Greatest Players by Number

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This series reviews every player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, organized by their jersey numbers.


Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #19

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #19

Eight players have worn #19, including five receivers, two quarterbacks, and a punter.

Lance Alworth, WR, Arkansas, 1971-72

Statistics: Alworth caught 49 passes for 682 yards and four touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Longevity: Alworth played an important role during the Super Bowl championship season of 1971. However, he was at the end of his career when he played two seasons for Dallas. He retired after the 1972 season.

Intangibles: Alworth was one of the greats of the AFL. Dallas acquired him to replace Lance Rentzel (see below), and Alworth served the role well. However, he was nowhere near as productive as he was with the Chargers.

Miles Austin, WR, Monmouth Univ, 2006-present

Statistics: As a kick returner, Austin has averaged 25.8 per return. He has only caught five passes, though.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Dallas signed Austin as a free agent in 2006. He has played two seasons for the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Austin’s big moment came during the 2006 playoffs (while he wore the #14) when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown against the Seahawks. He did not have a bad season in 2007, but he is not a huge weapon.

John Jett, P, East Carolina, 1993-96

Statistics: Jett averaged 41.9 yards per kick during a four-year career with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Jett was yet another specialist that the Cowboys would not pay. He left for Detroit after the 1996 season.

Intangibles: Jett was a dependable kicker during a very successful stretch in team history.

Keyshawn Johnson, WR, USC, 2004-05

Statistics: Johnson caught 141 passes for 1820 yards and 12 touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Johnson was a former Parcells player who rejoined his coach in Dallas in 2004. He played here for two seasons before the Cowboys signed Terrell Owens and released Johnson.

Intangibles: Johnson generally behaved himself with the Cowboys and was a good target for quarterbacks Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe. Owens has outperformed Johnson, though, so the Cowboys’ decision to cut Johnson in favor of Owens has not been a bad one.

Clint Longley, QB, Abilene Christian, 1974-75

Statistics: Longley threw for 311 yards and 3 TDs as a member of the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Longley lasted two seasons with Dallas. He was released after taking a cheap shot at Roger Staubach.

Intangibles:Longley is famous for his Thanksgiving Day heroics against the Redskins in 1974, when he threw two touchdown passes to lead the Cowboys to a win. He is otherwise remembered for punching Staubach.

Jamaica Rector, WR, Northwest Missouri State, 2006

Statistics: Rector returned four kickoffs for the Cowboys in 2006.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Rector saw action in one regular season game with Dallas, the opening day loss to Jacksonville in 2006.

Intangibles: Rector looked like a playmaking receiver in training camp in 2006, but he had little opportunity to show it during the regular season. He spent 2007 with Arizona.

Lance Rentzel, WR, Oklahoma, 1967-70

Statistics: Rentzel caught 183 passes for 3521 yards and 31 touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: He was a two-time all-pro.

Longevity: Rentzel lasted four seasons with the Cowboys. He was released following his arrest for exposing himself to a child.

Intangibles: Rentzel was the third player in team history to gain more than 1000 yards in a season (Frank Clarke and Bob Hayes preceded him). According to the cover of his book When All the Laughter Died in Sorrow, “He was rich, talented, handsome – a star receiver for the Dallas Cowboys married to a beautiful movie star. Then one November morning the world came tumbling down . . . .” He later played for the L.A. Rams.

Kevin Sweeney, QB, Cal. St. Fresno, 1987-88

Statistics: Sweeney threw for 605 yards and 7 TDs in four starts with the Cowboys, including two replacement games in 1987.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Sweeney started two of the three replacement games in 1987 and played for a total of two seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles:Sweeney was the Golden Boy among the replacement players. He was nowhere near as effective when the Cowboys gave him a shot to start in 1988.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #19

  • Lance Rentzel (35%, 74 Votes)
  • Keyshawn Johnson (26%, 56 Votes)
  • Lance Alworth (25%, 54 Votes)
  • Miles Austin (5%, 10 Votes)
  • John Jett (5%, 10 Votes)
  • Clint Longley (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Kevin Sweeney (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Jamaica Rector (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 213

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My Vote: Rentzel

Lance RentzelThis is the second player who is difficult to select due to his criminal record, with Rafael Septien being the first. The only difference for me is that I read Rentzel’s book and have a slightly better understanding of his situation, though as an overprotective father of a six-year-old girl, it still troubles me. As far as the players in this category, Rentzel was the only one to be named an all-pro as a member of the Cowboys, and his overall contribution as a player was greater than the others.

Coming in second on my list: Keyshawn, who performed and behaved much better than I expected, given his problems with his previous teams.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #18

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #18

Seven players have worn #18, including four quarterbacks, a punter, a kicker, and a receiver.

Chris Boniol, K, Louisiana Tech, 1994-96

Statistics: In three seasons with Dallas, Boniol made 87.1% of his field goal attempts, best in team history. In 1995, he made 27 of 28 attempt (96.4%), also a team record.

Accolades: He was an All Pro in 1996.

Longevity: Boniol played three seasons in Dallas but was a victim of the Cowboys’ policy of not paying kickers or punters. He left to play for the Eagles.

Intangibles: Boniol was underappreciated during his relatively short stay in Dallas, even though he was one of the most dependable kickers in team history. He never performed at the same level with Philadelphia or Chicago.

Glenn Carano, QB, UNLV, 1977-83

Statistics: Playing sparingly as a third-stringer for most of his seven seasons in Dallas, Carano threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns during his career.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: A second-round pick in 1977, Carano lasted seven years.

Intangibles: Carano started one game during his career, a 37-13 win over the Baltimore Colts in 1981. Carano was later supplanted by Gary Hogeboom as the second-stringer.

Terrance Copper, WR, East Carolina, 2004-05

Statistics: Copper caught eight passes for 89 yards and one touchdown with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Copper played two seasons with Dallas before being released prior to the 2006 season. New Orleans signed him, and he has since been a solid contributor with the Saints since then.

Intangibles: Copper did not have many opportunities in Dallas and thus did perform at the level he has with the Saints.

Bernie Kosar, QB, Miami (Fla.), 1993

Statistics: In 1993, Kosar threw for 410 yards with three touchdowns. He also came on in relief of Troy Aikman in the NFC Championship Game that season.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Dallas signed Kosar midway through the 1993 season after the Browns had released the veteran quarterback. He saw action in four regular season games that year.

Intangibles: Kosar rather amazingly started a game a week after Dallas signed him. He was not asked to do much that season, but his performance were rather memorable. This is especially true of his play in the NFC title game.

Billy Lothridge, P, Georgia Tech, 1964

Statistics: Lothridge averaged 40.3 yards per punt in 1964.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Lothridge lasted just one year in Dallas. He spent several seasons with Atlanta and also played for Los Angeles and Miami.

Intangibles: Lothridge was a solid punter with the Falcons, but he did little with the Cowboys.

Loren Snyder, QB, Northern Colorado, 1987

Statistics: In two appearances as a replacement player in 1987, Snyder threw for 44 yards.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Snyder was Kevin Sweeney’s backup during the 1987 replacement games. He never otherwise played in the NFL.

Intangibles: He was a replacement player from Northern Colorado. Enough said.

Cliff Stoudt, QB, Youngstown St., 1990-91

Statistics: Stoudt never played while he was on the Cowboys’ roster.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Stoudt was the third-string quarterback in 1990 and 1991. This came at the end of a fairly long career.

Intangibles:Stoudt was at one time the starter in Pittsburgh. He jumped to the USFL before returning to the NFL to play for the Cardinals. By the time he played for Dallas, he did not have much left.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #18

  • Chris Boniol (62%, 92 Votes)
  • Bernie Kosar (26%, 39 Votes)
  • Glenn Carano (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Terrance Copper (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Cliff Stoudt (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Billy Lothridge (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Loren Snyder (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 148

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My Vote: Boniol

Chris BoniolNone of the players on this list were long-time contributors for the Cowboys, but Boniol was the best player of the group. He was nearly automatic in each of the three seasons he was here. Dallas was fortunate to find several quality free agent kickers and punters during the 1990 but were unwilling to pay to keep them. Boniol was the most talented of this group of specialists.

As for the others, Kosar deserves credit for his role during the 1993 season, but he was with the team for such a brief time that he did not have an opportunity to accomplish very much.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #17

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #17

Five players have worn #17, including two receivers and three quarterbacks.

Harold Carmichael, WR, Southern, 1984

Statistics: Carmichael caught 589 passes with the Eagles from 1971 to 1983, but had only one reception in 1984 for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Carmichael was at the end of a long career when he joined Dallas in 1984. He appeared in only two games.

Intangibles: Seeing Carmichael in a Dallas uniform was a bit like seeing Emmitt Smith in a Cardinals’ jersey or Tony Dorsett in a Broncos’ jersey. He just did not belong.

Quincy Carter, QB, Georgia, 2001-03

Statistics: In 31 games for Dallas during a three-year period, Carter threw for 5839 yards with 29 TDs and 36 Ints.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Carter opened his rookie season as the starter but suffered an injury. He eventually started a total of eight games in 2001. He began the 2002 season as the starter, but lost his job to Chad Hutchinson. He regained his starting job yet again in 2003 and led the Cowboys to the playoffs. But he had off-the-field problems that led Dallas to release him during training camp in 2004.

Intangibles: With the hype surrounding Michael Vick, Dallas wanted an athletic quarterback in the 2001 draft. Carter was not a complete bust, but he did not fulfill the expectations that Jerry Jones had of him. He was last seen playing in the Arena Football League’s minor league (afl2).

Jason Garrett, QB, Princeton, 1993-99

Statistics: In seven years with Dallas, Garrett started nine games. He threw for a total of 2042 yards with 11 TDs and only 5 Ints.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Garrett was a backup in Dallas for seven seasons. He played one year for the Giants before ending his career.

Intangibles: Garrett is probably the most well-known third-string quarterback in team history, thanks to his heroics during the 1994 Thanksgiving game against Green Bay. Garrett played sparingly for most of his career but was dependable when needed.

Sam Hurd, WR, N. Illinois, 2006-present

Statistics: In two seasons with Dallas, Hurd has caught 24 passes for 389 yards. His lone career touchdown sealed a Dallas win against the Giants in 2007.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Hurd is in his second season with the Cowboys. He was originally signed as a free agent.

Intangibles: Hurd has stood out as a playmaking receiver during the past two preseasons. He was moved into the third receiver spot in 2007 due to an injury to Terry Glenn. He gets limited opportunities, though, due to the presence of so many other weapons.

Don Meredith, QB, SMU, 1960-68

Statistics: Meredith threw for 17,199 yards with 135 TDs and 111 Ints. in nine seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: He was a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All Pro. He was named to the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1976.

Longevity: Meredith survived the growing pains associated with leading an expansion club during the 1960s. However, the beating he took on the field, and especially the beating he took from the press and the fans, led him to retire prior to the 1969 season.

Intangibles: Meredith was a tough quarterback who led a prolific Dallas passing attack. Fans remember him much more fondly now thanks to his work on Monday Night Football during the 1970s and 1980s, but fans were ruthless towards him during his playing days.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #17

  • Don Meredith (90%, 208 Votes)
  • Jason Garrett (7%, 16 Votes)
  • Sam Hurd (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Quincy Carter (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Harold Carmichael (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 231

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My Vote: Meredith

Don MeredithThere is no question that Meredith is the best of this group, though I suspect that Garrett will get some votes due to name recognition for his coaching. Meredith still ranks in the top five in team history in several passing categories, although is 50.7% career completion percentage stands out as a negative. His best season as far as statistics was his last in 1968, when he threw for 2500 yards and 21 TDs.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #16

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #16

Four members of the Dallas Cowboys have worn #16, including three quarterbacks and one wide receiver.

Damon Hodge, WR, Alabama State, 2000

Statistics: Hodge caught four passes in limited action during his only season with the Cowboys in 2000.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Hodge played in eight games during the 2000 season.

Intangibles: He was one of a number of receivers who saw action in 2000, but he failed to stand out.

Ryan Leaf, QB, Washington State, 2001

Statistics: In three starts during the 2001 season, Leaf threw for 494 yards with 1 TD and 3 Ints.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: By the time Dallas signed Leaf in 2001, he was already infamous as a first-round bust. He only played in four games for the Cowboys.

Intangibles: It is probably better that people forget he played for the Cowboys.

Steve Pelluer, QB, Washington, 1984-88

Statistics: In four seasons with Dallas, Pelluer threw for 6555 yards with 28 TDs and 38 Ints. He had a passer rating of 71.7 with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Pelluer started his career as a third-stringer behind Danny White and Gary Hogeboom. He was forced into the starter role in 1986 when White suffered a season-ending wrist injury. He started four games in 1987 and then became the primary starter in 1988. He moved on to Kansas City in 1989.

Intangibles: Pelluer was a mobile quarterback, but he came along when the Cowboys were in serious decline. He was not as talented as his predecessors at quarterback for the team, and he was beaten up thanks to a shaky line.

Vinny Testaverde, QB, Miami, Fla., 2004

Statistics: Testaverde threw for 3532 yards and 17 TDs in 2004, his only season in Dallas.

Accolades: None with the Cowboys.

Longevity: After starting his career with the Pottsville Maroons in 1927 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987, Testaverde found himself as a member of the Cowboys in 2004. He took over as the starter when Dallas released Quincy Carter but lasted only one season.

Intangibles: Testaverde did not play horribly during the 2004 season, but the team lost a number of close games and was out of the playoff picture much earlier than most expected. Everyone was fully aware that Dallas needed a long-term solution at quarterback and that Vinny wasn’t going to be any part of the solution.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #16

  • Vinny Testaverde (64%, 96 Votes)
  • Steve Pelluer (31%, 47 Votes)
  • Ryan Leaf (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Damon Hodge (2%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 150

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My Vote: Testaverde

Vinny TestaverdeMy children should never hear me repeat the things I said about “Hey Yo’ Yo’ Vinny” (don’t ask) in 2004. But in one season, he managed to win as many games in one season (6, if you give him credit for the Cowboys’ win over Chicago) as Pelluer did in four (6, including one in 1986, two in 1987, and three in 1988). This is a pretty wide-open contest, though.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #15

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #15

Four players have worn #15 for the Dallas Cowboys, including two quarterbacks, a kicker, and wide receiver.

Tom Crowder, WR, Arkansas, 2004

Statistics: Crowder was on the Cowboys’ roster for one game in 2004, which was the season finale vs. the Giants. He never caught a pass.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: One game.

Intangibles: According to Wikipedia, Crowder has played for Team Arkansas in the All American Football League. Quite frankly, I remember the name but very little about him.

Tony Fritsch, K, Vienna, Austria, 1971-73, 1975

Statistics: In parts of four seasons with Dallas, Fritsch made 61.7% of his 107 field goal attempts.

Accolades: Fritsch made the Pro Bowl in 1975.

Longevity: Fritsch replaced Mike Clark for part of the 1971 season and remained with the team until 1973. Efren Herrera replaced Fritsch in 1974, but an injury to Herrera the following year allowed Fritsch to return for one more season with Dallas.

Intangibles: Fritsch was the Cowboys’ first soccer-style kicker. During his first season with Dallas, he was called upon to kick what turned out to be the game-winning field goal against St. Louis. A member of the Cardinals tried to distract Fritsch by yelling at him, prompting Cowboys players to inform the Cardinal that Fritsch could not understand a word he was saying. He became a more accurate kicker in his years with the Oilers later in his career.

Babe Laufenberg, QB, Indiana, 1989-90

Statistics: In two seasons with the Cowboys, Laufenberg completed only 35.8% (24 of 67) of his passes for 279 yards, with one touchdown and six interceptions. His passer rating with Dallas was 16.9.

Accolades: None with Dallas. In fact, I have an well-respected encyclopedia that refers to Laufenberg’s efforts in 1990 as “LAUFable”

Longevity: Laufenberg was the third string quarterback in 1989 and was elevated to second string in 1990 when Dallas traded Steve Walsh.

Intangibles: The Cowboys could have made the playoffs in 1990 had they beaten either the Eagles or the Falcons. An injury to Troy Aikman forced Dallas to play Laufenberg, and the results were disastrous, as the Cowboys lost 17-3 to the Eagles and 26-7 to the Falcons. Laufenberg is well-known for his work as a journalist in the Dallas area, but his efforts as a backup QB were entirely forgettable.

Brad Wright, QB, New Mexico, 1982

Statistics: Wright was a third-string quarterback with Dallas in 1982. He never played a down.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Wright only lasted one season.

Intangibles:I frankly know nothing about Wright, except that the Miami Dolphins originally selected him during the fourth round of the 1981 draft.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #15

  • Tony Fritsch (77%, 118 Votes)
  • Babe Laufenberg (20%, 30 Votes)
  • Tom Crowder (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Brad Wright (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 153

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My Vote: Fritsch

Toni FritschIf you care to vote for Babe Laufenberg because he is more familiar due to his television and radio work, please feel free to do so. Here’s what I remember: if only one backup quarterback has single-handedly kept the Dallas Cowboys from making the playoffs in any given season, that would have to be Babe Laufenberg (although we could make a case for Gary Hogeboom…).

Does Fritsch deserve this? I personally remember him better as a member of the Houston Oilers, but he was noteworthy as the first soccer-style kicker for the Cowboys. Unlike Laufenberg, he also actually won some games for Dallas, which should give him the edge.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #14

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #14

Five players have worn #14, including some well-known quarterbacks.

Note: Although Miles Austin wore #14 during the 2006 season, I have included him as #19 because that is his current number.

Gary Hogeboom, QB, Central Michigan, 1980-85

Statistics: Hogeboom threw for 3,550 yards with 13 TD and 23 Int. in six seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: None with the Cowboys.

Longevity: Hogeboom was a backup for most of his tenure in Dallas. The big exception was during the first part of the 1984 season, when Tom Landry started Hogeboom over Danny White.

Intangibles: Hogeboom very nearly brought the Cowboys back from behind in the 1982 NFC Championship Game, but his short tenure as the starter was a bit of a disaster. The Cowboys started the season 4-3 en route to a 9-7 finish that kept the team out of the playoffs for the first time since 1974. Hogeboom returned to the backup role before moving on to play for Indianapolis and Phoenix later in his career.

Brad Johnson, QB, Florida State, 2007

Statistics: Johnson threw for 79 yards in 2007.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Johnson was signed in 2007 to back up Tony Romo.

Intangibles: Johnson seldom played during the 2007 season, except as a kick holder. He is much better known for his years of service with Minnesota, Washington, and Tampa Bay. With Dallas, he simply has not done much.

Eddie LeBaron, QB, Pacific, 1960-63

Statistics: In four seasons with Dallas, LeBaron threw for 5331 yards and 45 touchdowns.

Accolades: LeBaron was named to the Pro Bowl in 1962, even though he only started five games that year.

Longevity: LeBaron came to the Cowboys after spending seven seasons with Washington. Prior to joining the Dallas franchise, he had planned to retire to practice law. He lasted four seasons, starting at total of 26 games.

Intangibles: LeBaron is also often remembered fondly as the first starting QB in team history, though he suffered a great deal of punishment as the Cowboys tried to put together a team.

Paul McDonald, QB, Southern California, 1986-87

Statistics: McDonald never threw a pass for Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: McDonald came to the Cowboys after spending several seasons with Cleveland. However, he never played a down for the Dallas, serving instead as a backup.

Intangibles: McDonald was better known for taking over Brian Sipe’s job in Cleveland in 1984. The Browns went 5-11 that year, and McDonald lost his job to Bernie Kosar in 1985. McDonald threw for 3,472 yards in 1984 but never attempted another pass as a pro, either with the Browns or with the Cowboys.

Craig Morton, QB, California, 1965-74

Statistics: In ten seasons with Dallas, Morton threw for 10,279 yards and 80 TDs. He started a total of 47 games for Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He was the starter for the Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Longevity: In the modern NFL, a player like Morton would not have stayed with the same club as long as Morton did with the Cowboys. He was drafted in the first round of the 1965 draft but spent four years backing up Don Meredith. Morton became starter in 1969 and led Dallas to an NFC title in 1970. He lost his starting job in 1971 but took over again in 1972 when Roger Staubach became injured during preseason. Two games into the 1974 season, Dallas traded Morton to the Giants.

Intangibles: Most thought that Morton had a better arm than Staubach when the two played together in the early 1970s, though Staubach went on to become a more prolific passer. The Cowboys experienced success with Morton, though the team could not get over the championship hump until Staubach became the full-time starter. Morton played for the Giants and Broncos and even played against the Cowboys in Super Bowl XII.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #14

  • Craig Morton (74%, 150 Votes)
  • Eddie LeBaron (17%, 34 Votes)
  • Brad Johnson (6%, 13 Votes)
  • Gary Hogeboom (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Paul McDonald (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 203

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My Vote: Morton

Craig Morton Although I understand an argument for Eddie LeBaron, Morton played several more seasons with Dallas and accomplished more than LeBaron did. Only three quarterbacks have led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl, and Morton was the first to do so.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #13

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #13

Only two players in team history have worn number 13, including a backup quarterback who later served as a coach and an idiot kicker.

Jerry Rhome, QB, Tulsa, 1965-68

Statistics: In four seasons with Dallas, Rhome threw for a total of 496 and one touchdown.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Rhome was the Cowboys’ third-string quarterback behind Don Meredith and Craig Morton for four years. He later played for Cleveland, Houston, and Los Angeles.

Intangibles: Rhome is better known as a coach than as a player. He was hired by Tom Landry in 1989 before Jerry Jones fired the legendary coach, and Jimmy Johnson kept Rhome on the staff during the 1989 season. He has served as an assistant with nine different franchises.

Mike Vanderjagt, K, West Virginia, 2006

Statistics: Vanderjagt made 13 of 18 field goals in 10 games during the 2006 season.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Vanderjagt was perhaps the least liked kicker in team history and lasted only 10 games in the 2006 season.

Intangibles: Vanderjagt missed much of the 2006 preseason, and when he returned in the final preseason game, he missed two field goals, either of which would have given Dallas a perfect preseason record. He later had a crucial kick blocked at Washington and then missed two field goal attempts against his former team, the Indianapolis Colts. Following that game, during which fans booed the kicker, Dallas released him. We knew him just long enough to spell his name correctly.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #13

  • Jerry Rhome (86%, 122 Votes)
  • Mike Vanderjagt (14%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 142

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My Vote: Rhome

Jerry RhomeTom Landry thought highly enough of Rhome to hire him to coach Troy Aikman, so I think highly enough to say he was better as a member of the Cowboys than Vanderjagt. For an interesting comparison, take a look at their respective websites. Rhome focuses on his coaching and training. Vanderjagt‘s strangely still shows him in a Dallas Cowboys’ uniform.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #12

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #12

Roger Staubach has nearly as much competition for the greatest player to wear #12 as Troy Aikman does with #8.

John Roach, QB, SMU, 1964

Statistics: Roach started four games in 1964. He completed only 47.1 percent of his passes for 349 yards with 1 TD and 6 Ints.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Roach ended his career with the Cowboys after having played several seasons with the Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals and then with Green Bay. He only lasted one year in Dallas.

Intangibles: Roach was brought in to provide a veteran backup for Don Meredith. However, his performance was lackluster, and he was replaced in 1965 by Craig Morton.

Roger Staubach, QB, Navy, 1969-1979

Statistics: In 11 seasons with Dallas, Staubach threw for 22,700 yards and 153 touchdowns. At the time of Staubach’s retirement in 1979, only Otto Graham had a higher career passer rating than Staubach.

Accolades: 6 Pro Bowls, 5-time All-Pro, Ring of Honor, Hall of Fame.

Longevity: After missing five seasons due to commitments to the Navy, Staubach joined the Cowboys in 1969. He spent two seasons as Craig Morton’s backup before taking over the starting job midway through the 1971 season. He remained the starter for the next nine seasons.

Intangibles: Staubach proved he was a winner even as his supporting cast changed throughout the decade of the 1970s. When Dallas won its second Super Bowl title of the decade in 1977, only two starters from the 1971 squad remained– Staubach and tackle Ralph Neely. Few quarterbacks have been so successful while leading a team through a transition period as Staubach during that decade.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #12

  • Roger Staubach (96%, 215 Votes)
  • John Roach (4%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 223

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My Vote: Staubach

Roger StaubachAikman won one more Super Bowl title and surpassed Staubach in most of the major statistical categories. But unlike Aikman, Staubach was always a winner, having never suffered through a losing season as a pro, even with his supporting cast changing around him. And also unlike Aikman, Staubach improved as his career progressed, transitioning from a running quarterback to a prolific passer by his final season as a pro.

Getting back on point: he was better than John Roach.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #11

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Nine players have worn number 11 for the Cowboys, including eight quarterbacks and a kicker/punter.

Jersey #11

Bob Belden, QB, Notre Dame, 1969-70

Note: Belden is misspelled as “Beldon” on the Dallas Cowboys’ website and some other sources.

Statistics: Belden did not play a down in two seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Belden was the backup to Craig Morton and Roger Staubach in 1969 and 1970. He never played for another team.

Intangibles: Belden apparently had some success as a college quarterback at Notre Dame, but he is little more than a footnote in Cowboys’ history.

Drew Bledsoe, QB, Washington State, 2005

Statistics: Bledsoe passed for 4803 yards with a 58.4 percent completion percentage and 30 touchdowns. He went 12-10 as a starter in 22 games.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Bledsoe was part of the How-Do-We-Replace-Troy-Aikman? problem in the 2000s. Once Tony Romo took over as the starting quarterback, Bledsoe never again played a down.

Intangibles: Bledsoe had pretty good stats and was more successful than anyone else after Aikman (notwithstanding the Cowboys’ 10-6 record with Quincy Carter in 2003). However, his complete lack of mobility and his habit of holding onto the ball too long was frustrating to watch. Dallas fans turned on him heading into the 2006 season.

Sonny Gibbs, QB, TCU, 1963

Statistics: Gibbs never played during a regular season game with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Gibbs only lasted one season with the Cowboys as a third-stringer.

Intangibles: He was best known for his height of 6’7″. Otherwise, he did nothing with the Cowboys.

Don Heinrich, QB, Washington, 1960

Statistics: Heinrich threw for 371 yards and 3 TDs in limited action during the Cowboys’ inaugural season in 1960.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Heinrich was a long-time backup with the Giants, but he lasted only one season with Dallas. He played in 1962 with the Oakland Raiders.

Intangibles: Heinrich expected to start for the Cowboys in 1960, but the team signed Eddie LeBaron and played Don Meredith more than expected.

Buddy Humphrey, QB, Baylor, 1961

Statistics: Humphrey completed one pass for 16 yards in 1961.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Humphrey lasted only one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Humphrey was one of several backup quarterbacks in the 1960s who saw little action. He started a few games with the Cardinals and Oilers later in his career.

Mike Quinn, QB, Stephen F. Austin, 1998-99

Statistics: Quinn completed one pass for 10 yards in 1998.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Quinn was a third-stringer in 1998 and 1999 but saw very little action.

Intangibles: Quinn played for the Steelers in 1997 and became one of Chan Gailey’s favorites. Gailey brought Quinn to Dallas, but we saw little from him.

Danny Villanueva, P/K, New Mexico State, 1965-67

Statistics: In three seasons with Dallas, Vallanueva made 53.2% of his field goal attempts and also had a 40.4 yard punting average.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Villanueva lasted three seasons with Dallas, serving as punter and kicker during team’s first appearances in the NFL Championship Game.

Intangibles: Villanueva stands out slightly because he served as both kicker and punter. However, he was not especially talented in either area, at least as far as statistics are concerned. Mike Clark and Ron Widby replaced him at those positions in 1968.

Danny White, QB/P, Arizona State, 1976-1988

Statistics: In 13 seasons, including nine during which he started at least some of the games, White threw for 21959 yards with 155 TDs. His career passer rating of 81.7 is one tenth of a point better than Troy Aikman’s rating of 81.6. Roger Staubach, by comparison, had an 83.4 rating.

Accolades: White was a three-time All-Pro (once as a punter) and made the Pro Bowl once.

Longevity: White lasted 13 total seasons, including four as the team’s punter and backup QB and nine when he was usually the starting quarterback.

Intangibles: White was a very good punter and a great quarterback. As explained below, he should be considered the third greatest QB in team history, ahead of Don Meredith and Tony Romo.

Wade Wilson, QB, East Texas State, 1995-1997

Statistics: In limited action, Wilson threw for 585 yards during three seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Wilson was the team’s primary backup for three seasons, relegating Jason Garrett to third-string status. He played for Dallas very late in his long career.

Intangibles: Wilson is better remembered as a player with the Vikings during the 1980s. He was something of a journeyman during the 1990s, playing with New Orleans, Atlanta, and Oakland, as well as the Cowboys. He is probably better remembered by some fans for being suspended as a coach in 2007 for using performance-enhancing drugs.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #11

  • Danny White (96%, 257 Votes)
  • Drew Bledsoe (3%, 7 Votes)
  • Wade Wilson (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Bob Belden (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Sonny Gibbs (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Buddy Humphrey (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Don Heinrich (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mike Quinn (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Danny Villanueva (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 269

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If you still want to vote, please make a comment below.

My Vote: White

Danny WhiteWhite should be remembered more fondly than he has been. He stepped into a most difficult situation, taking over for Roger Staubach in 1980. The team barely missed a beat by making three consecutive NFC championship games. However, the team’s failure to make and to win a Super Bowl hurt White’s reputation. His career had a number of comparisons with Steve Young’s career before Young finally won a title with the paid-for 1994 49ers. The bottom line is that White was just as successful as Don Meredith and suffered just as much criticism as Dandy Don, except that Meredith is now held in much higher regard than White. At any rate, he is better than anyone else on this list.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: Numbers 1-10

Here is a recap of the leaders of the polls for Greatest Players by Their Jersey Numbers thus far.

Number Name Pos. College Years
1 Mat McBriar (63%) P Hawaii 2004-present
2 Lin Elliott (62%) K Texas Tech 1992-1993
3 Eddie Murray (30%) K Tulane 1993, 1999
4 Mike Saxon (75%) P San Diego St. 1985-1992
5 Clint Stoerner (81%) QB Arkansas 2000-2002
6 Nick Folk (91%) K Arizona 2007-present
7 Steve Beuerlein (67%) QB Notre Dame 1991-1992
8 Troy Aikman (90%) QB UCLA 1989-2000
9 Tony Romo (97%) QB Eastern Ill. 2003-present
10 Ron Widby (77%) P Tennessee 1968-1971