Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys: Quarterback

This is part of the series on the All-Time Team of Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys.

There was most certainly no doubt that the battle for the QB of the Dallas Cowboys Greatest Team would come down to Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. In a slight surprise, Aikman received more than 56% of the votes. Here is the summary:

1. Troy Aikman (56.5%)
2. Roger Staubach (41.4%)
3. Tony Romo (1.4%)
4. Don Meredith (.4%)
5. Danny White (.3%)

It was not surprising that Romo received some votes, but I expected him to receive a few more given that many younger fans probably never saw Aikman (let alone Staubach) play. As for approximate value, Staubach had a slight edge over Aikman. Romo, on the other hand, trails Danny White and Don Meredith but is ahead of Craig Morton. Here is the list:

Rk From To G Pos AV ?
1 Roger Staubach 1969 1979 131 QB 127
2 Troy Aikman 1989 2000 165 QB 121
3 Danny White 1976 1988 152 QB/P 83
4 Don Meredith 1960 1968 104 QB 73
5 Tony Romo 2006 2010 67 QB 59
6 Craig Morton 1965 1973 95 QB 42
7 Eddie LeBaron 1960 1963 52 QB 28
8 Steve Pelluer 1986 1988 44 QB 23
9 Drew Bledsoe 2005 2006 22 QB 15
10 Quincy Carter 2001 2003 31 QB 15
11 Vinny Testaverde 2004 2004 16 QB 10
12 Gary Hogeboom 1983 1985 38 QB 9
13 Jon Kitna 2010 2010 10 QB 8
14 Jason Garrett 1994 1999 15 QB 7
15 Jerry Rhome 1965 1968 33 QB 6
16 Steve Beuerlein 1991 1992 24 QB 4
17 Randall Cunningham 2000 2000 6 QB 3
18 Chad Hutchinson 2002 2002 9 QB 3
19 Anthony Wright 2000 2001 8 QB 3
20 Bernie Kosar 1993 1993 4 QB 2
21 Rodney Peete 1994 1994 7 QB 2
22 Kevin Sweeney 1987 1988 6 QB 2
23 Steve Walsh 1989 1989 8 QB 2
24 Wade Wilson 1995 1995 7 QB 2
25 Glenn Carano 1981 1981 5 QB 1
26 Reggie Collier 1986 1986 4 QB 1
27 Don Heinrich 1960 1960 12 QB 1
28 Buddy Humphrey 1961 1961 2 QB 1
29 Brad Johnson 2008 2008 16 QB 1
30 Babe Laufenberg 1990 1990 4 QB 1
31 Ryan Leaf 2001 2001 4 QB 1
32 Clint Longley 1974 1974 2 QB 1
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/26/2011.

As for the poll, we are not going to consider either Aikman or Staubach for the most underappreciated. Here are the contenders, listed in chronological order of their playing days:

1. Eddie LeBaron: He was the first starter in team history and posted some impressive yardage numbers on teams that lacked talent.

2. Don Meredith: The team’s first player was gutsy in more ways than one. He took a beating on the field and a beating from the fans, but he finally earned some appreciation after his playing days ended.

3. Craig Morton: Morton was the full-time starter for two years, and he led the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl appearance.

4. Danny White: White led the Cowboys to three consecutive championship game appearances, but he never matched Staubach’s feats. The Cowboys took a nose dive when he was injured in 1986.

5. Tony Romo: Romo has put up huge numbers as the starter for most of the past five years, but the team has had no playoff success with him at QB.

Who is the most underappreciated quarterback in team history?

View Results

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  • I also went with Danny but it was a very close call between him and Meredith. I know people love Don now, but as you say, at the time, fans booed him mercilessly when he lost. I’ve read that lack of fan support was one of the main reasons he quit. I think his image among fans was rehabilitated somewhat by his MNF gig and his recent passing.

    Danny, OTOH, never caught a break from fans. He had the misfortune of following a legend in Roger. Nothing short of a Super Bowl win would have satisfied fans. He couldn’t deliver and will therefore never get his due in the eyes of fans.

    So he got my vote.

  • Rayschichtel

    I have to select Danny White, too. Danny did so well for us. Had passing records and took us to those 3 NFC Championship games. It wasn’t his fault we never won the Super Bowl during his time as our leader. He’s even been nominated for the PFHoF. He won’t ever get a bust but it goes to show us that he did some great things for us. Danny deserves a ton of credit!

  • Anonymous

    Some try to discredit Romo by saying he’s another Danny White. Well, it would be nice if Romo would accomplish close to what White did.

  • bevomav

    How can Aikman or Staubach be on a list of underappreciated anything? They are in the frigging Hall of Fame.

  • Timothytrump

    I voted for Danny White too, though I strongly considered Meredith. For many fans, DW fell short because he did not get to, or win, a SB. But three straight NFC championship appearances, playing QB in the toughest division in football at the time, and leading the team to some incredible victories all speak to his maintaining the Dallas legacy of excellence while he was the starter. As Matt noted, when DW got injured, Dallas “nosedived.” Without a full recovery, and without a true quality replacement, Dallas never recovered to its winning ways.

  • Anonymous

    The AV list includes all of the Dallas quarterbacks. However, the poll completely excludes Staubach and Aikman. The question is which of the quarterbacks other than Staubach or Aikman is underappreciated.

  • Dutch Robbins

    Dutch Robbins

    Cast my vote for Craig Morton!…..Why Morton?

    Morton still has the second highest winning percentage of .691 behind Roger Staubachs’ high mark .746 of the Dallas Cowboys franchise history.
    Craig Morton was the first qb to get the Dallas Cowboys franchise team to their very first Super bowl V. (Lost to Baltimore Colts 16-13 on a decided field goal)
    Morton’s YPA 7.9 held many years by Craig Morton until Tony Romo pass the mark at 8.0.
    Remember……Craig Morton play as a backup qb to starter Don Meredith his first 4 seasons, what mobility Craig Morton had than was overshadowed during those first 4 seasons he didn’ get the chance to play as a starter. (Dallas Cowboys #1 USC select draft choice of 1965 )
    Morton’s 3-2 NFC playoffs & Super Bowl / above the 500 mark of his career with the cowboys. ( 3rd best mark of Dallas cowboys quarterback ranks).
    Danny White, Don Meredith, Tony Romo, even Troy Aikman’s himself didn’t have the likes Mr. Roger Staubach waiting on the sideline eager play for that opportunity to become a starter.
    Morton’s career was shorten by being bridge by two great qbs Don Meredith and Roger Staubach.
    Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks with “Perfect Gamers” (158.3)
    Don Meredith / Craig Morton.
    Craig Morton “Perfect Passer Rating” 150.0 ……was achieve by Morton 8 different times during his long footballl career. (Peyton Manning and Ben Rothlisberger both tied for second on the all time list with 7 apiece).
    Remember also…….Every season Morton started as qb (69,70, and 72 season replace Roger Staubach because of a separated shoulder) Morton started qb with Dallas Cowboys which won the divisions each year and enter playoffs each year also.
    Cowboy fans name a list of Dallas quarterbacks who won their divisions as a starter every season!
    Yeah…..name them!
    If Craig Morton would have won Super Bowl V his career with the cowboys would of have taken a different career outcome for Morton’s sake!…….The Dallas Cowboys team led by coach Tom Landry strengthen the cowboys team to be far more superior and equipt the years ahead.
    First ever quarterback to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl.
    (Dallas Cowboys / Denver Broncos)
    Craig Morton diffently had a interesting NFL football career.