Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys: Tight Ends
This is part of the series on the All-Time Team of Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys.
There should be little doubt that Jason Witten is the greatest tight end in team history. He currently ranks second in team history in receptions, and he is within 1,000 yards of moving into second place in receiving yards. Even the most vocal fans of Jay Novacek need to give Witten the credit.
In the ESPN poll, Witten received 78.5% of the vote. Here were the totals:
1. Jason Witten (78.5%)
2. Jay Novacek (18.3%)
3. Billy Joe Dupree (2.6%)
4. Doug Cosbie (.6%)
This mostly mirrors the approximate value rankings from Pro-Football-Reference. Here’s a look at all of the tight ends:
|2||Billy Joe DuPree||1973||1983||159||TE||71|
Fans of the 1980s remember Doug Cosbie well, and he was one of the most dependent receivers of his era. However, he had 40 or more receptions in only three seasons (during each of which he made the Pro Bowl).
Fans of the 1990s remember Jay Novacek, who was the perfect complement to the other offensive weapons. He made five consecutive Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro once. One of his most productive seasons (62 receptions for 705 yards in 1995) was also his last, though.
The first of the two most forgotten of the tights ends featured here is DuPree. He did not have impressive stats by today’s standards, but he developed into one of the league’s best by 1976. He was especially effective in the red zone. His 41 TDs are the most by a Dallas tight end.
The other forgotten tight end didn’t even make my own list when I first posted this survey (he’s listed by his original position of split end on Pro Football Reference). Pettis Norman played nine years in Dallas and stood out as a very dependable blocker.
I am leaving a few others off the list, though you are free to add them. The most notable is Mike Ditka, who had his most productive years with the Bears.
Here are the poll results:
Pettis Norman, 6%
Anthony Fasano, 3%
Mike Lucky, 3%