled for years to replace Pearson after his premature retirement following an auto accident in 1984.

Earlier this week, Roger Staubach strongly endorsed Pearson’s bid for a Ring of Honor induction. Our Friend Jerry then almost predictably blurted out,

“We have yet to address that,” said Jones. “There is no decision there at all. Obviously, it’s always been a question of your Hall of Fame players that deserve a lot of consideration there.

“But there has been no plan, and right now there is no plan to have an inductee into the Ring of Honor this next season. There’s no plan.”

Pearson deserved a place in the Ring of Honor by the end of the 1980s. He should be first in line in 2011 to receive that honor.

Anyway, here are his stats:

Receiving
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G
1973 22 DAL wr 88 14 6 22 388 17.6 2 40 1.6 27.7
1974*+ 23 DAL WR 88 14 0 62 1087 17.5 2 50 4.4 77.6
1975 24 DAL WR 88 14 0 46 822 17.9 8 46 3.3 58.7
1976*+ 25 DAL WR 88 14 0 58 806 13.9 6 40 4.1 57.6
1977*+ 26 DAL WR 88 14 0 48 870 18.1 2 67 3.4 62.1
1978 27 DAL WR 88 16 0 44 714 16.2 3 53 2.8 44.6
1979 28 DAL WR 88 15 0 55 1026 18.7 8 56 3.7 68.4
1980 29 DAL WR 88 16 15 43 568 13.2 6 30 2.7 35.5
1981 30 DAL WR 88 16 16 38 614 16.2 3 42 2.4 38.4
1982 31 DAL WR 88 9 8 26 382 14.7 3 48 2.9 42.4
1983 32 DAL WR 88 14 13 47 545 11.6 5 32 3.4 38.9
Career 156 58 489 7822 16.0 48 67 3.1 50.1
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/2/2011.
  • Tim

    It is obvious to state that Drew is over do for the Ring of Honor. And thanks for the summary from PFR. They have had their own interesting series off and on about who deserves to be in, including Drew Pearson. JJ needs to get on it. Sure don’t understand why he would balk on something like this–its fan friendly and keeps people aware of the loong Dallas legacy of excellence.

  • Len Teague

    No doubt about it. How can you have Roger Staubach of the 70’s without what Drew Pearson was to him and the team. Roger threw for over 22,000 yards and Drew Pearson caught right at 8,000 of those yards……or more than 1 of every 3 yards Staubach completed were by Drew Pearson. I spoke with Drew recently and he said he would really love to be on the Ring of Honor………… placed between Tom Landry and Roger Staubach…………….That’s where he belongs.He is a Cowboys Legend.

  • Ronsite_81

    I think JJ still has a problem acknowledging the Cowboys players prior to 1989. I know he inducted Lee Roy Jordan into the ROH, but I feel like that was more of a “in your face” to Tex Schramm than it was honoring Lee Roy. Didn’t take him long to induct his triplets did it? (Although they DID deserve it, but so does Drew!)

  • David H

    Take away Drew Pearson, and take away the 1973 Divisional Playoff win against the Rams, take away the 1974 Thanksgiving Day comeback led by Clint Longley, take away the Hail Mary, take away the NFC’s leading reciver in receptions in 1976 and yards in 1977, take away the 1980 miracle comeback against the Falcons in the playoffs, and the original “horse-collar” tackle in the 1981 NFC Championship Game. Not having Drew Pearson (the Original #88) in the Ring of Honor more than a quarter of a century after his unexpected and tragic early retirement IS A DISGRACE.