However, in today’s piece, when I saw it was going to be dedicated to the Best #82 to don silver and blue–I immediately knew who I was picking.
While there were some solid players such as WR Frank Clarke, who’s credited as the Cowboy’s first-ever long-ball threat before “Bullet” Bob Hayes, to WR Mike Renfro, who had solid production during the late 1980s for the club–TE Jason Witten won the Best 82 award by a mile.
Also, a fun fact for die-hard Cowboy fans, WR Alvin Harper wore No.82 during his second stint with the team in 1999–but he didn’t register any production, and most fans are likely to remember him donning No.80.
Jason Witten’s Cowboys Career:
If there were one play that sums up Witten’s career as a player, it would have to be his catch-and-run against the Philadelphia Eagles. I still remember sitting in my living room watching the Cowboys destroy the Eagles, and Cowboys QB Tony Romo scrambles in the pocket and lasers one to Witten.
Witten would get rocked helmet-to-helmet and have his helmet ripped off, but he kept running without a helmet to gain 30 more yards.
The funny thing is the Cowboys didn’t need him fighting for all those yards, as it was a blowout, but Witten was tough as nails, and that was the theme of his career.
Also, looking back, I realize I was 12 years old when this happened. Man, time sure does fly.
Witten’s NFL Career began in 2003 after getting drafted by the Cowboys in the third round (69th overall), and in his first year–he started slow.
His impact was felt in his second year, as he broke out 47 receptions for 980 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns–while also landing his first Pro Bowl.
He would play for the Cowboys until 2017 and then come back in 2019 for one season, but he was arguably the franchise’s best player during his tenure.
Witten currently holds NFL TE records and franchise records, and some included are:
- Most receptions in a single game by a tight end: 18
- 4th in receptions in NFL history: 1,228
- Most consecutive games played by a tight end: 235 (243 including playoffs)
- Most consecutive games started by a tight end: 179 (186 including playoffs)
- Fastest tight end to make 600 receptions (125 games)
- Most career receptions: 1,215
- Most career receiving yards: 12,977
- Most games played: 255
- Most consecutive games started: 179
Although some fans may joke that Witten’s signature route was a simple curl route at times or a slant to move the chains, Witten was the type of player that always was in the right place but could also be someone you depended on the whole game.
To me, there will never be a TE that walks through the doors of Jerry World that reaches Witten’s level of excellence, but he’s someone that I will appreciate for life.
Someday he will be enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame, but for now, he’s crowned as the Best #82 Ever in Cowboys History in my book.