We are now full well in the middle of the first week of NFL Preseason action! Since all of the coaches, players, and other team officials use the preseason as a practice I have been deciding to do so as well.
I practiced grilling. I may or may not have set fire to my shoes, but that’s what practice is for. I also practiced my ritual of eating a minimum of four pounds of queso during the game and you know what, I feel fantastic!
With the real deal getting ready to go down in 29 days we all have some skill-sharpening to do. To help me with that I’m going to walk you further down our Countdown To Kickoff series, and today we are discussing the Greatest 29 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The Following Players Have All Worn 29 For The Dallas Cowboys:
I pride myself on a few things in life. There’s my coin collection that my grandfather helped me start when I was about 12 years old, I’ve also got to count the perfect way that my hair parts, and then there’s what I consider to be my high level of objectivity.
That last one is going to come in handy today. Today’s featured player put together quite the resume in four years under the star before he traded it in for a pair of wings. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you… The Greatest 29 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The Oklahoma Sooner from Sin City made his way to Dallas during the 2011 NFL Draft. With Felix Jones on the roster the Cowboys needed to find the future at the running back position. In the third round the Cowboys called his number and a star was born.
2011: Rookie Wonder
Murray wasn’t just looking up the depth chart at Felix Jones, former fan favorite Tashard Choice was firmly entrenched in the second string role. When Felix went down against the New England Patriots, the door swung open for #29.
Tashard Choice was named the starting running back when the Cowboys squared off against the St. Louis Rams in Week 7. While that may technically be true, Murray stole the show. Early in the first quarter he busted loose 91 yards, the second longest run in franchise history, for the score… and caused my cousin Jeremy, whom I was playing that week in fantasy with Murray at my disposal, to utterly lose it.
He would go on to set the Dallas Cowboys single-game record for most rushing yards in a game with 253. Welcome to the NFL, kid.
Turning Into A Pro Bowler
2012 has been the least productive year of DeMarco Murray’s career to date. He only played in, and started, 10 games… accumulating just 663 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. He missed 6 games and began to develop an injury-prone persona.
The other trend that started to become known with Murray was that when he carried the ball 20+ times, the Cowboys won. This streak extended to eight games when the Cowboys beat the Bengals in Cincinnati in an emotional game following Jerry Brown’s death.
Murray did all he could to shed his injury-prone persona in 2013 when he played in 14 games. He topped a thousand yards for the first time in his career (rushing for 1,121) and took a trip to the Pro Bowl. He was firmly on his way.
NFL Offensive Player Of The Year
2014 was prosperous for the Dallas Cowboys and DeMarco Murray. While one of his first carries of the season actually resulted in a fumble, #29 was cooking with gas through last season.
DeMarco Murray eclipsed 100 yards in each of the first 8 games of the 2014 season, breaking the record that Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown set all the way back in 1958.
In Week 17 DeMarco eclipsed another Pro Football Hall of Famer, and Cowboy legend, in Emmitt Smith. Murray surpassed Emmitt Smith’s single-season rushing record (1,773 yards in 1995) and ultimately rushed his way to a league-leading 1,845 yards.
The performance that DeMarco Murray put on running the ball in 2014 was one of the finer seasons that we have ever seen from any running back in NFL History. It culminated with his second selection to the Pro Bowl, a spot on the First-Team All-Pro Team, and the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year Award.
#29: DeMarco Murray
Football is a lot of wonderful things, but ultimately it is a business. In a business move, DeMarco Murray was allowed to test the market in free agency and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
This does not at all diminish what DeMarco Murray accomplished in four years during his time with the Cowboys. He served as one of the more productive running backs in that stretch and put together one of the finest seasons that the position has ever seen last year.
Thanks for the great times, DeMarco. You deserve the best. You are the Greatest 29 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 28 in Dallas Cowboys History is!