There is football happening today. After you scarf the burgers you’re grilling and wash them down with some of the best brew you can find, a pigskin will fly high in the air and down into our arms as we have waited far too long for it to return!
Football season is here. That brew tastes a lot better now, doesn’t it? The Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers are fine and dandy, but what about our ‘Boys? When are we getting down to business? 35 days. That’s 5 weeks! That’s how long you let milk last in your fridge (or is that only me?) – it’s that close!
Go back to the fridge and grab some cold ones for everybody. We’ve got 5 weeks of waiting to do and we’re going to gather round, give a toast, and listen to a story about the Greatest 35 in Dallas Cowboys History as we continue our Countdown To Kickoff.
The Following Players Have All Worn 35 For The Dallas Cowboys:
If you didn’t know, back when current Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett spent his days on a college campus, he spent those days at Princeton University. He’s one of those edumacated couches. I think that brew is starting to effect me.
Prior to the 1969 NFL Draft nobody figured Ivy League schools to have solid football players, just bookworms. The Dallas Cowboys changed all of that when they took the first Ivy Leaguer ever to be drafted in the first round.
Considered an athlete above all else, the Cowboys wanted to make sure that they used Calvin Hill the right way… so they tried him out at linebacker and tight end.
With Don Perkins retired and a struggling Dan Reeves the Cowboys also found themselves thin at the running back position. They turned to their superstar rookie athlete.
“Hi, Calvin! Want to play running back for the Dallas Cowboys? You know, that position that you played a majority of your college career? That whole linebacker thing, yea that’s our bad.”
Run, Calvin, Run!
Hill never surrendered the starting running back position once he took it. He immediately became a rookie standout in the NFL, churning his way to 807 yards in his first 9 games. In that ninth game, a contest against the Washington Redskins, Calvin actually hurt his toe while amassing 150 yards.
The team would find out over the next two games, in which Hill sat out, that the toe was actually broken. No harm, no foul, Calvin Hill was a man of steel and he just took an injection to his toe so he could play the final two games of the season. It doesn’t get much more hardcore than an injection to the toe.
942 yards, 8 touchdowns, a First-Team All-Pro Selection, a Pro Bowl Selection, and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award all found themselves attached to Calvin Hill after his rookie year. Welcome to the NFL, young man.
The Dallas Cowboys drafted another running back in 1970, this one by the name of Duane Thomas. The new guy in town showed some promise and took over the starting role. Calvin found himself bothered by a foot blister in 1970 and was only able to produce 577 yards.
1971 wasn’t too kind to Calvin, either. He tore his ACL against the New York Giants. Medical technology wasn’t what it is today and this was initially diagnosed as a sprained knee – can you believe that? Hill tried to return later in the year, but he re-injured his knee while scoring a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game over the Minnesota Vikings.
After wearing out his welcome in Dallas, Duane Thomas found himself traded to the San Diego Chargers to begin the 1972 NFL contest. As it had been his rookie year, the stage was once again set for Calvin Hill to save the running back position for the Dallas Cowboys.
Pro Bowl Bound
Calvin found his rookie form during 1972 as he became the first running back in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History to eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground.
He followed that up with a career high 1,142 in 1973 and a respectable 844 in 1974. Calvin packed his bags at the end of each of those seasons as he made the trip to the NFL’s Pro Bowl in all three.
#35: Calvin Hill
While only playing 6 seasons in the blue and silver, Calvin Hill certainly made his mark. He put together 5,009 yards and 39 touchdowns, while earning many personal accolades as well as a Super Bowl Ring during the 1971 season.
Calvin Hill is still helping the Cowboys win football games as he serves as a consultant to the team who specializes in working with troubled players. Considering sports in general, Calvin contributed in that department by fathering one of the greatest basketball players we’ve ever seen, Grant Hill.
The Cowboys of the 1970s and the Cowboys of today are far better off due to the services of Calvin Hill. He was a critical element to the elite offense that the Dallas Cowboys possessed in the 1970s, and he is even more critical to our Countdown To Kickoff as he is the Greatest 35 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 34 in Dallas Cowboys History is!