Zach Thomas: The Newest Star

Linebacker Zack Thomas is back in Texas after he was released by the Miami Dolphins on Valentines Day. Zach was just one of the many released by Bill Parcells as he makes massive changes in the sunshine state. The Dolphins drafted Thomas in 1996 in the 5th round. The 7 time Pro Bowler had been a work horse in their defense for 12 years. He has recorded over 1,800 tackles in his career.
 
Thomas is 1 of 3 players to record 100 or more tackles in each of his first ten seasons in the NFL. Thomas is currently ranking 4th all time in tackles behind Randy Gradishar, Jesse Tuggle and Junior Seau. He has more tackles than any linebacker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
For those who are thinking about his age, I started looking into what he did the last couple of years. In September Oliver Hoyte, who was let go to make room on the roster, coincidentally gave Thomas a concussion which led him to miss most of the season because of migraines and concussions. Playing only five games he was able to rack up 52 total tackles. In 2006 his total tackles were consistent with years past with 165. Through the years his stats have remained the same.
 
Born a Texan, Zach played his college career at Texas Tech where he was a three year starter as linebacker. Thomas has won numerous awards during both his college and professional career.
 
After receiving contract offers from New Orleans and New England he made the decision to move home to Texas and become a Dallas Cowboy.

 

 

Charles Haley: Five Ring Champion

After the Steelers had won their fourth Superbowl title in 1980, they came up with a slogan to describe their hopes for the following season.  The slogan was, “One for the thumb in 81” meaning that many of the players had earned four Superbowl Rings in the past decade and were planning on getting a fifth one for the following season.  Unfortunately for the Steelers, none of those players ever achieved the goal of a fifth ring as a player.

Thus far, the only man in NFL history to earn five Superbowl rings as a player is Charles Haley. Haley earned two of those rings with the San Francisco 49ers and then three more while playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

Haley played outside linebacker for the 49ers from 1986-1991 and helped them earn two championships in Superbowl XXIII  (1988) and Superbowl XXIV (1989). After several  well-publicized confrontations with his 49er teammates and the coaching staff, Haley was traded to Dallas during the 1992 off-season.

Although Haley gained a reputation as a disgruntled and malcontent player during his first years with San Francisco, he found a home in Dallas. From 1992-1996 Haley filled the position of defensive end for the Cowboys and was an integral part of their success and Superbowl Dynasty of the 90s.  During this era, as you know, the Cowboys won Superbowls XXVII (1992), XXVIII (1993) and XXX (1995). 

In 1996, Haley made the decision to retire after suffering a herniated disc five games into the season. In 1998, Haley came out of retirement to aid his old team, the 49ers in post-season play.  The following year, 1999, he returned and played a full season with the 49ers before finally retiring for good.

Haley’s accomplishments during his 12 year career are quite impressive. He had 100.5 sacks, 485 tackles with 13 assists, 26 forced fumbles, and 1 safety.  He had 2 interceptions and 8 fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Haley was named to 5 Pro Bowls (88, 90, 91, 94, and 95) and was named an NFL All-Pro in 1990 and 1994. In addition, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

The late Bill Walsh called Haley "one of the greatest players of our era." At one point, he was considered the best pass rusher in all of football.” Former Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman, said, “In my opinion, we would not have experienced the run of success we enjoyed here if it were not for Charles Haley’s contributions.”

Many people, myself included, believe Haley’s personal accomplishments have earned him a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame, but unfortunately, he has not been able to make the list of 15 finalists in his first few years of eligibility. Hopefully, the NFL will rectify this situation in the near future. Until then, Charles, we Cowboy fans offer up our gratitude and recognize your contributions to America’s Team. Thanks.

Please feel free to visit me at my site:  www.myspace.com/dallas_cowboys_nfl

 

 

Danny White: Underrated Star in the Cowboy Galaxy

Danny White came to the Cowboys in 1976 as a backup quarterback to Roger Staubach and to do duty as the Cowboys punter.  He had spent the previous two years (1974-1975) in the World Football League with the Memphis Southmen.  Danny remained at the backup quarterback position through the 1979 season when Staubach retired, giving White his opportunity to lead the offense starting in 1980.

White led the Cowboys to three consecutive NFC Championship games (1980-1982) and made the Pro Bowl in 1982.  The Cowboys lost all three championship games despite being favored and White was severely criticized for his role in those losses. In 1983 Danny had his best season ever statistically, leading the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and another playoff appearance.  Despite the 12-4 record, the Cowboys finished 2nd to the Redskins in the NFC East and then lost the Wildcard Playoff game to the L.A. Rams bringing about further calls for White to be replaced.

In 1984, Danny lost the starting QB spot to Gary Hogeboom, but Hogeboom’s ineffectiveness led Landry to place White back in the starting position and the team finished 9-7 missing the playoffs.  In 1985, White led the Cowboys back to the playoffs after finishing first in the NFC East, but once again, they were defeated in the post season by the L.A. Rams. In 1986, the Cowboys found themselves with a 6-2 record, tied for the lead in the NFC East and ranked as the #1 offense in the NFL. Then White suffered a broken wrist against the Giants which ended his season. Steve Pelluer took over as QB and the Cowboys finished with a 7-9 record and their first losing season since 1964. In 1987, White again returned as the starter but was eventually replaced by Steve Pelluer and the Cowboys finished with a 7-8 record (one game was canceled). In 1988, Pelluer became the starter during training camp and White remained as backup for the entire season while the team finished with a dismal 3-13 record. In 1989, with the Cowboys under  a new owner and coach, White’s contract was not renewed and he decided to retire.

At the end of his career, Danny had racked up 1,761 completions on 2,950 attempts for 21,959 yards.  He passed for 155 touchdowns and 132 interceptions. In the area of rushing, he gained 482 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. Another interesting stat about Danny is the fact that he had two pass receptions for touchdowns which resulted from half-back option passes.  As punter, Danny punted 610 times for 24,509 yards, had an average of 40.4 yards per punt. 144 punts were inside the 20 yard line and he had 77 touchbacks. His record as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback was 62-32 during the regular season and 5-5 during the playoffs.

After his retirement as a player, Danny White has continued to be successful as a head coach in the Arena Football League, winning two Arena Bowl Championships in 1994 and 1997.

The late Tom Landry, said this of Danny White:  "I don’t know of any quarterback who could have replaced a Roger Staubach and done a better job…Not many people realize what a fine quarterback Danny White was.  He threw more touchdown passes than either Staubach or Meredith.  And in 1983 he had the best statistical year a Cowboys’ quarterback ever had when he set club season records for 3,980 passing yards and twenty-nine touchdown passes.  Danny White was probably as fine a winner as we have had in football."

Here are some team records Danny set during his career:
• Most four-or-more TD-pass games in a career (8)
• Most Pass Attempts in a season (533)
• Completions in a season (334) (Broken by Romo with 335 in 2007)
• Touchdowns (29) in a season (Broken by Romo with 35 TDs in 2007)
• Passing yards (3,980) in a season (Broken by Romo with 4,211 yds in 2007)
• Best Single Game Pass Percentage (21-24, 87.5%)
• Most pass attempts (53) and completions (32) in a playoff game
• Most punts (11) in a game and a career (612)

Statistically, Danny White stacks up very well against other quarterbacks with the Cowboys and other football organizations. He broke many of Staubach’s individual records and Aikman was unable to top White in many areas during his stellar career. Now, under Romo, more of White’s records are starting to fall. Personally, I believe Danny has never received the praise he deserved as a quarterback largely due to the fact that he never led the Boys to a Superbowl title. If the Cowboys had earned at least one Superbowl Championship under Danny, would we see him differently today? Replacing Staubach might have been a no-win situation for any quarterback.  Could he have been one of the “Great Ones” if he had been placed with a better supporting cast?  I’m not sure if he could have been but I do know this:  Danny was a very good quarterback, one who wore the Star well, and one who deserves far more accolades than he gets among fans today.

For more information on Danny and what he’s doing today, visit his personal site at http://www.dannywhite.com/ or go to www.utahblaze.com to check out his team site.