Welcome back to another edition of the Countdown to Kickoff series! We currently sit 41 days away until we see the Dallas Cowboys begin their road to a Super Bowl (because it's their year every year), and instead of talking about their Week One bout, we're tackling the Greatest #41 in Dallas Cowboys History.
On Monday, I went to church to honor SS Barry Church as the Greatest #42 in franchise history, so if you missed it, check it out above. Also, bump “Take Me to Church” by Hozier as you read about him because it adds some sizzle.
All dad jokes aside, after scanning all 12 players who have worn #41, I quickly saw two guys (Charlie Waters and Terence Newman) who separated from the pack. While I could have gone the route of honoring both players, I wanted to make it all about one guy.
So with that in mind, check out why SS Charlie Waters is the Greatest #41, but also, don't forget to see all players who have worn #41.
The Following Players Have Worn #41 for the Dallas Cowboys
- Ray-Ray Armstrong, LB
- Anthony Coleman, CB
- Wendell Davis, CB
- Pat Dennis, CB
- Kareem Larrimore, CB
- Warren Livingston, CB
- Terence Newman, CB
- Reggie Robinson II, CB
- Keith Smith, RB
- Dave Thomas, CB
- Charlie Waters, SS
- Charles Wright, CB
Charlie Waters' NFL Career
Before we dive into Waters' career, for those keeping up with the series, remember when I mentioned the time an undrafted player took the job of a 3rd Round Pick the franchise drafted in the 1970 NFL Draft– and then they ironically formed arguably the “best safety duo” in the NFL.
Well, if you don't, that 3rd rounder was SS Charlies Waters, who later teamed up with CB Cliff Harris as a two-headed monster in the backend of the defense. Also, if you wanted to learn about how good Harris was, check out my piece that crowns him as the Greatest #43 in franchise history.
Shifting back to Waters, this was another guy I didn't live to see (seems, like most great Cowboys, have been like that for me), but damn, this guy was a BALLHAWK and an ALL-AROUND BALLER.
° 1978 NFC CHAMPIONSHIP °
Fueled by safety Charlie Waters' big day (fumble recovery, ½ sack, two key second half INTs), the #Cowboys force seven turnovers and break a 0-0 halftime tie to bury the Rams, 28-0.#Dallas clinches its then-record fifth Super Bowl appearance. pic.twitter.com/Ho05lwbwOt
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 7, 2022
As mentioned above, Waters' NFL career didn't start on the best foot as he nearly got cut in Training Camp– and two, he was benched in place of a UDFA (Harris).
While he eventually started at CB, Waters struggled for four seasons before getting moved into his SS spot in 1975, and that is when the legend was born. From 1976-1978, Waters turned it up a notch and had three Pro Bowl nominations and two All-Pro honors.
Oh, and if I may add, he also helped the franchise win Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos, which gave him two Lombardis to his name as he won Super VI in his early years–but he didn't play a huge factor.
Some fun facts about Waters that you can tell all of your friends, family, spouses, and bosses (since you're either reading this before you get to work or while on the clock) are:
- He is tied for most playoff interceptions (nine) with HOF safeties Ed Reed, Ronnie Lott, and FS Bill Simpson (not HOF).
- He NEVER had a losing season.
- He played in five Super Bowls (V, VI, X, XII, and VI)–winning two.
- He started out as a QB at Clemson before switching to WR and then transitioning to DB in the NFL.
- Lastly, (my favorite one) he once picked off a QB three times in one game. Who was he facing? QB Nathan Peterman? (Just kidding.)
Nonetheless, Waters was the true definition of a ballhawk. Following his retirement, he had a brief stint in the CBS Sports basketball broadcast booth– before making his way back into football as a defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 1993, 1994, and then for the Oregon Ducks in 1995.
He would make his way back into the broadcast scene for the Cowboys in 2006, working as the color commentator, before leaving again to work with his safety running mate, Cliff Harris, at Energy Transfer Group in 2007.
And after some research, Waters retired in 2018 but still resides in Dallas.
But for today, Waters will need to take a “step of retirement” and come grab his crown as the Greatest #41 in Dallas Cowboys History. Congratulations to Mr. Waters, and be sure to back on Wednesday to find out who's the Greatest #40.
With that in mind, I'm out, and I hope you all stay cool in this heat. Also, don't forget to drink your “waters.” Ok, that's the last dad joke.