Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #43

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #43

Five players have worn #43, including four defensive backs and a running back.

Greg Briggs, S, Texas Southern, 1995

Statistics: Briggs saw action in 11 games in 1995.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys originally drafted Briggs in 1992, but he struggled with injuries and development for three years. He finally made the squad in 1995 and saw action on special teams. He layer played with the Vikings and Bears.

Cliff Harris, S, Ouachita, 1970-79

Statistics: Harris had 29 career interceptions and 18 fumble recoveries.

Accolades: 6 Pro Bowls and named All-Pro numerous times. He was a member of the All-Decade team of the 1970s and is a member of the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

Longevity: Harris played 10 seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Harris was a free agent pickup out of little Ouachita Baptist College who turned into one of the great players of all time. Known as “Captain Crash,” Harris was a hard-hitter who had more than his share of big plays.

Elvis Patterson, CB, Kansas, 1993

Statistics: Patterson saw action in 11 games in 1993.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played less than one full season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Patterson had a long career prior to coming to Dallas. After serving on special teams in part of the 1993 season, he was released when the Cowboys would not meet his salary demands.

Don Perkins, RB, New Mexico, 1961-68

Statistics: Perkins rushed for 6217 yards and scored 42 touchdowns with the Cowboys. At the time of his retirement, Perkins ranked fifth on the all-time rushing list.

Accolades: He was named All Pro once and was named to six Pro Bowls. He is a member of the Ring of Honor.

Longevity: Perkins played eight seasons in Dallas. An injury kept him out of his rookie season in 1960, and he was only 30 when he retired after the 1968 season.

Intangibles: Perkins had good acceleration, was a good pass receiver out of the backfield, and had great acceleration to make up for average speed. One of his best games came in the 1966 NFL Championship against Green Bay, when Perkins rushed for 108 yards on 17 attempts.

Izell Reese, S, Alabama-Birmingham, 1998-01

Statistics: Reese had seven interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas. The Cowboys resigned him in 2005, but he was released before the season.

Intangibles: Reese was a special teams player and part-time starter during his time in Dallas. He was also a starter with Denver and Buffalo after leaving Dallas.

Poll

Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #43

  • Cliff Harris (78%, 119 Votes)
  • Don Perkins (20%, 30 Votes)
  • Izell Reese (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Elvis Patterson (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Greg Briggs (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 153

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My Vote: Harris

Cliff HarrisThis should be a really close vote. As far as accomplishments, both Harris and Perkins have six Pro Bowl appearances, and both were clearly dominant players during their eras.

During the 1970s, Harris was the best at his position in the NFL, confirmed by the fact that he was named to the All-Decade team. That he is not a member of the Hall of Fame while others such as Dick Anderson (Miami), Ken Houston (Houston and Washington), Larry Wilson (St. Louis), Roger Wehrli (St. Louis), Jimmy Johnson (San Francisco), and Willie Brown (Oakland) are is a complete travesty. Perkins, on the other hand, was not quite as highly regarded compared to his peers in terms of running backs of the 1960s. Taking nothing away from Perkins, this gives Harris a slight edge in our competition.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #42

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #42

Thirteen players have worn #42, including seven running backs and six defensive backs.

Darryl Clack, RB, Arizona State, 1986-89

Statistics: Clack averaged 21.7 yards per kickoff return.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Clack played behind Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker and never really evolved beyond a kickoff return specialist. He had a total of 113 rushing yards in four seasons.

Ricky Easmon, DB, Florida, 1985

Statistics: Easmon started one game with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played half of one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Easmon was released during the 1985 season and later played for Tampa Bay.

Troy Hambrick, RB, Savannah State, 2000-03

Statistics: Hambrink rushed for 1896 yards and 8 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Hambrink will best be remembered as a short-lived replacement for Emmitt Smith. He lacked big-play ability, however, and moved on to Arizona after one season as a starter in Dallas.

Anthony Henry, CB, South Florida, 2005-

Statistics: Henry has recorded 11 interceptions and scored two touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He enters his fourth season in Dallas in 2008.

Intangibles: Henry has shown flashes in Dallas since being signed as a free agent in 2005. However, he has also had injury problems that have slowed him down. His six interceptions in 2007 was nevertheless a career high.

Randy Hughes, S, Oklahoma, 1975-80

Statistics: Hughes recorded 11 interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Hughes played six seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Hughes was part of the Dirty Dozen draft of 1975 and served as a capable backup to Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters. He recorded an interception and recovered two fumbles in Super Bowl XII in perhaps his best performance as a pro. He was the likely replacement for Harris in 1980, but injuries kept him out of action for much of that year, and he retired before the 1981 season.

Don McIlhenny, RB, Southern Methodist, 1960-61

Statistics: McIlhenny rushed for 321 yards and one touchdown with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than two full seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: He was part of the 1960 expansion draft, noteworthy because he was a former SMU star. However, he did not have many chances in Dallas and was traded to the 49ers midway through the 1961 season.

Jim Ridlon, S, Syracuse, 1963-64

Statistics: Ridlon recorded four interceptions for the Cowboys.

Accolades: He was named All-Pro by The Sporting News in 1964.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He came to Dallas in 1963 after six years in San Francisco. His final season as a pro was his best when he picked off four passes and recovered two fumbles.

Stan Smagala, DB, Notre Dame, 1990-91

Statistics: Smagala played in 11 games with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in parts of two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Here’s a funny quote: “Smagala never doubted his ability, despite having the body build that could be confused with your favorite grocery checkout boy.” Not sure what I could add to that.

Chris Warren, RB, Ferrum, 1998-00

Statistics: Warren rushed for 948 yards and scored eight touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played three seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Warren was a former Pro Bowler when he joined the Cowboys in 1998. He rushed for more than 6700 yards in eight years with Seattle and was an adequate backup for the Cowboys. However, he had slowed down considerably by 2000 and was released near the end of the season.

Claxton Welch, RB, Oregon, 1969-71

Statistics: Welch rushed for 85 yards and scored one touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a little-used backup to Walt Garrison in Dallas.

A.D. Whitfield, RB, North Texas, 1965

Statistics: Whitfield had one career rushing attempt with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one year in Dallas.

Intangibles: Whitfield did very little in Dallas but later became the starting fullback in Washington.

Charlie Williams, S, Bowling Green, 1995-00

Statistics: Williams recorded one interception and 84 career tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A former third-round pick, Williams spent his career as a special teams player.

Robert Wilson, FB, Texas A&M, 1994

Statistics: Wilson had one rushing attempt in Dallas for minus-one yards.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in two games with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: The former Texas A&M star was signed to compete as a backup fullback. However, he did very little with the team and was released after seeing action in two games.

Poll

Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #42

  • Anthony Henry (66%, 87 Votes)
  • Randy Hughes (25%, 33 Votes)
  • Darryl Clack (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Charlie Williams (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Troy Hambrick (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Chris Warren (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Jim Ridlon (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Don McIlhenny (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Robert Wilson (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Stan Smagala (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Claxton Welch (0%, 0 Votes)
  • A.D. Whitfield (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ricky Easmon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 131

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My Vote: Henry

Anthony HenryThe players in this list aren’t completely unknown, but most were backups. Hughes could have been very good, but he suffered injuries that kept him from being a long-time starter. Hambrink and Warren were capable backups but little more. And while Ridlon earned All-Pro honors, he does not have a long list of accomplishments in Dallas.

Henry has started more games already than anyone else on this list. He has also accomplished more statistically than any of the other defensive backs, even though he has only played three seasons in Dallas. Tough call, but I’ll give it to Henry.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #41

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #41

Eight players, all defensive backs, have worn #41. And friends, do we ever have a battle between the old and new school fans with this one.

Anthony Coleman, DB, Baylor, 1987

Statistics: He was a replacement player who did not record any meaningful statistics.

Accolades: Replacement player.

Longevity: Replacement player.

Intangibles: Replacement player.

Pat Dennis, CB, Louisiana-Monroe, 2001

Statistics: Dennis had 16 tackles as a Cowboy.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played part of one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys signed Dennis after he was released by Kansas City, which had drafted him in the fifth round in 2000. He did very little in Dallas and ended up moving on following the 2001 season.

Kareem Larrimore, CB, West Texas A&M, 2000-01

Statistics: Larrimore had 17 tackles with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than two full seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles: Larrimore was one of three corners taken in the 2000 draft, and like second-rounder Dwayne Goodrich, Larrimore was a failure. How low did Larrimore end up falling? At one point, he was signed by the Amarillo Dusters of the Intense Football League in 2004.

Warren Livingston, CB, Arizona, 1961-66

Statistics: Livingston had 10 interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a part-time starter with the Cowboys, sharing time with Don Bishop. He was known as a great open field tackler with good speed.

Terence Newman, CB, Kansas State, 2003-

Statistics: Newman has 16 career interceptions.

Accolades: He has been named to one Pro Bowl.

Longevity: He will play his sixth NFL season in 2008.

Intangibles: Newman has developed into an elite cover man. It has been a travesty that he was not selected for the Pro Bowl until 2007, but he continues to improve. Injuries slowed him slightly in 2007, but he showed towards the end of the season how valuable he is.

Dave Thomas, CB, Tennessee, 1993-94

Statistics: Thomas had two tackles and no picks with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Thomas played two seasons in Dallas before being picked up by Jacksonville in the 1994 expansion draft.

Intangibles: Thomas is much better known for his play with the Jaguars and Giants than with Dallas, where he played on special teams.

Charlie Waters, DB, Clemson, 1970-78, 1980-81

Statistics: Waters recorded 41 regular season interceptions. He also started 22 career playoff games, which is tied for the fifth most in NFL history. And his nine career playoff interceptions tied an NFL record that still stands today. He likewise tied an NFL playoff record with three interceptions against the Chicago Bears in 1977.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl three times.

Longevity: He played 11 seasons in the NFL, missing the 1979 season with an injury.

Intangibles: Waters started at corner for the first few years of his career, but when Cornell Green retired before the 1975 season, Waters took over at strong safety. From there, Waters became one of the best safeties in the NFL, teaming up with Cliff Harris to form part of one of the most memorable defensive backfields in team history.

Charles Wright, DB, Tulsa, 1988

Statistics: Wright did not record any stats of interest.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played part of the 1988 season with Dallas.

Intangibles: He saw some special teams action but little more.

Poll

Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #41

  • Charlie Waters (79%, 189 Votes)
  • Terence Newman (20%, 48 Votes)
  • Anthony Coleman (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Warren Livingston (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Charles Wright (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Pat Dennis (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Kareem Larrimore (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dave Thomas (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 240

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My Vote: Waters

Charlie WatersI am certainly taking nothing away from Terence Newman, who has become a great player. And I suspect he may very well receive many votes because he is a current star on the team. But to be quite frank, this one belongs to Waters. He was at his best in the playoffs, where he set the NFL records referred to above. In a 1976 playoff loss to the Rams, Waters recorded two blocked punts and an interception. Two years later against the Rams in the NFC Championship, Waters picked off two passes and recovered a fumble in a 28-0 win. Newman may get opportunities to match these performances, but as of now, Waters simply accomplished more than Newman has.

Oddsmaking in June: NFC East Division and National Football Conference Odds

dallas_logo.gifOne final entry on NFL odds . . .

If 8-to-1 odds for the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl weren’t enough, the odds for the Cowboys to win the NFC are about as good as the odds probably were during the early 1990s. Take a look at these:

Odds to win the NFC, 2008

Dallas Cowboys: 3/1
New York Giants: 5/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/1
Minnesota Vikings: 9/1
New Orleans Saints: 10/1
Seattle Seahawks: 10/1
Green Bay Packers: 15/2
Chicago Bears: 12/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 14/1
Washington Redskins: 14/1
Arizona Cardinals: 16/1
Carolina Panthers: 22/1
Detroit Lions: 22/1
San Francisco 49ers: 22/1
St. Louis Rams: 22/1
Atlanta Falcons: 50/1

As for the NFC East, betting $10 on the Cowboys will yield a return of $9.09, thanks to 10/11 odds that the Cowboys will take the title for a second consecutive year.

Odds to Win the NFC East, 2008

Dallas Cowboys: 10/11
New York Giants: 5/2
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/2
Washington Redskins: 6/1

Last season, the Cowboys were even with the Eagles in terms of odds.

Odds to Win the NFC East, 2007

Dallas Cowboys 7/4
New York Giants 5/2
Philadelphia Eagles 7/4
Washington Redskins 9/2

Oddsmaking in June: Super Bowl Odds

dallas_logo.gifContinuing with a mini-series on NFL odds . . .

The Cowboys are now held in much higher regard than they were a year ago, at least as far as oddsmakers are concerned. At that time, the Cowboys were tied with the eighth-best odds to win Super Bowl XLII at 25-to-1. The Patriots were 2-to-1 favorites, while the Giants weren’t even in the picture.

One year later, the Cowboys are 8-to-1 favorites to win it all in 2009, which is tied for the third best odds according to at least one site. Here’s the list:

New England Patriots: 10/3
Indianapolis Colts: 15/2
Dallas Cowboys: 8/1
San Diego Chargers: 8/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 12/1
New York Giants: 16/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 20/1
Green Bay Packers: 20/1
Minnesota Vikings: 22/1
New Orleans Saints: 22/1
Pittsburgh Steelers: 25/1
Seattle Seahawks: 25/1
Cleveland Browns: 28/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 35/1
Tennessee Titans: 35/1
Washington Redskins: 35/1
Chicago Bears: 40/1
Denver Broncos: 45/1
Arizona Cardinals: 50/1
Baltimore Ravens: 50/1
Carolina Panthers: 50/1
Houston Texans: 60/1
Buffalo Bills: 65/1
St. Louis Rams: 65/1
Detroit Lions: 65/1
New York Jets: 70/1
San Francisco 49ers: 75/1
Kansas City Chiefs: 90/1
Miami Dolphins: 100/1
Oakland Raiders: 100/1
Atlanta Falcons: 150/1

As for last year, here were the odds for the top 11 teams heading into the 2007 season:

New England Patriots 2-1
San Diego Chargers 5-1
Indianapolis Colts 7-1
Chicago Bears 16-1
Philadelphia Eagles 18-1
Seattle Seahawks 18-1
New Orleans Saints 18-1
Cincinnati Bengals 25-1
Denver Broncos 25-1
Carolina Panthers 25-1
Dallas Cowboys 25-1

Oddsmaking in June: Defensive Rookie of the Year

Mike JenkinsI noted yesterday that Felix Jones has the seventh-best odds to win offensive rookie of the year, one of the few opportunities to bet on the NFL this year. The other first-round pick, Mike Jenkins, apparently fares much worse. He is a 50-to-1 longshot to win Defensive Player of the Year.

Chris Long (STL): 7/1
Glenn Dorsey (KC): 7/1
Derrick Harvey (JAX): 8/1
Keith Rivers (CIN): 8/1
Jerod Mayo (NE): 9/1
Sedrick Ellis (NO): 9/1
Vernon Gholston (NYJ): 10/1
Curtis Lofton (ATL): 18/1
Dan Connor (CAR): 18/1
Kentwan Balmer (SF): 20/1
Leodis McKelvin (BUF): 25/1
Jordon Dizon (DET): 25/1
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ARI): 35/1
Lawrence Jackson (SEA): 40/1
Aqib Talib (TB): 45/1
Philip Merling (MIA): 45/1
Quintin Groves (JAX): 45/1
Mike Jenkins (DAL): 50/1
Trevor Laws (PHI): 50/1
Kenny Phillips (NYG): 60/1
Calais Campbell (ARI): 60/1
Tyrell Johnson (MIN): 60/1
Chevis Jackson (ATL): 60/1
Terrence Wheatley (NE): 65/1
Kendall Langford (MIA): 65/1
Brandon Flowers (KC): 70/1
Pat Sims (CIN): 75/1
Tracy Porter (IND): 75/1
Cliff Avril (DET): 75/1
Jason Jones (TEN): 80/1
Andre Fluellen (DET): 80/1
Antoine Cason (SD): 90/1
Charles Godfrey (CAR): 90/1
Tom Zbikowski (BAL): 100/1
Bryan Smith (PHI): 100/1

As far as precedent (i.e., a cornerback with the Dallas Cowboys), Jenkins does not stand a great chance here. Of the previous 41 winners of the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award, 20 players have been linebackers, eight have been defensive ends, six have been cornerbacks, five have been defensive tackles, and two have been safeties. And for a summary of the Cowboys who have won this award: NONE.

The Dallas Cowboy rookie who had the best chance to win this would have been Everson Walls, who recorded 11 interceptions as a rookie in 1981 and was named to the Pro Bowl. The winner that year is still pretty well known: Lawrence Taylor.

Oddsmaking in June: Offensive Rookie of the Year

Felix JonesIf you are the type who love to collect promo codes, June must be your creative time of year. One website right now offers only a handful of betting options, like CompareTheBets’ List of Promo Codes, through these I’ve found these options to be entertaining/interesting in and of themselves.

For Offensive Rookie of the Year, two Cowboys’ rookies made the list. Felix Jones is an 18 to 1 bet, while Tashard Choice is a 90 to 1 bet. Choice actually has the longest odds of the 31 rookies on this list. Here are these odds:

Darren McFadden (OAK): 3/1
Kevin Smith (DET): 6/1
Jonathan Stewart (CAR): 13/2
Matt Forte (CHI): 13/2
Matt Ryan (ATL): 12/1
Rashard Mendenhall (PIT): 12/1
Felix Jones (DAL): 18/1
Ray Rice (BAL): 20/1
James Hardy (BUF): 20/1
Limas Sweed (PIT): 20/1
Joe Flacco (BAL): 25/1
Devin Thomas (WAS): 25/1
Steve Slaton (HOU): 25/1
Chris Johnson (TEN): 30/1
Jamaal Charles (KC): 30/1
Jake Long (MIA): 30/1
DeSean Jackson (PHI): 35/1
Chad Henne (MIA): 35/1
Malcolm Kelly (WAS): 35/1
John Carlson (SEA): 40/1
Eddie Royal (DEN): 40/1
Brian Brohm (GB): 40/1
Dustin Keller (NYJ): 45/1
Mario Manningham (NYG): 45/1
John David Booty (MIN): 50/1
Early Doucet (ARI): 55/1
Earl Bennett (CHI): 55/1
Jacob Hester (SD): 65/1
Jerome Simpson (CIN): 65/1
Donnie Avery (STL): 70/1
Tashard Choice (DAL): 90/1

If you would seriously consider betting on anyone other than a skills player, consider this: of the 41 offensive rookies of the year since the Associated Press first gave the award in 1967, 31 selections were running backs, seven were wide receivers, and three were quarterbacks. Given this, I think I’d take my 90 to 1 chances with Choice before I’d bet anything on Jake Long.

Then again, I don’t bet.

As for Cowboys who have won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, we have three:

1969: Calvin Hill, Running Back
1977: Tony Dorsett, Running Back
1990: Emmitt Smith, Running Back

Recap: Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers, 1-40

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 (62%) P Hawaii 2004-present
2 Lin Elliott (65%) K Texas Tech 1992-1993
3 Billy Cundiff (29%) K Drake 2002-2005
4 Mike Saxon (76%) P San Diego St. 1985-1992
5 Clint Stoerner (80%) QB Arkansas 2000-2002
6 Nick Folk (94%) K Arizona 2007-present
7 Steve Beuerlein (70%) QB Notre Dame 1991-1992
8 Troy Aikman (91%) QB UCLA 1989-2000
9 Tony Romo (98%) QB Eastern Ill. 2003-present
10 Ron Widby (76%) P Tennessee 1968-1971
11 Danny White (96%) QB/P Arizona State 1976-1988
12 Roger Staubach (96%) QB Navy 1969-1979
13 Jerry Rhome (86%) QB Tulsa 1965-1968
14 Craig Morton (74%) QB California 1965-1974
15 Toni Fritsch (77%) K Vienna, Austria 1971-1973, 1975
16 Vinny Testaverde (65%) QB Miami 2004
17 Don Meredith (88%) QB SMU 1960-1968
18 Chris Boniol (65%) K Louisiana Tech 1994-1996
19 Lance Rentzel (37%) WR Oklahoma 1967-1970
20 Mel Renfro (88%) DB Oregon 1964-1977
21 Deion Sanders (96%) DB Florida St. 1995-1999
22 Emmitt Smith (91%) RB Florida 1990-2002
23 Robert Williams (36%) DB Baylor 1987-1993
24 Everson Walls (81%) DB Grambling 1981-1989
25 Pat Watkins (36%) DB Florida St. 2006-present
26 Kevin Smith (31%) DB Texas A&M 1992-1999
27 Ron Fellows (39%) DB Missouri 1981-1986
28 Darren Woodson (100%) DB Arizona St. 1992-2003
29 Kenneth Gant (61%) DB Albany St. 1990-1994
30 Dan Reeves (78%) RB South Carolina 1965-1972
31 Roy Williams (65%) S Oklahoma 2002-present
32 Walt Garrison (64%) RB Oklahoma St. 1966-1974
33 Tony Dorsett (95%) RB Pitt 1977-1987
34 Herschel Walker (56%) RB Georgia 1986-89, 1996-97
35 Calvin Hill (90%) RB Yale 1969-1974
36 Vince Albritton (42%) S Washington 1984-1991
37 James Washington (94%) S UCLA 1990-1994
38 Sam Baker (43%) P/K Oregon St. 1962-1963
39 Lousaka Polite (53%) RB Pitt 2004-2006
40 Bill Bates (99%) S Tennessee 1983-1997

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #40

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #40

Six players have worn #40, including three defensive backs, two running backs, and a receiver.

Bill Bates

Bill Bates, S, Tennessee, 1983-97

Statistics: Bates recorded 667 tackles with the Cowboys, as well as 14 interceptions.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl once.

Longevity: Bates played 15 seasons in the NFL, all with Dallas.

Intangibles: Bates was nothing short of a legend with the Cowboys, excelling beyond his talent level. He was the first special teams player to be named to the Pro Bowl for his work there, as opposed to defense. He later became a starter and remained a key contributor through the 1990s. The “intangibles” category of this survey was designed with Bates in mind.

Bobby Joe Conrad, WR, Texas A&M, 1969

Statistics: Conrad caught four passes for 74 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas, though he ranked seventh all time in receptions when he joined the Cowboys in 1969.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Conrad enjoyed a long career with the Cardinals but saw little action with the Cowboys.

Jim Harris, S, Oklahoma, 1961

Statistics: Harris recorded two interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Harris was the subject of a court battle after the Rams had apparently traded his rights to the Cowboys in 1960, but Harris signed with the Dallas Texans. A court later held in favor of the Cowboys, and he played one season with the team.

Eric Hurt, CB, Cal. State San Jose, 1980

Statistics: Hurt averaged 17.4 yards per return with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season with Dallas.

Intangibles: He suffered through a series of injuries in his only season in the NFL.

Jim Stiger, RB, Washington, 1963-65

Statistics: Stiger rushed for 470 yards and scored two touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Stiger was a part time starter in the early 1960s before being traded to the Rams in 1965.

Les Strayhorn, RB, East Carolina, 1973-74

Statistics: Strayhorn rushed for 128 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A 17th-round pick in 1973, Strayhorn saw limited action and retired after two seasons.

Poll

Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #40

  • Bill Bates (99%, 201 Votes)
  • Bobby Joe Conrad (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Les Strayhorn (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Jim Harris (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Eric Hurt (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jim Stiger (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 203

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My Vote: Bates

There is simply no doubt about this one. Anyone who knows anything about the Dallas Cowboys knows the story of Bill Bates. For the few who don’t, here are a couple of very good clips that feature him:

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #39

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #39

If you thought some of the other numbers were bad, we’ve now reached perhaps the worst jersey number in franchise history. Six players have worn #39, including five running backs and one defensive back.

Derrick Gainer, RB, Florida A&M, 1992-93

Statistics: Gainer gained 29 yards rushing with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played for parts of two seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Gainer’s biggest contribution came in the 1992 playoffs when he scored a touchdown against the Eagles. He was the otherwise used as a special teams player.

E.J. Jones, RB, Kansas, 1987

Statistics: Jones rushed for 7 yards as a replacement player in 1987.

Accolades: Replacement player.

Longevity: Replacement player.

Intangibles: Replacement player.

Ryan Neufeld, FB, UCLA, 1999

Statistics: Neufeld did not record any statistics of note with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He later played for the Jaguars and most recently with the Bills, seeing most of his action with Buffalo.

Lousaka Polite, FB, Pittsburgh, 2004-06

Statistics: Polite caught 12 passes for 97 yards and also rushed for 26 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Polite was a below-average blocking fullback with the Cowboys. He spent last season with Chicago but played very little.

Broderick Sargent, FB, Baylor, 1989

Statistics: Sargent rushed for 87 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He started five games in 1989, but that was his last NFL season. He later played in the Arena Football League.

Donald Smith, S, Liberty, 1991

Statistics: Smith recorded a total of two special teams tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He dressed for three games with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: He was a 10th round pick by Minnesota in 1990 but did very little in the NFL.

Poll

Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #39

  • Lousaka Polite (53%, 35 Votes)
  • Derrick Gainer (39%, 26 Votes)
  • Broderick Sargent (5%, 3 Votes)
  • E.J. Jones (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Donald Smith (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Ryan Neufeld (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 66

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My Vote: Gainer

Derrick GainerGiven that we really don’t have any good choices in this list, I am left with two factors: (1) do I go with a player who is an alumnus of my current employer (see Robert Williams and Thomas Everett; but see Ron Francis)?, or (2) do I go with a player who scored a touchdown in a playoff game, of which I happen to have a copy? For purposes of showing said game clip, I’m going with Gainer.

Sargent deserves consideration because he actually started a few games at fullback. The others were minor role players who accomplished very little with Dallas.