Cowboys Nostalgia: Mel Renfro

“We’ve never seen anybody that good” said a Houston man in a time where Black athletes weren’t exactly accepted. This was before the Civil Rights Act of 1964; this was the time of segregation, civil rights leaders, and inequality.

That great athlete was a man named Mel Renfro, one of the Dallas greats!

Mel Renfro played for the University of Oregon where he played both ways, displaying blistering speed at tailback and ball-hawking abilities as a defensive back. He was a sight for sore eyes, and even more incredible, he was a step in history. Playing against Rice, Renfro was the only black athlete to receive a standing ovation at this time by a predominantly white crowd, captivating the hearts of many people worldwide.

In 1964, Renfro was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the draft. Immediately Renfro troubled wide receivers, and in 1969 Mel led the NFL with 10 interceptions.

Renfro was also selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first 10 seasons, including 5 All-Pro Selections.

Key Career Milestones include:

  • Named Pro Bowl MVP (1971)
  • Named All-NFC three times
  • Set a Dallas Cowboys Career Record with 52 interceptions
  • Won Two Super Bowl Titles (VI, XII)
  • Won Four NFC Championships
  • Won Nine Division Titles
  • Inducted Into Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor (1981)
  • Inducted Into Pro Football Hall of Fame (1996)

Understandingly, you might not be impressed by the stats or your might be wondering why you’re even reading this article. So let me tell you this–In today’s games, these stats may not be exactly eye turning, but they are impressive. Mel Renfro is one of a few historical cowboys that molded this franchise, his speedy and intelligent plays (See interception VS 49ers, to gain entrance to Superbowl V) have cemented the doomsday defense and solidified the reputation for Dallas to be “America’s Team” and one of the most respected franchises in all of sports.

Catch the next installment on Sunday March 15th on Bob Lilly at

What do you think?


Written by Bo Martin

Former Sports Writer. Veteran. Serving veterans is my passion. Johns Hopkins Student. Enjoy Discussing Politics and sports!


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