Current and Former Cowboys Fare Well in Rating Contest

Pro-Football-Reference is running a poll to establish a community-based rating system for all players in NFL history. The description of the system is as follows:

The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games. The creator of the system, Arpad Elo, was a professor of physics at Marquette University who wanted an improved chess rating system. Although the system has its roots in chess, today it is used in many other games.

At various times, members of the Cowboys have ranked in the top 10 on both offense and defense. As of today, though, only two—Randy White and Bob Lilly—rank in the top 10 in defense. Time for Cowboys fans to get on that site to boost ratings.


Emmitt Smith ranks #13 on the list, winning 76.8% of his contests. That is four spots ahead of Roger Staubach and five spots ahead of Tony Dorsett.

Other Cowboys among the top 100 include Lance Alworth (#22), Rayfield Wright (#57), Larry Allen (#60), Drew Pearson (#65), Terrell Owens (#70), Mike Ditka (#85), Jason Witten (#92), and Troy Aikman (#96).

Here is a complete list:


White has edged out Lilly by one position among defensive players. Mel Renfro is close at #14, while Deion Sanders is as #20.

Also making the top 100 include Herb Adderley (#22), Too Tall Jones (#23), Charles Haley (#35), Chuck Howley (#42), Cornell Green (#43), Zach Thomas (#70), and Cliff Harris (#86).

The complete list is below. I should note that some who appear on here were actually offensive players, including Forrest Gregg and Otto Graham. I suspect that this is an automated system, and since those players played on both sides of the ball, they are showing up as defensive players.

  • Krl97a

    Right now Emmitt Smith is the number #1 offensive player and Bob Lilly is the #1 defensive player.  There are five Cowboys in the offensive top 18 and five in the defensive top 18.