Butch Johnson: The California Quake And Greatest #86 In Dallas Cowboys History

There are officially 86 days until the toe meets the ball at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Happy Friday to all! You’re probably pushing paper until that bell hits 5:00pm, anxious to hit the town with your friends and talk about the plethora of sports going on these days. Don’t know what I’m talking about? You mean you’re not excited about regular season baseball and the Women’s World Cup? If you’re normal and don’t think either of those things are that sweet, check out the Greatest 86 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The following players have all worn 86 for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Eric Bjornson, TE
  • Dan Campbell, TE
  • Ralph Coleman, LB
  • James Dixon, WR
  • Kenny Duckett, WR
  • Ryan Hannam, TE
  • Duriel Harris, WR
  • Bill Houston, WR
  • Butch Johnson, WR
  • Mike Lucky, TE
  • Gary Porterfield, DE
  • Raymond Radway, WR
  • Dave Sherer, P
  • Mike Sherrard, WR
  • Waddell Smith, WR
  • Isaiah Stanback, WR
  • Tyrone Williams, WR

Like we mentioned up top it is Friday, and since I’m a cool boss I’m gonna let you guys out early. There is no denying that the Greatest 86 in Dallas Cowboys History is the one and only Butch Johnson.

Taken in the third round of the 1976 NFL Draft (87th overall…imagine how cool it would have been if Butch had been 86th overall!) out of UC Riverside, Butch Johnson immediately found something that he was great at…acrobatic catches. He was the Odell Beckham Jr. of his time in that he seemed to always have a knack for making those jaw-dropping plays. His most notable feat of athleticism came in Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos when in the third quarter Butch stretched out and dove for a 45-yard Roger Staubach pass…and rolled right into the endzone.

Johnson wasn’t just the OBJ of his era; he was also the Chad Johnson/Ochocinco. His touchdown celebration (known as the California Quake) featured him pulling pretend guns out of holsters in the endzone, and is part of the reason why the NFL banned rehearsed celebrations.

Our 86 has some interesting ties to Cowboys history. After a career year in 1983 Butch Johnson asked to be traded. Dallas swapped him out for the Houston Oilers’ Mike Renfro and a few draft pick details. One pick that the Cowboys acquired from Houston was a fifth-rounder in the 1985 NFL Draft. That very fifth round pick would be used in 1985 to select former Georgia Bulldog and USFL New Jersey General standout Herschel Walker.

All in all, Butch Johnson put together quite the resume during his time in Dallas. He has 132 career receptions for 2,124 yards and 19 touchdowns in the blue and silver. Butch’s true value came as a return man, where he has a career 146 returns for an amazing 1,313 yards. In fact Butch Johnson once returned 9 punts in a game in 1978 against the Buffalo Bills, which is tied for the most in a single game in NFL History.

Butch Johnson was one of a kind, and he was the California Quake. He will always be remembered for his herculean effort in Super Bowl XII and for being the Greatest 86 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 85 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

Tell us what you think about “Butch Johnson: The California Quake And Greatest #86 In Dallas Cowboys History” in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

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Written by RJ Ochoa

I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll.

@RJOchoa if you wanna shout!


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