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Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series
Only three players in team history have worn jersey #2: former kicker Lin Elliott, former backup quarterback Anthony Wright, and former kicker Jose Cortez. Not a great contest, but here we go anyway.
2012 Update: This list now includes punter Sam Paulescu, who punted for the Cowboys in 2008.
1. Lin Elliott, K, Texas Tech, 1992-1993
Statistics: Elliott was the kicker on the Cowboys’ 1992 Super Bowl team. He hit 24 of 35 field goals that year, and then made two of four in the first two games of 1993.
Longevity: Jimmy Johnson infamously cut Elliott after the second game of the 1993 season. Elliott told Johnson that the kicker had lost his confidence, and the coach immediately cut him. Elliott returned to kick for Kansas City in 1994 and 1995.
Intangibles: Elliott did not hit any notable game-winners for Dallas in 1992, and he basically lost the game for the Cowboys against the Bills in week 2 of the 1993 season. He certainly had a kicker’s name, though: Lindley Franklin Elliott Jr.
2. Anthony Wright, QB, South Carolina, 2000-02
Statistics: In five starts over two seasons with the Cowboys, Wright completed 70 of 151 passes for 766 yards, 5 TD, and 8 Int.
Longevity: Wright was inexperienced when he played for Dallas but was not a bad backup. He led Dallas to one victory: a 9-7 win over Washington in 2001. He is better known for his play at Baltimore in 2003 and 2005, and he is still in the league.
Intangibles: Wright showed a little bit of promise during some bad times for the Cowboys. However, he was not with the team long enough to make a significant impact.
3. Jose Cortez, K, Oregon State, 2005
Statistics: Cortez made 12 of 16 field goals for Dallas in 2005. He was one of three Dallas kickers that season, along with Billy Cundiff and Shaun Suisham.
Longevity: Dallas signed Cortez after Cundiff was injured in training camp in 2005.
Intangibles: Cortez was better known as a kickoff specialist and was not expected to make the team that season. He made the game-winning kick against the Giants in overtime that season (and because I was actually at that game, I can’t believe I forgot about him!).
Here are the results of the poll for this number:
- Lin Elliott (66%, 65 Votes)
- Anthony Wright (29%, 28 Votes)
- Jose Cortez (5%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 98
If you still want to vote, please make a comment below.
My Vote: Elliott
The choice really comes down to a somewhat obscure backup on two 5-11 football teams vs. the kicker for a Super Bowl champion. I thought that Elliott was an improvement over Ken Willis (the Dallas kicker in 1990 and 1991), and the only noteworthy kick that Elliott failed to make that season was an extra point against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game (following the Kelvin Martin touchdown that followed Alvin Harper’s epic 70-yard catch-and-run).
I should note for the sake of fairness that Elliott is unofficially a member of the Chiefs Hall of Shame.
Punter Sam Paulescu wore #2 when he filled in for an injured Mat McBriar in 2008.
One of my favorite blogs, due in large part to its originality, is Best Athletes by the Numbers. The author of that site has created a list of the best athletes to wear each jersey number, from one to 99. He is currently working on a list of the greatest NFL players by numbers.
Here are the Cowboys on his list:
#33 Tony Dorsett (ahead of Kareem Abdul Jabbar!)
Over the next several weeks, I am going to post a list of all of the players in Dallas history who have worn each jersey number. Given that nearly 900 players have played for the Cowboys, this should be some list. The posts will allow site visitors to vote for the best player wearing each number. Some criteria are appropriate:
(1) Statistics: Obviously, these only show so much, but stats give us an objective measure of the quality of each player.
(2) Accolades: Obviously awards that each player received should be taken into account. This may include Pro Bowl appearances, number of times that the player was named all-pro, all-decade teams, Hall of Fame, Ring of Honor, etc.
(3) Longevity: I think that the length of service is important. For instance, Herb Adderley may be the best NFL player to wear #26, but is this enough to give him the nod over Kevin Smith?
(4) Intangibles: Some players (Bill Bates, for example) simply gave more to the Cowboys than others.
With that introduction, let’s turn our attention to jersey #1:
Five players in team history have worn #1, including the team’s current Pro Bowl punter. This one may be close. Here are our candidates, listed in chronological order:
1. Efren Herrera, K, UCLA, 1974, 1976-1977
Statistics: In three seasons with Dallas, Herrera made 44 of 65 field goals (67.7%).
Accolades: He was a two-time All-Pro with Dallas and made the Pro Bowl once (1977).
Longevity: Dallas traded Herrera after the Super Bowl year in 1977 due to a contract dispute. He played for Seattle for several years before finishing up his NFL career in Buffalo. He also played a season in the USFL.
Intangibles: Herrera was a quality kicker but not usually as highly regarded as his replacement.
2. Rafael Septien, K, Southwest Louisiana, 1978-1986
Statistics: In nine seasons with Dallas, Septien made 74.3% of his field goals. He was nearly automatic from inside the 40.
Accolades: He was named all-pro and to the Pro Bowl one time (1981).
Longevity: Septien had the longest tenure of any Dallas kicker.
Intangibles: As a player, Septien was a very valuable member of some good Dallas teams. As a person, he was charged with indecency with a child and sentenced to 10 years deferred probation. Tough not to hold this against him (especially for those of us with children), but his record as a football player is still strong.
3. Kerry Brady, K, Hawaii, 1987 (replacement player)
Statistics: As a replacement player in 1987, Brady made an extra point.
Longevity: One game. He played briefly for Indianapolis and Buffalo in 1988 and 1989.
Intangibles: Replacement player. Enough said.
4. Ken Willis, K, Kentucky, 1990-91
Statistics: In two seasons as the Cowboys kicker, Willis made 45 of 64 field goal attempts (70.3%).
Longevity: He lasted two seasons in Dallas before being moving on to Tampa Bay.
Intangibles: Willis was a serviceable kicker on the Cowboys’ playoff team in 1991. He really did not stand out other than that, however.
5. Mat McBriar, P, Hawaii, 2004-2011 (Updated 5/2012)
Statistics: In eight seasons with Dallas, McBriar averaged 45.3 yards per punt. By comparison, Danny White averaged 40.2.
Accolades: McBriar was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2010.
Longevity: Dallas signed McBriar as an undrafted free agent in 2004, and he may be the greatest punter in team history already. In February 2007, he signed a five-year contract extension. Two of his seasons ended due to injury, and the team released him after the 2011 season.
Intangibles: McBriar is known not only for his booming kicks, but also for his ability to place the ball inside an opponent’s 10-yard line.
Here are the results of the poll for this number:
- Mat McBriar (59%, 136 Votes)
- Rafael Septien (31%, 72 Votes)
- Efren Herrera (7%, 16 Votes)
- Kerry Brady (3%, 8 Votes)
- Ken Willis (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 232
If you still want to vote, please make a comment below.
My Vote: McBriar
I am one who is more likely to pick a classic player than a current player. However, I think that McBriar already deserves the honor over Septien. Both have the same number of awards, and I have no doubt that once McBriar has played as long as Septien, he will be held in higher regard (assuming he stays out of trouble).
As everyone knows by now, Julius Jones is no longer a Dallas Cowboy. He signed a four-year contract on Friday night with Seattle, ending a somewhat (or more than somewhat) disappointing four-year run with the Cowboys. Jones finishes his career with Dallas as the team’s seventh all-time leading rusher, ranking just ahead of Herschel Walker. Here are the current all-time team rankings:
|Walker, Herschel||1986-88, 96-97||5||737||3245||4.4||25|
The player on this list most comparable with Jones is Calvin Hill, who played with Dallas from 1969 to 1974. Hill is often remembered quite fondly, but as far as statistics, he was pretty close with Jones in most statistical categories. Consider these numbers:
Julius Jones (4 seasons, 53 games)
Calvin Hill (6 seasons, 73 games)
A few more comparisons:
Drafted by Dallas
Hill is remembered as one of the famous “computer picks” by the Cowboys in the 1960s. He was a standout running back at Yale, but many questioned his selection in the first round of the 1969 draft. This was the same draft that featured O.J. Simpson as the top overall selection.
The Cowboys passed on the likes of Steven Jackson, Kevin Jones, and Chris Perry to take Julius Jones in the second round of the 2004 draft.
Hill was brought in to replace Don Perkins, the first great back for the Cowboys who retired after the 1968 season.
Jones was expected to give Dallas a feature back to replace the great Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
Hill rushed for 942 yards as a rookie in 1969 (during a 14-game season), earning him a Pro Bowl spot.
After missing a large portion of his rookie season with a fractured scapula, Jones returned to show some of the flash that the Cowboys thought he had. He rushed for 150 yards against Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, and then gained 198 yards the following week against Seattle. He finished the season with 819 yards in only eight games.
Competition during Sophomore Seasons
Notwithstanding statements by Tom Landry that the Dallas offense would feature Hill, the Cowboys picked up running back Duane Thomas in 1970, requiring Hill to share time with the West Texas A&M standout. Hill also suffered through injuries and finished with only 577 yards in 1970.
The Cowboys drafted Marion Barber in 2005 to complement Jones. When Jones missed three games in 2005, Barber stepped in and showed that his more physical brand of running could be effective in the NFL.
Hill was one of the Cowboys who became outspoken regarding the management style of Tex Schramm, Tom Landry, et al. Players at that time, however, had limited opportunities to sign with different teams.
Following the resignation of Bill Parcells, Jones spoke out about how the former coach had ruined his running style by forcing Jones to run like a “robot.” Although technically a starter during the 2007 season, Barber had become the team’s biggest running threat, and Jones’ production dropped significantly.
Hill signed a future contract with the Hawaii franchise of the World Football League, and once the 1974 NFL season concluded, Hill departed. Hill later played for Washington and Cleveland, but his best years were clearly behind him.
Dallas made no effort to sign Jones to a contract, allowing him to sign with Seattle after visiting several teams.
Famous Family Members
Hill is the father of NBA player Grant Hill.
Jones is the brother of current New York Jet Thomas Jones.
This post is the result of boredom and a need for a new hobby, so I created a wallpaper (1680X1050) featuring Bob Lilly. He was, of course, Mr. Cowboy– the Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan of the Dallas Cowboys.
Here are a few links about Lilly:
Below the picture are some of Lilly’s quotes, borrowed from BrainyQuote.com.
Bob Lilly Quotes
I attribute my entire football career, as far as getting me started, getting me interested, keeping me that way was my father. He went to every game even though he was crippled and wasn’t real healthy.
* * *
I think Jim Taylor was very underrated, never hear much about him. We played Green Bay every year in exhibition, and generally we played them every couple of years in regular season. And I always thought he was a fierce competitor.
* * *
I think when you are the parents of a gifted athlete, the best thing in the world you can do is to encourage them, in my opinion. My dad didn’t push me and I didn’t push my children in athletics.
* * *
Some of the money going to the rookies can now be spent on people who have proved their worth. After all, the average playing life of a pro football player is about eight years and it is only fitting that the veterans get something for their efforts.
* * *
Today, free agency takes away a lot of your heroes, they go somewhere else. Some of them don’t but a lot of them do-take the higher offer to go somewhere else. And, it turns the fans off because they get attached to the players.
* * *
We started playing the Baltimore Colts early, and I was still very impressed with Johnny Unitas, who just passed away recently. I thought he was one of the best quarterbacks at the time when I was very young, he was in his prime.
The story of Tom Landry’s contract extension following the 1963 season has become part of the Dallas Cowboys’ folklore. Dallas had suffered through a 4-10 performance that season, which was one game worse than the season before. The Cowboys responded by tying him up with an 11-year contract that was unheard of– then or any other time. The contract ran through the 1975 season, and did it get results?
Record: 113-52-3 (67.3% winning percentage)
Winning Seasons: 11 in 12 years
Playoff Appearances: 9 in 12 years
NFL/NFC Championship Game Appearances: 7 in 12 years
Super Bowl Appearances: 3
Super Bowl Championships: 1
I’d say so.
By Gart Cartwright, Dallas Morning News
February 6, 1964
Rumor mongers were half right: the Dallas Cowboys won’t renew coach Tom Landry’s contract in 1965.
In fact, the subject won’t even come up until 1976 because Landry signed a new pact Wednesday in the office of multi-millionaire owner Clint Murchison Jr. and entwined his future with the Cowboys for at least then next 11 years.
The new contract, probably the longest in National Football League history and certainly one of the longest and most attractive in any sport, is for 10 years. Landry still has one year to go on his original 5-year contract.
In a brief, happy announcement, Murchison said, “Tom has been with us for four years and this will round it out to an even 15. This is in line with my philosophy that once you get a good man, hold on to him.”
As is customary after a poor season (The Cowboys won four, lost 10) stories circulated freely that Landry would be drawing unemployment checks unless he produced solidly next fall. These rumors not only collapsed with a monumental rattle but Murchison told reporters that he tried to offer Landry a new 10-year contract a year ago.
Landry refused. He said Wednesday, “Even though I had great confidence in the future of the Cowboys I felt we first had to get over the building program. I refused for the benefit of both myself and the club.”
Obviously everyone associated with the club viewed the new contract as an overture to future greatness despite the young club’s dismal four year record of 13-38-3.
But as Landry pointed out, only one other club in NFL history (Minnesota) has started from absolute zero, and even the Vikings got to participate in a draft before their first season.
When Landry originally signed with the Cowboys after a brilliant career as an assistant with the New York Giants, he spoke of a 5-year plan.
Wednesday, he said, “Even a coach taking over a lower established club needs five years to turnover what you don’t like, and another three to perfect what you have and get to a point where you can win the close ones.”
Unless you were, say, running a university’s faculty senate meeting for three hours or working on a consulting project until the wee hours of the morning, you know that Brett Favre has retired. It is pretty rare that a team has such great success beating up a future hall-of-famer whenever said hall-of-famer comes to town.
Favre visited Texas Stadium nine times, including a trip to Irving during the 2007 season. He never won. Three of those games during the 1990s were playoff games, and Dallas won the Super Bowl after winning two of those three.
1993: Dallas 36, Green Bay 14.
1993 (Playoffs): Dallas 27, Green Bay 17
1994: Dallas 42, Green Bay 31
1994 (Playoffs): Dallas 35, Green Bay 9
1995: Dallas 34, Green Bay 24
1995 (NFC Championship Game): Dallas 38, Green Bay 27
1996: Dallas 21, Green Bay 6
1999: Dallas 27, Green Bay 13
2007: Dallas 37, Green Bay 27
When the Cowboys played the Packers last November, I put together a video clip of highlights from the 1995 NFC title game. Below is that clip as it appears on YouTube. Note that around 3:15 of the clip, Favre is picked off by defensive tackle Leon Lett. Great play.
I’ve never been a big Brett Favre fan, but he deserves the accolades he’s getting. He isn’t the type of player that the NFL is going to replace, so farewell.
While we wait on free agent signings, here is a good clip focusing on those players in the Ring of Honor:
Here are 10 trivia questions focusing on the Dallas Cowboys of the 1960s.
Here is the last of the 1967 Dallas Cowboys highlight film, focusing this time on the two playoff games. Most of it shows highlights from the Cowboys 52-14 win over Cleveland in the divisional playoff round. The game the followed, of course, was the Ice Bowl.
For previous highlight clips, see:
The big news of the week is that the Cowboys have resigned Flozell Adams to a six-year contract, meaning that Dallas will have both security on the left side of the line along with periodic false starts.
Adams was one of the best draft picks (if not the best) for the Cowboys during the last half of the 1990s. And you know your trivia if you can answer this: what three positions did Adams play that season? Keep reading…
Here is the Dallas Morning News blurb on Adams when he was selected in the second round of the 1998 draft:
* Position: Offensive tackle
* Height: 6-7 * Weight: 335
* Age: 22 * School: Michigan State
* Drafted: No. 2 (38th overall)
* Notable: Has a slight hearing impairment in his right ear, which scouts say may hurt his ability to play left tackle . . . Apparently dropped to the second round because of lingering concerns about a severe ankle sprain suffered in the pre-season . . . Three-year starter and first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection as a senior . . . Named Big Ten offensive lineman of the year by the league’s coaches . . . Shifted to left tackle as a senior and recorded 91 knockdowns blocks while the Spartans averaged 199.5 yards per game rushing . . . Had 14 knockdown blocks against Notre Dame last season in a 23-7 Michigan State victory that saw the Spartans run for 222 yards . . . Second-team All-Big Ten as a junior and sophomore at right tackle . . . Voted the team’s most improved player as a sophomore along with wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, now of the Carolina Panthers . . . Recently timed at 5.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds 28 times . . . Cousin of Seattle SuperSonics guard Hersey Hawkins . . . Criminal justice major born in Chicago.
. . .
Where will he play?
Coach Chan Gailey said his goal is to get the Cowboys’ five best offensive linemen on the field.
If second-round pick Flozell Adams is one of them, then so be it.
Adams, who played tackle at Michigan State, said he can learn to play guard if he has to. Two seasons ago, Baltimore put tackle Jonathan Ogden at guard for a season until he moved to left tackle.
“I think we’re wrong if we don’t consider everything,” Gailey said. “We have to put the best players on the field.”
Moving Around During His Rookie Season
As you can see from the video below, Adams lined up at tight end for his first NFL play on September 6, 1998. About a month later, Adams was called upon to fill in for Everett McIver at right guard, a position you can see him play on the same clip. In addition, Adams played a little bit at right tackle in 1998, filling in for an injured Erik Williams.
Here is a short article on Adams that appeared after his first start at right guard on October 11, 1998 against Carolina in a 27-20 Dallas win.
Flozell Adams made his regular-season NFL debut at right guard Sunday afternoon in the Cowboys’ 27-20 victory.
But he did not want to discuss it too much.
He uttered the usual phrases about the game being a learning experience and trying to improve, before quickly leaving the locker room.
His teammates were a lot more vocal.
Right tackle Erik Williams said Adams is only going to get better, bad news for opposing defenses. Dallas rolled up 428 yards of offense with two 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard running back against Carolina.
“Flozell is going to be a great one,” Williams said. “He showed a lot of poise out there, and he’s far more advanced than most rookies.
“He should have been a first-round pick, probably in the Top 10, but those rumors started that he couldn’t hear out of one of his ears. I’m glad we’ve got him.”
Center Clay Shiver said aside from a couple of communication miscues, he and Adams worked well together.
“He stepped in and did a tremendous job,” Shiver said.
Adams, a second-round pick from Michigan State, is replacing Everett McIver, who sprained his knee last week and is expected to miss 5-7 weeks.
Adams, 6-7 and 335 pounds, is a tackle who showed he could play guard during training camp, when McIver sustained a deep cut to his neck during a dormitory incident.
Adams started two pre-season games and played well, which helped make Gailey’s decision about whether to start Adams or Mike Kiselak pretty easy.
“My initial impression is that Flozell played a good game,” offensive line coach Hudson Houck said. “He didn’t have any false starts or holding penalties, and I didn’t notice any mental errors. I’m not surprised, I thought he’d play well.”
Adams was simply one member of a unit that played one of its best games of the season.
The offensive line gave quarterback Jason Garrett time to throw and Emmitt Smith room to run. Smith and receiver Michael Irvin each had 100-yard games for the second time this season and the 19th time in their careers.
Dallas is undefeated when that happens.
“I think we’re feeling pretty good about what the offensive line is doing so far,” Houck said. “The important thing is that we’re getting better every week.”
The biggest improvement from last season has been in the Cowboys’ pass protection and run blocking.
Dallas has allowed only seven sacks this season, and Sunday’s performance marked the fourth time this season the Cowboys have rushed for more than 150 yards.
Last season, it happened twice.
“I don’t want to hear all this stuff about how great the line is,” Williams said. “Last year, you guys said we were fat, out-of-shape and couldn’t block our way out of a wet paper bag.
“One game doesn’t make a great line. It takes time and preparation for that to happen. I see our line getting back to the way we were in 1992 and 1993, but we aren’t there yet.”