By: David Connors @DConBlitz
In this article, I reveal the next group of the greatest Dallas Cowboys of All-Time. For a recap of 101-51 click the links below:
And without further ado, here are the next 10 Greatest Cowboys of All-Time.
50. Michael Downs, S
Player Number: 26
Tenure with Dallas: 1981-1988
Downs came in as an undrafted Free Agent out of Rice. He earned a starting spot out of preseason. He was a playmaker from the start. In his first game, he got an interception off of Joe Theismann to help Dallas beat their division rival, the Washington Redskins. Every year after he was near the top of the team in tackles and turnovers. One of his biggest highlights came in 1984 against the New Orleans Saints. The team went down 27-6 early, and Down contributed to a comeback to the tune of 9 tackles, 2 picks, 1 pass defended, 1 fumble recovery, and a blocked punt. Michael Downs was known for his sideline to sideline ability and not being afraid to initiate contact. He had 100 tackles for five straight seasons and led the team 3 of those seasons. Downs was named an All-Pro in 1984. He is fifth in franchise history in picks with 34.
49. Bill Parcells, HC
Player Number: N/A
Tenure with Dallas: 2003-2006
The Cowboys were an eye soar to watch in the early 2000s. Luckily, Bill Parcells was lured out of retirement and entrusted to coach the Cowboys. His first season at the helm, he took the Cowboys from three straight 5-11 seasons to a 10-6 season. He is also credited with taking an undrafted free agent named Tony Romo and turning into an All-Pro QB. However, the biggest reason Parcells is this high on the list is the legacy he left with the team during his time. Parcells was the first coach to institute the “Earning the Star” program Dallas now runs every offseason. Every rookie who shows up to the Cowboys preseason, whether they were a 1st round draft pick or an undrafted free agent, they are given helmets with the iconic Cowboys logo removed. They do not get the logo unless they make the team. Thus, encouraging players to work hard to “earn the star.”
48. Don Perkins, RB
Player Number: 43
Tenure with Dallas: 1961-1968
The Dallas Cowboys have a long history of great fullbacks and it all starts with Don Perkins. Perkins lacked long speed but made up for with quickness and balance. He was top 10 in rushing yards in all 8 years he was in the league. Perkins also brought superior blocking to the team. He is a 6-time Pro-Bowler and 3-time All-Pro. He was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1976. He is fourth in team history for 100-yard games and third in both all-time yards and touchdowns. His biggest impact was ending the team’s practice of segregating players when they traveled in 1968. Walt Garrison said, “the guy [Don Perkins] was a remarkable runner, a great pass-blocker and one of the best players in our history.”
47. Bill Bates, S
Player Number: 40
Tenure with Dallas: 1983-1997
Bill Bates may never have been the best player on the field, but hard work and grit turned him into a long time fan favorite. He is tied for the record for most seasons with the team. He is a four-time winner of the Bob Lilly award which is an award voted on by the fans for the player that shows the best leadership on and off the field. He was a solid safety and even better special teams asset for years. He is third in team history for solo tackles. He was Pro-Bowler and All-Pro in 1984. He was NFC Special Team Player of the Year in 1983.
46. Travis Frederick, C
Player Number: 72
Tenure with Dallas: 2013-2019
Travis Frederick is the best Center in Cowboys history. He is one of the most intelligent players on the field, and that has made him a valuable asset. Despite having an underwhelming combine, Dallas still took Frederick in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He has been known to call both the blitz and coverage from the Center position. This was a huge help early in Dak Prescott’s career as he transitioned from college to the pros. In 2018, Travis was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome which causes muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system. Frederick missed the entire 2018 season. He returned to play in the 2019 season, however, there was a noticeable decline in and his play. On March 23, 2020, he announced his retirement. Travis Frederick has been a Pro-Bowler 5-times and an All-Pro 3-times. He is the first Center in Dallas history to start every game his rookie season and make the NFL All-Rookie team.
45. Jim Jeffcoat, DE/ Assistant Defensive Lines Coach
Player Number: 77
Tenure with Dallas: 1983-1994, 1998-2004
Jim Jeffcoat was a pure pass rusher. Jim was a 1st round pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. He came in as a rookie and posted 11.5 sacks which were 15th in the league. He followed that season up with another 12 sack season including a 5 sack game where he terrorized former MVP, Joe Theismann. Jeffcoat was still a pass rush specialist still racking up 10.5 sacks. He remained important to Dallas as they went on to win 2 Super Bowls with his long repertoire of pass rush moves. Jeffcoat finished his tenure in Dallas with 149 QB pressures and 94.5 sacks which is 2nd most sacks in Cowboys history (NFL did not recognize sacks as a stat until 1982). Jeffcoat is a member of the 100 sacks club. Jeffcoat returned to Dallas in 1998 to bestow his wisdom upon the team as an Assistant Defensive End then an Assistant Defensive Line Coach.
44. Tony Hill, WR
Player Number: 80
Tenure with Dallas: 1977-1986
Tony Hill is often the forgotten man of “the triplets” of the ’70s. He was a 3rd round pick in the 1977 NFL Draft out of Stanford. He was an incredible wide receiver in his own right. Tom Landry called him “our Home Run Hitter” and he is quoted saying “I’ve never seen a guy [Tony Hill] who can adjust to the ball mid-air like that.” Not only was Hill great at bringing in the deep pass, but he was also excellent with the ball in space. Hill, along with Tony Dorsett and Drew Pearson, made the Cowboys the first team in NFL history to have a 1000-yard WR and a 1000-yard RB. His 8,702 All-Purpose yards has him ranked 5th in franchise history. He is 3rd in team history in receiving yards and 5th in receiving touchdowns. He was also a 3-time Pro-Bowler
43. Ezekiel Elliot, RB
Player Number: 21
Tenure with Dallas: 2016-present
Ezekiel Elliot was the 4th overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. What Zeke has done in the NFL in 4 years is ridiculous. 2 out of the 4 years Zeke has been a pro, he was the leader in rushing yards.. And the year he was not, he was still top 10, even while serving a 6-game suspension. As a rookie, Elliot became the first rookie running back to rush for 1000 yards since Tony Dorsett for Dallas. He joined Eric Dickerson and Adrian Peterson as the only players in NFL history to surpass 1000 yards in his first 9 games. He made the Pro Bowl his rookie season making him and Dak the first rookie Running back and Quarterback duo to ever make the Pro Bowl. In 2018,, Zeke took a huge step forward as a pass-catcher out of the Dallas backfield doubling his career receptions. Elliot has the talent to propel himself much further up this list.
42. Danny White, P/QB
Player Number: 11
Tenure with Dallas: 1976-1988
Danny White was originally drafted to the Cowboys to be a punter in the 3rd of the 1974 NFL Draft out of Arizona State. However, White wanted to play Quarterback, so he actually started his career in an Arena Football League called World Football League. In 1976, White signed with Dallas after the WFL folded as a backup QB and punter. White became the starting quarterback in 1980 and took the team to 3 NFC Championship games, but is often criticized for never being able to lead the team any further even though they were favored. Even though he was viewed negatively by fans during the time, he was an All-Pro and Pro-Bowler in 1982 at the most important position on the field. He is 4th in franchise history in passing yards and 3rd in passing touchdowns. In players with 200 or more pass attempts, he is 6th in franchise history in completion percentage.
41. Calvin Hill, RB
Player Number: 35
Tenure with Dallas: 1969-1974
Calvin Hill was a talented running back who struggled with injuries throughout his entire career. In the years he played a majority of games, Hill was a Pro-Bowler and he was a 2-time All-Pro. Cowboys were initially criticized for taking an Ivy-League player in the first round of the 1969 NFL draft out of Yale. He was originally brought in as an athlete with no position. He was trotted out as Tight End and a Linebacker before getting an opportunity at Half Back due to injury. His first season, he had a sensational season with 982 yards and 8 touchdowns earning himself NFL Offensive rookie honors and being named All-Pro. Hill spent the next two seasons battling injury, but in 1972 he became the first running back in team history to surpass 1,000 yards rushing with 1,045. Then he followed that up in 1973 by surpassing that mark with 1,142 yards. Calvin Hill used his 6’4” and 227 lbs to run over defenses in the ’70s. He is currently on the board of many different companies including the Dallas Cowboys organization as a consultant who works with troubled players.