There are officially 73 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.
Only two and a half months are between you and some hardcore NFL action. It seems as if everyday time ticks slower and slower as we want it more and more! The good news is that training camp is on the horizon and that today you can get your fill checking out Inside The Star’s Greatest 73 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The following players have all worn 73 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Jose Acuna, OT
- Larry Allen^, OG
- Mackenzy Bernadeau*, OG
- Dave Burnette, OT
- Monte Clark, OT
- Syd Kitson, OG
- Ralph Neely, OT
- Danny Noonan, DT
- Kurt Ploeger, DT
- Steve Wright, OT
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
I know that it’s Thursday and that we’re all in look-ahead mode to Friday, so I know that we’re all looking ahead here and acknowledging that Larry Allen is the king here. Before we show him the love that he deserves we need to talk about another amazing 73, Ralph Neely.
Neely was one of the 60s badasses that was draft by both the NFL and AFL. The American Football League team that came calling was the Houston Oilers. They wanted Neely badly, and even offered to give him a gas station in Houston. Neely accepted the terms of the Oilers contract initially, but after he found out that the NFL team that drafted him, the Baltimore Colts, traded him to the Dallas Cowboys…he changed his tune. Ralph settled in Dallas, but this left a bad taste in Houston’s mouth. Upon the NFL-AFL merger agreement in 1966, the Oilers wanted compensation for Neely. The Cowboys agreed to send them a first, second, and two fifth round draft selections in the 1967 NFL Draft…and to play Houston in the preseason. This was the birth of the Governor’s Cup, the annual playing of a preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers/Texans.
Ralph Neely was a stud right tackle throughout the 1960s and manned the all-important left tackle position in the1970s. He went to two Pro Bowls (1967 and 1969) and was named First-Team All-Pro from 1967-1969. He has two Super Bowl rings in his hardware collection and is one of the more underrated Cowboy offensive linemen in the Tom Landry era.
One offensive lineman who is definitely not underrated is Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 Member, Larry Allen. As the first player EVER drafted out of Sonoma State University (46th overall) in 1994, Allen was the highest offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys since Howard Richards in 1981 (obviously the Cowboys have changed courses a little bit in the last few years). Larry hit the field for 10 starts in that rookie season, which saw the Cowboys lose to the eventual World Champion San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
After just one year experience as a starting offensive guard in the NFL, Larry was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1995…a nice bonus after he and his Cowboys thrashed the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. In 1998, Larry Allen showed his permeability as he made the transition to the all-important left tackle position. He protected Troy Aikman’s blindside to perfection, garnering First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl Selections.
Larry Allen went to 11 Pro Bowls and was selected First-Team All-Pro six times. What is truly amazing about this, beyond the obvious, is that they came at three different positions. Larry Allen didn’t just excel but dominated, at the right guard, left guard, and left tackle positions. He is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Teams for both the 1990s and 2000s. Forget being the Greatest 73 in Dallas Cowboys History, forget arguably being even the greatest Dallas Cowboy ever, Larry Allen is arguably the greatest offensive lineman to EVER PLAY FOOTBALL.
Larry Allen was inducted into the Cowboys’ legendary Ring of Honor on November 6th, 2011 along with Drew Pearson and Charles Haley. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Canton, OH in 2013. He is beyond a shadow of a doubt the Greatest 73 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 72 in Dallas Cowboys History is!