Today marks the last Monday of June, a month which doesn’t have much for us football fans to get excited about.
Sure, there was the mandatory mini-camp and we are all still riding a little bit of that post-draft high, but for the most part, we are stuck in a football rut.
Since we are still weeks away from training camp opening up and eleven full Sundays from the Cowboys regular season opener against the New York Giants, why not take a step back from the current team’s players and problems, and appreciate some Cowboys history instead?
Feeling the effects of this football lull himself, Elliot Harrison of NFL.com decided to list each NFL team’s greatest defensive player of all time, slating defensive lineman Bob Lilly as the Cowboys’ best.
It is really hard to argue with Harrison on this one.
Bob Lilly is, without question, the greatest defensive player in Dallas Cowboys history.
In fact, he might be the greatest Cowboy ever regardless of position or side of the ball.
The only man to ever wear #74 for the Cowboys was named to two All-Decade teams, accumulated seven first team All-Pro selections, is a Super Bowl champion, and is, of course, a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
While he is credited with 94.5 sacks (an unofficial number as sacks weren’t recorded officially until 1982), 4 career touchdowns, and 196 consecutive games played and started, Lilly’s signature play came during Super Bowl VI, the Cowboys first ever world championship.
Trailing the Miami Dolphins 3-0, the Cowboys needed Lilly to come up with a big defensive play. And boy did he deliver.
Lilly sacked Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese for a 29-yard loss, the largest negative play in Super Bowl History. Of course, the Cowboys then went on to dominate the Dolphins, 24-3.
Lilly’s greatness and importance to the Cowboys as a franchise cannot be understated, and to be quite honest, I have not done it complete justice. Inside The Star’s very own RJ Ochoa and Sean Martin have each written profiles of the great Bob Lilly before, and I would encourage you to read those in order to fully appreciate Lilly’s excellence.
Normally when I write about these national media outlet’s lists, I am out for blood, as I was when discussing ESPN’s defensive triplets rankings just yesterday.
But I have to give Elliot Harrison credit here, because he got this one completely right.
As a first ballot Hall of Famer and inaugural Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee, Bob Lilly was the first in a long line of Dallas Cowboys greats. It was Lilly would laid the foundation for the dynasties to come, and as the first selection of the Cowboys first ever draft, Lilly is certainly the greatest Cowboys defensive player of all time.
If you’d like to read the full list of players, follow the link below:
The beauty of the “All-32” is that it provides something for every fan base, which is why I created the series. And why I love executing the NFL.com Power Rankings and Game Picks during the season. Following every team is hard work, but respecting every franchise’s history is worthwhile.