Come on down to Friday Avenue! This is a land free of deadlines, filled with coffee breaks, and the gateway to the weekend. Friday, you are a something beautiful. Since I’m in such a great mood I’ll let you guys in on a secret… you don’t have to wash clothes by color, everything will be fine… secret of life right there.
Really though it should be no secret that in 51 days you’ll get to see the usual stumped-Eli Manning-face as the Cowboys put an exclamation point on Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season. To celebrate the season’s inevitable arrival, and Eli’s clumsiness, we’re going to dance our way down memory lane with the Greatest 51 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The Following Players Have All Worn 51 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
Ken Norton Jr.
I hope that you’re in a nostalgic mood because we’re going back to the 90s today. To be fair we’re starting at the 1988 NFL Draft, the 2nd round specifically, where the Cowboys drafted a middle linebacker out of UCLA, Ken Norton Jr.
The Jr. is important here because Ken Norton (senior) was the one-time heavyweight champion of the world. His son conquered his own arena in a similar fashion.
Like Father, Like Son
Ken Norton Jr. took some time to find his way on the Dallas Cowboys in the early 1990s. It wasn’t until 1992 when he firmly found himself as a regular part of the defense, starting at the middle linebacker position.
The 1992 Dallas Cowboys had, as Norton recounted in NFL Network’s America’s Game on that season, “the number one defense in the land.” Leading the league in defense was made possible through the leadership and tenacity exemplified by Ken. He put together 120 tackles and brought a fiery disposition to the team that it had been lacking since the days of Doomsday.
The Cowboys would ride the waves of success that were generated by Norton and many others to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993. Ken even had a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first of those Super Sundays.
Ken Norton Jr. threw his own punches on the gridiron.
After a great play or an amazing sack, Norton would punch the air in tribute to his father. While Norton had many big plays, I believe his finest is one of his more underrated.
The Cowboy defense found themselves with their backs on the goal line early in the first quarter. Buffalo handed the ball off to Kenneth Davis, shockingly not Thurman Thomas, and Ken Norton Jr. completely stood his ground.
It was as if Davis ran into an immovable wall…
He was literally an inch away from the airspace of the end zone and Ken Norton Jr. just pushed him backward. Can you imagine the kind of physical force that one would have to harness to accomplish this? It’s mind-boggling.
Heavyweight Champion Of #51
While the offensive side of the ball gets a lot of the pomp and circumstance from those 90s days, the Cowboy defense was no joke. They were, again, the number one defense in the land.
The landscape of the NFL was ruled by the Cowboys and the Greatest 51 in Dallas Cowboys History, Ken Norton Jr.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 50 in Dallas Cowboys History is!