While researching all the players who have rocked No.74 for the Cowboys, I was surprised to see the small number of players (2) who have worn the number since you’re likely to find the most numbers get reused through the years.
However, I’m not complaining since it made my choice a walk-in-the-park.
But it would be wrong to not provide you with all TWO players who have worn the number, so here you go:
- Bob Lilly
- Jalen Jelks
While Jelks never panned out in the NFL, the choice was easy for me as “Mr. Cowboy” Bob Lilly was selected as the Greatest No. 74 ever in Cowboys History.
Starting, I admit I never saw Lilly play a down in the NFL, as I wasn’t even a sparkle in my parent’s eyes (I was born in 1996) yet.
Pro Football Hall of Fame on Twitter: “Happy Birthday to Hall of Famer Bob Lilly!#HBD | @dallascowboys pic.twitter.com/T0TzjkCEU9 / Twitter”
Happy Birthday to Hall of Famer Bob Lilly!#HBD | @dallascowboys pic.twitter.com/T0TzjkCEU9
Coming out of TCU, Lilly was a consensus All-American, two-time All-Southwest Conference pick, as the Cowboys wasted no time spending their first-ever NFL Draft pick on the highly-talented prospect in the first round (Pick 13).
Hence, why he’s called “Mr. Cowboy.”
In his first year, Lilly would get his feet wet at DE but would produce minimal production. It wasn’t until 1963, when HC Tom Landry switched him over to DT, that his career would take off, and he would become the main guy in the famous “Doomsday Defense.”
After several years of terrorizing opposing offenses and snatching up All-Pro honors, it wasn’t until 1970 that Lilly got his chance to compete in the Big Game.
In a close game, the Cowboys would drop Super Bowl V against the Baltimore Colts (16-13), losing in the final seconds by an FG, but instead of recalling the loss– most fans remember Lilly for his display of frustration that involved him chunking his helmet across the field.
Lilly and the Boys would return to the Super Bowl the next year and redeem themselves in a dominating 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins. The one play that stole the Super Bowl was when Lilly got a 29-yard sack on Dolphins QB Bob Griese in the final play of the first quarter, and to some, it was the signature play of his career.
Kevin Gallagher on Twitter: “#Cowboys icon Bob Lilly sacks the #Dolphins’ Bob Griese for a 29-yard loss on the final play of the first quarter of Super Bowl VI – the largest tackle-for-loss in Super Bowl history.The legendary Ray Scott and Pat Summerall on the call for CBS, 50 years ago today. pic.twitter.com/f0mtE5dypx / Twitter”
Cowboys icon Bob Lilly sacks the #Dolphins’ Bob Griese for a 29-yard loss on the final play of the first quarter of Super Bowl VI – the largest tackle-for-loss in Super Bowl history.The legendary Ray Scott and Pat Summerall on the call for CBS, 50 years ago today. pic.twitter.com/f0mtE5dypx
Learning about Lilly’s career was fun, and I’m jealous of the older-generation Cowboy fans who saw him terrorize teams weekly but also being able to witness those Doomsday Defense squads.
Not only was he the Greatest No.74 in franchise history, it could be argued that he is the Greatest Cowboy Player ever, but that argument is for another day.
Nonetheless, Lilly stands alone with his famous No.74, and check back for another Countdown to Kickoff post!