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Mr. Cowboy: Bob Lilly Stands Alone as The Greatest No.74 in Dallas Cowboys History

We’re officially 74 days away until Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Regular season, and in today’s post, we’re crowning the Greatest No.74 in Dallas

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:

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. 

However, after seeing some game film on him, I wish I was alive to witness his dominance on the field, because to me, it’s like he was the or JJ Watt of his era. 

Pro Football Hall of Fame on Twitter: “Happy Birthday to Hall of Famer Bob Lilly!#HBD | @dallascowboys / Twitter”

Happy Birthday to Hall of Famer Bob Lilly!#HBD | @dallascowboys

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 pick on the highly-talented prospect in the (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 switched him over to DT, that his career would take off, and he would become the main guy in the famous “Doomsday .”

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 V against the Baltimore Colts (16-13), losing in the final seconds by an FG, but instead of recalling the loss– most 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 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. / Twitter”

Cowboys icon Bob Lilly the #Dolphins’ Bob Griese for a 29-yard loss on the final play of the first quarter of – the largest -for-loss in Super Bowl history.The legendary Ray Scott and Pat Summerall on the call for , 50 years ago today.

Lilly would play a few more seasons before retiring in 1974, but he exited as one of the most accomplished defenders, and if not arguably the best the NFL has ever seen. 

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 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!

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Rocky Garza Jr

Written by Rocky Garza Jr

Rolling with the Boyz since 96'. Chop up sports with me on Twitter @rockssjr.

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  1. I loved watching Bob Lilly play when I was young. He was incredibly strong so he didn’t feel the need to prove how tough or bad he was. On more than one occasion I saw him, when he sacked a QB, he would bear hug them and almost gently lay them down on the turf, like putting a small child down for a nap.

    Played 6man football Throckmorton, TX.

  2. Agree Rocky, Lilly could be the best Cowboy ever. He was Cowboy’s first ever draft pick and it paid off in spades. He was HUMBLE, and also relentless, and there were times when he was TRIPLE TEAMED! Played 14 seasons, ROTY, 11 Pro Bowls, All-Pro 7 times. I started watching them in 1966 and Bob is maybe top two with Roger.

    The great Cowboy HC Tom Landry once said, “Nobody is better than Lilly”.

  3. When I was a young guy, then as now, I watched every Cowboy game on television. When they were on defense, I watched Mr. Lilly – every down. That was all I needed to know what was happening. Everything happened around and because of his play. After Mr. Lilly retired, along came Randy White. I have been spoiled by these two icons about how defense should be dominated by a single DT.

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