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The Dallas Greats.

I remember reading a lot of posts on Twitter during the Mavericks title run about “Dirk’s status as a true Dallas legend”.  Now remember, this was before he beat the Heat in the NBA Finals, so a lot of people were saying he was DEFINITELY the best Maverick of all time, but nowhere in the top 5 of all time great Dallas athletes.  Well, now that the Mavs have won their first NBA title, and Dirk was a major reason why, I think it is time I countdown MY greatest Dallas athletes top 10.  To me, factors going into this poll are:  time with a Dallas team, championships, records, contributions to the sport they played.  Here is my top 10:

Just Missed the List:  Don Meredith, Randy White, Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, Pudge Rodriguez

10.  Tex Schramm:  Already controversial?  Well, only if you think he should be higher.  Schramm was one of THE major innovators for the NFL.  According to the NFL Hall of Fame website, Schramm led the way for use of instant replay, the 30 second clock between plays, field goal uprights and MANY other football innovations.  He was a leading force in the NFL-AFL merger.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

9.  Nolan Ryan:  The Express.  While his time playing for the Rangers only lasted from 1989-1993, Ryan’s contributions as Rangers President will keep him on this list.  Ryan threw his 6th and 7th no hitters in a Rangers uniform, as well as recording his 5,000 career strikeout.  Perhaps the thing that most people will remember about Nolan, regardless of the numerous records he set, will be the infamous head lock pummeling of a young Robin Ventura.  I am ok with that.

8.  Mike Modano:  “Mr Dallas Star”.  Modano came from Minnesota when the North Stars moved to Dallas.  The all time goal scoring and points leader for an American born player, and the Stars greatest player of all time.  Winning the 1999 Stanley Cup, the first and only in franchise history.  Modano is the all time points leader in Stars history by a long shot, and is without a doubt their most popular player ever.  Even though he currently plays for the Red Wings, he will always be a Star.

7.  Michael Irvin:  “The Playmaker”.  If Michael Irvin wasn’t on the list, he would probably let you know.  The best wide receiver in Cowboys history, Irvin ranks third all time in 100 yard receiving games (47) and in the top 30 all time in receptions and yards.  If his numbers on the field weren’t enough, The Playmaker helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowl championships in the 90’s.  Without a doubt, when people think of Cowboys football, one of the first players to come to mind is Michael Irvin.

6.  Bob Lilly:  “Mr Cowboy”.  The first member of the Dallas Ring of Honor, Lilly is one of the greatest defensive lineman to ever play the game.  Lilly spent his entire career with the Cowboys, and even ranked at #10 in a Sporting News countdown of the greatest football players of all time.  What Cowboy fans loved the most was his durability.  Lilly only missed ONE game in his entire career, the 1973 NFC championship game.  Lilly was an 11 time pro-bowler and a seven time all pro selection.  Mr Cowboy remains very active with the Cowboys, attending every Ring of Honor induction since he was inducted.

5.  Tom Landry:  Oh here we go, I am sure to get angry emails now.  Landry is known as THE coach of the Dallas Cowboys.  Landry coached the Cowboys to 20 consecutive winning seasons (1966-1985) which to me, sounds made up!  Crazy record.  Not only was he a great coach, he was a great football innovator.  He invented the 4-3 defense and “flex” defense, and also changed the ways teams drafted and found players.  The leader in Cowboy career wins, Landry won two Super Bowl championships and five NFC championships.  Landry will be forever remembered as THE head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

4.  Dirk Nowtizki:  The first representative from the Dallas NBA team.  It helps that Dirk helped the Mavs win their first championship this past week, beforehand, he might have just been on the “almost made the list”.  While Dirk is easily the best player to ever put on a Mavericks uniform, Dirk is working now on becoming one of the top 50 greatest NBA players of all time.  He is the best European to ever play the game.  Dirk will most likely finish his career with the Mavericks, cementing his spot among the greatest to ever play for the Mavs.  Dirk ranks #23 all time on the scoring list, and is one of the greatest shooters of our time.  While most experts don’t think the Mavs will repeat in 2012, you know Dirk will get the Mavs to the playoffs.  Dirk is ranked #39 in career three pointers made and 20th in career free throws made.  Dirk has led the Mavs to 11 consecutive playoff appearances and is a 10 time all star.  While Aikman has won more championships in his sport, Dirk was the ONLY all-star on his team the year he won a championship.  That has only happened five times in history.  Dirk is #4 on the list because of his ability to “do it on his own”.  (Even though we know that isn’t entirely true..:)

3.  Troy Aikman:  3 Super Bowl championships, that is what Troy has going for him.  Not bad.  Teaming up with the other two “triplets”, Aikman became one of the most popular QB’s in the league and was known for his leadership, brains and accuracy on the field.  I hear the ladies liked him too.  Aikman is the all time passing leader in Cowboys history as well, with nearly 33,000 yards in his career.  He leads the franchise in TD passes as well with 165.  When compared to other NFL greats, Aikman sits at #26 all time in passing yards, and #57 in all time touchdowns.  While that may not sound impressive, his three Super Bowl championships is the second most won by a quarterback ever.  That number is what matters to Cowboys fans, and is why Aikman is #3 on this list.  (And don’t forget, the 90’s Cowboys were a run first team.)

2.  Roger Staubach:  “Roger the Dodger”, “Captain Comeback”, “Captain America”.  What can be said for the greatest Cowboys quarterback of all time?  Even though he didn’t win as many Super Bowls as Aikman, Staubach is widely recognized as “the Cowboys All Time Quarterback”.  WInning the first Super Bowl for the Cowboys gets Staubach on this list, but his athletic abilities, knack for making comebacks and his legendary play make him one of the best.  Even though his pro career started rather late because of service in the Navy, Staubach won the hearts of Dallas fans very quickly.  According to Tom Landry, “Staubach was the best combination of a passer, an athlete and a LEADER to ever play the game”.  His leadership was immeasurable.  When he retired in 1980, he had the highest QB rating of all time (83.4), and was voted as the #29 greatest NFL player of all time by the Sporting News.  Staubach remains active with the Cowboys today, and was the chairman of the Super Bowl XLV committee.

1.  Emmitt Smith:  The all time NFL rushing leader, Emmitt Smith was once seen as “too slow” and “too small” to make a difference in the NFL.  His hard work and toughness are two reasons why Emmitt is one of the greatest Dallas athletes of all time.  Smith was drafted #17 overall by the Cowboys, and he made a difference right away rushing for over 900 yards in his rookie season.  In year two, Emmitt started a streak of 11 straight seasons rushing for more than 1,000 yards, the first in NFL history to do that.  He also had 5 straight seasons of over 1,400 yards, the first ever to do that.  Smith is the career leader in rushing touchdowns in NFL history with 164.  He is second ALL TIME in touchdowns scored, only to Jerry Rice.   Even though Emmitt played his last two seasons in Arizona,  he will, without a doubt, be forever recognized as the greatest running back, and maybe player in Cowboys history.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Nathan
    June 17, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Dirk is already a top 50 all time NBA player. Most people would list him in the top 25 right now with several more years left in the tank. I think his play style will allow him to move up on everybody’s list over the next few years. He isn’t as reliant on athleticism as a lot of the greats.

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