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Countdown to Kickoff: Mark Stepnoski Takes “Center” Stage at #53

Welcome back with another Post! While you're likely at work on this lovely Thursday afternoon, I want you to know there are two things that can make your day better.

One is that it's almost Friday, and you made it this far — so keep pushing!!

And two, you get to enjoy your lunch with another entertaining Countdown piece.

Currently, it is 53 days until the kick off their tour (because it's always their year), and to honor the number of days, I crowned the Greatest #53 in Dallas .

If you missed Wednesday's piece, boy, you missed a good one. But of course, I wouldn't leave you hanging, so check out the special story that crowned two historic defenders as the Cowboys' Greatest #54.

While today's crowning didn't produce two players, let's jump into who got today's nod as the Greatest #53 in franchise .

Here Are All Of The Dallas Cowboys Players Who Have Worn #53:

  • Keith Adams, LB (2002-2002)
  • John Babinecz, LB (1972-1973)
  • , LB (2021-2022)
  • Bob Breunig, LB (1975-1984)
  • Mike Connelly, C (1961-1967)
  • Ray Donaldson, C (1995-1996)
  • Onzy Elam, LB (1989-1989)
  • Oliver Hoyte, FB (2006-2006)
  • Garth Jax, LB (1986-1988)
  • Cameron Lawrence, LB (2013-2014)
  • Justin March, LB (2017-2020)
  • , LB (2015-2016)
  • Steve Octavien, LB (2008-2009)
  • Dave Simmons, LB (1968-1968)
  • Victor Simmons, LB (1987-1987)
  • , C (1990-2001)
  • Kalen Thornton, LB (2004-2004)
  • Fred Whittingham, LB (1969-1969)

Ok, before I spill the beans on who got the nod as “El Jefe” (Boss) of #53, I have to admit I lied.

Like yesterday's post, two players were worthy of their respected , but one person got the slight .

But to ease your curiosity, the two players that were neck-in-neck in today's selection were LB Bob Breunig and C Mark Stepnoski.

With Breunig, you had a guy who was a part of the “” and consistently led the team in tackles for several seasons.

Breunig and his Doomsday did win a in 1978, and he was able to land three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro — but Stepnoski got the nod because of his impact and resume.

Mark Stepnoski‘s NFL Career

Drafted in the 3rd Round of the 1989 , Stepnoski fell into the franchise's lap after people felt he was too small to make it as a in the NFL.

Sounds like when fans were ridiculing another lineman in this year's draft for being too small. **cough, cough** . All jokes.

In his first year, Stepnoski got switched from guard to center, and although he never played the position, I imagine he's forever grateful for that transition.

Coached by Tom Rafferty, the Greatest #64 in Dallas Cowboys history, Stepnoski excelled right away and landed his first at the end of the season.

Considered one of the league's best centers during his era, Stepnoski was a part of the “Great Wall of Dallas,” which consisted of , Mark Tunei, , Kevin Gogan, and himself, as he and the squad made running a little bit easier for some HOF RB named .

That guy sounds good.

Stepnoski had a 13-year NFL career (9 with the Cowboys, 4 with the Houston Oilers/), and his accomplishments included:

  • 2-Time Super Bowl Champion (XXVII, XXVIII)
  • 1-Time First-Team All-Pro
  • 2-Time Second-Team All-Pro
  • 5-Time Pro Bowler
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team

Although I never saw Stepnoski play during my lifetime, being able to relieve stellar play from not only the center position but the overall makes me happy.

With how shaky the current Cowboys' offensive line may be, the franchise could sure use a guy like Stepnoski to anchor things down.

But to add another accomplishment to Stepnoski's decorated resume, congratulations to Mr. Mark Stepnoski on earning the title of Greatest #53 in Dallas Cowboys history.

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

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Sak

I would agree that while Breunig was a great player Step gets the edge over him.

What’s even more remarkable about Step standing out while being undersized is the fact that the majority of the Cowboys OL in the 90’s was known for its bulk. I remember Madden mentioning how big the were a couple of times during Super Bowl XXX.

While you mentioned most of the players that made up the Great Wall you left out John Gesek, who was both a starter (90-92) as well as valuable backup (93).

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