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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”

Who Should Be In the Ring of Honor Next???

I have tried to debate this for awhile now with people that I know, but can’t seem to get anyone to bite back. Maybe now is the time. Who should Jerry Jones put in the Ring of Honor in the new stadium? It has been a long time since the Triplets where inducted into it. I have my opinions, which I don’t think a lot of people will agree on, but it is my opinion. I will throw out a few names for you and see if you agree.

My first choice is Danny White. Yes, I know he never took the team to the Super Bowl but he had some really big shoes to fill with the retiring Roger Staubach. He did take them to some Championship games but never really over the hump. He also played another role in punting for the Cowboys. I think he has been given a bad rap for not getting the boys the Super Bowl. But most people think, Danny will always but the butt of jokes for not being the QB that Roger was.

My second choice is Drew Pearson, the original 88. I kind of forgot about him but the Top Ten Cowboys List on NFL Network reminded me that he isn’t in the Ring of Honor. Who was Roger’s go-to guy? Drew. Who made the most famous Hail Mary catch? Drew. When Roger needed some yardage good ole 88 was there. Shoot, I think he should be in the Hall of Fame. What a great talent he was.

Who would you choose for the Ring of Honor with the current roster? Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware? Who knows. Tony won’t if he doesn’t win it all, just like Danny. That’s why I hear some fans put Tony and Danny in the same sentence. Jason is a solid TE for the Boys. If he keeps playing the way he has it shouldn’t be a debate about that one. And then there is DeMarcus ‘Sack Master’ Ware. Out of the three he should be the next great who is put up around the ring of the stadium.

You could agree or disagree with some of my choices or have some of your own. But in the end we have had some great teams and players throughout the years. Enjoy the memories and the future seasons to come. And last but not least – How ’bout them Cowboys!!

No Country For Old Men…With Bad Knees

I think everyone would agree that getting old sucks. I turned 40 on Monday so I know first-hand the magnitude in which it can suck! But on the bright side, the older you get the more memories you have. I have tons.

For instance, watching The Doomsday Defense dismantle the Denver Broncos and former Cowboy Craig Morton in Super Bowl XII. Then after the game I watched as Harvey Martin crushed an "Orange Crush" pop can during the locker room celebration.

Then there are not so fond memories like Super Bowl XIII against The Steelers. The horrible pass interference call against Benny Barnes when his feet got tangled with Lynn Swann’s which led to a Steelers score. And of course Jackie Smith. The drop. Dallas should have been the first team to win 3 Super Bowls. WE WERE ROBBED!!

Of course there was "The Catch". Montana to Clark in the NFC Championship. Should be called "The Lucky Catch". I also remember "The Fumble" by Danny White, deep in 49er territory on the ensuing drive.

And I could write a 10,000 word essay with one hand tied behind my back about the greatest dynasty in NFL history. Who might that be you ask? The 90’s Cowboys of course. This team could have and SHOULD have won at LEAST 4 in a row.

But this blog isn’t as much about my memories as it is about what it must be like to be an NFL player in the twilight of your career. Specifically Terry Glenn. Glenn’s career has had its ups and downs. He’s only played a full 16 weeks in 3 of the 12 seasons he’s been in the league so far. With 2 of those being for The Cowboys.

I think Glenn is a great player. Very professional. Super hands. Bad wheels. He’s struggled with injuries throughout his career and now time is not on his side. This will be his 13th season if he even plays at all. I personally think he should sign the $500,000 injury settlement. This way everyone is covered. Seriously, Jerry Jones could just cut the guy and he’d get nothing. He can’t pass a freakin physical and Jones is offering him 500 G’s! Not quite as sweet as the deal Glenn got last year. $5 million for 4 plays.

I feel for Terry Glenn. To a point. But he’s almost 34 with a huge bank account and he’s had the honor of playing for the greatest sports franchise on the planet. But he has bad knees. I’m 40 living paycheck to paycheck and I drive a truck for a living. And I also have bad knees.

Terry, you have my sympathies…

The Media Distraction Factor: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I am tired you guys. Tired of all the naysayers saying Dallas is going to lose. Tired of all the Romo bashing. Tired of all the Jessica Simpson backlash. Tired of all the skeptics. Just plain tired and I gotta vent. Vent because, never in my 31 years on earth have I seen a team so disrespected. Never have I seen a team be so low-balled as my and your Dallas Cowboys.

This team is 13-3 yet the media portrays them as a 7-9 team who had divine intervention in making it to the playoffs. We have a quarterback who broke almost every team record this year. Romo surpassed Hall Of Fame quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman and even Danny White in the you name it stats. Yet, Romo will choke under this barrage of pressure on Sunday come game time as stated by hundreds in the media frenzy.

No R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

We have two of the games premiere players in Terrell Owens and Jason Witten, who were selected All-Pro’s this week, yet we get no R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We have one of the games premiere defensive players in Demarcus Ware, an All-Pro at that as well, yet we get no R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I could go on and on guys about how good or great a team we are but it isnt gonna matter. Not matter to anyone outside the Cowboys fan Brotherhood and Sisterhood(for all the lovely ladies out there).

I know what this team is capable of. I know what this team can do when it clicks on all cylinders. I know for a god-given fact that this team can and will steamroll through the playoffs and to Superbowl 42 in Arizona and make you and I proud. There is too much tradition and history in this team.This team is the epitome of Sports Franchises globally. People on all corners of the world know who the Dallas Cowboys are. They are America’s Team. They have a Stadium with a hole in the roof so god can watch his Cowboys play.

Now grant it, I know that the Dallas Cowboys of the 70’s and 90’s and the success that came during those eras have been missing here lately, but I know it’s coming. It’s coming in a huge way and I hope America is ready for it. I honestly believe that Jerry Jones has this team primed to dominate the NFC for the next 5-10 years. We are not a elite team by any standards, I am not naive, but we are a good if not great team at the moment. Can this team turn it up a level?

Well according to one of the All-Pro players on this team, who shall remain nameless at this time, they know of all the doubters and disrespect that has been given to them this week.

"We have 12 Pro Bowlers, 5 All-Pro’s, should of been 6 with Tony, and an NFC best 13-3 record. I have never been on a team that has been this disrespected and we are gonna show the world come Sunday, believe it!"

Thats the exact quote I got from this Cowboys All-Pro. Thats why I decided to write this letter here on StarStruck. So if your going to the game on Sunday, wear white and scream to lungs out. Lose your voice and bring the house down on the G-Men because now it’s US against the world.

Contributed by Fredooch

 

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