55 Lee Roy Jordan – Linebacker – 1963-1976

Lee Roy Jordan began his amazing football career playing linebacker for the University of Alabama from 1960-1962. While he was there he led his team to winning seasons each year, including a perfect season that culminated in a National Championship in his sophomore year. During his senior year, he was a first team All-American and had his most memorable game while playing in the Orange Bowl when he made an amazing 30 tackles against the University of Oklahoma. For all of his stellar achievements, Jordan was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1963, Lee Roy Jordan was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the NFL Draft and was the sixth overall pick. He became one of the key members of the Cowboys’ famed “Doomsday Defense.” He was an excellent defender against the run and the pass, and had great instincts that made him one of the best linebackers of his era. He also had a great nose for the ball and is currently second all-time in fumble recoveries for the Dallas Cowboys.

Late Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, knew he had something special in Lee Roy Jordan who he loved for his tremendous leadership on and off the field, and for his fierce competitiveness.

“He was a great competitor,” Landry once said. “He was not big for a middle linebacker, but because of his competitiveness, he was able to play the game and play it well. His leadership was there and he demanded a lot out of the people around him as he did of himself.”

Jordan played 14 seasons for the Cowboys and during that time, Jordan became a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler while playing in three Super Bowls and five NFC Championship games.
Jordan also holds the Cowboys record for career solo tackles with 743, a record that has now lasted over 35 years. He is also second in career assisted tackles with 493. His combined tackles of 1,236 is still a franchise best!

His leadership and competitiveness was legendary and in 1989 he became the seventh member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

New To The Silver & Blue: Rob Ryan

I have to admit when I found out  Rob Ryan was being considered for the defensive coordinator spot  I was confronted by a flash of  Buddy Ryan coaching our rivals the Eagles and thoughts of him sounding off on Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys. Now it’s funny when we hear sound bites now and again of the argument but back then I was one mad Cowboy Fan.  However that is the past, and we are now moving on to the future.

I didn’t know anything about the Ryan family when I started researching however I learned some very interesting facts.

Rob was born December 13, 1962 in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  He is the son of former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan and his twin brother Rex is the current head coach of the New York Jets.

Rob’s parents Buddy and Doris divorced in 1966 and the boys moved to Canada with their mother. In 1974 they came back to the states to live with their father.  Rob attended high school in Linconchire, Illinois.

Rob attended college at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where our own Kelly Horn graduated, where he played defensive end opposite his brother Rex.

Rob’s resume is a long one. He began his coaching career in 1987.

Here is his coaching resume:

  • 1987 Assistant at Western Kentucky
  • 1988 Ohio State – Linebacker
  • 1989-93  Tennessee State – RB, LB and DL
  • 1994-95  Arizona Cardinals – Defensive Backs
  • 1996     Hutchinson Community College
  • 1997-1999  Oklahoma State – Defensive Coordinator
  • 2000- 03    New England Patriots – Linebacker
  • 2004 – 08   Oakland Raiders – Defensive Coordinator
  • 2009-10  Cleveland Browns – Defensive Coordinator

While that is impressive, I wanted to know how good is he at his job. He was named Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 1997 by the Sporting News for getting  Oklahoma State’s defense ranked among the best in the nation. In 2003 New England’s defense ranked 1st in the NFL in fewest points allowed, along with best scoring defense in 2001.

I was pleased to find out that his players admitted that he is a coach that demands respect but that they loved playing for him. Buddy Ryan said his son gets 100% out of each player.

Rob Ryan has an abundance of experience and unlike his father, his players respect him and he gets the best out of each player. Along with stars like DeMarcus Ware and Jay-Rat, he will also have young talent to work  with. It will be interesting to see if he can turn Mike Jenkins around and what he can turn Bryan McCann into. He has talented veterans to depend on along with the young guns to mold.

I am not a Buddy Ryan fan, but I have to admit his sons seem to have learned something  Buddy himself didn’t – Coaches must  have players respect.

I can’t wait to see what the 2011 season has to offer. With Jason Garrett at the helm and Rob Ryan pumping up the defense we will definitely improve this season. We just need to take it one game at a time.

88 Drew Pearson – Wide Receiver – 1973-1983

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.

New To The Silver & Blue: Bryan McCann

Bryan McCann caught a lot of fans attention during training camp and pre-season this spring only to be claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Ravens on September 5, 2010.  Fortunately for us he was cut by the Ravens after one game.  It didn’t take long for the Cowboys to re-sign him on September 16th. He was signed to the practice squad for a few months and was added to the active roster on November 4th.

It didn’t take long for this undrafted free agent to obtain his first NFL interception, picking off Eli Manning, returning it 101 yards for a touchdown.  That play also added him to the Dallas Cowboys record books for longest interception return once held by Mike Gaechter. McCann was also named Defensive Player of the Week.

The next week against the Detroit Lions he made a play on special teams that proved he is also a smart player that listens and learns from his coaches. McCann knew what he was doing when he picked up the ball from the three yard line and returned it 97 yards for his second NFL touchdown. Coach DeCamillis had preached since spring drills, if a member of the punt team has touched the ball the receiving team can attempt to advance it with no consequence. So even if McCann had fumbled it, the Cowboys still would of had it on the three yard line. This is a rookie we are talking about!  He is talented, smart and studies film over and over. Wow!

So where did this kid come from?

Here is a little background on undrafted free agent Bryan McCann.  He was born on September 29, 1987 in Lawton, Oklahoma. He attended Putman City High School in Oklahoma City, he was rated 20th best player in Oklahoma by Rivals.com and the 25th best player by the Daily Oklahoman. McCann lettered in football, basketball and track.

McCann turned down offers to play for Stanford, Northwestern, Tulsa, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, UAB and Rice. He choose to play for SMU where he played safety, cornerback and returned punts.

I can’t wait to see this young man’s future unfold.  With his work ethic and talent, the sky is the limit. I hope to see him in a Cowboy uniform for along time to come.

Last Chance To Win! America’s Team: The Official History of the Dallas Cowboys

Hey Cowboys fans, we have some exciting news about a fantastic new giveaway here at Lone Star Struck.

The publishers of the new book entitled: America’s Team: the Official History of the Dallas Cowboys, have authorized us to give away five free copies of this handsome new book that covers the first fifty years of our Dallas Cowboys.

To enter our exciting FREE GIVEAWAY, use this contact form and answer the following question correctly. Enter the word “Contest” in the subject box.

Two different quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl MVP with the Dallas Cowboys. Can you name both of them?

On Sunday at midnight we will sort through all the correct responses and then randomly select FIVE LUCKY WINNERS! (Winners will be contacted via the email you provide us.)

 

As you all know, the Cowboys are celebrating their 50th anniversary this season, and Jeff Sullivan has produced a true treasure chest of memories that are sure to revive your spirit and rejuvenate your pride in America’s Team. This beautiful hardcover edition is a must read for any Cowboys fan and it is loaded with stunning vintage photography and a marvelous account of all the highlights and lowlights of the first fifty years of this wonderful franchise.

No stone is left unturned, as the book chronicles the Cowboys from their inaugural 1960 season and then takes us straight through all the glory years as well as the lean years until the journeys ends with today’s team and players. It includes an abundance of great quotes from many of the all-time Dallas legends who Sullivan personally interviewed for this book.

As one of the most storied franchises in professional sports honors their 50 seasons of exciting football this year, Insight Editions will be celebrating as well with the publication of America’s Team: The Official History of the Dallas Cowboys. What makes it the official history? There’s a forward by team President Jerry Jones, unprecedented access to current and former players, historical archives and rarely seen photographs.

America’s Team opens with the inaugural season of 1960 and takes readers on a journey through five Super Bowl titles, 21 division titles, 33 playoff wins and numerous Hall of Fame careers. In the past 50 years, faces have changed, but the tradition has stayed the same—winning. The Cowboys have captivated people worldwide for half a century and given generations of fans a lifetime of memories. America’s Team captures those memories in this one-of-a-kind book.

Here is some additional information from the publisher’s press release:

As one of the most storied franchises in professional sports honors their 50 seasons of exciting football this year, Insight Editions will be celebrating as well with the publication of America’s Team: The Official History of the Dallas Cowboys. What makes it the official history? There’s a forward by team President Jerry Jones, unprecedented access to current and former players, historical archives and rarely seen photographs.

America’s Team opens with the inaugural season of 1960 and takes readers on a journey through five Super Bowl titles, 21 division titles, 33 playoff wins and numerous Hall of Fame careers. In the past 50 years, faces have changed, but the tradition has stayed the same—winning. The Cowboys have captivated people worldwide for half a century and given generations of fans a lifetime of memories. America’s Team captures those memories in this one-of-a-kind book.

It was January 17, 1993, the Cowboys had just knocked off the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game and were one step away from winning the first of three Super Bowls in a span of just four years when Jimmy Johnson coined the phrase  “How ’bout them Cowboys?” America’s Team answers that question with 400 pages of just how a fledgling upstart became an international icon. The book also includes the unveiling of the Dallas Cowboys Golden Anniversary Team, never-before told stories from nearly 100 Cowboy players and personnel, including every living member of the famed Ring of Honor, a bonus chapter devoted to America’s Sweethearts (the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders) and original essays by sports icons such as Pat Summerall, Dan Jenkins and Vern Lundquist.

Register for a chance to win your FREE EDITION of this truly amazing book that should be a part of every Cowboys fan’s library. Use this contact form to answer the question correctly. Enter the word “Contest” in the subject box. 

A Baby Moose Is On The Loose!

When I watch rookie free agent fullback #44 Chris Gronkowski I see a young Moose.

He has his size and build, and he seems to have the same heart and determination that Daryl Johnston had.

Gronkowski seems to be fitting into the offensive unit very nicely. He blocks well and as we saw in his first start against the Chicago Bears he can get open for a touchdown. Actually, that is really amazing – his first NFL start and he gets a touchdown. Not to shabby for a undrafted free agent that had to fight to get onto the 53 man roster.

So how much do the Cowboys love Chris Gronkowski? Well, just before the start of Sunday’s game, the Cowboys released fullback Deon Anderson to make room for tight end Scott Chandler. See ya, Deon…

Rookie Chris Gronkowski in now firmly entrenched into the starting fullback role.

Chris was born in Buffalo, New York December 26, 1986. Chris’s family have football running through their veins. His younger brother Rob and older brother Dan both play tight end for the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos.

Chris played High School football at Williamsville North, where he lettered for three years in football and baseball. Chris then continued playing ball when Maryland recruited him to play fullback, but red-shirted his freshman year. Chris had the eighth highest strength index on the team which was the best among running backs.

In 2007 he transferred to Arizona where he played linebacker. He went back to the starting fullback position in 2008.

Chris did not attend the NFL Scouting Combine in 2010. He declared for the 2010 NFL Draft and was thought to be a high 4th round selection, but instead went undrafted. Chris signed with the Cowboys one day later. He started his first game September 19, 2010 to catch a one yard pass from Tony Romo for his first NFL touchdown.

The Cowboys have always been good at picking up talented undrafted free agents and making them a big part of the team. I think they have found another jewel in Gronkowski.

Chris loves the game of football and gives 110% every play.  So you see… We really do have another Moose!

On a personal thank you all for all the concern over my health issues. I am feeling much better and LSS readers I am back. Hugs to all of you!

Odds of Seeing Dallas at Dallas

With the Super Bowl heading to Dallas this year in the new monument that is Cowboys Stadium, many are wondering if the Dallas Cowboys have the chops and mental muscle to become the third team ever to play an in-stadium Super Bowl.

Forget what you think about it as a football fan, this is about pure odds and the bookies’ angle. What do Vegas and the rest of the sports book world think about the Cowboys’ chances to play the Super Bowl at home?

For this angle, you need to view the sum of the Cowboys’ parts and not the individual pieces. It’s not only about Tony Romo’s grace under fire or lack thereof. Miles Austin’s romp with a Kardashian possibly putting the kibosh on a repeat year doesn’t stand alone. Wade’s leadership ability doesn’t make or break the chances. It’s the entire combination that odds makers are looking at for a Super Bowl prediction in the preseason.

To that end, you have to look at the sum. What do the Cowboys have that other teams in the NFC don’t? For starters, their QB/WR combo stands out as more potent than anything offered in Minnesota with a banged-up Favre or in New Orleans where it’s assumed Brees played over his head.

The running game the Cowboys are brining to the table is also forceful – so much so that other teams around the league are emulating this style. See the Redskins, Eagles, Vikings, Panthers, Jets and Patriots for proof positive.

These offensive factors, merged with a powerful O line, give Dallas the edge in odds makers’ minds for the upcoming season. The Cowboys are the NFC favorites to win to the Super Bowl via Vegas’ lines – +500. Only the Colts at +450 are better in the league, and their AFC presence doesn’t dampen the Boys’ spirits one bit.

To win the NFC Championship, their odds are even better at +350, well above both the Vikings and the Saints.

Defensively, the Cowboys were ranked 9th in the league last year. And with a few holes spotted after their preseason bout with the Chargers, the team needs to tighten up before season’s start. If the odds makers were looking purely at defense, the Cowboys might drop down to casino-like odds and have better luck playing slots online.

Luckily, their problems are only minor. And the fact that their defense is better on paper than anything offered in their division with Washington, Philly and New York, Dallas isn’t in danger of dropping off any time soon.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to drop money on a super bowl winner before the start of the season. But with 20 dollars bringing in 100, a small wager might cover the wings for the Cowboys’ Super Bowl after party.

Congratulations To The Winners Of Our FREE Book Give-Away and Flat Screen TV!

I am so excited today, because I just received a very special email from EMG Promotions!

It is the Official List of all 25 winners of our FREE Dallas Cowboys Book Giveaway and the Grand Prize Winner for the FREE 42″ Flat Screen TV from Tiger Direct!!!

Before I reveal the names of all the LUCKY WINNERS, I have to thank all 7,560 of you who registered to enter this FANTASTIC LONE STAR STRUCK PROMOTION!

To me, you are all winners for being such DIE-HARD DALLAS COWBOYS FANS and great supporters of our site!!!

Tremendous THANKS also go out to the following:

Marinthia Thomas of EMG Promotions for her tremendous help and support in pulling this whole promotion off.

Joe DeCaro of Lone Star Struck who helped run things on our end and ensure that everything went as smoothly as possible.

Tiger Direct for providing the beautiful 42″ Flat Screen TV that went to our Grand Prize Winner.

AND… Sports Illustrated for providing us with 25 free copies of an amazing new book about the team we love so much. Thank You for publishing such a complete and phenomenal keepsake book chronicling fifty glorious years of Dallas Cowboys Football!

And the winners are…

The winners of a FREE edition of “The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football” by Sports Illustrated are:

  1. Ronald St. James – Wells, ME
  2. Robert D. Lopez – Cathedral City, CA
  3. Chris Gonzales – Lubbock, TX
  4. Lisa LoPipero – Kings Park, NY
  5. Meredith Peters – Round Pond, ME
  6. Diane Comby – Philadelphia, MS
  7. Dolores Sweeney – Austin, TX
  8. Veronica Romero – El Paso, TX
  9. Louis Davila – Henderson, NV
  10. Denise Stuyvesant – Corpus Christi, TX
  11. Kimberly Vetrano – Pomona, NY
  12. Joyce Judson – Water Valley, MS
  13. William Adams – Coos Bay, OR
  14. Richard Steele – Clarksburg, WV
  15. Billy Clark – Lawton, OK
  16. Robert Schuerch – Warrenton, NC
  17. Ben Hannah – Knoxville, TN
  18. Kathryn Osborne – Orlando, FL
  19. Darrell Bacon – San Antonio, TX
  20. Denise Harty – Morrisville, PA
  21. Sherry Gary – Auburndale, FL
  22. Jim Forrest – Freeland, MI
  23. Stephen Stevenson – Houston, TX
  24. Walter Starks – Monroe, OH
  25. Rhonda Duff – Pennington, AL

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU!!!

Please send us photos of you and your new books when you recieve them so that we can post them in a future blog here at LSS, Your Ultimate Dallas Cowboys Fan Site!

If you didn’t win a free edition of this “must-have” Dallas Cowboys book, you can click on the link below to purchase your copy for less than $20 from Amazon.com. 

Sports Illustrated The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years of Football

And now for the moment of truth…

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

The winner of a brand new 42″ Flat Screen TV from Tiger Direct is…

Lori Brawley of Fort Lauderdale, Florida!!!

Congratulations Lori!!!

All winners will be contacted by a representative from EMG Promotions, either by phone or email and will have 14 days to respond. If you don’t respond to claim your prize in that time, you will forfeit your prize and another winner will be chosen.

Thanks again to everyone who registered for our promotion. We had a lot of fun with it and we look forward to many more giveaways here at lonestarstruck.com.

Remember to check our site daily for the latest Dallas Cowboys news, blogs, and opinions. And of course LSS is the only Cowboys site for all your FREE Team Graphics, Schedules, Wallpapers, and Merchandise! Like our banner says, we are  Your Ultimate Dallas Cowboys Fan Site!

Q & A with Jaime Aron, Dallas Cowboys: The Complete Illustrated History

Here is a great Q & A with author Jaime Aron of the newest and latest  book celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys: The Complete Illustrated History offers a complete and entertaining history of this iconic franchise’s first 50 years, celebrating the great players, teams, and moments through stories, stats, and almost 200 images.

Author Jaime Aron explores both on-field moments and off-field exploits to provide a thorough discussion of the events from each season that shaped the franchise from its dubious start to its championship rise and all sorts of twists and turns.

Special features include profiles of top players, coaches and front-office leaders, stories behind longtime rivalries and traditions, and closer looks at the greatest games in team history, including each of their Super Bowls.

With a foreword by Cowboys legend Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys: The Complete Illustrated History is the ultimate celebration of the silver and blue for Cowboys fans of all ages.

What did you discover in researching this book that readers will be excited to learn?

There’s a clear pattern to Cowboys history that bodes well these days. Since its inception, this club has gone from struggling to soaring, then back again. This is clearly one of the up cycles, with Tony Romo in position to join Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman as quarterbacks who’ve led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl championship. (Of course, he has to do it twice to truly enter the league.)

What differentiates this book from any other book about the Cowboys?

We break down the first 50 years by quarterback – a short-hand that makes sense in many ways. Think of 1964, realize it was the Don Meredith era and you have a pretty good idea of what happened. Ditto for 1984 and the Danny White years.

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman each wound up with two chapters, which is sort of fitting. But it’s also functional, because their tenures needed to be divvied up. Roger went through the years he and Craig Morton battled for the job, then the glory days once he’d turned the Cowboys into “America’s Team.” Troy had the wild ride from 1-15 to multiple Super Bowl champions, then the years Jerry Jones spent trying to recapture that glory. Tony Romo has clearly earned his own era. But what about those years post-Troy, pre-Tony? Since there was no single player worthy of naming rights, we called it “Eight is Enough,” since that’s how many starters there were.

What is the thing that the media will find most interesting about the book?

I hope reporters will get out of it the same thing as readers: Reminisce about the years you were following the team, and learn about what happened when you weren’t. The extra benefit for reporters is that this book can be a handy reference tool because it brings to life, in pictures and stories, things that the media guide list as names and numbers – from players to games to seasons.

Tell me about the photography in the book.

There are some classic shots you’ve seen before – like Landry being lifted off on his players’ shoulders after winning the Super Bowl, Drew Pearson catching the Hail Mary and Jason Witten running down the field in Philadelphia without a helmet – but only some.

Instead, a variety of archives were searched for other, fresher images that tell the story just as well. Some of my favorites are Jim Brown running away from tacklers in a practically empty Cotton Bowl in 1960, Mel Renfro alone and dejected on the bench still wearing his helmet at the end of Super Bowl V, and Daryl Johnston flipped upside down, but still gripping the ball, during his heyday.

Another favorite is that on the pages featuring each of Dallas’ five Super Bowl wins, there are action shots and either the cover of the game’s program or a copy of the ticket.

What is your personal involvement with the subject?

I grew up a Cowboys fan in Houston, then moved to Dallas to work for The Associated Press in 1992 – just in time to see the Cowboys win the Super Bowl in three of the next four years. I became the AP’s beat writer for the Cowboys in 1999, so I covered every event in the book since then. I’ve gotten to know many of the folks from previous generations along the way, and by having written other Cowboys books, including one on Tom Landry.

What is your favorite part of the book?

I loved reading and writing about Clint Murchison Jr. What a clever, colorful fellow. Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban have nothing on ol’ Clint, mainly because he steered clear of running the team. He left that to Tex and Tom, and felt so strongly about it that he wanted the next owner to do so, as well.

I’ve said before that Murchison belongs in the Ring of Honor strictly for his role as the club’s founder. I think there might be a better chance for it if Jerry realized how much he and Clint are kindred spirits.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the subject or the book?

Something else that fascinated me was the 1971 team.

That was the most important season in franchise history, yet the team has become the most overlooked. It was important because they ended the reputation for “not being able to win the big one,” which quickly morphed this club into becoming “America’s Team.” Because that morphing was so quick, and there was so much success with so many colorful teams and players, the ’71 club was mostly forgotten.

Consider this: They started the year with their reputation as chokers, with Craig Morton as their quarterback and with the Cotton Bowl as their home field. They ended the year as Super Bowl champions, with Roger Staubach as their quarterback and Texas Stadium as their home field.

There is a lot more to the ’71 club and what a turning point that season was, on and off the field – so much that I’ve started writing a book about them that will be released by MVP Books next fall.

To purchase your copy, follow the link below: Dallas Cowboys: The Complete Illustrated History

Book Review – The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football

Last week, I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the soon to be released “Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football” by Sports Illustrated.

Now I’ve read my fair share of books on the Dallas Cowboys over the years, but this is the first one that I immediately cherished as a collectors item. Believe me when I tell you, that once you get this fine book in your hands, you’ll find it very difficult to put down, and I’m not kidding you either.

The book is loaded with some of the most sensational anecdotes and articles about the Cowboys as brought to you be the some of the best sports writers in the country.

The photography is stunning and the book is loaded with a  vast collection of unforgettable shots that capture the entire history of this historic franchise.

Here is some additional information from the publisher:

Sports Illustrated will release ‘The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football’ on August 24th.

The rich heritage of the Cowboys is captured in this extraordinary collection of stories by the finest sports writers in the world, including Peter King, Tim Layden and Dan Jenkins, a spectacular selection of images from the best photo archive in sports, and a mind-boggling array of stats, anecdotes and memorabilia. It is the ultimate celebration of the Dallas Cowboys.

Sports Illustrated The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football gives fans an insider look from Sports Illustrated senior writer, Peter King, whose in depth access to “America’s Team” includes a three-city scouting trip with Jimmy Johnson to a training camp sit down interview with Tony Romo to discuss his personal life in the off-season.

From the teams humble beginnings to emerging in to a franchise for which winning, and winning it all was expected. Eight Super Bowl appearances, five Super Bowl victories and the glory and the glamour that has surrounded this team. Sports Illustrated The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football revisits the names that leap out of NFL history: Dandy Don Meredith, Bullet Bob Hayes, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, the lineage of head coaches is a Who’s Who list – Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Bill Parcells and the Hall of Famers who could fill their own wing – from Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman to Michael Irvin.

As you can see, this is an incredible book that any Cowboys fan would be proud to own.

Hopefully, all of you have already registered for our contest as we are giving away 25 free copies of these stunning hard covered books. You can still register by going here.

Legends of the Star: Everson Walls

He was told he was too slow for the NFL and would not be able to make it. He went undrafted in 1981 coming out of Grambling State University. His dream then became a reality when his hometown team signed him as undrafted free agent. Everson walls went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL and made an immediate impact from the time he stepped onto the field in 1981 for the  Dallas Cowboys.   

Everson Walls was born on December 28, 1959 in Dallas, Texas. He was raised by his mother in north Dallas just two miles from the Cowboys practice facility. Walls attended Lloyd V. Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas. He didn’t start playing football until his senior year and ended up leading the division in interceptions.

After graduating high school in 1977, Everson Walls enrolled at Grambling State University. He was invited to training camp by an assistant football coach and impressed the legendary head coach of Grambling, Eddie Robinson. Walls impressed Robinson so much that he received a full football scholarship and did not disappoint. Some of Walls accomplishments while playing at Grambling were being selected to the Kodak 1AA All-American team, the Black College All-American team and during his senior season he led the nation in interceptions. Walls gives credit to coach Eddie Robinson for helping him mature as a human being.

     In the spring of 1981 Everson Walls attended Cowboys training camp as a free agent. He was signed as a free agent and just like at Grambling State, he did not disappoint. In 1981, Walls led the NFL in interceptions with 11 as well as earning a Pro Bowl invitation as he helped lead the Cowboys to the NFC Championship game against the 49ers. Walls had seven tackles, three deflected passes, one fumble recovery and two interceptions in the game. But even though he a great game for the Cowboys, it would be one play that Walls would have his name attached to for the rest of his career. That play  would be “The Catch” by Dwight Clark as Walls was covering him that has gone down in NFL history. The play also made the cover of Sports Illustrated.   

   

Everson Walls never let the Dwight Clark play affect his play on the field. He went on to lead the NFL in interceptions again with seven in the strike shortened 1982 season, as well as nine in 1985. He also earned three more Pro Bowl honors in 1982, 1983 and 1985. He was named first team All-Pro in 1983 and second team All-Pro in 1982 and 1985. In 1986 Walls was the youngest player named to the Cowboys 25th Anniversary Team and in 1987 was named Cowboys Man of the Year. Walls was part of the Cowboys secondary led by cornerback Dennis Thurman and they became known as Thurman’s Thieves. Others who made up that group were Ron Fellows, Michael Downs, Bill Bates, Ricky Easmon, Victor Scott, and Dextor Clinkscale.

    

After playing for the Cowboys from 1981 to 1989, Walls then signed with the NY Giants in 1990. Playing safety for the first time in his career, Walls led the Giants with six interceptions. The Giants posted a 13-3 record in 1990 and went on to beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Once again Everson Walls would make the cover of Sports Illustrated, but this time as a world champion. 

The Cleveland Browns would be where Everson Walls finished his NFL career. He played for the Browns during the 1992 and 1993 seasons before retiring. With Walls leaving the NFL, he also left behind some records. He is the only player to lead the NFL in interceptions three different times. He also led the Cowboys in interceptions a record five times. He holds the record for Pro Bowl interceptions with four. Walls is 10th all-time on the career interception list with 57. How does Walls match up to other Hall of Fame defensive players when it comes to interceptions?

Mel Renfro, 52

Willie Brown, 54

Darrell Green, 54

Lem Barney, 56

Mel Blount, 57                                                                                  

     Some other honors given to Everson Walls after retiring in 1993 were being named to the All-Time Cowboys Team. Being named to the NFL’s All Decade team for the 1980’s and in 1998 Walls was elected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

As a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Everson Walls became close friends with running back Ron Springs. That friendship grew as both moved on with their NFL careers and onto life after football. In 2006 as Springs was suffering through diabetes and needing a kidney transplant, it was Walls who stepped up and offered one of his kidneys to Springs after finding out he was a match. In March of 2007, the surgery was done successfully giving Springs a new lease on life. Walls wrote a book titled “A Gift for Ron”, which tells of his experiences on and off the field and his decision to help Ron Springs. Walls and Springs have also started a foundation called “Gift For Life Foundation”. The site is to spread awareness about organ donation. You can find more information here. www.giftforlifefoundation.org    

Everson Walls and his wife Shreill Walls have two children and still reside in the Dallas area.

Despite Everson Walls outstanding career which includes multiple honors and records, he still remains on the outside of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Walls was a preliminary nominee for the Class of 2006, but has not reached the list for semi finalists. Is it because of Dwight Clarks catch in the 1981 NFC Championship game that is keeping Everson Walls out of the Hall of Fame? I would hope not because his NFL career speaks for itself. As a fan growing up watching Walls play I would like to think someday soon he will get serious consideration for what he truly deserves, which is a place in Canton, Ohio next to the other greats of the NFL.

Legends of the Star: Danny White

When the subject of the Dallas Cowboys is brought up people either love them or hate them. There is no in between when it comes to the Cowboys. The same can be said about Danny White. I became a fan of the Cowboys in the late 1970s when Roger Staubach’s Hall of Fame career was coming to an end. So growing up a Cowboys fan in the 1980s the quarterback I knew was Danny White and I quickly became a fan of his. I loved the way he played the game and I loved the way he led the Cowboys offense. But there are people who don’t think of Danny White as a great quarterback or even a good quarterback. They simply know him as the player who could not win the big game for the Cowboys and loser of three straight NFC Championship games. Danny White does not get the credit he deserves for his career with the Cowboys for the simple reason that he followed a legend in Staubach. 

Wilford Daniel White was born on February 9, 1952 in Mesa Arizona. He graduated from Mesa Westwood High School and then moved on to Arizona State University where he played quarterback and was also the team’s punter. In 1973 Danny White was an All-American with the Sun Devils. For his college career White threw for 6,717 yards, 64 TDs and 42 INTs. White was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the State of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and the Arizona State University Hall of Fame. In 2000 Danny White was named Arizona Athlete of the Century by the Arizona Republic.

Danny White was drafted by the Cowboys in the third round of the 1974 NFL Draft. White decided to give the World Football League (WFL) a try and played there in 1974 and 1975 for the Memphis Southmen.

In 1976 Danny White joined the Dallas Cowboys. He served primarily as Roger Staubach’s backup and also as the Cowboys punter. He would remain the Cowboys punter through the 1983 season. White was also a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl XII Championship team in 1977. Roger Staubach announced his retirement after the 1979 season and it opened the door for Danny White to become the starter.

  In 1980 Danny White became the starter for the Cowboys and led them to a 12-4 record, but the Cowboys came in second place to the Philadelphia Eagles. White also broke the Cowboys single season touchdown record by throwing 29 touchdown passes in 1980. 

Danny White led the Cowboys to a Wildcard playoff win against the Rams, 34-13. In the second round playoff game in Atlanta, White led a Staubach like comeback and beat the Falcons 30-27. With the Cowboys losing 27-17 with time running out, it was White who led the Cowboys to two touchdowns and won the game. The game was voted one of the top ten Cowboys games of all time by the fans. In the NFC Championship game the Eagles put an end to the Cowboys Super Bowl dreams as they won easily, 20-7. No fault should go to Danny White for the loss to the Eagles. The Eagles defense simply shutdown everything the Cowboys attempted to do on offense. Also, the Cowboys defense gave up 194 rushing yards to Wilbert Montgomery to go along with his 42 yard touchdown run.

                                         

Danny White once again led the Cowboys back to the NFC Championship game in 1981. In one of the most famous Championship games ever played, the Cowboys lost to the 49ers 28-27. Again, no blame should be placed on Danny White as he played an incredible game as he led the Cowboys to a 27-21 lead with a little more than four minutes to play.

In a strike shortened 1982 season White led the Cowboys to a 6-3 record and earned his only Pro Bowl honor. He also led the Cowboys back to the NFC Championship game for the third straight season. This time the Cowboys traveled to Washington where they would once again lose. White would not have the chance to finish the game as Dexter Manley came free through the middle of the line and planted White into the RFK Stadium grass. White suffered a concussion and was lost for the entire second half. The Redskins went on to beat the Cowboys 31-17.

With White being knocked out of the 1982 Championship game, it opened the door for backup quarterback Gary Hogeboom to play. Hogeboom threw two touchdown passes against the Redskins, but it was his second of two interceptions in the fourth quarter that sealed the Cowboys fate. There were stories about how White might be replaced as the starting quarterback by Hogeboom, but White remained the starter for the 1983 season. Danny White led the Cowboys to another 12-4 record in 1983, but lost to the Rams in the Wildcard round at home.

   Tom Landry made the difficult decision in 1984 to replace Danny White as the Cowboys starter and handed the job to Gary Hogeboom. The Cowboys started 4-1, but after ineffective play by Hogeboom, Landry handed the job back to Danny White. The Cowboys missed the playoffs in 1984, but returned in 1985 as Danny White was once again the opening day starter. Once again the Cowboys came up short in the playoffs as they lost to the Rams again.

In 1986 the Cowboys opened the season with a 6-2 record and had the best offense in the NFL with Danny White at quarterback. During an away game against the NY Giants, White was slammed to the ground by Giants linebacker Carl Banks and White broke his throwing wrist. The injury ended White’s season and the Cowboys ended the 1986 season with a 7-9 record, which was their first losing season since 1965.

Danny White would come back from his wrist injury in 1987, but would battle quarterback Steve Pelluer for the starting job throughout the season.  The quarterback battle would continue into the 1988 season. The Cowboys missed the playoffs in both 1987 and 1988. When Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989, the option on Danny White’s contract was not picked up and White decided to retire from the NFL. 

Danny White ended his NFL career with 21,959 yards (3rd on Cowboys all-time list), 155 touchdowns (2nd on Cowboys all-time list) and 132 interceptions (also 2nd on Cowboys all-time list). His punting average with the Cowboys was 40.4 yards per punt. His record as the Cowboys quarterback was 62-32.

Danny White became the head coach of the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena League in 1992. He remained the head coach until 2004. While with the Rattlers he won the league championship twice in 1994 and 1997. He also led the Rattlers to three other championship games in 2002, 2003 and 2004 where he would lose. He was named coach of the year in 1993.

After leaving the Rattlers he became the head coach of the expansion Utah Blaze in 2006. He led the Blaze to the playoffs all three seasons he was with the team. White’s overall Arena League coaching record is 162-93, with a postseason record of 20-13. He was inducted into the Arena League Hall of Fame in 2002.

Danny White and his wife JoLynn have four children. They also have eight grandchildren.

Danny White deserves so much more credit then he gets for his career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a leader for the team and made the team better when he was the starter. Following a legend like Roger Staubach must have been a hard thing for Danny White.  Even coach Tom Landry once said…

“I don’t think anybody could have followed Roger and done as well as Danny”

“Danny is a solid Winner”