Recently, Tim McMahon of the Dallas Morning News did a “Top 25 Cowboys of the Last 25 Years” blog/story. I would like to modify and otherwise extend that list to the top 50 Cowboy players ever. Please, feel free to advise or submit suggestions as you wish, but here goes my list: (by the way, coaches can be included as well)
50. Robert Newhouse: Who can forget this hole-making fullback with 44″ thighs blocking for the likes of Calvin Hill, Duane Thomas and Tony D.
49. Duane Thomas: He was T. O. before there was a T.O. Refused to talk to the media, moody and one of the most talented backs to play in the silver and blue.
48. Chuck Howley: I remember him as one of the most punishing tacklers to ever play the game and always around the ball.
47. Don Perkins: One of the toughest fullbacks to play the game and one of the earliest prima donas on the team.
46. Herb Adderley: Great coverman as well as kick returner and could stop the run as well. Another HOF’er.
45. Lance Alworth: Bambi was a great receiver and panned in the infamous movie “North Dallas Forty”. Also in the HOF.
44. Craig Morton: Landry’s favorite QB but ultimately replaced by one of the best of all time.
43. Lee Roy Jordan: Perennial pro-bowl LB and man, could he hit. Feared by other teams.
42. Ralph Neely: One of the most underrated OL ever and great at opening holes for his RB’s and protecting Staubach.
41. Walt Garrison: A true cowboy who played for the OSU Cowboys, then his only NFL team, Dallas. Remember his smokeless tobacco commercials?
40. Larry Cole: Another OL as consistent and reliable as an old pair of shoes.
39. Jackie Smith: If for no other reason than the famous dropped TD pass from Staubach in Super Bowl XIII.
38. Mike Ditka: Only played for the Cowboys 4 years, but what can you say, a legend.
37. Rayfield Wright: “Big Cat” was the epitime of an OL and deservedly a HOF’er.
36. Tex Schramm: I know I said coaches included, but let’s face facts, he was the man who invented the term “America’s Team” and made NFL cheerleaders a mainstay. Great public relations man.
35. Tony Dorsett: Holds a record that can only be tied, the 99 yard TD run from scrimmage against the Vikings in ’82 and a great RB.
34. Don Meredith: “Dandy Don” was a great QB and his commentaries with Howard Cosell are priceless.
33. Charlie Waters: Excellent SS and underrated, should be considered for HOF.
32. Mel Renfro: A SS/CB/ST man for all seasons, he could do it all, return KO’s, punts, and interceptions the distance. Another Cowboy HOF’er.
31. Bob Lilly: A tough Texan from Olney, TX, who played 14 years and only missed one game; perennial Pro-Bowler who played in 5 NFC title games and 2 Super Bowls.
30. Randy White: Another DL who played 14 seasons and only missed one game, virtually a toss-up with above player. Played in 5 NFC title games and 3 Super Bowls. Of course both are HOF’ers.
29. Barry Switzer: Although he started out as merely a point in Jerry Jones’ argument with Jimmy Johnson, he did win a Super Bowl as coach of the Cowboys. (the point being anyone could lead the talented team to the super bowl)
28. Jimmy Johnson: He’s got to be at least one better than the above, I mean look at his hair. Really, a great coach and commentator.
27. Clint Murchison, Jr.: Must give props to the man with the vision to start such a dynasty.
26. Ed “Too Tall” Jones: Excellent DE and pass rusher, but be careful asking him for his autograph as I did once in a Dallas bar.
25. Daryl Johnston: The “moose” was a great fullback and has become a great commentator as well.
24. Jim Jeffcoat: A first-round draft pick that actually produced and was a “sack master”.
25. Harvey Martin: Extemely underrated pass rusher and DE for the some great season.
24. Nate Newton: Great OG who went a bit off course after football, but what a personality.
23. Darren Woodson: Not a better S in the league and 5 time Pro-bowler before his back injury.
22. Danny White: A great athlete, who else could fail to convert on third down and still boom a 40+ yard punt. Couldn’t win the NFC title game though.
21. Mark Stepnoski: Probably the best C in football his first 4 years in Dallas, great finesse and agility.
20. Everson Walls: Great CB even though a victim of what I still think was a totally blown play by SF’s Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the ’82 NFC Championship game. Come on, he was trying to throw the ball away under intense pressure.
19. Jay Novacek: One of the most prolific TE’s in history, Aikman’s “right hand man” as they say.
18. Erik Williams: Probably the most dominant OL in NFL history, no one was meaner or had more Pro-Bowl appearances.
17. Larry Allen: Learned all he knew from the above, another complete OL and definite HOF’er.
16. Bill Bates: An inspiration to every walk-on football player with nothing but heart. He was as fearless as he was inspired and a joy to watch. Great nickel-back also.
15. Mark Tuinei: I have to agree with McMahon on this one, but he did have alot of false start penalties. Overall, a good OL though.
14. Jason Garrett: Although only a back-up QB, he never failed to produce when called upon and played some memorable games. Should make a great OC for the Cowboys.
13. Terence Newman: One of the best CB in Cowboy history, had a tough year last year, but I believe a pro-bowler and potential HOF’er in a few years.
12. Jason Witten: Tremendous TE and only needs a few more catches to supersede Novacek as the best TE in Cowboys history.
11. DeMarcus Ware: He may be a relatively new Cowboy, but I predict he will be one of the best defensive playmakers in team history.
10. Greg Ellis: Before he was injured last year, his QB pressure made the Boys one of the best defenses in the league. He’s versatile, tough and highly underrated.
9. Tony Hill: He may not have had HOF numbers, but he made some spectacular catches for the team and was a great receiver.
8. Drew Pearson: Tremendous WR and bound for the HOF, made some of the most amazing catches in history.
7. Dan Reeves: The forgotten Cowboy who became a great head coach. Holds the record for most Super Bowl appeareance as a player or coach with 9.
6. Bob Hayes: Or “Bullett Bob” as he was known. Once regarded as the fastest man on earth and a terrific WR for the Cowboys, and greatly responsible for their first Super Bowl win in ’71. Should be in the HOF.
5. Roger Staubach: Roger “the Dodger” as he was called, one of the best scrambling QB’s to ever play the game and led the Cowboys to 2 Super Bowl victories.
4. Tom Landry: Founding coach of the Boys, led team to 20 consecutive winning seasons, 19 playoff appearances, 13 division titles, 5 Super Bowl appearances and 2 victories. Enough said.
3. Michael Irvin: One of “the Triplets” and also called the “Playmaker”. Naturally, in my final 3. Inducted into the HOF this year.
2. Troy Aikman: The general of the “Triplet” and quite possibly the most accurate passer to ever play QB. Led his team to three Super Bowl wins and MVP of Super Bowl XXVII and now a very successful FOX commentator.
1. Emmit Smith: NFL’s all-time leading rusher, and the only man to ever win a Super Bowl ring, the NFL rushing title and the NFL and Super Bowl MVP awards in the same year. Not to mention that the man can dance.
So there you have it, my top 50 Cowboys of all time. If you feel I’ve left someone out or placed someone in the wrong order, please let me know and I’ll at least consider it. Afterall, it’s all just a matter of opinion. Oh, and before you start mentioning the Charles Haley’s, Deion Sanders, etc., I went “old school” and refused to include in the list what I call “inserts” or players who really played the majority of their careers with other teams. These players may have had short, but productive years with the Cowboys, but I and most other hard-core Cowboys fans don’t really think of them as Dallas Cowboys.