After a two-day hiatus of Countdown to Kickoff posts, we're back in business, baby.
Currently, we sit 54 days until the Dallas Cowboys kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and while that may seem like a long time, if you have been able to live through the Cowboys 26-year Super Bowl drought, you can handle the wait.
All jokes aside, I was excited about this number when it came around because I knew it would be special. As you all know, the “most famous” numbers in Dallas Cowboys History (besides the retired 8,12,22, and 74) are arguably 88 and 54.
With that in mind, we had a historic moment during the Countdown to Kickoff series as two players made the final cut. But before I spill the beans on who they are, check out all the players who have worn the historic #54.
The Following Players Have Worn #54:
- Bobby Carpenter, LB, (2006-2009)
- Bruce Carter, LB (2011-2014)
- Quinton Caver, LB (2005-2005)
- Mike Connelly, C (1960-1960)
- Kenwin Cummings, DE (2010-2010)
- Anthony Fieldings, LB (1995-1995)
- Darren Hambrick, LB (1998-2001)
- Darryl Hardy, LB (1995-1997)
- Chuck Howley, LB (1961-1973)
- Azur Kamara, LB (2021-2021)
- Keith O'Neil, LB (2003-2004)
- Jaylon Smith, LB (2017-2020)
- Jesse Solomon, LB (1989-1990)
- Randy White, DT (1975-1988)
As mentioned, today's post is special. I never imagined choosing two players for a Countdown to Kickoff post, but here we are.
So without further ado, let's welcome Mr. Chuck Howley and Mr.Randy White to the floor.
Chuck Howley's NFL Career
Drafted in the 1958 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears (7th overall), the beginning of Howley's NFL career was a rollercoaster, as he almost retired after just two years of being in the league because he suffered what he thought was a “career-ending knee injury.”
(Crazy to think how advanced technology has become, as a knee injury isn't that serious in today's NFL, and the rehab of knee injuries are easily-managed.)
Howley would make a comeback in 1961, get traded to the Dallas Cowboys during the 1961 NFL Draft, and from there, his career would flourish.
A 13-year career with the Cowboys, Howley's best years was arguably during the 1970 and 1971 seasons when he helped the franchise make the Super Bowl back-to-back.
While that accomplishment may be mind-blowing by itself, Howley is remembered most for landing the Super Bowl MVP during the team's 1970 SB Loss to the Colts–which was a rare feat, as no player from the losing team had ever won the MVP in NFL History.
(Fun Fact: That accomplishment still stands today.)
Howley would help his team pull a 2014 Spurs-Esque redemption tour on route to a championship, but instead of facing the same team two years in a row, Howley and the Cowboys took care of business versus the Miami Dolphins.
(Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins–both teams taking an L from my favorite team, we love to see it.)
Although no Super Bowl MVP this time, Howley played a kick factor in helping the Cowboys grab their first Lombardi Trophy. Beyond the Super Bowls, Howley was also a 6-time All-Pro and 6-time Pro Bowler.
Chuck Howley came up CLUTCH with the fourth quarter INT!
After learning about Howley, I realized the common theme around him is, “he has been robbed for years of a Gold Jacket,” and I have to agree. But let's not worry because Howley is among the semifinalists for the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he's not alone–as some other Cowboy legends are in the running too.
Let's hope they finally give him his roses.
Randy White, time.
Randy White's NFL Career
Nicknamed the “Manster” (half-man, half monster), White entered the NFL in 1975 after getting drafted by the Cowboys 2nd overall. Although highly-hyped coming out of Maryland, White didn't get his feet wet until his third season, as he got moved from MLB to DT.
With big shoes to fill from DT Bob Lilly's retirement, White proved the moment wasn't too big for him as he broke out to the tune of earning All-Pro honors, landing his first Pro Bowl, and becoming a Super Bowl Champion.
Oh, and I almost forgot that he also snagged Super Bowl Co-MVP with his teammate Harvey Martin, but what a mind-blowing “first” season.
— Sohe (@SoheCoop) April 27, 2022
White would prove his play wasn't a fluke as he had several years of high-production and casually snagged multiple All-Pros, several more Pro Bowls, and made two more Super Bowl appearances.
Although I never lived to see White nor Howley play, watching both in videos is a sweet sight to watch. I admit I'm a little jealous of fans who got to see witness how great both players are.
But congratulations to Howley and White on being the Greatest #54s in Cowboys History.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite memories of Howley and White were, and be on the lookout for the Greatest #53!