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74 Bob Lilly – Defensive Tackle – 1961-1974

Many great players have worn the Dallas Cowboys uniform with pride and distinction during the teams glorious 50 year history. None however, can lay claim to the ultimate team nickname, “Mr. Cowboy” save one, the great Bob Lilly.

Though there are many current and former Cowboys who deserve their due recognition for helping the Dallas Cowboys become and maintain the title of “America’s Team”, a strong case can be made that if not for Bob Lilly, it may have never happened.

Bob Lilly is considered by most fans to be the best Defensive Tackle in Cowboy history. A fact that cannot be disputed.

That said, it’s only a small part of Lilly’s amazing legacy and the impact he made on a young franchise that would soon become one of the juggernauts of the NFL.

Bob Lilly was born in 1939 and went to Texas Christian University where he became a star defensive end and was named to the All-America team. As part of this honor he received a camera as one of his awards, a gift that would surely impact the rest of his life.

In 1961 Bob was drafted with first overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, thus becoming the first ever draft pick in franchise history. He would not disappoint.

Though he was originally drafted as a defensive end, in his third year with the Cowboys, coach Tom Landry switched his position to defensive tackle where he would become one of the best at his position in the NFL for many years to come.

“The competition is what I love,” Lilly once said. “That makes me a lot more intense. Personalities don’t enter into it at all. My objective is to get the man with the ball. Nobody better get in my way.”

Lilly was a punishing defender and his tough demeanor and sheer determination made him the undisputed leader of the Cowboys’ famous “Doomsday Defense’. Lilly was so unstoppable, that he was regularly double and triple teamed for the majority of his career.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl a then record 11 times between 1962 and 1973, and Lilly was also a seven time first team All Pro selection.

During his long 14 year Hall of Fame career he was as durable as they came missing only one game to a leg injury.

Lilly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and was the first player who spent his entire career with the Cowboys to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the All Century Team and in 1999 was ranked number 10 on the “100 Greatest Football Players” by the Sporting News. Sports Illustrated calls him the greatest Defensive Tackle in NFL history.

In addition to being the Cowboys’ first ever draft pick, when all was said and done, “Mr. Cowboy” would also become the first player ever to be inducted into the “Ring of Honor”. He is the only Dallas Cowboy to wear the #74, and is the only number unofficially retired by the team.

“A man like that comes along once in a lifetime,” late Cowboys head coach Tom Landry once said. “He is something a little bit more than great. Nobody is better than Bob Lilly.”

A true iron man, Lilly is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in consecutive games played at 196, is tied for second with 14 seasons played and second all-time with 194 games started. Lilly led the Cowboys in sacks three consecutive years, beginning with his rookie season. No player ever to wear the Cowboys uniform was more deserving of the name Mr. Cowboy.

Legends of the Star: Mr. Cowboy, Bob Lilly

Many great players have worn the Dallas Cowboys uniform with pride and distinction during the teams glorious 50 year history. None however, can lay claim to the ultimate team nickname, “Mr. Cowboy” save one, the great Bob Lilly.

Though there are many current and former Cowboys who deserve their due recognition for helping the Dallas Cowboys become and maintain the title of “America’s Team”. However, a strong case can be made that if not for Bob Lilly, it may have never happened.

Many of the newer and younger Cowboy fans have all heard of the great  Bob Lilly at one time or another. They may have even heard that he is considered by most to be the best Defensive Tackle in Cowboy history. A fact that cannot be disputed.

That said, it’s only a small part of Lilly’s amazing legacy and the impact he made on a young franchise that would soon become one of the juggernauts of the NFL.

Bob Lilly was born in 1939 and went to Texas Christian University where he became a star defensive end and was named to the All-America team. As part of this honor he received a camera as one of his awards, a gift that would surely impact the rest of his life.

In 1961 Bob was drafted with first overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, thus becoming the first ever draft pick in franchise history. He would not disappoint.

Though he was originally drafted as a defensive end, in his third year with the Cowboys, coach Tom Landry switched his position to defensive tackle where he would become one of the best at his position in the NFL for many years to come.

Lilly was a punishing defender and his tough demeanor and sheer determination made him the undisputed leader of the Cowboys famous “Doomsday Defense’. Lilly was so unstoppable, that he was regularly double and triple teamed for the majority of his career.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl a then record 11 times between 1962 and 1973, and Lilly was also a seven time first team All Pro selection.

During his long 14 year Hall of Fame career he was as durable as they came missing only one game to a leg injury.

Lilly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and was the first player who spent his entire career with the Cowboys to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the All Century Team and in 1999 was ranked number 10 on the “100 Greatest Football Players” by the Sporting News. Sports Illustrated calls him the greatest Defensive Tackle in NFL history.

In addition to being the Cowboys’ first ever draft pick, when all was said and done, “Mr. Cowboy” would also become the first player ever to be inducted into the “Ring of Honor”. He is the only Dallas Cowboy to wear the #74, and is the only number unofficially retired by the team.

Aside from football, Bob Lilly went on to become a noted photographer, a career that stemmed back to the day he began using the camera he won as an All-American. His interests included photographs of magnificent sunsets, majestic mountain ranges and scenic landscapes that captured all the natural beauty of the Midwest. He has launched a successful business where people can buy some of his most famous photographs.

www.boblilly.com

It’s Time For More Ring Of Honor Inductions

It’s been five seasons since a player was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Actually, three players were inducted back in 2005, when Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin were all inducted on the same day. Five years is too long to go without a player being inducted. Especially with a team like the Cowboys that is so deep with great players.

It’s time for the Cowboys to start honoring more players in the new stadium and give them their place in history. I can probably name about 15 to 20 players who deserve to be honored, but there are two that always come to mind first. They were great players for the Cowboys through most of the 1970s and early 1980s. They helped make the Cowboys what they are today. They put their mark on the organization as well as the NFL. They dominated their positions around the same time in their careers and received many of the same honors. Those players are Harvey Martin and Drew Pearson.

Harvey Martin, 1973-1983    

Harvey Martin was drafted by the Cowboys in the third round of the 1973 draft. In his ten seasons with the Cowboys he was elected to four Pro Bowls (1976, ’77, ’78 and ’79), he was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1977 and was also on the NFL 1970s All-Decade team.  In 1977, after helping the Cowboys win their second Super Bowl Championship, Harvey Martin was selected as co-MVP of Super Bowl XII along with Randy White as they dominated the Denver Broncos. Harvey Martin, aka “Too Mean” became one of the most feared defensive linemen in the NFL.  

Martin became part of the Cowboys Doomsday Defense II, along with Randy White and Ed (Too Tall) Jones.  At the beginning of his career he was able to learn from the great Bob Lilly. Martin led the Cowboys in sacks seven times in his career. Although the NFL did not officially start recording sacks until 1982, it was Harvey Martin who collected 23 sacks during the 1977 season in only 14 games. Those 23 sacks would be the all-time record today over Michael Strahan who had 22 ½ in 2001. Martin had 14 sacks in 1978 as he once again helped the Cowboys to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIII. Martin still holds the record for most career sacks for the Cowboys with 114.    

Harvey Martin had his share of problems off the field after his retirement in 1983. Those problems plagued him until the mid 1990s when he was able to turn his life around. Martin gave anti-drug speeches to school children and recovering addicts in hopes that they would listen and not make the same mistakes he made.

Harvey Martin’s life was cut short on December 24, 2001 when he died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 51. By his bedside that day was teammate and good friend Drew Pearson. Martin will most likely never make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is a disgrace in my opinion. Martin belongs in the Cowboys Ring of Honor because of the kind of player he was and what he did for the Cowboys. His name needs to be displayed with the other Cowboys greats and honored for his ten seasons with the Cowboys

Drew Pearson, 1973-1983    

Drew Pearson was signed as a Free Agent by the Cowboys in 1973 and went on to become one of the greatest wide receivers in Dallas Cowboys history.  Pearson became known as “Mr. Clutch” in his career for always making the big reception for the Cowboys. In 1974 he caught the game winning touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Clint Longley on Thanksgiving against the Redskins. In the 1975 playoffs he caught the game winning “Hail Mary” touchdown pass from Roger Staubach against the Vikings. In the 1980 playoffs he caught the game winning touchdown pass from Danny White against the Falcons. Pearson finished his career with 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. He was elected three Pro Bowls (1974, ’76 and ’77). Pearson was also selected to the NFL 1970s All-Decade team. Drew Pearson was a member of three Cowboys Super Bowl teams in 1975, 1977 and 1978.

     Like Harvey Martin, Pearson will most likely never make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Pearson’s numbers compare and even go beyond some of his fellow NFL receivers at the time like Lynn Swann (336 receptions for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns) and John Stallworth (537 receptions for 8,723 yards and 63 touchdowns). Both Swann and Stallworth have been elected into the Hall of Fame.    

Drew Pearson’s career came to an end after the 1983 season when the car he was driving crashed into a truck killing his younger brother. Pearson suffered a lacerated kidney in the accident and had to retire from the NFL. To this day Pearson does not remember anything about the accident.

Harvey Martin and Drew Pearson both belong in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys organization need to do the right thing and place their names in Cowboys stadium for all to see. Although Harvey Martin is no longer with us, I’m sure it will make his family, friends and former teammates proud to see him finally make it. Drew Pearson needs to be honored the same as fellow receivers Bob Hayes and Michael Irvin.

Other Cowboys greats in the Ring of Honor…

Bob Lilly, 1975

Don Meredith, 1976

Don Perkins, 1976

Chuck Howley, 1977

Mel Renfro, 1981

Roger Staubach, 1983

Lee Roy Jordan, 1989

Tom Landry, 1993

Tony Dorsett, 1994

Randy White, 1994

Bob Hayes, 2001

Tex Schramm, 2003

Cliff Harris, 2004

Rayfield Wright, 2004

Troy Aikman, 2005

Emmitt Smith, 2005

Michael Irvin, 2005

Harvey Martin, ??

Drew Pearson, ??

Some pictures provided by the following books, “The Super Bowl” and “Dallas Cowboys, Our Story”

That’s Gold Jerry, Gold!

 

50 Seasons

434 Wins

30 Postseason Appearances

50 Playoff Games

28 Playoff Wins

8 Super Bowl Appearances

5 Super Bowl Titles

16 NFC Championship Game Appearances

8 NFC Championships

21 Eastern Championships

26 Seasons with 10+ Wins

20 Straight Winning Seasons from 1966-85

12 Hall of Fame Players

7 Super Bowl MVPs

This all adds up to one the best, if not the best organization in the NFL.

Roger Staubach’s 50 yd Hail Mary pass to Drew Pearon against the Vikings in ’75

Butch Johnson’s 45 yd TD catch against the Broncos in Super Bowl XII in ’77

Tony Dorsett’s 99 yd TD run against the Vikings in ’82

Clint Longley’s 50 yd Thanksgiving TD pass to Drew Pearson against the Redskins in ’74

Alvin Harper’s 71 yd catch and run against the 49ers in ’92

James Washington’s 46 yd fumble return for a TD against the Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII in ’93

Ken Norton’s stop of the Bills Kenneth Davis at the goal line in Super Bowl XXVII in ’92

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

Bob Lilly’s 29 yd sack of Bob Griese against the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI in ’71

Danny White’s 23 yd TD pass to Drew Pearson against the Falcons in ’80

The stadium with the famous hole in the roof

Emmitt Smith beats the Giants with one arm in ’93

Rodger Staubach’s last regular season TD pass of his career to Tony Hill to beat the Redskins in ’79

Tom Landry’s fedoras

Full of History and Pride

Your Dallas Cowboys!

Happy 50th Anniversary!

Pictures provided by the following books, “The Super Bowl”, “Greatest Team Ever”, “Dallas Cowboys, Our Story”, “The Boys are Back” and “Sports Illustrated” magazine.

So Long and Farewell Texas Stadium

This place has come a long way!!!

From Big Tex to Bob Lilly. From great leaders like Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, “Bullet” Bob Hayes, and the Triplett’s… Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Micheal Irvin. Texas Stadium will always be remembered as not only the stadium with the hole in the roof, but she is a star among stars.

Showcasing some of the most memorable moments in NFL history. From Tony Dorsett’s record breaking 99 yard touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings to Emmitt Smith’s rush into history becoming the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. It is also home to 3 NFC championship game victories, and some of the world’s greatest fans, including the late Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones, the greatest fan ever!

It is home to not only the NFL’s elite, but the world’s most beautiful and entertaining Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders! She even appeared in the intro on the 80’s drama “Dallas”.

And who can forget the memorable performances for the Salvation Army campaign on Thanksgiving day, and the electric performances and appearances by such stars like Michael Jackson, Madonna, the Eagles, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and the Jonas Brothers. Not to mention today’s stars like Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, and Marion Barber. It is also the place where the legendary quarterback Brett Favre never won a game.

There is only one thing left to say about Texas Stadium. “It is home” and will always be home. It’s the signature to stars and a place where lives were changed and legends were made. She will always be missed hosting games to the world’s greatest football team ever – The Dallas Cowboys!

So long and farewell Texas Stadium.

 

Written by Cowboys fan Terry Monroe

Legends of the Star – Larry Allen

Larry Allen first gained national attention when he led little known, Sonoma State to the Senior Bowl in 1992. The two time All-American starred while playing guard, and in two seasons he only allowed one sack. He set ten different team records that still stand today.
 
In 1994, Larry Allen was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft, making him the first NFL player ever to be selected from Sonoma State. He made an immediate impact on the team and was soon considered to be the NFL’s premier offensive lineman. He is widely recognized as the one of the best offensive lineman in NFL history and is certainly the best offensive lineman the Dallas Cowboys have ever had. He was the biggest part of an offensive unit that has posted the four lowest sacks allowed totals in club history with 18 in 1995, 19 in 1996 and 1998, and 20 in 1994.
 
Allen is widely credited for the success of Emmitt Smith with his unparalleled play as his lead blocker, and played a role in eight of his eleven 1,000 yard rushing seasons. Allen, was also able to bench press 700 pounds, and is considered to be the strongest man to ever play professional football.
 
In his 12 year career, Larry Allen was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and is just the third player in NFL history to be selected to the Pro Bowl at more than one offensive line position during his career. Only Bob Lilly had more Pro Bowl selections than Larry Allen. He is the most decorated offensive lineman in Dallas Cowboys history.

 

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Legends of the Star – Bill Bates

Bill Bates started his career while playing as a safety for the University of Tennessee. While he was there he was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference his junior and senior seasons, and developed a reputation as the team’s hardest hitter and quickest tackler.
 
Bill Bates was much smaller than other safeties in the league and for that reason he was not drafted in the NFL Draft. However, the Cowboys were impressed with his sheer determination and heart that he displayed in college and decided to sign him as an undrafted player in 1983. Bill immediately became a visible figure on the field with his ferocious special teams play. It was due to his amazing seaon as a fierce special teams player that the NFL changed the rules and added a spot on the Pro-Bowl team for special teams coverage player. In 1984, he became the first NFL player to be honored.
 
Bill was an inspirational leader both on and off the field, and in 1990 Head Coach Jimmy Johnson named him the Cowboy’s Special Team’s captain. He held that position for the duration of his career with Dallas Cowboys, a career that spanned from 1983-1996.
 
Bill was a big part of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 Super Bowl Champions team, and has been a long time favorite of Cowboys fans. While playing linebacker, his last minute interception at Chicago’s Soldier Field preserved Dallas’ 17 – 13 win in the team’s triumphant return to the playoffs after a six year absence, and will surely go down as one of the big plays in the rebuilding of the Dallas Cowboys.
 
Bill was selected to the All-Madden Team for twelve years in a row, and was named the winner of the Bob Lilly Award four years in a row, from 1990 – 1994. This award is selected by a vote of the fans and annually goes to the Cowboy player who displays leadership and character on and off the field. He is a true Legend of the Star.
 
Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

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