One Cowboy who is always near and dear to my heart is wide receiver Drew Pearson who is best known as the player who caught the famous “Hail Mary” pass thrown by the great Roger Staubach.
Drew Pearson, or “Mr. Clutch” as he was commonly called, didn’t start his career out as wide receiver, and in fact he replaced Hall of Famer, Joe Theismann, at quarterback, when he began his football career at South River High School.
Soon after, he attended the University of Tulsa and graduated in 1972, but not before winning the university’s President Award given each year to their best athlete.
Unfortunately, Drew was not selected in the NFL draft, mostly because he was a wide receiver in a run based offense while in college. However, that did not stop the Cowboys from signing Pearson as a free agent in 1973. They didn’t know it at the time, but Pearson would blossom into one of the greatest wide receivers ever to play the game.
Drew got his nickname because of his many game-winning catches and his ability to make a clutch play whenever his team needed one. Legendary Cowboys head coach, Tom Landry, had this to say after the famous “Hail Mary” game,
“It was amazing, unbelievable. I can’t believe the ball stuck on Drew’s hip like that. It was a thousand-to-one shot, but I tell you, I’ll take it. The game was out of my hands.”
Drew Pearson helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowl appearances and a victory in Super Bowl XII in 1978. He was named All-Pro 3 times and made Pro Bowl appearances in 1974, 1976 and 1977. He led the NFC in pass receptions in 1976 with 58.
Pearson was also a great leader and served as a captain for the Cowboys for four years.
He ended his marvelous career with 489 receptions and 7,822 receiving yards, and 50 touchdowns, and was recently named to the NFL’s 1970′s All-Decade Team by Sports Illustrated.
Since his retirement in 1983, Drew has gone on to become a sports broadcaster for CBS and HBO; and he also hosted the Dallas Cowboys post-game show.
He will always be remembered as one of the greatest receivers ever to wear the Dallas Cowboys uniform, but unfortunately his story is not one with a happy ending.
Despite all of Pearson’s amazing accomplishments and a wonderful and storied career as a Dallas Cowboy, he has yet to be inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor because of a dispute with team owner Jerry Jones.
It was Drew Pearson who originally gave fame and notoriety to uniform number 88. Later on, a kid by the name of Michael Irvin chose that number to honor him and added even more magic and mystique to the number 88. Irvin’s name is deservedly enshrined in the Ring of Honor, while Drew Pearson simply watches and waits.
Regardless of what Jones’ off the field differences are with Pearson, his refusal to acknowledge and honor one of the greatest players ever to wear the Cowboys uniform is both petty and sad.
Luckily, die-hard Cowboys fans across the country, already regard Mr. Clutch as one of the all time Dallas Cowboys, it’s too bad the Dallas Cowboys don’t see it that way.