Tag Archives: NFL

NFL Films: Randy White- Top 10 Dallas Cowboys of All Time

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Source: NFL Films

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

When you’re talking about the best defensive tackles in NFL history, I believe there really only four you can consider for the best ever. And then argue about which one of those four is the best ever. Not necessarily in this order, but Joe Greene from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bob Lilly from the Dallas Cowboys. Merlin Olsen from the Los Angeles Rams. And last and perhaps not least Randy White also from the Cowboys, the best defensive tackle of the 1980s at least and I would argue probably the best defensive tackle if not defensive lineman of the 1980s and the second half of the 1970s if not that entire decade.

That is how great of a football player Randy White was and I would have a pretty good idea growing up as a Redskins fan in the 1980s and seeing him play at least twice a year for about 7-8 years. The reason why the Doomsday Defense of the Cowboys was so good is because they didn’t have to blitz to pass rush or stop the run. You had Ed Jones and Harvey Martin on the ends and Randy in the middle. Larry Cole was a very good DT as well. And you always had to double team Randy, (except for Russ Grimm with the Redskins) which freed up either Ed Jones or Harvey Martin on the outside, or Larry Cole as the other DT.

Randy White was 6’4 but he only weighed 260-265 pounds and he might have even beefed up to that once Tom Landry finally figured out that Manster wasn’t a linebacker but a defensive lineman. And 260-265 for a defensive tackle in the 1980s and would’ve been small even back then. Especially going up against the Redskins and the big Chicago Bears offensive lines in the 1980s. But he was so strong and quick. He could get into the opponents backfield before the offensive lineman even moved. Or just knock the lineman out-of-the-way.

He reminds me of Dick Butkus (Chicago Bears LB) as far as how quick, strong, athletic, and aggressive he was. He didn’t tackle his opponents, but he pounded them into the ground like pro wrestlers did. But his slams on opponents were real. Randy White was the best Cowboy defensive player of the 1970s and it would be between Randy and Bob Lilly as far as greatest Cowboy defender of all time. The nickname Manster that Randy picked up (half man, half monster) he was exactly that. Because football was like war for him and the goal seemed to be for him to destroy his opponents and not just win the game. Because of his strength, athletic ability, and quickness he’s still one of the best defensive players ever.

NFL Films: Randy White- Top 10 Dallas Cowboys of All Time

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NFL Films: Bob Ryan- How The Dallas Cowboys Became Americas Team

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Source: NFL Films

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

At risk of stating the obvious, in a country over 200 million people back in the 1970s and in a major sports league like the NFL with 26 franchises by the time the NFL expanded to Tampa and Seattle in 1976, it’s hard to accurately say there was one Americas team in the NFL. America is not Jamaica or Iceland, we’re a huge country with a huge population.

Granted, the Dallas Cowboys were probably the most popular team in the NFL in the 1970s and a lot of that I believe had to do with their Hollywood pop culture appeal. Where a lot of their players looked like professional celebrities and entertainers perhaps as much or more as they looked like professional football players. But as one guy in this video said a lot of the promotion that was about the Cowboys in putting together the Americas Team film that was about the Cowboys was based on lies.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were the team of the 1970s in the NFL and I would argue the team of pro sports in that decade. They won 4-6 Super Bowls from 1974-79. Had never been done before and hasn’t been done since and perhaps never will be done again with all the parity in the league today. And if you just look at personal and the fact that the Oakland Raiders are also in the AFC along with the Steelers and had to play the Steelers three times in the AFC Championship just to get to the Super Bowl and lost 2-3 of those games, you could certainly argue that the Oakland Raiders were just as good as the Cowboys in the 1970s.

Sure, the Cowboys won 2 Super Bowls and the Raiders only 1. And the Cowboys won five conference championships and the Raiders only 1. But who was the other great NFC franchise in the 1970s? The Minnesota Vikings who lost three Super Bowls? The Los Angeles Rams who only won one conference championship? The Rams, Vikings, and Redskins, were pretty good in the 1970s. But the Cowboys were the only great NFC team in the decade. Which is one reason why they won 5 NFC Championship’s. The Steelers had the Raiders and Dolphins that they had to worry about every year and probably beat in the AFC Playoffs just to get to the Super Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys on paper were probably just as good or about as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers and you could argue they had a better team in 1978 than the Steelers and should have won Super Bowl 13, which I believe is still the best Super Bowl ever. But they didn’t and to be the best, you have to beat the best and be your best when it counts the most. Like not dropping TD passes when you’re wide-open in the end zone. Being the most popular team and being Americas Team are two different things. Which is why Dallas Cowboys came up short in the 1970s.

NFL Films: Bob Ryan- How The Dallas Cowboys Became Americas Team

NFL Films: Donald Trump-Decline of The NFL & The Rise of The USFL

img_9651Source: NFL Films: Donald Trump- The Decline of The NFL & The Rise of The USFL

There was a time in the 1980s when Donald Trump wanted to be an NFL owner. He could see the popularity and growth of the National Football League which by that time had become the most popular professional sports league in America, with the most popular championship in the Super Bowl. And The Donald or perhaps Big Don (does anyone call Donald Trump Don) decided he wanted a piece of that action. The problem that he had which was great for the NFL, is that the New York Giants, already had a solid ownership and management group. Same thing with the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles, so The Donald was shut out of his own territory as far as having any opportunity to own and run his own NFL franchise. But this was a great thing for the NFL, because Big Don was a big reason why the USFL failed.

Again to Don’s credit he saw the growth potential of the upstart United States Football League that kickoff in 1983. And the USFL wanted a franchise in the New York market and they were a spring league and played their games in the spring and summer. When the Giants and Jets weren’t playing and that meant that Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, or Shea Stadium in Queens over on Long Island, would both be available in the spring and summer as far as not having a pro football franchise occupying it during that time of year. And the potential New Jersey USFL franchise didn’t have an owner and management group yet and that is how Don became part of the USFL. Because he had the money and to a certain extent (as small as that might be) the vision for how the USFL could succeed.

Originally the USFL had the right vision. Playing in the spring and summer when the NFL was in their offseason. Drafting and singing high quality NFL caliber players. Guys like Reggie White, Bobby Hebert, Gary Clark, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker and many others. They had the money as far as investors in the USFL. They were playing exclusively in major media markets and big cities. Including markets that weren’t currently occupied by the NFL. Jacksonville, Orlando, Memphis, San Antonio, Phoenix, Portland, and Oakland. But a big problem that they had is that they listened too much to Donald Trump and he owning and running the New Jersey Generals. They expanded too fast having like 18 franchises by 1985 and probably their worst mistake and perhaps the death penalty of the USFL, was deciding to move from the spring and summer which is what they did from 1983-85, to trying to go right up against the NFL and try to play their games in the fall of 1986.

One of the best decisions that at the time NFL Commissioner Pete Roselle and the broader NFL made in 1983 and for the rest of the 1980s and ever since, was not getting involved with Donald Trump. Which is how The Donald ends up as part of the failed USFL, instead of becoming part of the NFL and making that league weaker or perhaps ruining a quality franchise, because of how much he would have tried to make his club and the NFL about him. Instead of what was the best thing for his club and the NFL. Because outside of Don’t beautiful family and I give him credit for how his kids turned out, the only thing that Don cares about when it comes to business is The Donald. If it was popular for Don’s club to fail as far as their record, but it would have been profitable for Don, that is how he would have run an NFL franchise. And the NFL doesn’t need another owner like that.

 

NFL Films: Tom Landry- Cowboys & America’s Team Coach

img_9550Source: NFL Films: Tom Landry- Cowboys & America’s Team Coach

I know I’m a Redskins fan, but I’ve always hated the term America’s Team and not just because it’s been associated with the Dallas Cowboys. I would hate that term if it were associated with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles as well. Actually, I would hate it if it were associated with any team in the NFL. Why, because it assumes that America is so small that we only have one team. The New York Yankees are treat in Major League Baseball, because of the success that they’ve had and the fact that they represent New York City and people there like to refer to New York as the big great city of America as if we only have one. Tom Landry didn’t built America’s Team. He built the Dallas Cowboys and made them the great franchise that they are today.

When you look at Tom Landry, you need to think about head coaches and executives like Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, because he’s in the same class as all of those guys as far as the success he had over a twenty-year period. From 1966-85, the Dallas Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons. Think about that for a moment. Twenty straight seasons of winning more games than you loss. And here’s another record, 19 playoff appearances in those 20 seasons. Two records that will probably never be passed, but the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick could come close. This is also before free agency and where you had to build your team through the draft and trades. And finding player that other teams didn’t want that could fit for you.

How many other head coaches did you know that could run both the offense and defense for their teams, or did that? Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson , were smart enough to do that as well and all had defensive backgrounds, but tended to leave both their offense and defense to their coordinators. Landry ran his own offense even though he was a defensive head coach and a brilliant defensive mind, but put together both the offensive and defensive game plans and systems together for his team each week. He was a mastermind when it came to football as well as personal and who to get the best out of all his players. I don’t believe we’ve seen a head coach as smart as Tom Landry, other than perhaps Bill Walsh since.

The Cowboys of the 1970s were labeled America’s team, because of the success that they had and winning five conference championships, 2 Super Bowls and 9 divisional titles in that decade. As well as the popularity of their uniforms, merchandise and cheerleaders. But whether you believe the Cowboys were ever America’s Team or not and I definitely don’t and have already made that case, Tom Landry as well as Tex Schramm the President of the Dallas Cowboys with Tom Landry, deserve all the credit for that. For putting those teams together and having the success that they had. And that is the legacy of Tom Landry and what he gave the Cowboys and the NFL.