Jay Novacek: Greatest 84 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had

There are officially 84 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.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Cowboy dads out there! This is a special Sunday that you’re hopefully spending with your old man, while recounting some great Cowboys memories. Amidst those I’m going to throw one in, the Greatest 84 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The following players have all worn 84 for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Rich Borresen, TE
  • Scott Chandler, TE
  • Doug Cosbie, TE
  • Patrick Crayton, WR
  • Jean Fugett, TE
  • Joey Galloway, WR
  • James Hanna*, TE
  • Keith Jennings, TE
  • Mike Lucky, TE
  • Pettis Norman, TE
  • Jay Novacek, TE
  • Tysson Poots, WR
  • Gary Wisener, DB

*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster

There are a great number of guys that have worn 84 for America’s Team. James Hanna is one of the team’s current tight ends who hopes to have a big 2015 season. Scott Chandler has had success as an NFL tight end with the Buffalo Bills. Mike Lucky has one of the coolest names ever; however, this comes down to three guys.

Patrick Crayton actually played some quarterback at Northwestern Oklahoma State. Taken by the Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft he continued his progression at the wide receiver position. He saw his true emergence in the 2006 season as Tony Romo began to assimilate Crayton into his arsenal when he took over at quarterback. Bill Parcells was one of Patrick’s biggest fans and continually said that he had the best hands on the team…a team that included players like Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, and Jason Witten.

Cowboys Blog - Jay Novacek: Greatest 84 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had
Patrick Crayton signing my helmet at Training Camp in 2007.

When it comes to drafting NFL players, taking the “best player available” is always a safe play. The Cowboys lived and breathed this mantra in the 1970s, but when Doug Cosbie was on the board at the 76th pick in 1979 they thought differently. They took a tight end who they could pair with Danny White for the foreseeable future, and Doug had a great career…but pick number 77 was Joe Montana.

Cosbie became a great tight end within a franchise that already had a great history at the position. He fully took over for Billy Jo DuPree (who was featured on our #89 countdown) in 1982 and Cosbie set franchise records at catches/yards per season and per career. He played his entire career for the Cowboys, being left unprotected by them in Plan B Free Agency in 1989.

Plan B Free Agency (which in a nutshell meant that teams signed their “A” list guys and left their “B” list unprotected) included the departure of Cosbie, but brought in the Greatest 84 in Dallas Cowboys History. In 1990 The Phoenix Cardinals (Yes, Phoenix…the Cardinals once played there youngsters) left Jay Novacek unprotected and the Cowboys pounced. Novacek arrived in Dallas at a time where their offensive dynasty was beginning to take shape. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and Co. were all coming into their own…and a play-making tight end was the cherry on top of Sundays (clever, I know).

He became a great third down threat and Troy Aikman’s security blanket, much like Jason Witten is to Tony Romo today. After his initial season in 1990, Jay made trips to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl in each of his remaining years with the Cowboys/in the NFL (1991-1995). In the middle of that run Jay also made three trips to the Holy Grail and helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in four years, establishing themselves as a dynasty. He caught 339 balls for 3,576 yards and 22 touchdowns as a Cowboy and even rushed in a touchdown!

Cowboys Blog - Jay Novacek: Greatest 84 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had 1
Left to Right: Myself, Jay Novacek, and my Dad on Christmas Eve 2006.

Novacek is one of the greater, and most literal, Cowboys of all time. It wasn’t strange to see him with a ten-gallon hat on or talking about life on the ranch. He is easily the Greatest 84 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 83 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

Tell us what you think about “Jay Novacek: Greatest 84 Dallas Cowboys Have Ever Had” in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

What do you think?

RJ Ochoa

Written by RJ Ochoa

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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