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Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20 5

I hope that you started off your Monday morning with a nice shower, because I know we ended Sunday evening with a good one.

Quarterback Jameill Showers raised the eyebrows of Cowboy fans yesterday when he showed us his wheels. It was a lot of fun and more than anything it was great to have football on a Sunday.

20 days from now will be another Sunday, the one where the Cowboys host the Giants in the 2015 season opener (totally not a Friends reference there with the whole “the one” thing).

We’re going to stay on this Countdown To Kickoff today with that number in mind. So hands and feet inside the vehicle please, flash photography is permitted, let’s get going with the Greatest 20 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The Following Players Have All worn 20 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • Richie Anderson, FB
  • Alan Ball, CB
  • Bob Bercich, S
  • Michael Coe, CB
  • Ray Horton, S
  • Jason Kaiser, CB
  • Bruce Livingston, CB
  • Darren McFadden*, RB
  • Jerry Overton, CB
  • Tyler Patmon*, CB
  • Willie Pile, S
  • Mel Renfro^, S/RB/CB
  • Derek Ross, CB
  • Allen Rossum, CB
  • Phillippi Sparks, CB
  • Ron Springs, FB
  • B.W. Webb, CB
  • Sherman Williams, RB

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster

The 1964 NFL Draft gave the Cowboys three Pro Football Hall of Famers. There was Navy quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Roger Staubach. Of course the Dallas Cowboys sprinted away in world-record speed with the great Bob Hayes.

There is one other Gold Jacket owner who put a Star on his hat that year, though. When the Cowboys were on the clock in the 2nd round with the 17th overall pick they had a player in mind who they wanted, but he had an injury concern. In those days there were no time limits on draft picks so they figured, “let’s send a doctor to check this guy out!”

SIX HOURS LATER… the brain trust of the Cowboys collected $200 and passed go with the selection of the Greatest 20 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Mel Renfro

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20

The University of Oregon product was quite the, yes I know what I’m about to say, running back during his time in Eugene. Over his career as a Duck, Mel ran 269 times for 1,540 yards and 14 touchdowns… coupled with 41 catches for 644 yards and 5 more scores.

The 60s were a time in pro football where coaches put their finest athletes on the offensive side of the ball. Well, sweet action! We’ve got ourselves this offensive superstar and we put the best guys on offense… this is going to be awesome!

Safety First

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20 4

When Renfro arrived in Dallas there were already a few offensive playmakers. Frank Clarke was a starting receiver and the Cowboys had just traded for both Buddy Dial and Tommy McDonald. Coach Landry is one of the finest innovators in NFL History so, not wanting such athletic talent to sit on the bench, he devised a plan for Mel.

Coach Landry took this new offensive weapon and determined that the smartest thing to do was put him in the defensive backfield at safety. You see, Coach Landry was trying to put together a dominant defense and he figured that an athlete with Renfro’s skills could contribute there. After all the free safety position provided Renfro, who was blessed with speed like no other, with an opportunity to play the ball and get after it.

Landry was right. Renfro led the team in interceptions as a rookie with 7, but he also contributed to the team in the return game. Mel led the entire NFL in both punt and kickoff return yardage, with 418 and 1,017 respectively. Play like that and you get invited to the Pro Bowl, and this started a streak of 10 straight Pro Bowl nods for Mel Renfro.

Running Back To Running Back

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20 2

Mel Renfro was a very gifted athlete. He’d had a lot of success as a defensive back, but he still had a hankering for the side of the ball that does the point scoring. Renfro supporters around Dallas organized the “MOO Club”, an acronym that stood for “Mel On Offense” in hopes of Mel getting some shots at running back.

Since he was looking to improve his offense anyway, Coach Landry decided that he would try Mel Renfro back at running back in 1966. That’s insane! Imagine that in today’s NFL game. Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints just pulls Kenny Vaccaro over at practice one day and says, “Dude let’s move you to running back.”

Renfro was injured in the opening game against the New York Giants which allowed the Greatest 30 in Dallas Cowboys History, Dan Reeves, to come in and show off what he could do running the rock.

While Mel Renfro ultimately ran 8 times for 52 yards and caught 4 passes for 64 yards, Coach Landry had seen enough. He decided that after his injury Renfro belonged back on defense and at safety… for a little while.

Cornered

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20 1

In his 7th season Mel Renfro underwent one more change. While he had dabbled in it a bit before, Renfro made the full-time switch to the cornerback position in 1970. Traditionally defensive backs are moved from corner to safety, not the other way around, but in 1969 the Cowboys gave up 22 touchdowns in 12 games and Coach Landry wanted somebody to stop that - somebody named Mel Renfro.

Mel Renfro led the NFL in interceptions during the 1969 season with 10 as a safety/corner hybrid, and this number dropped radically once he became a full-time cornerback. Once he was closer to receivers and blanketing them, quarterbacks became fearful of throwing his way.

While his interception numbers drop beginning in the 1970 season this is indicative of quarterbacks shying away from him. Mel Renfro was someone who teams refused to test because they knew that there was no way that they could beat him, he was just too fast and would close gaps so quickly that it seemed impossible.

#20: Mel Renfro

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20 3

Mel and I on the night before the last game at Texas Stadium

Over 52 career interceptions Mel Renfro covered 626 yards returning them. Both of these numbers are 1st in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History. Renfro was selected to 10 straight Pro Bowls from 1964-1973, and he was a part of both the Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII winning squads.

Mel Renfro is a member of both the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, Class of 1981, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1996. Today he joins our Countdown To Kickoff series as the Greatest 20 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 19 in Dallas Cowboys History is!


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

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys CTK: Franchise Interceptions Leader Mel Renfro Takes #20" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, 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

How The Seattle Seahawks Have Increased Importance In Cowboys’ Lore

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Seattle Seahawks: 5 Bold Predictions
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

You can't talk about this decade's Dallas Cowboys without discussing the Seattle Seahawks.

In 2012, when Golden Tate took out Sean Lee on a crack-back block and the Seahawks embarrassed a Cowboys team who had just defeated the defending champion New York Giants, we saw which of the two teams was truly ready for the big stage.

In 2014, as Rolando McClain intercepted Russell Wilson and the Cowboys clinched a critical road victory, we knew that Dallas was a legit contender.

In 2015, when Seattle finally came to Dallas and rendered the return of Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant meaningless in a 13-12 win, the then 2-5 Cowboys were sent further into a Romo-less abyss.

And, in 2017, Dez Bryant's key drops and Dan Bailey's missed field goals during a horrendous home loss to the Seahawks on Christmas Eve might have sealed each of their fates for the following offseason.

The most important moment in this Cowboys/Seahawks history, however, occurred during a preseason game. A meaningless preseason game which turned out to be the most meaningful day in recent Cowboys history.

Cliff Avril dragging Tony Romo down from behind, effectively ending his career, and kicking off the roster massive turnover we have seen the last two offseasons. From Dak Prescott, to a brand new secondary, to the retirement of Jason Witten, and the cutting of Dez Bryant. All of this change, which put an end to the Romo era rosters in Dallas, began with that hit in Seattle.

Since 2012 the Cowboys, and the rest of the NFC really, have been judged by how they play against two teams: the Packers and the Seahawks.

They have been the class of the NFC, and while we like to think that if the "Dez Caught It" game went how it should have Dallas would've handled Seattle, that will forever be an unknown.

Sunday's game is not expected to carry the franchise-changing implications that some of these other match ups have had. The Seahawks are 0-2 and reeling, with a shaky offensive line and reported distrust throughout the organization.The Cowboys, however, can jump-start their season with a big road win over a winless team that they should beat in the minds of many.

But knowing how things between these teams tend to go, Sunday afternoon may end up having major implications on the rest of the Cowboys' season.

Where this could be the case is in a potential Earl Thomas trade. It's been speculated that Seattle has been hesitant to deal Thomas to Dallas before their week 3 match up, but could be more willing to do so after the game.

Especially if that game is a loss which sends them to 0-3. The Cowboys have been actively pursuing Earl Thomas, and Thomas has certainly made it clear that he wants to be in Dallas. The only party not willing to make it happen thus far, are the Seahawks.

So, this weekend, there is a chance another chapter is added to those franchise-changing moments in Cowboys/Seahawks lore.



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Star Blog

A Look Around The NFC East: Week 3

Kevin Brady

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Tyrone Crawford, Carson Wentz, Eagles

Week two didn't go as planned for much of the NFC East, with only the Dallas Cowboys reigning victorious last Sunday.

Now, three teams are locked in a tie for first place at 1-1, with the New York Giants lagging behind with a winless record. Week 3 is shaping up to be a potential early turning point, however, with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz returning and each team facing a very beatable opponent.

Let's take a look around the division and see what the Cowboys' foes will be facing this week.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles fell victim to one of the more surprising upsets of the weekend last Sunday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Eagles 27-21. While their defense got off to a shaky start in the loss, it was the offense which proved too little too late in their push down the stretch.

Carson Wentz is expected to not only return but to start on Sunday in the Eagles' match up against the Colts. Indianapolis upset the Washington Redskins last week, but will be 6 point underdogs when the game kicks off in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Wentz should give the defending champs an extra boost, and while they haven't looked as dominant as many expected through the first two games, this could be the game to spring them the rest of the way.

Washington Redskins

As mentioned earlier, the Redskins fell in Indianapolis last week, and are now tied for first place in the division with a 1-1 record. As dominant and impressive as Washington looked in their opener against Arizona, Washington's week two loss featured lethargic offensive play for four quarters.

This week the Redskins are three point home underdogs as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers come to town. Green Bay tied Minnesota a week ago, but behind Rodgers and their potent offense, they have the chance to take advantage of Washington's suspect secondary down the field.

Sunday will be a tough test for the Redskins as they look to get back above .500 against a tough conference opponent.

New York Giants

The Giants' season is on the brink this week, and that really isn't a dramatic statement at all. Now at 0-2 with a division loss to the Cowboys last week, the Giants have to beat the 0-2 Texans on Sunday to get some confidence and keep pace within the conference.

Lucky for them, the Texans haven't looked impressive whatsoever through two games. Unlucky for them, the Texans have strong pass rushers like JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney ready to abuse their weak offensive line.

Houston is a six point home favorite over the Giants, proving it will be an uphill battle for New York to save their season.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: La Defensiva de Dallas es Muy Real

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 3

Después de dos semanas de acción de los Dallas Cowboys, una cosa ha quedado más que clara. La defensiva del coordinador defensivo Rod Marinelli ha demostrado que es realmente buena. No como en otros años, que nos conformábamos con que la defensiva dejará avanzar y cediera tres puntos hasta que se rompía en el último cuarto.

No, ahora es diferente. Este año, los Dallas Cowboys tienen presión al QB opuesto. No sólo DeMarcus Lawrence, sino Taco Charlton, Randy Gregory y recientemente, los linebackers. Hemos visto a Jaylon Smith y Damien Wilson brindar presión y sobre todo, llegar a sus objetivos.

Los linebackers no han brillado sólo en esto, sino en otros ámbitos defensivos, como cobertura aérea y más. Incluso Joe Thomas ha logrado mantener su nivel que vimos en pretemporada cuando se le ha pedido entrar al campo.

Y en cuanto a la secundaria, no podríamos estar más agradecidos con la actuación de nuestros cornerbacks. Byron Jones está jugando a un nivel increíble. La semana pasada, Eli Manning sólo se atrevió a lanzar el balón en su dirección en cinco ocasiones. En esas cinco, consiguió sólo un pase completo para cero yardas. Chidobe Awuzie también ha tenido un gran inicio al 2018, manteniendo un nivel de juego consistente y efectivo. Estamos hablando de que el domingo pasado, estos dos cornerbacks se enfrentaron a uno de los mejores WR en la NFL, Odell Beckham Jr.

Finalmente, la posición de safety se ha visto como la unidad más débil en la defensiva. Jeff Heath es un titular promedio y Kavon Frazier tiene mucho camino por recorrer. Afortunadamente, hay esperanza de que Xavier Woods regrese de lesión este domingo.

A pesar de que en el 2016 todos veíamos a la ofensiva como nuestro futuro, es sorprendente el nivel que ha mostrado la defensiva. Es más agresiva, más efectiva y más confiable que en otros años. No podemos subestimar la llegada del coach Kris Richard al equipo.

Sobre todo después de que en el partido contra los New York Giants y los Carolina Panthers se demostró que Richard está involucrado directamente con las decisiones de las jugadas que se ejecutarán en el campo. Incluso Marinelli no tuvo problemas admitiendo que efectivamente, Richard estaba ganándose un rol en este aspecto.

Esto es muy relevante para los Dallas Cowboys, pues una de las cosas más destacadas que hemos visto las últimas semanas es el usaje de cargas o "blitzes" especiales en varias oportunidades. Incluyendo tercer down y largo.

Es algo que no habíamos visto nunca con el conservador Marinelli y que claramente es producto de Richard. Este personaje que viene de los Seattle Seahawks continua emergiendo como un candidato real al puesto de coordinador defensivo en el 2019 o quien sabe, quizá sea nombrado head coach si las cosas comienzan a ir mal para este equipo.

Sin duda alguna, la defensiva ha demostrado que es muy confiable y real. Es tiempo de que la ofensiva de Dallas responda a esto y comience a mover más las cadenas y sobre todo, aprovechar las oportunidades que tengan de anotar touchdowns. Empezar a depender de goles de campo nunca sale bien.

Linehan: "Butler Has Had a Good Camp", But Will He Stay?

Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports)

Sobre la llegada de Brice Butler

Increíblemente, Brice Butler regresó a los Dallas Cowboys, incluso después de todos los comentarios que hizo en ciertos programas de televisión. La primera reacción al respecto fue de confusión; ¿por qué regresar con un receptor que nunca fue tan especial y que habló tanto de Dallas?

La respuesta a esta pregunta se esclareció un poco este jueves por la noche cuando surgieron los rumores de que Terrance Williams, quien fue arrestado en el offseason por intoxicación pública, podría ser suspendido pronto por la NFL.

Esto probablemente no sucederá antes del partido de la semana 3, pero de todas maneras explica mucho sobre el último movimiento de los Cowboys.

Predicción #DALvsSEA

En un partido bastante cerrado, creo que la defensiva de los Dallas Cowboys hará lo suficiente para llevarse la victoria. Es de suma importancia derribar a Russell Wilson y sobre todo, que la ofensiva tenga su mejor actuación de la campaña. La defensiva de Seahawks es bastante efectiva y no será sencillo vencerlos.

Marcador: Dallas Cowboys 21 - Seattle Seahawks 17

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: La Defensiva de Dallas es Muy Real" 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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