CeeDee Lamb has quickly established himself as one of the top young receivers in football and added some style points on Sunday. His contorting touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings had the entire sports world singing, plus he’s now the all-time leader for receptions by a Dallas Cowboys rookie.
Lamb’s touchdown was his 46th catch of the season, tying the record held by “Bullet” Bob Hayes since 1965. Like many of you I’m sure, I was shocked that Hayes held that record given the evolution of the game since his era and the great legacy of receivers to come through Dallas.
But stats don’t lie; none of Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, or Dez Bryant had as many receptions in their first seasons as Bob Hayes. But now CeeDee Lamb holds the record and has six more games in 2020 to widen the gap.
CeeDee Lamb just did something very difficult: Catch up to “Bullet” Bob Hayes. Lamb surpasses Hayes with 47th reception this season. A new Cowboys rookie record.
To be fair, Dez Bryant had 45 catches in his rookie season and missed the last four games with an ankle injury. Had he stayed healthy there’s little doubt he’d have snagged the two balls needed to surpass Hayes on the list.
That being said, Lamb still got to 47 in just 10 games. So no asterisks allowed!
Pearson had 22 catches in 14 games as a rookie in 1973. Unlike the other members of the #88 Club, Drew got off to a slower start as an undrafted free agent and didn’t become a fulltime starter until his second season.
Even The Playmaker didn’t have a big first year with just 32 catches in 1988. But with the Cowboys going 3-13 in that final, difficult season of the Tom Landry Era, Irvin didn’t exactly have a lot of opportunities to shine.
Believe it or not, the black sheep of the #88 Club actually threatened Hayes’ record more than most. Antonio Bryant had 44 catches in 2003 to nearly etch out a place in the record book.
Given what the #88 has meant to the Dallas Cowboys, it’s significance for WR excellence, it’s fitting that another team record now belongs to the club. Bob Hayes wore #22, which with Emmitt Smith alone makes that an equally significant jersey legacy.
There was some controversy back when Lamb was first drafted about which number he would wear. Most NFL receivers these days prefer the #10-19 range and it was reported that CeeDee was actually wanting to wear #10 with the Cowboys.
But Jerry Jones apparently pushed for #88, not just for team history reasons but also a personal one. He’d recently lost a friend and former teammate at Arkansas, Jerry Lamb, who wore the #88 for the Razorbacks.
So while some opined for CeeDee to not be burdened with the legacy the rookie has already lived up and even added to it. And sure, there’s no telling where his career will go from here (again, see Antonio Bryant) but at this point you won’t find a young receiver with higher stock than Lamb’s.
Indeed, CeeDee Lamb is already making a name for himself in the NFL. He’s adding to the highlight reels and the record books and will hopefully keep aiding the Dallas Cowboys’ attempted resurrection this season.