Top 10 Dallas Cowboys of All Time
Here are my top 10 Dallas Cowboys of all time, in no particular order. My list has nothing to do with talent; it’s just about how I felt about these guys. Yes, it’s thick with guys from the sixties & seventies.
1. Don Meredith
Dandy Don, Jeff & Hazel’s baby boy from Mount Vernon, Texas, was always the life of any huddle. I’m sure you have heard him when they had him miked for games, when he would grouse about how the referee was nit-picking, etc. He was just a lot of fun. And who has cared anything about Monday Night Footbal since Don left? I mean, come on! Of course, he never won «the big game,» but we all forgive him that, and we even forgive him his untimely interception against the Packers in the championship game, because that could happen to anyone.
2. George Andrie
My brother and I used to send off to the Dallas Cowboys for their autographs, and sometimes we would go to where certain of the players were signing in order to build up goodwill for the team. We sent for George Andrie’s via the mail. He sent back a photo of himself, all 6-6 to 6-7 of him, as if he were rushing the passer, though without his helmet. Anyhow, the cool thing about it was how he signed: «Best personal regards, George Andrie.» As a kid of eight or nine, I found that an impressive and classy way to sign: «Best personal regards,» indeed; I often close my own letters that way today.
3. Walt Garrison
Rugged Walt Garrison often required nine or more men to finally bring him down. That was the rodeo in him showing through; football was probably child’s play compared to the rodeo circuit. I remember he used to dip and do commercials for Skoal snuff; I was a Copenhagen man myself, and it makes me sick when I think about how much money I threw away on that potentially lethal junk. I can still hear the radio announcers way back then: «The give to Garrison . . .»; then you just knew Walt was about to carry a load of defenders on his back halfway down the field.
4. Tony Liscio
I always admired this tough guy because he came to the team’s rescue, and out of retirement, to fill in for Ralph Neely, who had broken his leg in a dumb motorcycle accident. Tom Landry just called him on the phone, and Tony was there within two days. My kind of team player.
5. Bob Hayes
No one could break up a game like Bob Hayes could, relying purely on speed, which could get him behind all defensive backs. He is one of those players who changed the game, making defensive guys have to respond to Don Meredith’s vertical strikes to him. It was such a beautiful thing to see him running in the open field, the way you might pull over on the side of the road to watch a beautiful horse galloping in some country setting.
6. Lance Alworth
What can you say about «Bambi»? He gave 100% not just on every play, but for every instant of every play. If you don’t believe me, just look him up on YouTube back in his Arkansas days. I got to meet him, shake his hand and get his autographed photo when I was about nine. Who is my favorite football player of all time? An acrobat: Lance Alworth.
7. Dan Reeves
Dan Reeves was fun to watch because he was so versatile. You never knew when he might toss a halfback pass (like the 50-yard touchdown pass to Lance Rentzel in the Ice Bowl), roll out as the holder and pass on a fake field goal. You had to keep a close watch on this guy with the slow southern drawl. Plus he was as steady a back as you could want to have on your offense.
8. Chuck Howley
Please remind me again why this guy isn’t in the Hall of Fame. I remember those classic high-low tackles he & Lee Roy Jordan could stand up any guy with. Was Super Bowl MVP in a losing effort against the Colts.
Did you ever see the footage of John & Buck Buchanan, after an exhibition game? Buck had been vehemently cussing John, alleging John had held him throughout the game, just swearing up & down. John Niland, not backing down from the mountainous Buck, assured him that he doesn’t hold. «We hold,» John said, meaning the Cowboys as a team overall, «but I don’t hold.» Buck seemed to have taken him at his word. Great stuff from this rare bird Niland.
10. Lee Roy Jordan
Just because Lee Roy was always there, always, at middle linebacker, backing the line, always. A real tough guy out of Alabama. Small for a middle linebacker, Lee Roy could really rock a ball carrier. And there he was always, from 1963-1976, in the middle. He was lauded with Pro Bowl honors five times!
Well, those are my top ten Dallas Cowboys. Feel free to leave comments about anyone you think needs to be on this list.
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