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Harvey Martin Is Greatest #79 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Harvey Martin Is Greatest #79 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had 2

There are officially 79 days until the toe meets the ball at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The number 79 isn’t sexy like 88 or 21, but I have been very excited to begin this phase of our countdown here at Inside The Star. For the most part all players to wear numbers in the 90s or 80s play the same position; therefore it’s a little bit easier to evaluate one against the other. Both offensive and defensive linemen have worn the 70s, and if you have thought ahead there’s one of each that are going to make today’s decision lots of fun.

The following players have all worn 79 for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Ben Bass, DE
  • Kenneth Boatright*, DE
  • Willie Broughton, DT
  • Sal Cesario, OT
  • Char-ron Dorsey, OT
  • Ron East, DT
  • Ken Frost, DT
  • Forrest Gregg, OT
  • John Hunt, OT
  • Dick Klein, OT
  • Pepa Letuli, OG
  • Harvey Martin, DE
  • Marques McFadden, OT
  • Rob Petitti, OT
  • Jacob Rogers, OT
  • Daryle Smith, OT
  • Larry Stephens, DE
  • Erik Williams, OT

*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster

This whole sha-bang comes down to two guys who played completely opposite positions: Harvey Martin and Erik Williams.

Cowboys Blog - Harvey Martin Is Greatest #79 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had

Cowboys Blog - Harvey Martin Is Greatest #79 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had 1

Erik Williams, aka Big E, was taken by the Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 1991 NFL Draft (via the Steve Walsh trade for all you know-it-alls out there!). His rookie year was spent mostly behind Nate Newton, but when that sophomore season hit in 1992 Erik really took off. Big E gained national notoriety that season after not allowing a single Reggie White sack on November 1st, 1992 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He (along with fellow linemen of that era Mark Tuinei, Mark Stepnoski, Kevin Gogan, and the aforementioned Nate Newton) began to really find their way as a unit, which propelled the Cowboys to their 90s dynasty. E had a very physical and aggressive play style and disposition that was rarely seen at his position. He put fear into opponents on a regular basis, enough that Michael Strahan credited him during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech a year ago. Many believe that if not for a serious car accident that caused Williams to miss a majority of the 1994 season he would have gone on to become one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play the game. Erik is still one of the greatest as he has 3 Super Bowls victories, 4 Pro Bowl Selections, and 2 First-Team All-Pro Selections to his name. Most impressive of all Williams' and his teammates accomplishments is that Emmitt Smith, the main man that they blocked for, became the NFL’s all-time leading rusher under their watch.

As incredible as Erik Williams was and as much as he meant to the Cowboys dynasty of the 1990s, #79 belongs to one player…and his name is Harvey Martin. Martin was also a third round selection, although in the 1973 NFL Draft, and from jump street was coached to be the player that the staff wanted him to be. Landry and Co. wanted to instill a sense of aggressiveness and tenacity in Harvey, and he began to embrace this persona…in fact one of Harvey’s eventual nicknames was “Too Mean.”

While quarterback sacks did not become an official NFL statistic until 1982, there are unofficial records that we can somewhat base production off of in the time before then. “The Beautiful” (as he was also known) has the following unofficial accolades:

  • 114 career sacks
  • Martin led the team in sacks 7 times in a 9 year period
  • Martin had 23 sacks in 1977 (which is more than Michael Strahan’s official 22.5 in 2001)
  • Martin has the most sacks as a Cowboys rookie with 9

These stats are unofficial as sacks were not officially counted in the NFL until 1982

Perhaps most impressive of all of Harvey Martin’s accomplishments was his 1977 season. You already read how he had an unofficial 23 sacks, but it was so much more than that. Keep in mind that while 23 sacks is a monstrous accomplishment in today’s NFL (noted by the fact that it has never happened officially) Harvey did it in only 14 games. His play was noticed by all of those around him as he was announced as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and he helped the Cowboys reach Super Bowl XII. Not only did Harvey help the Cowboys reach the promised land in 1977, but he was an instrumental part in securing the Cowboys’ second Super Bowl Victory. Martin’s contribution was so large that he was named co-MVP (the only time in Super Bowl History that there have been two MVPs) with defensive tackle Randy “The Manster” White.

Harvey Martin was a defensive monster and a part of the famed Doomsday Defense. Interestingly Harvey played his high school (Dallas South Oak Cliff High School), collegiate (East Texas State University which is now Texas A&M University Commerce), and professional football (obviously the Dallas Cowboys) careers all within the confines of the Dallas, Texas area. In his football life he never once played a home game on any level outside of there. The Dallas king is the Greatest 79 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 78 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

Tell us what you think about "Harvey Martin Is Greatest #79 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had" in the comments below. You can also email me at, 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!

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin



Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?

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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors



Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady



Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.

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