There are officially 64 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 weekend one and all. It’s July 11th so maybe all of the 7/11 gas stations will give us free Slurpees for life. I’ll tell you what you definitely can have for free, that’s the knowledge of who the Greatest 64 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
The following players have all worn 64 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Jim Arneson, OG
- Jorge Diaz, OG
- Lavar Edwards, DE
- Bob Grottkau, OG
- Halvor Hagen, OG
- Montrae Holland, OG
- Mitch Johnson, OT
- George Lilja, OG
- Tony Liscio, OT
- Tom Rafferty, OG/C
- Jim Ray Smith, OG
- Daleroy Stewart, DT
- Brian Waters, OG
- Chris Whaley*, DT
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
Similar to our Greatest 65 in Dallas Cowboys History (Andre Gurode) yesterday, 64 is all about one man; Tom Rafferty to be specific. Even before he was drafted in the 4th round of the 1976 NFL Draft, Tom Rafferty was accustomed to winning. Rafferty played for Joe Paterno at Penn State where he found success as an interior offensive lineman. Rafferty didn’t play much his rookie season but got the starting nod at right guard in 1977.
If you’ve read my stuff before you know that I am of the opinion that the 1977 Dallas Cowboys were the most prolific team that the franchise has ever fielded. Rafferty’s presence at the right guard position aids my argument. As a member of the Four Irishmen and a Scott (the Cowboys O-Line that featured: John Fitzgerald, Pat Donovan, Herb Scott, Jim Cooper, and Rafferty) Tom was a part of one of the most elite offensive lines in NFL History that blocked for the Hall of Fame tandem of Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett.
Raff took a literal sidestep in 1981 when he scooched on over to the center position, where he really found his niche. Tom was the anchor of this legendary unit and the epitome of durability. During the 1980s, Tom Rafferty played 167 consecutive games, making him one of the iron men of that decade.
Rafferty played all the way through the 1989 season until Mark Stepnoski took over the center duties. This leads to one of the more interesting facts revolving around Tom Rafferty’s career in that he is the only Cowboys Offensive Lineman to block for both Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, and not to be forgotten, Danny White.
The only other Cowboy who was even teammates with both Hall of Fame quarterbacks (Staubach and Aikman) was the Greatest 72 in Dallas Cowboys History, Ed “Too Tall” Jones.
Most fans remember the 1980s as a decade dominated by the San Francisco 49ers, but the Cowboys had a dynasty… in the most non-dynasty way possible.
Consider that the Cowboys went to three consecutive NFC Championship Games from 1980-1982 (losing all three to be fair) and compiled a record of 75-45 through 1987 before falling off in 1988 (which would eventually lead to first overall draft pick Troy Aikman). The Cowboys’ success in that time can be largely attributed to the excellent play of that entire offense and to the Greatest 64 in Dallas Cowboys History, Tom Rafferty.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 63 in Dallas Cowboys History is!