Jay C. Brandriet
It’s an unofficial holiday as pro football starts up tonight.
Most of you hate the Cowboys, and you don’t need to remind me they have been average for 25 years.
A terrific way for me to feel better about that is celebrating their amazing history.
They are not short on great players.
Dallas is about to play their 62nd season.
I’ll attempt to rank the 62 greatest Dallas Cowboys of all time.
It’s a chore to decide who is better at different positions on the field.
It’s impossible to rate guys who played in different eras.
How can I rank those I did not see live, pre 1983?
I’m going to give it my best guess.
I will only factor in the time these guys played with the Cowboys.
#62- DEMARCO MURRAY At his Cowboys best, Murray was the NFC Offensive Player of the Year.
#61- DARYL JOHNSTON The model of a professional battering ram.
#60- BILL BATES He caused the NFL to create a first time roster spot in the Pro Bowl for special teams players.
#59- ROY WILLIAMS “He’s just a biscuit away from being a linebacker.” (Bill Parcells)
#58- CALVIN HILL Grant Hill’s dad could ball!
#57- BILLY JOE DUPREE This 1970’s star would tear apart defenses today.
#56- TERENCE NEWMAN Looked sharp, played sharp.
#55- DEXTER COAKLEY His speed jumped off the television. “Dexter diet Coakley.” (Chris Berman)
#54- JAY RATLIFF I had to go with Jay, over Greg Ellis.
#53- JIM JEFFCOAT He used to terrorize Phil Simms and the Giants.
#52- PAT DONOVAN Drafted as a defensive player. Never missed a game, as an offensive lineman.
#51- FRANK CLARKE The teams first deep threat, Clarke scored 52 times as a Cowboy.
#50- RALPH NEELY When names like Stepnoski, Tuinei, Scott, and several more are left off this list? Offensive line is the Cowboys most decorated position.
#49- TERRELL OWENS Three years, 39 total touchdowns.
#48- LA’ROI GLOVER All Decade defensive lineman, spent four of those years in big D.
#47- LEON LETT The two famous blunders have buried the truth. Leon Lett was awesome.
#46- SEAN LEE Sideline to sideline.
#45- HERSCHEL WALKER A superstar. Best trade ever. Returned to be a special teams stud.
#44- GEORGE ANDRIE Part of the original Doomsday Defense.
#43- DAK PRESCOTT One of the best rookies of all time, is now gunning for greatness.
#42- TONY HILL At the time he retired, Hill’s club ranks did all the talking. He was first in receiving yards, second in touchdowns and receptions.
#41- JAY NOVACEK The first athlete I associated with the words “security blanket.”
#40- JETHRO PUGH Consistent fixture, was a part of 23 playoff contests. The only player on this list with no Pro Bowl or All-Pro selections.
#39- ANDRE GURODE Punishing road grader.
#38- TRAVIS FREDERICK An autoimmune disease disrupted his clear path to Canton, Ohio.
#37- DON PERKINS Six Pro Bowls and 6,000 yards.
#36- FLOZELL ADAMS False starts aside, Adams was an elite Tackle.
#35- CHARLIE WATERS Nobody has more than his 9 post-season picks.
#34- DON MEREDITH NFL Player of the Year in 1966.
#33- EZEKIEL ELLIOTT Number 33, and climbing.
#32- JOHN NILAND First O lineman Dallas ever drafted. Named to six consecutive Pro Bowls.
#31- DANNY WHITE Led Dallas to three straight NFC title games. Danny was also a punter, who has a 73 yard boot to his credit.
#30- ZACK MARTIN Has spent time as the best guard in the game.
#29- DEZ BRYANT Incredible leg strength.
#28- CORNELL GREEN The 28th best player in Cowboys history, was a basketball star at Utah State.
#27- NATE NEWTON Undervalued nickname. “The kitchen.”
#26- EVERSON WALLS Everson was a slick cover guy. Led the league in interceptions three times.
#25- ERIK WILLIAMS Handling Reggie White in an NFC championship game? That’s real good.
#24- DEION SANDERS “Prime” played the equivalent of four seasons in Dallas. It was a rush.
#23- CLIFF HARRIS Led the best safety duo of the 1970’s. Competed in five Super Bowls.
#22- LEE ROY JORDAN “Killer” once picked off the Bengals Ken Anderson three times, in a five minute span.
#21- TONY ROMO His overrated teams, left Romo the most underrated QB of his generation.
#20- CHARLES HALEY Troy Aikman says, “Charles was THE alpha male on those championship rosters.”
#19- ED “TOO TALL” JONES Speaking of 6’9″, the amount of deflected passes were spectacular.
#18- TYRON SMITH Number 18? Tyron does his job that well.
#17- BOB HAYES The world’s fastest man.
#16- HARVEY MARTIN 1977 Defensive Player of the Year.
#15- DREW PEARSON Drew proudly wore the label of being clutch.
#14- RAYFIELD WRIGHT Power and mobility.
#13- DARREN WOODSON What’s forgotten is his dominance on special teams.
#12- CHUCK HOWLEY Super Bowl 5 MVP.
#11- DEMARCUS WARE One of the most exotic defensive talents to ever play the sport.
#10- TONY DORSETT Tony’s vision was crazy. The night he went 99 and a half yards, is the night I fell in love with the star on the helmet.
#9- JASON WITTEN Fans everywhere, respected them some Witten.
#8- MICHAEL IRVIN The charismatic soul of the 1990’s team of the decade.
#7- MEL RENFRO The most unheralded legend to come through this franchise.
#6- TROY AIKMAN I enjoyed hearing Pat Summerall gush over Troy’s accuracy.
#5- RANDY WHITE “His performances range anywhere between spectacular and spectacular.” (Tom Landry)
#4- LARRY ALLEN Number 73 remains the most physically dominant football player I’ve ever seen.
#3- EMMITT SMITH Combining regular season, playoffs, and individual achievement? Smith is the most accomplished back in league history.
#2- BOB LILLY It’s always felt like “Mr. Cowboy” was the key building block to this organization.
#1- ROGER STAUBACH Roger is THE face and most fitting name to represent “America’s Team.”
Jay C. Brandriet