Most Obscure Player of 1974: Dennis Morgan

mop

The 1974 season was not a good one for the Dallas Cowboys. The team had made the playoffs for eight consecutive years, but the streak came to an end in ’74 thanks to a bad start.

A big part of the problem was last-second losses early in the year. Dallas fell to 1-4 after five games, and three of the four losses came on last-second field goals by the opposing teams.

The last of these losses came against the St. Louis Cardinals, who had one of the best seasons for the organization while it was located in St. Louis. In week 5, a 31-yard field goal by Jim Bakken gave the Cardinals a 31-28 win over Dallas and improved the Cardinals’ record to 5-0. St. Louis finished the season at 10-4, while Dallas finished at 8-6.

A play during that loss to the Cardinals gave us the Most Obscure Player for 1974, though. In the first quarter, a rookie running back named Dennis Morgan returned a punt 98 yards for a touchdown. It tied an NFL record and established a franchise record.

The video below shows highlights of the game. Morgan’s punt return starts at about :29.

That play was Morgan’s career highlight. The Cowboys cut him at the end of the season. He played in four games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1975 but did not play again.

According to his Wikipedia page, Morgan’s nickname was “Strawberry” because of his red hair. That’s the extent of the obscurity about Dennis Morgan the football player.

If folks had just done their homework, they may have discovered an actor named Dennis Morgan, who appeared in a number of movies between 1936 and 1956.

The last of those movies was Uranium Boom, a story about two mining partners striking uranium pay dirt. Apparently there wasn’t much more to the story, because the movie only lasted 67 minutes.

I like the title, though, so while we are giving out the MOP Award retroactively, we might as well give Dennis Morgan the football player a nickname retroactively: The Uranium Boom.

 

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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.
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