I like to think that you, my fellow staff members at Inside The Star, and the players featured on our Countdown To Kickoff are all teammates. That being said, before we begin I’d like to ask nicely that nobody punch me in the jaw.
It’s hump day which means it’s time to look forward to the rest of the week, but I’m looking way past that… 32 days to be specific. In that time you’ll be in your favorite jersey, praising your fantasy football team, and basking in all of the National Football League glory.
To commemorate our pending joy we’re going to continue with our Countdown To Kickoff series. As always remember that flash photograph is permitted and you will get your toy back at the end of class.
Onward to the Greatest 32 in Dallas Cowboys History!
The Following Players Have All Worn 32 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
1966 brought forth the first Super Bowl season for the NFL/AFL. While the big game that we all know and love did take place, the merger of the two leagues didn’t fully take place until 1970.
This meant that the two leagues still had their usual separate drafts. There was a running back hailing from Oklahoma State that peaked the interests of teams from both leagues. The Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL deemed him worthy of their 17th round draft pick, while the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys prioritized him higher… taking him in the 5th round of 1966. Who was this Cowboy?
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy turned Dallas Cowboy had been a Cowboy all his life… a real life Cowboy. Walt Garrison was frequently seen on the ranch and enjoyed life with a ten-gallon hat and a pair of boots. He epitomized the name of the Dallas Cowboys and relished in the Cowboy way. His Cowboy lifestyle was so important to him that his signing bonus in 1966 included a horse trailer!
While Walt Garrison was certainly a serviceable running back and showed a lot of promise, the Dallas Cowboys already had a Pro Bowl ball carrier that was in the middle of his career in Don Perkins.
Garrison patiently waited his turn, serving mostly on special teams during his first years. Walt knew he had the talent and drive to be the star running back for the Dallas Cowboys. He served his time in back up duty, until Don Perkins retired after the 1968 contest, and then it was time to get to work.
Over The Moon
One of the most impressive things ever achieved by the human race happened in 1969 when we landed on the moon. Walt Garrison would accomplish a similarly impressive thing when he gave the Dallas Cowboy running game life after Don Perkins.
Walt waltzed his way to a career high 818 yards in his first season as the full-time starter. He became a household name, but real Cowboy fans began to respect him for much more than just being a yardage machine.
Walt Garrison: Man Of Steel
The NFL is a nasty game. You’re talking about the finest athletes in the world intentionally hitting and bruising one another. This, undoubtedly, leads to injuries. Such things could not sideline Walt Garrison. He had a grit and determination about him to where he was going to fight through anything and continue to play at a high level.
Garrison’s superhuman toughness was on display during the 1970 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. Neither a cracked collarbone nor a very serious ankle injury could stop Walt Garrison.
He overcame these ailments, rushing 17 times for 71 yards and catching 3 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Walt’s heroic effort helped the Cowboys secure victory and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl – their first berth in the big game in franchise history.
Walt The Winner
The Cowboys would ultimately lose their first Super Bowl against the Baltimore Colts. They hit the field in 1971 desperate to win a World Championship, and Walt Garrison was determined to help.
Teamed up with Duane Thomas and Calvin Hill, Walt Garrison helped establish the rushing attack of the Dallas Cowboys as one of the most prominent, and feared, throughout the entire NFL. The three-headed beast of Thomas, Hill, and Garrison combined for 408 carries yielding 1,690 yards and 20 touchdowns in the 1971 campaign.
This trio of running backs helped the Dallas Cowboys reach Super Bowl VI and avenge their loss from a year before. They trounced Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins, by a score of 24-3, and established themselves as the champions of the world.
#32: Walt Garrison
Walt Garrison totaled 3,886 rushing yards and 1,794 receiving yards before it was all said and done. This real life Cowboy served as the model of consistency during his days in Dallas.
When asked about how dependable Walt was, famed quarterback Don Meredith jokingly said, “If it was third down, and you needed four yards, if you’d get the ball to Walt Garrison, he’d get ya five. And if it was third down and ya needed twenty yards, you’d get the ball to Walt Garrison, by God, he’d get you five.”
The Dallas Cowboys were very fortunate to have such a reliable running back throughout Walt’s tenure. He exemplified the name of the Dallas Cowboys down to his core, and he accomplished quite a lot in his time… making Walt Garrison the Greatest 32 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 31 in Dallas Cowboys History is!