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The big reasons behind Dallas’ championships

We've built our Cowboys' Mount Rushmore for the skill positions on : , , and Receivers. But what about the big men in the trenches? Which four offensive lineman rank as the four best in team ?

Without the hogs on the line the quarterback doesn't have time to get the ball to the receiver.

Nor will the running back find lanes to move the ball downfield. Without the big guys up front you don't win .

Over the 63 seasons the Cowboys have played in, they have had some of the best in the game anchoring the line. Winnowing this down to just the best four is not going to be easy. The good news is the top two are no-brainers.

The Big Cat

's nickname came courtesy of the nimble feet that anchored his six-and-a-half foot, 270-lb frame.

He went to college as a basketball player, switched to football, and played , , and . He was drafted in 1967 by the Cowboys in the seventh round as a tight end.

Cowboys Blog - The Wright Stuff: #70, Linemen, and Rayfield 3
He spent two years moving around as a lineman on both sides of the ball, as well as a tight end. But it was his performance in a 24-23 loss in 1969 against the that secured his place on the Cowboys.

Playing right in place of an injured , Wright morse than held his own against Rams defensive end Deacon Jones. He would play the position for 13 years – 166 games — before retiring, helping Dallas play in five Super Bowls and win two of them.

Wright earned six Pro Bowls, three First-team All Pro, and three Second-team All-Pro team honors.

The NFL named him to the 1970s All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football (2006), and the Cowboys (2004).

The Survivor

's NFL very nearly never happened several times during his life.

He survived meningitis as a six-week-old infant. At the age of 10 he was stabbed a dozen times while protecting his brother from an attacker.

His school career very nearly did him in as well.

He attended four different high schools up and down California. He wasn't academically eligible to play Division I football and ended up at Butte College and then Sonoma State.

Larry Allen
Yet, what he did on the field was enough for the Cowboys to draft him in the in 1994. He would play three different positions on the over a dozen seasons and 203 games in Dallas.

Allen collected a win in 1996, to go along with seven First-team All-Pro and 10 selections. The NFL named him to both the 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Teams.

The Cowboys added him to the Ring of Honor in 2011. He was inducted into the in 2013.

Super-Sized Kick Returner

How many players in NFL history can play 172 games in 13 seasons as an and have a seven-yard average as a ?

Meet the aforementioned Ralph Neely. He played both left and on the Cowboys line – a move predicated by Rayfield Wright's arrival – and managed to return seven kickoffs for a total of 48 yards.

Originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts (NFL) and the Houston Oilers (AFL) in 1965, Neely signed with the Oilers. But he backed out when the Colts traded him to Dallas. After the lawyers worked things out, Neely was a Cowboys' lineman.

He would win two Super Bowls in Dallas and named to a pair of Pro Bowls. Nelly was named to four All-Pro teams and the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team.

He would remain linked to Wright after as both men passed away in 2022.

The Kitchen

's career began with the Tampa Bay Bandits in the original . He'd make the USFL's All-Time Team before heading to the Cowboys where he made his name in pro football.

Cowboys Blog - Newton's Law: Nate Newton Owns #61 3
In 13 years in Dallas, Newton played three different positions on the offensive line over 191 games.

He was a driving force in all three of Dallas' Super Bowl wins in 1990s. Newton finished with two First-Team All-Pro and six Pro Bowl selections.

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

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