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Cowboys CTK: Dandy Don Turns Out The Lights On #17

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Dandy Don Turns Out The Lights On #17 4

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:

  • Harold Carmichael, WR
  • Quincy Carter, QB
  • Mike Clark, K
  • James Cleveland, WR
  • Jason Garrett*, QB
  • Nick Harwell*, WR
  • Dwayne Harris, WR
  • Sam Hurd, WR
  • Don Meredith, QB

*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

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Dandy Don Turns Out The Lights On #17

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.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Dandy Don Turns Out The Lights On #17 1

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.

Dandy Don

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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

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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!

Want to share your opinions on who should be featured on our Countdown To Kickoff? Email me at or Tweet @rjochoa.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys CTK: Dandy Don Turns Out The Lights On #17" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!


Star Blog

What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

For many years, Linebacker Sean Lee has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense. However, that's quickly changing. The young duo consisting of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken over the linebacker position by dominating the field from sideline to sideline with their explosive talent. As a rookie, Vander Esch filled in for Lee at the weak linebacker position when the veteran went down injured and never gave the job back.

Currently, uncertainty surrounds Sean Lee, who took a pay cut earlier in the year to stay with the franchise he's played for since the beginning of his professional career in 2010. What will his role be in a young fueled defense in the upcoming season?

As we've all been able to see throughout his career, Sean Lee is one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's not very often. His injury proneness led him to a position change years ago, when he was moved from the MIKE (middle linebacker) to the WILL (weak side linebacker) position. Now, those two spots are taken care of.

Where does this leaves Lee? The main question is whether or not he'll move to the strong side. Many question if this would be the correct call, given that he could be at even more risk of suffering yet another injury in a position that leads to more contact. The other option would be for him to be Vander Esch's backup at WILL.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

Lately, it seems like the Cowboys will indeed move him to the strong-side. After all, it only makes sense to have your best three players on the field at the same time. On minicamp, the Cowboys have been playing the veteran at SAM, letting him get reps and grow comfortable in what seems to be his new job.

But even if Sean Lee starts lining up on the strong side, what can we expect from him next season? The way the NFL offenses operate now leads to teams sending their nickel packages to the field more often than not. For the Cowboys 4-3 defense, that means three cornerbacks, two linebackers. When that's the case, it will be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith who we see out there, not Lee.

Damien Wilson was the team's "starter" on the strong side, and he only managed to get 286 snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. That represents 28% of the team's total snaps. Even if Sean Lee becomes the starting strong side linebacker, we likely won't be seeing him as much.

Even still, I'd expect Sean Lee's experience to play a big factor when the team needs Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch to catch their breath. Lee could jump in and play a few snaps at any LB spot and do a good job at it.

After all, we can't forget that despite his injuries, Lee is a remarkable player on defense. He should still be one of the smartest linebackers with extraordinary instincts. There's a reason why, before Vander Esch arrived to America's Team, the defense crumbled without him. Last year, despite losing the starting gig, Lee still had 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and an interception. The longtime veteran can still play.

It will be odd for Cowboys Nation to watch Lee on a completely new role. It's also hard to put the finger on what his production will look like at the end of the year. If there's one thing we know though, is that the veteran will work hard every practice trying to get the most playing time he can. We should be excited about the team's top three linebackers.

Tell me what you think about "What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady



Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.

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Star Blog

Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady



Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success.'s Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.

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