We are just four Sundays away, people. Four Sundays separate us from the greatest experience of our lives… Dallas Cowboys football.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises throughout the entire NFL. Their players grace the pages of Pro Football History and are regarded as some of the best to ever suit up.
As we continue our Countdown To Kickoff series we look at a player who helped shape both Dallas Cowboys and NFL History during the days that he hit the field. Follow along as we unveil the Greatest 28 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The Following Players Have All Worn 28 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
When Dave Campo took a scouting trip to Arizona State University in 1992 he spotted what he would later recount as, “a linebacker who looked like a safety in waiting.” This little nugget of information would come in handy during the draft that year, when in the second round the Dallas Cowboys selected someone who would become a cornerstone player on one of the most elite dynasties ever assembled in NFL History.
The former ASU outside linebacker who was regarded as too small for his position became larger than life at his new one – safety.
Woodson spent the majority of his rookie season in the NFL mostly in on nickel defense and special teams (he actually led the special teams in tackles with 19).
Adjusting to life in the NFL can be tough for a rookie. The game is played at a much higher speed than at the collegiate level, and the toughest position to translate over to has long been considered the cornerback spot. While Darren was only in on certain situations his rookie year he dove in head first during his sophomore season when he became the starting strong safety.
Already coming off of a Super Bowl victory his rookie year, Darren Woodson flourished in the starting role as he and the Cowboys repeated as Champions of the World. The star on Woodson’s helmet shined a little brighter than most as he set a Cowboys franchise record for tackles by a defensive back with 155.
Watch Out For Woody
By 1994 Darren Woodson, aka Woody, was a household name. For starters, he was a Dallas Cowboy. Beyond that Darren was a critical element to the best team in the NFL, and on top of that he was quickly becoming regarded as the best safety in the league.
Darren wasn’t just the best safety in the NFL; he was the best defensive back period. He could stop the run the way that you need your strong safety to, he could drop back into coverage like a stud free safety, but most impressively… Darren would line up in the slot in nickel packages on third downs and cover receivers inside.
There are players who spend their entire NFL careers, and actually their whole lives, trying to become even decent at just one of these positions. Darren Woodson’s perfect permeability was the ultimate weapon as he could be lethal from so many different angles.
You know how on those mornings after a particularly great Cowboys victory you feel like a truck hit you? That’s literally how anyone who was ever tackled by Darren Woodson feels all the time.
Darren Woodson laid the wood. Hard.
Since he joined the NFL in 1992 Woodson was immediately recognized as one of the hardest hitting trucks, I mean safeties, in the league. He would just level guys – decimating all of their hopes, dreams, and nervous systems.
Tackle after tackle, victim after victim, Darren’s tackle total grew. One by one the hits were heard around the bowels of Texas Stadium.
The legend of Darren Woodson and his hard hits grew. On October 27th, 2002 – in a game where Emmitt Smith became the NFL’s All-Time Leading Rusher – Darren Woodson joined the record books himself.
Darren Woodson became the Dallas Cowboys All-Time Leader in Tackles.
This is an incredible record as it speaks to many qualities about the individual that holds it. To be a franchise’s leader in tackles obviously requires an incredible amount of skill at the game of football, but it requires levels of sacrifice and durability that only a player of Darren Woodson’s caliber could give.
Woodson would add to his tackle tally and retired with 1,350 – the most in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History.
#28: Darren Woodson – Ring Of Honor Class Of 2015
The career of Darren Woodson is so incredible that it must be honored in proper fashion. Jerry Jones and Co. decided on August 4th, 2015 that Darren Woodson would join the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
The honor is a long time coming for a player with the career resume of Woodson:
- 5 Pro Bowl Selections (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
- 3 First-Team All-Pro Selections (1994, 1995, 1996)
- 3 Super Bowl Victories (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)
- 1,350 career tackles… the most in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History
The legend of Darren Woodson will live on forever as future generations of fans will surely still hear the crack of shoulder pads from Woody leveling somebody. The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 90s was built on the offense of the Triplets, but the defensive intensity that Woodson brought each and every play set the tone for that side of the ball.
Football fans can still enjoy Darren Woodson bringing his best to the game. He currently serves as an analyst on ESPN and most recently made an appearance at this year’s NFL draft when he announced our second round pick, Randy Gregory out of Nebraska.
We will all celebrate on November 1st when Darren Woodson’s name finally does join the illustrious Ring of Honor. Today, with 28 days until the 2015 season, let us all celebrate the Greatest 28 in Dallas Cowboys History – Darren Woodson.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 27 in Dallas Cowboys History is!