Thursday is one of the better looking days of the week. We’re past the midpoint, tomorrow is Friday, and I have my weekly kickball game tonight so I know exactly the pressure that those LLWS kids are going through.
One thing those kids like to do on social media is a dealio called “Throwback Thursday” where they pay homage to something that happened last year, last month, last week, or two minutes ago with a picture.
Welcome to the Throwback Thursday edition of our Countdown To Kickoff series here at Inside The Star. Today we are throwing it back with the Greatest 17 in Dallas Cowboys History – a player who did his fair share of throwing forward.
The Following Players Have All Worn 17 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys Roster/Staff
The current head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett, wore the number 17 proudly for a few years in the 1990s. While Coach Garrett is an all-around star, today belongs to someone else.
The admittance of the Dallas Cowboys into the National Football League happened a little too late to allow them to participate in the 1960 NFL Draft. Imagine that, becoming an NFL team but not being allowed to participate in the annual drafting of players… how hard would that be?!
Clint Murchison, owner of the Cowboys, had his eye on a former SMU quarterback who he thought could put the right touch on his brand new team. When Murchison signed this fella he didn’t technically have his team yet.
“The contract read, ‘If we get a National Football League franchise, we’d like for you to play quarterback,'" spoken in the words of the Greatest 17 in Dallas Cowboys History… the legendary Don Meredith.
The Original Cowboy
On November 28th, 1959 Don Meredith signed a personal services contract for the would-be Dallas Cowboys. If they happened, he happened.
As fate would have it the Dallas Cowboys officially joined the NFL for competitive play in the 1960 season. Fate also allowed for Eddie Lebaron to get the starting nod at the most important position on the team, making Don the backup for two years.
After splitting time in 1962, Don Meredith became the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in 1963… and put them on the ride of their lives.
Meredith Makes The Cowboys
Don Meredith helped the upstart Cowboys improve year after year starting in 1963. 4 wins in 1963 turned into 5 the next year, and 7 followed in 1965. When the 1966 season hit they were ready to compete at a high level.
The Cowboys rode the arm of Pro Bowler Meredith in 1966 as he passed for 24 touchdowns and a career-high 2,805 yards. They made their way to the NFL Championship Game… the winner of which would advance to the firs ever “Super Bowl.”
Don fought valiantly against Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, throwing for 238 yards and a score, but the Cowboys lost on New Year’s Day, determined to bounce back in 1967.
Fast forward one year and you’d find the Cowboys and Packers squaring off in the NFL Championship Game yet again… at the literally frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The famed “Ice Bowl” saw Meredith and his Cowboys lose yet again, but established Dallas as one of the elite teams in the NFL.
If there were ever a hometown hero, it was Don Meredith. He hailed from Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Texas and played collegiately at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
As a result of his Texas roots, Cowboy fans universally adored Dandy Don. He had an incredible charm about him and was such an outgoing person that people gravitated towards his energy. This energy was apparent on the football field as well; Meredith had a level of grit and toughness that was rarely seen during those days, earning him 3 Pro Bowl nods from 1966-1968.
Don Meredith was the life of the party whether on the field, with the fans, or as it would be later… in the broadcast booth.
Turn Out The Lights
The NFL-AFL merger became official in 1970 and so did Don Meredith’s spot in the broadcast booth for ABC’s Monday Night Football. He worked with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, applying his lighthearted touch to the call which made for legendary broadcasts for fans everywhere.
When a game seemed to be put away Don Meredith would add the cherry on top of another great call with his rendition of a classic Willie Nelson tune.
“Turn out the lights, the party’s over…”
If you watched Monday Night Football in those days then you know that it wasn’t complete until Don Meredith serenaded us in his usual charismatic fashion.
I was at the last game ever at Texas Stadium. They literally turned out the lights, played Meredith’s rendition, and it was one of the most spectacular things that I’ve ever been a part of.
#17: Don Meredith
The Original Cowboy helped the team survive the 1960s and reach a level of respect throughout the National Football League. Don Meredith was one of the more charming football players of his era, leaving his mark on both the game and in the booth. A member of the Ring of Honor (enshrined in 1976), Don Meredith is one of the most revered Dallas Cowboys of all-time.
It is without question, without a single doubt in my mind, and with a twang in my voice that I propose a toast to the Greatest 17 in Dallas Cowboys History - Don Meredith.
Cheers to you, Don. We’ll turn out the lights when the party’s over.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 16 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
3 Stars from Dallas Cowboys Win over the Washington Redskins
As the Dallas Cowboys put away the Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys moved to 2-0 with their 31-21 win over their NFC East rival. Just as important, the Cowboys moved to 2-0 in the NFC East and in conference play.
Those things aren’t important now, but as the season goes along and inches toward December, those divisional and conference records matter when it comes to settling tie breakers. The Dallas Cowboys are off to an excellent start to the season and have clearly taken to the offensive coaching their receiving.
In their second double-digit win of the season, there were several players who stood above the rest and named this week’s three stars.
Dak Prescott, Quarterback
For the second week in a row, the number one star goes to the most valuable player on the team, Dak Prescott.
After another shaky start to the game that saw Prescott go 4 of 7 for with an interception, he finished the day 26 of 30 for 269 yards, three touchdowns, and the interception. Prescott also added 69 rushing yards on five carries.
Of Dak’s four incompletions, two of them were dropped by the wide receiver, one was a throwaway out of the back of the end zone, and the other was the interception that bounced off of Randall Cobb’s hands. He was nearly perfect on the day and got the Dallas Cowboys on the board with a beautiful deep ball to Wide Receiver Devin Smith for 51 yards.
As he did in week one, Dak Prescott continued to show a tremendous command of the offense. His pre-snap recognition has been sublime through the first two weeks and he’s done a fantastic job getting the ball out on time and spreading the ball around.
On Sunday, eight different Dallas Cowboys caught passes. Four wide receivers, two tight ends, and two running backs.
Dak Prescott is playing at a very high level right now and with the tanking Miami Dolphins up next on the schedule, there's no reason to believe he can't keep up this career-best pace.
Devin Smith, Wide Receiver
Called into action as Tavon Austin deals with concussion-like symptoms, Devin Smith made the most of his first target of the season, beating Josh Norman deep for a 51-yard touchdown strike. The big play got the scoring started for the Dallas Cowboys and sparked an offense that wasn’t getting much accomplished in the first quarter of the game.
Smith’s ability to win deep also helped him catch another couple short passes as the Washington Redskins’ secondary had to respect his deep speed. He caught two other passes, one of which went for a first down and likely catapulted ahead Tavon Austin on the wide receiver depth chart moving forward.
Smith finished the day with three receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. With his productive day on film now, Dallas Cowboys’ opponents have another weapon to account for in the Dallas Cowboys passing game. As if Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb weren’t hard enough to scheme against, the Cowboys now can deploy four wide receivers who can win down the field.
After his excellent game on Sunday, look for Devin Smith to get more opportunities.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back
On Sunday against the Washington Redskins, Ezekiel Elliott looked fully up to speed. The Washington Redskins did a good job of rallying to Elliott at the second level, but he did a fantastic job reading his blocks and making people miss to get to the linebacker and secondary levels of the field.
Elliott didn’t break any big runs, but he was close several times and did a good job finding cut back lanes.
On the day, Ezekiel Elliott finished with 23 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. He also added two receptions for nine yards.
After sitting out all of training camp, Elliott showed up in good shape. It only took him two weeks of practice to return to his typical workload. He was an important piece late in the game as the Dallas Cowboy went to work grinding out the clock with a big lead.
Despite the big performance by the passing game the first two weeks of the sesaon, Elliott and the run game will continue to be a huge part of the Dallas Cowboys offense. The big difference this season, however, is that teams are going to be forced to respect Dak Prescott and the passing game. That should only help Ezekiel Elliott by giving him much more favorable defensive fronts to run against.
In the first two games of the season, the Dallas Cowboys have shown off an elite passing game, to go with their now highly regarded passing game. If the offense can maintain this kind of balance moving forward, they’re going to be incredibly difficult to stop.
Dak Prescott Dominates Redskins, Ties own Career-High for Consecutive Completions
Dak Prescott had a historic day in last week's season-opening win against the New York Giants. He set a franchise record for passing yards in a season opener, threw four touchdowns and had a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Prescott would be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week and set up a huge early-season road test against the arch-rival Washington Redskins, a team he's had great success against. If there were any thoughts of a letdown performance by Prescott, they didn't last very long.
The first quarter was a nightmare offensively for the Dallas Cowboys. They only managed 36 yards on 9 plays and found themselves in a 7-0 hole. About midway through the second quarter, Prescott led a seven-play 97-yard drive that was capped off with a 51-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. Just before halftime, he engineered an eleven play 83-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Jason Witten and gave the Cowboys a 14-7 halftime lead.
Prescott came out firing on the opening possession of the second half going 5 of 5 and finding Amari Cooper for a touchdown that put the Cowboys up 21-7. The Redskins added a touchdown and the Cowboys added a field goal before Ezekiel Elliott's touchdown in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach 31-14, which they eventually won 31-21.
Prescott ended the game with 18 consecutive completions which tied his own record. In the second half, Prescott was a perfect 14 of 14 for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. Through two games, he's 51 of 62 (82.3%) for 674 yards and 7 touchdowns with only one interception. He joins only Don Meredith in 1966 as the only Cowboys quarterbacks to have 7 touchdowns in the first two games of the season. His passer rating is an amazing 142.9 as he's led the Cowboys to their first 2-0 start since 2015.
Coming into this season there were still a lot of doubters when it came to Prescott's ability to throw the football accurately on a consistent basis. Even a perfect passer rating in week one those questions were still a topic of discussion considering the Giants weren't seen as a real test. When his All-Pro teammate Ezekiel Elliott was asked about those who continue to doubt his quarterback, he was firm in his stance.
"They don't matter, " Elliott said. "All that matters is what we think in this locker room. We all support each other and we know Dak is one of the best QBs in this league. They can doubt all they want. We'll keep proving them wrong."
All the offseason preparation by Prescott with Quarterbacks Coach Jon Kitna and Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore is paying huge dividends so far. The chemistry between himself and his pass-catchers can't be denied, as he's off to the best start of his career. He'll look to make it 3 for 3 this Sunday in Arlington against the Miami Dolphins.
3 Bets Involving Cowboys Players in 2019
With 674 passing yards, seven touchdowns and a completion rate of 51/62, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has Cowboys fans excited about what the team can achieve this year, and that is reflected in the betting as Dallas have been cut in the Super Bowl, NFC Championship and NFC East markets following their victories against their divisional rivals.
If you are looking to place a bet on the Cowboys, here are three markets you may want to turn to outside of the conventional outright odds on the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Prescott Looks Like a Great Value at +2500 to be MVP
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 8, 2019
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has picked up a lot of praise for his play-calling against the Giants and Redskins. The former Cowboys back-up quarterback is already being talked about as a future head coach in the league. Although he does not have the same wealth of experience that his predecessor Scott Linehan had, we have seen over the last few years, particularly in LA with the Rams who reached the Super Bowl last year, that youthful coaches can have success.
The offense, and particularly Moore's former teammate Prescott, seemed to enjoy executing the plays that Moore dialed up, something which is only going to help Dallas’ number four deliver some big numbers this year. If he continues where he left off against the Redskins, he is a fantastic value in the betting at +2500 to be named as the league’s MVP.
Cowboys +800 to Win the NFC Championship
The Cowboys have not won the NFC Championship since 1995, however, this looks like their best chance of doing that in a long time. One of the big turning points last season was Dallas’ trade for Oakland Raiders’ Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. He has transformed the offense. The former Raider will be supported by Randall Cobb and Michael Gallup in 2019, giving Prescott plenty of options down the field.
Arguably the biggest player to return to action for the Cowboys though, which makes them NFC Championship contenders again, is Center Travis Frederick. The offensive line is far more solid with the four-time Pro Bowler in there.
The Rams, Saints, and Eagles are all going to be threats for the NFC title, however, the Cowboys may be good enough to eclipse those sides in 2019. Bookmakers such as bet365 are offering odds of +800 for the Cowboys to reach the Super bowl. Based on this review, bet365 is one of the best bookmakers to use in Canada and they offer a $200 sign up bonus.
Ezekiel Elliott is a Lock in the Betting for Top Rushing Yards
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 8, 2019
Regarding Running Back Ezekiel Elliott, there were real concerns that Dallas’ former first-round pick would be unavailable for week one, however, Jerry Jones got the deal done just in time for Elliott to face their divisional rivals. The 2016 and 2018 league leader in rushing yards looks to be in great shape with no suspensions looming over him this year, he should be set for a full year.
Elliott is a generational RB, therefore, it is no surprise that he tops the list with the bookmakers to win the leading rusher trophy for a third year. If you are looking for a lock this year in NFL betting, Elliott is your bet at +400.
Whatever happens this year, it should be a fun season with the Cowboys as they are good enough to give any team in the NFL a game, and who knows, they may just be the best of the pack.
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