Cowboys on the Clock: Tony Dorsett, #2 Overall

The 2016 NFL draft is two short days away, leaving us with our second to last countdown post here today.

It was 1977 the last time the Dallas Cowboys selected with the 2nd overall pick. After selecting Randy White two years prior to this draft in the same spot, the team once again nailed the pick by adding a certain running back out of Pittsburgh.

Here is his story.

Tony Dorsett

Dorsett revolutionized the football program at the University of Pittsburgh during his four years there from 1973-1976.

As a freshmen all-American, he was second in the nation with 1,586 yards. Led by Dorsett, the Panthers had a winning season for the first time in 10 years.

After rushing for just over 144 yards a game as a freshmen, it took Dorsett just three games into his second season to earn the school’s all time rushing record. He would set the single game rushing record the following year, before capping off his collegiate career by leading Pitt to a national championship in 1976.

The Heisman Trophy winner galloped for a nation’s best 2,150 yards this season, also earning the Maxwell Trophy and the Walter Camp Award (given to the best player in the country).

For Dorsett to end up in Dallas, the Cowboys had to pay a hefty price. The Seattle Seahawks owned the #2 pick on draft night, but Dallas traded three second-round selections along with their 24th overall pick to make the jump up for Tony Dorsett.

He would make this investment worthwhile right away, winning rookie of the year in 1977 by scoring 12 touchdowns on 1,007 yards. While he was not named the starting running back until the 10th game of the year, Dorsett took a hold of this role all the way until the Super Bowl.

With a 27-10 Cowboys win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XII, Dorsett became the first player to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl in consecutive years.

As a full-time starter in 1978, Dorsett led Dallas back to the Super Bowl with a 1,325 yard output. While the Cowboys lost this game to the Steelers, Dorsett’s domination in the silver and blue certainly did not end here.

Tony would play 9 more seasons with Dallas, making the playoffs in 6 of them. He would rush for at least 1,00 yards in each of the next three seasons.

In 1982, while Dorsett did not rush for 1,000 yards (playing in just 9 games thanks to the NFL strike), he left us with a play that will be remembered forever in NFL history. In the season finale in Minnesota, Dorsett took a handoff from Danny White at the Cowboys’ 1 yard line.

Dorsett and White were all that Dallas needed on this play, as it turned out that they had just 10 players on the field for this snap. Still, Dorsett went off to the races, setting a NFL record with a 99 yard touchdown run.

Tony Dorsett 99 yard TouchDown

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“Unbelievable! Tony Dorsett, is in the record books!”

Dorsett once again played a full 16 games in 1983, rushing for 1,321 yards. The Cowboys were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs against the Rams.

Over his final four seasons as a Cowboy, the team made the playoffs just once in ’85 – where they again suffered an early exit at the hands of the LA Rams.

Tony Dorsett totaled 3,700 yards during this time, before playing one year in Denver where he led the Broncos with 703 yards in 1988. It would be his final season in the NFL.

Dorsett retired as the Cowboys all time leading rusher, entering the ring of honor in 1994 the same year he entered the NFL and College Football Hall of Fame.

His #33 jersey is retired at the University of Pittsburgh, and it also earned him the honor of becoming the greatest Dallas Cowboy to wear this number here on Inside The Star’s Countdown to Kickoff with Staff Writer RJ Ochoa.


The following players have also been selected with the #2 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys:

Randy White, DT, 1975


Tomorrow on “Cowboys on the Clock”: 1991 first round selection Russell Maryland

This series concluded right here on Inside The Star tomorrow morning! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the history of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL draft. To share your feedback, comment below or email

Likewise, I hope you are just as excited for the upcoming draft to find out what Dallas does with the fourth overall pick! Be sure to follow our fan page @CowboysNation on Twitter for up-to-the-minute draft analysis!

You can find me on Twitter as well at @ShoreSportsNJ!

Tell us what you think about “Cowboys on the Clock: Tony Dorsett, #2 Overall” in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

What do you think?

Sean Martin

Written by Sean Martin

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.


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