There are officially 70 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.
Happy Sunday one and all! I truly hope that all of you had a wonderful and safe Fourth of July, commemorating our great nation. NBA Free Agency heated up a bit yesterday and the U.S. Women’s World Cup team is preparing to play, so sports are happening! Let’s be honest though, your Dallas Cowboys trump all of that. I’m your main man RJ, so I get that. I’m here to help! Check out the Greatest 70 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The following players have all worn 70 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Ethan Brooks, OT
- Javier Collins, OT
- Tyrone Crawford*, DE (also featured on our 98 list)
- Leonard Davis, OG
- Dale Hellestrae, LS
- Frank Kearse, DT
- Jerome Long, DT
- Daniel Loper, OT
- Zack Martin*, OG
- Bob McCreary, OT
- Dale Memmelaar, OG
- Drake Nevis, DT
- Howard Richards, OG
- Bill Sandeman, OT
- Mark Stepnoski, C (who would later change to 53)
- Bob White, C
- Rayfield Wright^, OT
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
Talk about linemen! There are a lot of them for us to consider here. The three greatest 70s all happen to have played on the right side of the offensive line: Zack Martin, Leonard Davis, and Rayfield Wright.
Before we get into the big right three, let’s talk about some of the other 70s. For starters, how many of you knew that Stepnoski wore 70 for his rookie season? Raise your hands. You’re probably lying, but whatever I’ll trust you. Current Cowboy sensation Tyrone Crawford also wore the 7-0 for his rookie year before making the switch to 98…perhaps he’s in for as long and as great of a career as ‘ol Stepnoski!
One of the more decorated 70s on this list is former right guard, Leonard Davis. Signed as a free agent in 2007 to what was a pretty big contract (seven-year, almost $50 million) Davis produced right away. He helped lead one of the more underrated Cowboys offensive lines in franchise history, a line that helped a young Tony Romo transition into the NFL.
Speaking of offensive lines and speaking of Tony Romo, we all know who the hottest 70 on the market is right now. He also happens to play right guard, also happens to have worn 70 for his rookie year, but he’s only entering his second year in the NFL. Zack Martin is a beast.
The super fan in me really wanted to call Zack the best 70, but as you’ll find out there is one cat (no pun intended) that trumps him. Zack deserves A LOT of love, though. Taken with the 16th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, Zack began playing at an elite level right away. He helped fellow first round picks (from 2011 and 2013) Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick establish arguably the best offensive line in the NFL that helped DeMarco Murray lead the NFL in rushing. Zack was one of just three rookies selected to last year’s Pro Bowl and he was the only rookie to be named First-Team All-Pro (the first Cowboy rookie since Calvin Hill in 1969 and first rookie at o-line since Dick Huffman in 1947). While Zack isn’t quite the Best 70 yet, the future of the number is in great hands with him.
The seventh round of the 1967 NFL Draft yielded a 6’7” 225-pound kid from Fort Valley State. The Dallas Cowboys planned on using their new player at tight end, defensive line, and offensive tackle. His athletic build allowed him to play very large and fast, giving Rayfield Wright the nickname “Big Cat”.
When Ralph Neely, who was featured on our 73 list, got hurt in 1969 Rayfield had to jump to the right tackle position. Keep in mind that in this era of NFL History the right tackle was the position that guarded the opposing team’s best pass-rusher, not the left side like in today’s NFL. Right tackles were a necessity to go up against the games best, and Rayfield’s first start was no different. The Cowboys were playing the Los Angeles Rams and asked Rayfield Wright to stop future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deacon Jones (he coined the term “sack” for all those interested). The Big Cat played so impressively that the right tackle position became his for good.
Rayfield flourished at the right tackle position throughout the 1970s. He was a critical element in those Cowboys offenses that finished in the top 10 in terms of overall offense in every year of that decade. While his quickness and athleticism had been traits that scouts considered would make him a great tight end, Wright translated those qualities to the offensive line and helped redefine how people evaluated skill at the position. His resume includes:
- 6 Pro Bowl Selections (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976)
- 4 First-Team All-Pro Selections (1971, 1972, 1973, 1975)
- 2-time Super Bowl Champion (VI and XII)
- Member of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team
- Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Class of 2004
- Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2006
Rayfield’s place in Pro Football History is incredible no matter how you look at it. His accomplishments on the field are obviously incredible, but his Hall of Fame Class is one of the greatest in Canton’s History. Wright was inducted in 2006 along with fellow Cowboy Troy Aikman, Coach John Madden, quarterback Warren Moon, linebacker Harry Carson, and arguably the greatest pass-rusher to ever live…Reggie White.
Rayfield Wright was an incredible offensive lineman in the 1970s. It’s only natural then that he is the Greatest 70 in Dallas Cowboys History. He is one of the greater Cowboys regardless of position or jersey number in franchise history, and as a member of the 70 Crew can also be proud of the pedigree of that number and the bright future that it has.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 69 in Dallas Cowboys History is!