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Mr. Cowboy Is Mr. 74: The Legend Of Bob Lilly

There are officially 74 days until the toe meets the ball at where the will host the on NBC’s .

Guess what day it is?! No, not hump day. Today is Appreciation Day! We’re going to unveil who the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys is. Let’s get started.

The following players have all worn 74 for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Bob Lilly^

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Yes, really. Only one man, one legend, one Cowboy has EVER worn 74. Holy freaking crap how awesome is that?

Robert Lewis Lilly, aka Mr. Cowboy, started wreaking havoc at Texas Christian University. He was twice an All-Southwest Conference pick, a consensus All-American, and a member of the 1961 All-America Team. With a resume like that you’re sure to get noticed at the NFL level, and Lilly definitely was.

After expansion in 1960, 1961 was the first time that the Dallas Cowboys would ever participate in the . Having previously traded their first-round draft choice to the in exchange for first Cowboy QB ever Eddie LeBaron, they found themselves in a pickle. There was a player sitting at the 13th pick that they knew could catapult them into NFL relevance. The Dallas called up the and struck a deal.

The Cowboys gave up their draft choice in 1962 and Mr. Cowboy was born.

There is usually an insane amount of pressure on first-round draft selections. There’s an even larger level of responsibility handed out to the number one overall pick. Imagine being a franchise’s first ever draft selection! Lilly never batted an eye and the defensive actually began his career in 1961 as a defensive…end.

It wasn’t until 1963 that Coach Landry moved Lilly to the spot. It was at this position that Lilly found his niche and became of the vaunted “Doomsday ”. Lilly used a rarely seen four-point stance (in which he placed both of his hands in the ground as opposed to the usual one) that allowed him to generate a greater force when taking on the opposing linemen.

The Cowboys and their fearless leader finally began to find success and punched a ticket to the big dance with their first berth in 1970. The Cowboys were beaten mostly by themselves, but the scoreboard and record books assign the victory to the Baltimore Colts. Bob was so disgusted with the loss that after the game he launched his helmet, almost into outer space, across the field in an iconic moment in NFL History.

1971 saw an intense level of dedication and commitment from Bob Lilly and his Cowboys teammates. This eagle eye focus led to a return trip to the Super Bowl, this time against Don Shula’s , where the Cowboys trounced the Fins 24-3. Bob Lilly got his own personal satisfaction with another iconic moment in NFL History.

Early in the game, with a 3-0 lead behind them, Bob Griese (also a member of the , mind you) took the snap on 3rd and 9. He scrambled around the pocket for a bit, jumped in the air causing him to retreat, and Bob Lilly chased him down for a 29-yard sack. It is to date the longest negative play in Super Bowl History and is a microcosm of the grit and determination that Bob Lilly played with throughout his entire career.


Bob Lilly's career accomplishments include:

  • 196 consecutive regular season games played AND started
  • 94.5 career (unofficial as sacks weren’t officially tallied until 1982)
  • 4 career touchdowns (3 fumble returns and 1 interception return)
  • 11-time Selection (1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
  • 7-time First-Team All-Pro Selection (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971)
  • 2-time Second-Team All-Pro Selection (1970, 1972)
  • 8-time First-Team All Conference Selection (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972)
  • 2-time Second-Team All-Conference Selection (1970, 1973)
  • Member of the 1960s All-Decade Team
  • Member of the 1970s All-Decade Team
  • Member of the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • Inaugural member of the Dallas Cowboys inducted on November 23rd, 1975 which was dubbed Bob Lilly Day
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1980 (first year of eligibility)

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Mr. Cowboy is not just the Greatest 74 in Dallas ; He is arguably the Greatest Cowboy of All-Time. He has exemplified excellence both on and off the field. His numbers between the hashes speak for themselves, but Bob Lilly is a Hall of Famer in real life. He consistently refers to his former as “Coach Landry” and celebrates the achievements of all Cowboys … never having missed a single Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor member induction.

once referred to Lilly as the “unblockable, unstoppable, force of The .” He was all of this and so much more.

Bob Lilly gave the Dallas Cowboys everything that he had and laid the foundation for one of the NFL’s most historic franchises. He is anything and everything that you would want in a football player. Mr. Cowboy is not just the only, but he is unequivocally the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 73 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

RJ Ochoa
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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