As many of you know, YDCFF recently completed our series on the Top 10 Candidates for the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. You can read about the methodology our panel used to create the list and the Honorable Mentions for players (Calvin Hill, Nate Newton, and George Andrie)who almost made the list here.Â You can read the profile of all finalists in the Top 10 (Cornell Green, Charlie Waters, Everson Walls, Bill Bates, Harvey Martin, Ed Jones, Darren Woodson, Jay Novacek, Daryl Johnston, and Erik Williams) here.
Given that Jerry Jones has inducted three players in the Ring the last two times he inducted anyone, we decided to select the three players who most deserve to be inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
Before we get to the selections of the YDCFF staff, we are fortunate enough to be able to share the selections of several Dallas Cowboys experts with our readers. YDCFF would like to give our sincerest thanks to Bryan Broaddus, Nick Eatman, and KD Drummond for taking the time to share their thoughts with our readers.
If you would like to share your selections with the YDCFF community, please send a draft to [email protected]
Bryan Broaddus, (DallasCowboys.com):
As a franchise,Â few teams in the NFL can match what they have been able to play with along theirÂ defensive line than the Dallas Cowboys. Players like Lilly, White and Jones to just name a few but quite possibly the greatestÂ linemen that has not Â received the credit he deserves is Harvey Martin. During his seasonsÂ as a Cowboy, Martin was one of the most feared pass rushers of his era.Â A rare combination of explosive quickness and a nasty streak that was unlike any of his time. Martin might have been a loveableÂ man off the field but on it, he dominated offensive tackles. With his physical style Martin was a nightmare for opponents to have to deal with because he would use whatever means he could to get to the ball carrier or the quarterback.Â I mean this as no disrespect to Charles Haley because I understand what he meant to this organization during the early 90’s and the Super Bowl runs, but Harvey Martin was a better player.Martin couldÂ take over a game like no other and the great ones have that ability. MartinÂ does not have the Super Bowl titles of Haley but in his one shot in 1977, he was the game’s MVP. Harvey Martin was the Doomsday Defense during his time, he deserves to have his name among the greatsÂ to ever play in this city. Â Â
In my 13 years of working for organizations around the league as a scout, I always kept a mental list of the five greatest players that I ever had an opportunity to work with. Guys like Reggie White and Brett Favre were two of my five but a player that was in that mix as well was Darren Woodson. Words can’t describe what a complete player he was. I remember when the Cowboys drafted him in 1992 out of Arizona State, we were sitting in Green Bay and knew right then that the Cowboys had just drafted a rare player in the second round. Woodson played with not only outstanding speed but a linebackers toughness. There was nothing that Woodson couldn’t do on the field, and off the field he carried himself with class and pride. Nobody cared more how he played each week and how to prepare for a game than Woodson. He was a leader that not only demanded the best from himself but his teammates as well. Darren WoodsonÂ was a throwback player that just happened to play in the modern era of football in the NFL. In my book, he is one of the all time greats to ever play for this franchise. A pro’s pro….complete player.
3. Bill Bates:
Bill Bates didn’t have the defensive career of other such as Ed Jones, Charlie Waters or Everson Walls butÂ what he did in his 217 games in the league on special teams will always be remembered by Cowboys fans for years to come. Bates was a leader in every senseÂ of the word. He was not the most talented player to ever wear this uniform, matter of fact, he came to the Cowboys in an era when there was an unlimited number of players that you could bring to training camp and he still managed to fight his way onto the squad.Â Scouts can always measure variousÂ physical traits of a player but we could never measure the heart of a player. Bill Bates loved to play football and you could see itÂ every time that he stepped on that field. I spoke about the pride in which Darren Woodson played with, but Bates was cut from that same cloth.Â There was so much passion in his game because his physical traits were not that impressive but that did not stop him from doing his job. For 15 seasons, Bill Bates gave this organization everything that he had andÂ at times even a little more.Â Again, he might not have the numbers that we all crave for measuring greatness butÂ what he was able to accomplish was special in my book. Â
You can follow Bryan Broaddus on Twitter at @BryanBroaddus and read his recent articles at DC.com here.
Nick Eatman (DallasCowboys.com):
The Cowboys’ all-time leading tackler is now overdue to get in. I didn’t have much of a problem with Woodson’s omission until I saw Charles Haley make it. Now it’s definitely time to include Woodson. He hasn’t played in 10 seasons and when you think about the 90’s defense, Woodson should come to mind first. The five-time Pro Bowler was one of the best players at his position in the entire NFL, and the way he conducted himself as a leader on and off the field is the epitome of what a Dallas Cowboys player should be. Woodson has to be the next guy in.Â
For 30 years, the Cowboys had a chance to put in their all-time sack leader into the Ring of Honor. Unless it somehow happens in the first few games of the 2013 season, that won’t be the case anymore considering DeMarcus Ware needs just five sacks to overtake Martin’s club record of 114 sacks. Of course, when Ware goes in, the first thing that will be mentioned is how he is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks. Martin didn’t have a nickname like the “Manster” or “Too Tall” or “Mr. Cowboy” but he seemed to provide the most “doom” for the Cowboys “Doomsday Defense.”Â
Some might consider this a stretch, but for his time, Walls was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. A couple of things go against him such as playing in the 80s when the Cowboys started their downfall. Also, many Cowboys fans have never forgiven him for giving up “The Catch” to Dwight Clark. But his 44 career interceptions rank second in club history. Walls is tied with Ed Reed as the only players in NFL history to lead the league in picks for one season three different times. But to me, what Walls did after his playing days were over is the real reason he deserves to be up there. Stats and production are one thing – and Walls has that – but what he did for his teammate Ron Springs is something that goes above and beyond a typical teammate. Walls gave his kidney to help Springs, who has since passed away. But that speaks volumes for the type of person and teammate Walls was. Taking everything into consideration, Everson Walls should have a place in Cowboys’ history and the Ring of Honor would certainly be a worthy spot.Â Â
KD Drummond (Blogging the Boys):
I was more than mildly surprised to see a pass rusher not named Harvey Martin inducted the last time the Ring of Honor opened. Martin made four Pro Bowls in Dallas in addition to a First Team All-Pro nod. For those familiar with Pro-Football-Referenceâ€™s Approximate Value rating that grades individual seasons across eras and positions, Martin scored a 10+ grade on five different occasions. The 1977 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as Super Bowl co-MVP, â€œToo Meanâ€ Martin set the pace for forcing quarterbacks to give up on hopes of downfield completions. Playing in an era when sacks weren’t official NFL statistics, the Cowboys records Martin as the franchise leader in season sacks seven times, sacks as a rookie (8), single season (23) and career sacks (114). Demarcus Ware will surpass Martinâ€™s mark sometime in the first half of the season and that will likely end the Ring of Honor campaign. It shouldnâ€™t however, as his picture should already be cemented in the next trifold.
Itâ€™s a travesty. Itâ€™s a sham. Itâ€™s a mockery. Itâ€™s a traveshamockery that Cornell Green isnâ€™t in the Ring of Honor. One of the things that the great Gil Brandt was known for was plucking basketball players and turning them into football stars. Rayfield Wright was one, but also Green, who may have been the better of the two. Green didnâ€™t play any football in college, but was brought in as an undrafted free agent and actually started three games as a rookie. Yes, the Cowboys have always been great at finding undrafted talent. By some accounts, Green had bad hands; yet he had two different seasons with 7 interceptions, 34 on his career. Five Pro Bowls, three times First Team All-Pro. After playing corner for his first eight years, he moved to strong safety and made a Pro Bowl, while the Cowboys went to back-to-back Super Bowls.Â In addition, Cornell Green was an ironman, never missing a game in 13 seasons, spanning 168 contests and 145 starts. Did I mention that he was a Cowboys scout ,while playing?! That second career has lasted almost 30 years. With a career AV of 133, Pro-Football-Reference.com views Green as the 7th best career Cowboys player of all-time. Put him in the ring.
For my money, Darren Woodson was the glue of the â€˜90â€™s championship teams. The all-time club leader in tackles, Woodson seemed to elevate himself among the glitz and glamour of those teams with class and pride. He might have been perennially listed as a strong safety, but Woodson was a DB, plain and simple. He hit like the linebacker he was at Arizona State, he covered the deep middle like a free safety. He was so skilled, Dallas didnâ€™t need to switch him out, playing him against slot receivers instead of having to change to a nickel defense. Â Selected to five Pro-Bowls and with three First-Team All-Pro accolades, this three-time champion belongs in the halo.
If you would like to share your selections with the YDCFF community, please send a draft toÂ [email protected]
Check out our homepage Thursday 7/11/13 at 11 amÂ to read the selections from CowgirlCas andÂ Friday 7/12/13Â at 7 am to see contributions from Cowboys experts including Tom Ryle (www.bloggingtheboys.com), Rafael Vela (www.cowboysnation.com) and Jeric Griffin from (www.rantsports.com).D
Peace Love and Happiness,
CowgirlCas, Founder of yourdailycowboysfootballfix.com
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