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Countdown to Kickoff: Bill Bates Is A Special Guy at #40

Happy Hump Day!

Currently, we sit 40 days until Week One, and while I have said in my past editorials that I'm excited for the start of the season, I have to admit now that I'm kind of conflicted.

From hearing both kickers are missing numerous kicks in to seeing WR go down with a foot injury that will sideline him for 6-10 weeks, the stress this team gives me yearly has begun early for me.

But, let's talk about something more exciting, and that's today's post, which features another legendary . Also, if you have been keeping up with the series, you realize this is the fourth safety in a row that has been selected, dating back to when it first started with FS Cliff Harris getting picked as the Greatest #43.

While scanning through the ten players that wore #40, I realized only one player truly stood out among his peers–and that was SS . A 3-time SB Champion, Bates was another one of those guys known for his tenacious hits back in the day during the legendary defenses.

But, before we dive more in-depth, check out the other players who wore #40 along with Bates:

Bill Bates NFL Career

Referred to as “Real Kill” by his HC , Bates's path to becoming a full-time starter for the Dallas Cowboys began on . After going undrafted in 1983, Bates signed with his favorite childhood team and starred on specials teams his rookie season while rocking on his helmet.

Following a successful rookie season that earned him NFL Special Teams Player of the Year, Bates took it up a notch by snagging his first ; and an All-Pro selection.

While that could have likely meant Bates was bound to be only a “special team's ace” his whole NFL career, in 1986, he earned himself the starting SS gig. However, he only was used in nickel packages for two years and became a full-time special teams guy for the rest of his career.

Bill Bates Highlights

Besides his three championships, one Pro Bowl honor, and one All-Pro selection, here are the accolades that Bates landed during his Cowboys tenure:

  • 4-Time Award winner, which went to the player fans felt displayed the most and character on the field.
  • An Ed Block Courage Award winner after overcoming a season-ending knee injury in 1992 and bouncing back to lead the team in special team tackles (25).
  • While I wasn't alive to see him cause havoc on the field, I would award him for being the most gritty, balls-to-wall player who put his life on the line for his team and, to me, was one of the hardest workers EVER to play for the franchise.

After a hard-working 15-year NFL career, Bates hung up his cleats and became an for the franchise for five years before leaving to coach his sons at the high school level.

But as much praise I have flooded your Wednesday morning over Bates, I have to give him his flowers one more time as he is the Greatest #40 in Dallas . With that in mind, congratulations to Mr.Bates on the crown today, and be sure to come back Thursday as we crown the Greatest #39 in franchise .

Also, don't be afraid to drop your favorite memory of Mr. Bates in the comments below.

Rocky Garza Jr
Rocky Garza Jr
Rolling with the Boyz since 96'. Chop up sports with me on Twitter @rockssjr.

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Bill Bates was an absolute hammer. The Cowboys wrote him off at one point due to age and the constant need for younger players and he proved them wrong. He stuck it in their faces, made the team and then in turn shoved his nasty hardnose play into competing teams with a noticeable beatdown. Loved this guy and thought very highly of his style of tenacity and play. Bates always had a mean streak that enabled him to shine and last through the years when others couldn’t hang, got traded, retired or all three.


Bill Bates was my Hero from day 1 when he played on Dallas Cowboys Special Teams he kept me going and he still does wherever he is in live I am a Disabled Veteran been a Dallas fan for many years I love the team and follow the team but bates my man whom helped me through my problems in life and he made me strong so go on Bates get those High School Kids Strong and great like you and Dallas Cowboys Get me a another Super Bowl Ring I am waiting god speed god bless amemica

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