There are officially 74 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.
Guess what day it is?! No, not hump day. Today is Bob Lilly Appreciation Day! We’re going to unveil who the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys History 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 College Football 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 NFL Draft. Having previously traded their first-round draft choice to the Washington Redskins 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 front office called up the Cleveland Browns and struck a deal.
The Cowboys gave up their first round 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 Hall of Fame defensive tackle actually began his career in 1961 as a defensive…end.
It wasn’t until 1963 that Coach Landry moved Lilly to the defensive tackle spot. It was at this position that Lilly found his niche and became the star of the vaunted “Doomsday Defense”. 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 Super Bowl 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 Miami Dolphins, 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 Pro Football Hall of Fame, mind you) took the snap on 3rd and 9. He scrambled around the pocket for a bit, Larry Cole 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 sacks (unofficial as sacks weren’t officially tallied until 1982)
- 4 career touchdowns (3 fumble returns and 1 interception return)
- 11-time Pro Bowl 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 Ring of Honor inducted on November 23rd, 1975 which was dubbed Bob Lilly Day
- Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1980 (first year of eligibility)
Mr. Cowboy is not just the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys History; 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 head coach as “Coach Landry” and celebrates the achievements of all Cowboys … never having missed a single Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor member induction.
NFL Films once referred to Lilly as the “unblockable, unstoppable, force of The Doomsday Defense.” 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!
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?
Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.
Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.
This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.
I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.
More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.
This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.
Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.
That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.
The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.
Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.
Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?
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