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Dallas Cowboys: Highest Ranked Players of All Time

Larry Allen is among the Top 50 offensive players of all time. http://giphy.com/gifs/xVrNaYcxv9NYI

Larry Allen is among the Top 50 offensive players of all time. http://giphy.com/gifs/xVrNaYcxv9NYI

Pro-Football-Reference.com has engaged in a project for some time now that allows users to vote on the all-time rankings of every NFL player. The project is known as Elo Rater.

Cowboys’ fans will not be happy to see the current rankings, as no Dallas player appears on the top 10 list for offense and only one player appears in the top 10 on defense.

Before I point out some B.S., here are the Cowboys rated in the top 50 for offense and defense:

Offense

17. Roger Staubach
26. Larry Allen

(I am not counting Lance Alworth, though he was a member of the Cowboys towards the end of his career. He ranks 10th.)

Defense

9. Bob Lilly
49. Deion Sanders

(Similarly, I am not counting Forrest Gregg as a Cowboy.)

Now for the criticism.

How many real experts would place Len Dawson in the top 20 offensive players of all time? Yes, he is a Hall-of-Fame player, but #15 overall?

Jim Brown ranks at #3. Gale Sayers is #5. Walter Payton is #6. Barry Sanders is #9. Emmitt Smith, who outrushed all of them? He ranks #130 behind the likes of Chuck Muncie, Calvin Hill, Bob Vogel, James Brooks, Jim Hart, and Jim Langer.

Sure.

I am somewhat less critical of the defensive rankings, though I would rank Darren Woodson higher than #245 overall.

Cowboys on Pro-Football-Reference’s All-Decade Teams

Pro-Football-Reference has created its own version of All-Decade teams using its formula for calculating approximate value. This is an effort to provide an objective measurement of each player’s value, so it is (or should be) less subjective than other similar lists.

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The Cowboys are not especially well-represented. For instance, only two Cowboys made the list for the All-1970s team even though the Cowboys went to five Super Bowls during the decade.

I have compiled the list below that identifies the Cowboy players who made each all-decade team. I only included players who actually played for the Cowboys during the respective decade. Thus, I included Mike Ditka for the 1960s team because he played for Dallas in 1969. However, I excluded Herb Adderley, who made the 1960s team but did not play for Dallas until 1970.

Key: Position, 1st or 2nd Team: Name, Years Played for Dallas During the Respective Decade

1960s

RB, 2nd Team: Don Perkins, 1961-1968

WR, 2nd Team: Tommy McDonald, 1964

TE, 1st Team: Mike Ditka, 1969

DT, 2nd Team: Bob Lilly, 1961-1969

LB, 2nd Team: Chuck Howley, 1961-1969

CB, 2nd Team: Cornell Green, 1962-1969

1970s

QB, 1st Team: Roger Staubach, 1970-1979

S, 2nd Team: Cliff Harris, 1970-1979

1980s

RB, 2nd Team: Tony Dorsett, 1980-1987

DE, 1st Team: Too Tall Jones, 1980-1989

DT, 1st Team: Randy White, 1980-1988

1990s

RB, 1st Team: Emmitt Smith, 1990-1999

WR, 1st Team: Michael Irvin, 1990-1999

C, 2nd Team: Mark Stepnoski, 1990-1994, 1999

PR, 1st Team: Deion Sanders, 1995-1999

2000s

WR, 2nd Team: Terrell Owens, 2006-2008

G, 2nd Team: Larry Allen, 2000-2005

DT, 2nd Team: La’Roi Glover, 2002-2005

LB, 2nd Team: DeMarcus Ware, 2005-2009

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A Look Back (1973): Cowboys Thump Saints on Monday Night Football

Archie Manning visited Texas Stadium on a Monday night in 1973.

Archie Manning visited Texas Stadium on a Monday night in 1973.

The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints have faced one another 24 times since 1967. The Cowboys won the first five games between 1967 and 1969, but most of those games were relatively close.

In 1971, Dallas faced New Orleans in October at time when Tom Landry was still alternating between Roger Staubach and Craig Morton. The result was a disaster for the Cowboys—a 24-14 loss that dropped the team’s record to 3-2. The Cowboys needed to forget that game and the six turnovers the team committed.

Of course, the Cowboys returned to New Orleans the following January and won Super Bowl VI.

Two years later, the Saints visited Dallas on a Monday night in September. It was the second appearance for New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

The Saints probably wanted to forget that one. The Cowboys scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and turned a 12-3 game into a 40-3 rout. New Orleans quarterback Archie Manning only managed 97 passing yards, and the team fumbled six times (though only lost one of those fumbles).

Robert Newhouse scored two touchdowns for the Cowboys, while Calvin Hill led the overall rushing attack with 71 yards.

Some interesting side notes:

* The headline for the Dallas Morning News on the morning after the game (September 25, 1973): “Nixon Moves to Kill Panel Bid for Tapes.” This was during a time when Richard Nixon was still refusing to release tapes that may have recorded conversations regarding Watergate. Judge John Sirica eventually issued a subpoena for those tapes. Want more? See Wikipedia.

* The Cowboys beat the Bears, Saints, and Cardinals to start the 1973 season at 3-0. However, Dallas stumbled and lost three of its next four.

* In 1971, Manning scored on a two-yard run to put the game away in a 24-14 win over Dallas. However, Manning never beat the Cowboys again, losing in 1973, 1978, and 1982 (the latter as a member of the Houston Oilers).

* Archie’s sons have fared a bit better than his 1-3 mark vs. Dallas. Peyton has a 2-2 record against Dallas, while Eli has a 10-7 mark.

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Rest in Peace, Jerry Tubbs

There was sad news today as former linebacker and assistant coach Jerry Tubbs died at the age of 77.

He played during a time before many of us were around to watch the Cowboys. He was, though, associated with the team for just as long as Tex Schramm and Tom Landry, and more should be familiar with who he was.

He was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cardinals in 1957 but did little to stand out during his first three years in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers left him unprotected in the 1960 expansion draft, and the Dallas Cowboys acquired him.

Tubbs played middle linebacker in Tom Landry‘s 4-3 defense. Anyone who has heard of Sam Huff knows the importance of the MLB in this system.

He was part of the first core group of players for the Cowboys. In 1962, he earned a berth in the Pro Bowl along side Bob Lilly and Don Bishop. That marked the first year that a defensive player for Dallas made the Pro Bowl.

He remained a starter until 1966, when Lee Roy Jordan moved over to the middle. Tubbs suffered a back injury in 1966 and played in only four games.

Tubbs joined the Dallas coaching staff in 1968 and remained as an assistant until the end of the Tom Landry era in 1989.

He was survived by his wife, Marlene.

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Several Former Cowboys Noted as Hall of Famers in a Different Color

Bob Hayes played in four games with the 49ers in 1975.

Several members of the Hall of Fame have joined the Cowboys after having successful careers elsewhere. Conversely, some members of the Cowboys have left Dallas to play for other teams.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame ran a list of players who changed teams late in their careers. Several Cowboys appear, including:

  • Herb Adderley, who left Green Bay to play his final three seasons with Dallas.
  • Forrest Gregg, who played briefly in Dallas after a long career with the Packers.
  • Lance Alworth, who played in Dallas for two years.
  • Mike Ditka, who caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl VI.
  • Tony Dorsett, who played in Denver after a great career in Dallas.
  • Bob Hayes, who played in four games with San Francisco.

Anyone notice that a certain player is missing from this list? A certain running back? A certain running back who set the NFL rushing mark for a career? A certain running back who ended his career in Arizona?

Kind of an oversight, I’d say.

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Is Charles Haley a Cowboy or a 49er?

Hall of famers as a general matter are associated with a single franchise, even when they have bounced around the league.

The Hall of Fame’s Board of Selectors will decide tomorrow whether former Dallas coach Bill Parcells and former defensive end Charles Haley will make the Hall of Fame.

Should Parcells make it, Giants fans will celebrate more loudly than Dallas fans. He spent 11 years with the Giants, winning 7 7 of 127 regular-season games and two Super Bowl titles. With the Cowboys, he was barely over .500 with a 34-30 record and no playoff wins.

Haley’s situation is different. By the time he arrived in Dallas in 1992, he had been selected to the Pro Bowl three times and named All Pro once. He also owned two Super Bowl rings.

With Dallas, he was very important in the team’s three Super Bowl titles between 1992 and 1995. After playing only five games in 1996, he retired. However, when he returned to the league in 1998, he rejoined the 49ers.

Hall of famers as a general matter are associated with a single franchise, even when they have bounced around the league.

George Blanda played for four teams over a 26-year career, but most associate him with the Raiders.

Nick Buoniconti played seven seasons in Boston and seven with Miami. Most associate him with the Dolphins rather than the Patriots.

There are plenty of other examples. The point here is that if Haley becomes a member of the Hall, should he be associated with the 49ers or Cowboys?

I would say that he would be more associated with San Francisco, but consider a few things:

San Francisco fans have focused more on Eddie DeBartolo Jr.’s possible selection than Haley’s (see here and here, for example).

Likewise, one of the better 49ers blogs, 49ersnews.com, doesn’t even discuss the possible Hall-of-Fame selections.

This isn’t to say that 49er fans wouldn’t claim Haley as one of their own, but it appears that Dallas fans have focused more on his induction.

What do you think?

Is Charles Haley a Cowboy or a 49er?

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Jason Witten Left Off the All-Any-Era Team

The Dallas Cowboys have a tight end who can block better than many tight ends in NFL history. This same tight end ranks 38th in league history in receptions with 696.

You might also recall that Jason Witten gained 53 yards on a play during which he lost his helmet. Here is that particular play:

Well, neither Witten’s old-school toughness nor his modern-era productivity was enough to put him on ESPN’s All-Any-Era list. Witten didn’t even garner honorable mention, while RB Chris Johnson did. Sorry, but that’s just nonsense.

The Steelers wound up with four players on the 20-man list, including Hines Ward because of his toughness. Please see the video above re: toughness.

Tim Tebow made this list as well. That’s Tim Tebow and his 14 career NFL starts. During this time, he has won eight games while completing 47.3% of his passes.

Wasn’t this list about players who would excel in any era?

Again, this is just nonsense.

* * *

The Cowboys had another player show up on a similar list. Thomas Neumann listed 10 Anti-All-Era Team to coincide with the main ESPN deal.

Coming in at #6 was QB Eddie LeBaron. He was a starter in Washington before joining the expansion Cowboys in 1960.

According to Neumann, LeBaron would not excel in any era because of his height.

At 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, LeBaron defied the odds to reach the NFL. He was tough — a former Marine who served in the Korean War — and went on to play 11 seasons at quarterback with the Redskins and Cowboys and another 11 in the CFL, from 1952 to 1963. He was the Cowboys’ starter in the team’s first two years of existence.

 Unfortunately, in today’s supersized game, LeBaron might find himself stuffed into a locker on a daily basis — by the kicking specialists.

 On the bright side, the pint-sized signal-caller was presumably the inspiration for the Chrysler LeBaron, the epic luxury sedan that seduced America with power and luxury.

By the way, LeBaron only played one year in the CFL (with Calgary in 1954), not 11 as this quote says.

* * *

Oh, there is another one-time Cowboy on Neumann’s list. He ranks Bill and Martin Gramatica at #3. Martin was the Cowboys kicker late in 2006 and was the one who would have kicked the go-ahead field goal against Seattle had Tony Romo been able to get the snap down.

A Look Back (1977): Cowboys Stomp Giants Thanks to Dorsett’s 2 TDs

The New York Giants face rookie running back DeMarco Murray for the first time on Sunday. It would be nice of Murray could have the kind of debut against the Giants that another rookie once had.

In 1977, the Cowboys had drafted Tony Dorsett with the second overall pick. Dorsett had done little in the team’s opening game, but against the Giants, he showed his promise.

Dorsett didn’t start, but it took less than a full half before he would score his first NFL touchdown. He had two by the end of the day, along with a 62 rushing yards. Dallas stomped the Giants, 41-21.

Here are the highlights:

Another Look Back to the Cowboys-Redskins Game in 1991

There have been many memorable games at Washington over the years, but one of the greatest took place in 1991. Dallas had started the 1991 season at 5-2 but had lost three of four games to fall to 6-5. Their twelfth opponent was Washington, which was 11-0 heading into the game.

Few gave Dallas a chance, but the win turned out to be pivotal as the team make a playoff run and eventually became the dynasty of the 1990s.

Here is a video clip of the 1991 game:

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The 2011 Cowboys have a similar record, but Dallas heads to Washington this year with momentum and a two-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Washington is struggling, having lost five straight after starting the season at 3-1.

Here is a preview of the game from CBS Sports.

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And just to round out the videos, here is one about the Dallas-Washington rivalry.

Quiz: Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

With the Cowboys celebrating the induction of Drew Pearson, Larry Allen, and Charles Haley into the Ring of Honor on Sunday, here are 10 questions about members of the Ring of Honor.

Who hold the record for most consecutive games played, with 196?





Which team originally drafted Chuck Howley?





How many 1,000-yard seasons did Drew Pearson have?





What position did Mel Renfro play at Oregon?





This member of the Ring of Honor ranks 7th in team history with 32 interceptions





How many times did Charles Haley make the Pro Bowl as a member of the Cowboys?





Larry Allen made 10 Pro Bowls in 11 seasons. During which season did he fail to make the Pro Bowl?





Larry Allen replaced which player when he started his first NFL game?





Drew Pearson's last 100-yard game came against which team and in which year?





Charles Haley recorded four sacks in a single game only once in his career. Against who did he accomplish this feat, and in which year?