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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

Cowboys To Play in Hall of Fame Game

The Cowboys will play in the NFL Hall of Fame game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday August 8th this summer. The game will air on NBC at 7 p.m. Central time.

It will be great to have the Cowboys play in Canton following Emmitt Smith’s enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.

This will mark the Cowboys fourth time in franchise history to play in the NFL’s Hall of Fame game, the last was in 1999.

The special exhibition game also means the Cowboys will have five preseason games instead of the usual four.

It’s nice to know the team that Emmitt loved so much will be there supporting him during this memorable time in his life.

Props to the NFL for recognizing Emmitt and the Cowboys (for a change).

Let the Offseason Begin

Even though most Cowboys fans began offseason weeks ago, its official now that the big game is behind us. Congratulations to the Saints for winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints worked hard all year and definitely deserved to win it all. At least we can have joy in saying we were the first team to ruin the Saints undefeated season.

In other news, I think its sad that no one is shocked that Michael Irvin was fired from his ESPN show and at the same time was accused of rape. What else can you say?

Congratulations to Emmitt Smith for his Hall of Fame induction announcement. I cheered so loud when they announced his name at the Super Bowl to do the coin toss. Emmitt has always made us so proud, I can’t wait until he gets his moment on the stage in August.

As for the Cowboys offseason, I believe it will be relatively quiet compared to recent years. I don’t think there are any players who are unhappy… wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong. A couple of players may be ‘unhappy’ but none that have earned the right to make any noise.

I am looking forward to next season, and our road to six. The Cowboys have a great chance to play in the Super Bowl which will be extra special since its in their house! And maybe I’ve mentioned this several times, but it happens to fall on my birthday. I know every year we believe the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl but I’ve got extra high expectations for 2010!

So Cowboys fans – sit back, relax and enjoy the offseason. Hopefully it won’t last too long.

Your 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys

Sadly, the 2009 season ended for the Dallas Cowboys a couple of weeks ago, but this weekend when the Pro Bowl kicks off you might reconsider tuning in. In addition to the six Cowboys elected and Terence Newman who was added last week, two more will join the Cowboys coaching staff on the NFC roster. Andre Gurode will not be playing because of knee surgery.

Tony Romo and Mike Jenkins will play in the game due to injury of the elected starters. Romo was chosen to replace Brett Favre (ankle injury). Jenkins will replace Antoine Winfield (foot injury).

That makes a total of nine Cowboys attending this year’s Pro Bowl in Miami. Philadelphia is tied with Dallas for having the most players at the game. It is also the sixth most selections in franchise history.

StarStruck GraphicsYour 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys:

Miles Austin, wide receiver

Leonard Davis, guard

Andre Gurode, center (injured)

Mike Jenkins, cornerback

Terence Newman, cornerback

Jay Ratliff, interior lineman

Tony Romo, quarterback

DeMarcus Ware, outside linebacker

Jason Witten, tight end

Head Coach Wade Phillips and his staff

Miles Austin: The SuperNova

Miles Austin was born on June 30, 1984 in Summit, New Jersey. Miles attended Garfield High School in Garfield, New Jersey, and was a letterman in football,basketball, and track and field. In football he played wide reciever and defensive back, and as a senior he won All-Bergen County honors and All-State honors. In basketball, Austin garnered All-Bergen County honors as well. In track and field, Austin participated in the 100 meter dash, long jump, triple jump, and javelin throw. He recorded the second-longest javelin throw in Bergen County history with a throw of 214 feet, 8 inches. Austin finished third in the long jump and the triple jump at the New Jersey Meet of Champions. Miles Austin graduated from Garfield High School in 2002.

Miles college career took home at Monmouth. In his college career he caught 150 passes for 2,867 yards and 33 touchdowns. He is the school record-holder in recieving yards. He rushed 15 times for 140 yards and 1 touchdown. In 2003 Miles Set a Monmouth single-season record for touchdown catches with 12.

His NFL career started when the Dallas Cowboys signed him as a undrafted rookie free agent. In his rookie year he returned 29 kickoffs for 753 yards and recorded 5 tackles. His main highlight of the year was in the Cowboys playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. He returned 3 kickoffs for 136 yards in the game, including a 93 yard touchdown return. In the 55 postseason games in franchise history, it was the Cowboys’ first ever kickoff return touchdown in the playoffs. Miles caught his first career touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers. In 2008 he had 13 catches for 278 and 3 touchdowns with an average of 21.4 yards per catch.

With the release of Terrell Owens, Miles is expected to start as the No. 2 receiver across from Roy Williams.

Legends of the Star – Emmitt Smith

 

As we come to the end of our exclusive series “Legends of the Star,” you can certainly make the case that we saved the best for last. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Emmitt Smith as this week’s Legend of the Star.
 
Emmitt Smith may go down in history as the greatest player ever to wear the uniform of the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL’s all time leading rusher had it all and I’m not just talking about his enormous athletic ability. He was a great and charismatic leader, a passionate player who loved the game, a positive influence who made those around him better, and one of the classiest players that football has ever known.
 
Emmitt Smith burst onto the national scene while playing running back for the University of Florida. He set many school records as a Gator including their single game and season rushing records, and all of their scoring records. After three years at Florida he had scored 37 touchdowns, had 23 100-yard rushing games, was a NCAA All-American and still holds 58 school records. Emmitt opted not to complete his senior year and decided to enter the NFL draft.
 
After posting the worst record in franchise history at 1-15, the Cowboys drafted Emmitt Smith in the first round of the 1990 draft. Head coach Jimmy Johnson felt that Emmitt was the kind of player who could be the cornerstone of the team’s offense. He was right.
 
Over the next twelve seasons, Emmitt captured the hearts of Cowboy fans everywhere with his intensity and hard-nosed style of play. Together with Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman they formed the most lethal offensive punch that the game had ever seen. Emmitt Smith had real nose for the endzone and was nearly unstoppable inside the ten-yard line. During his career in Dallas, he was able to help lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl Championships, lead the NFL in rushing four times, was the league MVP in 1993, and MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII. He was selected to eight Pro Bowls and was the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons.
 
Emmitt Smith now holds the NFL record in career rushing yards with 18,355, breaking the previous record held by his childhood idol, and former great, Walter Payton. Besides this prestigious record, Emmitt holds over a dozen other NFL records including the all time career rushing touchdown record with 166 scores. He is one of only two non-kickers to score over 1000 points in his career, the other being Jerry Rice.
 
Next week, on July 21st Emmitt Smith will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
 
On September 19, 2005, Emmitt Smith was enshrined in the Cowboys Ring of Honor along with his former teammates Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. He is sure to be a first ballot NFL Hall of Famer as soon as he becomes eligible in 2010.
 
It was a great pleasure reviewing all of the great players that have graced the “Silver and Blue” and I hope you enjoyed reading each of our weekly editions. Now it’s time to get ready for another great season of Cowboys football. I hope you check in with StarStruck each and every day for our ongoing continuous coverage of everything near and dear to the Dallas Cowboys.

 

 

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 – Chuck Howley

  

Chuck Howley was originally drafted out of West Virginia University by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the NFL Draft in 1958, but after a seaon ending injury in 1959 he was forced to announce his retirement. However, in 1961 Chuck Howley decided to make a comeback, and the Dallas Cowboys traded draft picks to the Chicago Bears for his rights, and thus began his remarkable career as one fo the best defensive players in team history.

Chuck Howley had a punishing style of play and was known for his ability to impact a game with his deceptive speed and blistering tackles. He was one of the best outside linebackers in the league and certainly one of the best ever to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

He played 14 seasons for the Cowboys tying him for the second longest tenure in franchise history, and was selected to six Pro Bowls during that span. Howley helped lead the team to five Eastern Conference Titles, two NFL Championship games and two Super Bowls. He holds the distinction of being the first defensive player ever to win a Super Bowl MVP, as well as being the first player from a losing team ever to named MVP in Super Bowl V.

 In 1976, Chuck Howley was the fourth player to be inducted into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium.
 

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 – Don Meredith

Although he never led the Dallas Cowboys to an NFL Championship or a Super Bowl, "Dandy" Don Meredith was one of the most popular players in team history. After an amazing college career as a quarterback for Southern Methodist University, he gained national recognition and was selected as an All-American in 1958 and 1959. In 1960 he was drafted with the 3rd overall pick by the Chicago Bears and immediately traded to the NFL’s newest franchise, the Dallas Cowboys.

After languishing on the bench for his first 5 years on the team, he was named starting quarterback in 1965 by Tom Landry and never looked back. He made an immediate impact with his gritty style of play and his mental and physical toughness. He set many Cowboys records which still stand today, including the longest pass in franchise history, a 95 yard strike to Bob Hayes in 1966. He also threw a record 5 touchdowns passes in a single game, a team record that was recently matched by Tony Romo last season. After leading the Cowboys to their first winning seasons as a franchise, he shocked the sports world by announcing his sudden retirement shortly before the 1969 season. During his short career as starter he was selected to the Pro Bowl twice and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1966. He threw for an impressive 17,199 yards and 135 touchdowns in his career, and in 1976, Don Meredith was inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

After leaving the game he went on to become an actor, but gamed national fame once again as the color commentator of "Monday Night Football" from 1970 until 1984. Some of you may also remember Don as the spokesperson for Lipton tea in 1970’s and 1980’s.

 

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.