She Said: Harvey Martin should be the Next Man Up for the Cowboys ROH.

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Continuing our ongoing series, “He Said, She Said”, we moved on to who we thought should be the next man up for the Dallas Cowboys Ring Of Honor. Despite the legacy Darren Woodson created in Dallas, there is a player I feel is more deserving to be enshrined first, regardless of what “He Said”. Harvey Martin was one of the greatest pass rushers of all time. Harvey Martin revolutionized the DE position back in the 70’s and terrorized quarterbacks throughout the league.

 Harvey Martin & Randy White 1

The Beginning Of A Legacy.

Harvey Martin was born on November 16, 1950 in Dallas, Texas. When he was 10 years old a new franchise came to town, the Dallas Cowboys. Martin grew up following the Cowboys and was a big fan.

Harvey Martin 2Harvey Martin worked in a department store and never envisioned himself as a football player. He planned on working his way up to a management position at the store. It wasn’t until he overheard his father complaining to his mother that the sons of all of the other fathers at the golf club played football and Harvey was bigger and stronger than any of them. Plagued with guilt, Harvey Martin decided to play football for the first time in his life. He transferred to South Oak Cliff High School (in his junior year, 1967) which was the first integrated high school in Dallas.

The team went 9-1 that year, but no thanks to Harvey Martin who was a backup offensive tackle and only saw the field when the team had a sizable lead. His senior year was when his life was about to change forever. Call it destiny, call it fate, or whatever you want, but during the spring game, Harvey Martin got a chance to fill in on defense and persuaded the coaches to move him to defensive tackle.

By the third game of his senior season, he was a starter and became the best lineman on a 12-1 team that won the Dallas City championship and went on to the State quarterfinals. Despite his success his senior year, he was so thin and so late-blooming, the only college that offered him a scholarship was East Texas State in Commerce (now named Texas A&M University–Commerce).

His first two years playing defensive end in college were uneventful, but he eventually became the best defensive end in school history. In 1972, during his senior year, while playing a major role in leading his team to a national title, he was named to the NAIA All-American, All-Texas, and All-LSC teams.

Harvey Martin classicHarvey Martin is one of the most revered names in the history of Texas A&M-Commerce sports and was inducted in to it’s Hall Of Fame in 1987. In 2008, the college started hosting the Harvey Martin Classic. It’s where the schools football team plays against another team from the Lone Star Conference. In 2007, Harvey Martin was selected for the Lone Star Conference’s 75th Anniversary football team and was named the LSC defensive player of the decade for the 1970s. In 2010, he was inducted into the Lone Star Conference Hall Of Fame.

Professional Career.

Harvey Martin

Harvey Martin was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the 1973 NFL Draft. During his first years with the team, Tom Landry looked to instill in Martin a sense of nasty, confidence and mental toughness, that didn’t come naturally to him. Martin spent a lot of time in the weight room improving his strength. He improved his technique by going against Rayfield Wright every day in practice. He developed in to such a passionate and nasty player that he was nicknamed, “Too Mean”. By his third year in the NFL (1975), Harvey Martin was promoted from a situational pass rusher, to the full time starter. Thus, the legend began.

Harvey Martin 8The NFL didn’t start counting sacks as an official stat until 1982. Despite popular belief that Michael Strahan holds the all-time single season sack record with 22.5 in a 16 game season, Harvey Martin logged 85 tackles and 23 sacks in a 14 game season in 1977 and was named the defensive player of the year, an All Pro selection and was named the CO MVP of Super Bowl XII because he was a clutch player in the game. Martin not only led the Cowboys in sacks 7 out of 9 seasons, he finished his career with 114 sacks in only 158 games.

As an integral part of the feared Doomsday Defense, “Too Mean” went to the Pro Bowl four times. Former Cowboys GM Tex Schramm said:

“He’ll be remembered as one of the great Cowboys of the golden years … He was a great player, one of the first great pass rushers”

demarcus ware

Harvey Martin held the Cowboys Franchise sack record for 30 years until it was broken by DeMarcus Ware in 2013. Despite the fact that Ware beat his sack record with 117 in 152 starts, I still believe that Harvey Martin was the better pass rusher because according to our staff historian, Michael Valentino, Harvey Martin’s repertoire of pass rush moves included a forearm club with his right arm that enabled him to go past the left tackle’s outside shoulder and a quick swim move which allowed him to knife past the tackle’s inside shoulder. He and Randy White would often work loops and other line stunts. Martin was one of the most feared pass-rushing ends in the NFL, and although Ed “Too Tall” Jones was widely considered to be the Cowboys’ better run-defending end, Martin’s run defense skills were still considerable. He was far from a one-trick pony.

tom landryFormer Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry once called Harvey Martin the team’s best pass-rushing defensive end ever. To this day, despite having Willie Townes, George Andre, Ed Jones, Jim Jeffcoat, Tony Tolbert, Charles Haley and Greg Ellis play the same position, Martin remains the greatest pass-rushing end in club history.

Harvey Martin played in an era rich with talent at the defensive end position. Martin’s contemporaries included Jack Youngblood, Lee Roy Selmon, Fred Dean, Dan Hampton, Ed Jones, L.C. Greenwood, Richard Dent, Dwight White, Al Baker, Dexter Manley and Lyle Alzado.

In 2011, Richard Dent was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dent was a linchpin on the great Chicago Bears defenses of the mid-1980s. I am not questioning his worthiness for induction in the Hall of Fame. However, if Dent was voted into the Hall of Fame, why is Harvey Martin being snubbed by the voters?

Both played right defensive end on dominating Super Bowl winning teams. Both were feared pass rushers who more than held their own playing the run. During his two best seasons – 1984 and 1985 – Richard Dent combined for 34.5 sacks in 32 games (1.08 sacks/game). Harvey Martin’s two best seasons were 1977 and 1978 when he had 39 sacks in 30 games (1.3 sacks/game).

richard dentWhen one considers pass attempts and sacks, over their respective best two-year period, Dent accounted for one sack every 32 quarterback drop-backs, while Martin accounted for one sack every 23 quarterback drop-backs. Over their careers, Dent had 137.5 sacks in 203 games (0.68 sacks/game) while Martin had 114 sacks in 158 games (0.72 sacks/game). Finally, consider that Dent played in the most attacking up field defensive scheme of his era while Martin played in a read-and-react, gap control style of defense that keyed the run first before linemen were allowed to turn up field. When all of this is taken into consideration, I contend that if Richard Dent is a member of the Hall of Fame, so should Harvey Martin be. (Michael Valentino, YDCFF Historian)

Harvey Martin 3I contend that Harvey Martin is the Cowboys best pass rusher of all time rather than Demarcus Ware, because he too, much like Dent, was an every down pass rusher, unlike Martin, who played in a read-and-react, gap control style of defense that keyed the run first before linemen were allowed to turn up field.

All of that being said, despite the impact Darren Woodson made on the Cowboys team of the 90’s, I believe Harvey Martin earned a spot in the Dallas Cowboys Ring Of Honor long before Darren Woodson ever set foot on an NFL field.

Harvey Martin died of pancreatic cancer on December 24, 2001 at the age of 51. As of January 15, 2013, he is the only Super Bowl Most Valuable Player who is deceased. The fact that Woodson was never a Super Bowl MVP, went to less Pro Bowls, isn’t a member of the all decade team and Martin being deceased, is all the more reason “She Said: Harvey Martin Should be the Next Man Up”. It only seems right to preserve his memory among the other Cowboys greats by having his name and number permanently displayed on the upper deck in AT&T stadium. (Career history, stats and accolades courtesy of Michael Valentino, NFL.com and Wikipedia.)

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  • Big Harb

    I loved watching the “Martinizer” demolish quarterbacks. It’s sad because I think if the Cowboys could have won at least one of the Super Bowl games with the 70’s Steelers then Martin, Charlie Waters and Drew Pearson would all already be in the Hall of Fame

    • It shouldn’t be based on bowls! I wish I had been alive to watch him play. My dad has all of the old games on tape, so I at least got to see them.

      • Big Harb

        That’s a Yeah But. Yeah it shouldn’t matter but we know it does. If Deion gets PI called in 94, Boys probably complete comeback & Steve Young never gets in the HOF. If Drew slips tackle in 81 AFTER “The Catch” Boys get to the SB and probably win. Then Danny White is probably in the HOF with 3 NFC championship games & a SB. Without all three SB wins, only Emmitt would be a HOF lock amongst the Triplets & Troy was a 1st ballot inductee. It shouldn’t matter but the truth is that it matters a ton

        • frank

          if jerry the genius didn’t let jimmy go before the season we would have won 3 in a row (def28)

          • It’s hard to say: Big E being out affected the offense a lot that year. Troy couldn’t handle the pressure coming from that side and it affected the run on that side too.

          • frank

            yeah not having the big E definately hurt but they came out so flat to start that game if i remember right we were down 21 zip 9 minutes into the game. i just think jjimmy would have had them more ready than jerry’s boy barry.(def28)

          • Big Harb

            Y’all make valid observations but the point here is that a play or 2 changed the perception of Steve Young & Danny White. The SB win (or lack thereof) made a big difference in their chances at the HOF.

          • Kevin Sivells

            My thing Big Man about Steve Young, if he was so great, why do he only have ONE ring? Even when the Cowboys were on the downslope after the 95 SB win, they still had key pieces there. I still do not think he was THAT great but since he was on the same team as Jerry Rice he was “special”… LOL

          • Imagine having Jerry Rice and T.O on the field at the same time lol. Thats the #1 and #2 recs of all time on one team Young had at his disposal. Landry was going to draft Rice and Walsh traded up 1 spot ahead of Dallas and took him. It makes you wonder if they still would have drafted Irvin if they had Rice. If they had, what a pair of weapons that would have been.

          • Jojo

            Young was a great QB. It would have taken the 40 Whiners AT LEAST a couple more years to catch up to Dallas. Dallas was on the decline from the Day Jimmy was fired and they lost Kevin Gogan, John Gesek, Tony Casillas, Ken Norton, Jimmie Jones, Jimmy Smith(to Jerry’s stupidity) Steve Beuerlein, Kelvin Martin, Dixon Edwards, Robert Jones, Darrin Smith, James Washington, Larry Brown, Russell Maryland, Willie Jackson, Alvin Harper,Godfrey Myles, Brock Marion, Scott Galbraith, Mark Stepnoski, Jim Jeffcoat, Charles Haley and Jay Novacek (to Injury retirement) over the period of a few years. AS WELL as their soon to be HOF coach, and several assistants who became head coaches elsewhere.THAT is what swung the balance of power in the NFL. Dallas was the last team to build their own team. No team ever got robbed like they did.

          • There is no disputing that Jimmy was a better coach.

          • It is amazing though how missing 1 piece like Williams can affect the performance of an entire offense. It’s mainly because Troy was as immobile as they come.

        • Kevin Sivells

          The thing about Troy that many do not realize is he is one of the most accurate passers in NFL history. He gets flack because he had Big E to hand the ball off to so he did not need to pass. Troy would have gotten in because his arm would have gotten the Cowboys through. Which means, Michael Irvin would get in because he was the big target.

          • Actually Jimmy said he had to keep a leash on troy. Despite having Irvin and Emmitt, throwing a lot less passes than Tony etc, he threw a lot more interceptions. Troy wasn’t that accurate, he just had a lot of time to get rid of the ball and defenses always had to worry about Emmitt which kept them from blitzing. Troy would have failed miserably behind the OLs Tony has had. He went 1-15 before the revamped OL and Emmitt.

          • Jojo

            Harvey Martin was a HOF’er no doubt. However you are wrong about Troy Aikman Cowboygirl Cas. Tony Romo plays in a watered down pass happy league. The entire game has been changed to accommodate the offense. Troy Aikman was the most accurate passer in NFL history as far as ball placement is concerned. Aikman grew up in the best division in NFL history that won 7 of 10 Super Bowls from 1986-1995. Jimmy Johnson never said anything about having to “reign in” Troy Aikman. Dallas’ offense was a run first offense. Troy wasn’t concerned with numbers only winning. Dallas had a perfectly balanced offense. Aikman was perfectly suited to that offense. If Jerry Jones hadn’t been an ego maniacal fool Dallas would have been better and more of a passing team after the loss of Alvin Harper to free-agency in 1995. The worst mistake Jerry made(other than firing Jimmy) was his stupid spat with Jimmy Smith.Jimmy had led the Cowboys in receiving during the pre-season. He was stuck behind two former number one picks for obvious reasons. During the 1993 season he suffered an emergency appendectomy and almost died. Jerry tried not to pay him for the season because he said it was a “non-football injury”. They called Jimmy silk in practice because he was so smooth. In 1994 Jerry in a fit of wisdom. signed Cory Fleming the 49ers third round pick they couldn’t sign because they had taken half of the HOF’ers in the league. He gave Jimmy’s number to Fleming and cut Jimmy Smith as a way to further sever ties from the Johnson regime. Jimmy Johnson had given up the value of a first round pick to move up from the bottom of the second round near the top with Cleveland the pick BEFORE Darren Woodson to pick Jimmy Smith. He knew what he was getting with Smith which is why he gave up 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 12th round picks to get him. Harper was a compliment and nothing more. He was good for 2 catches a game for 40 yards. Jimmy Smith was a full fledged starter on the other side of Irvin. If you look at his career and just make his 1995 season the season he would have had as the 3rd receiver for Dallas in 1994. Jimmy Smith would have opened up the entire offense in 1995 and Aikman would have been able to pass the 30TD bar every season. Once Harper left Novacek had to retire a year later and because Jerry had never replaced them teams just doubled Irvin and put 8 men in the box for Emmitt. That is why Aikman’s numbers diminished. The tale of the tape Cory Fleming’s career in Dallas wearing Jimmy Smith’s number 6 catches for 82 yards. Jimmy Smith career 862 catches for 12,000+ yards and another HOF’er in the Dallas Dynasty. Jimmy Smith’s only football injury was a broken leg that caused him to miss some of 1992’s regular season. Jerry Jones ego DESTROYED the Dallas Dynasty. Dallas should have had at least 4 Super Bowls in a row and would have cemented their place as the best team in NFL history. Tony Romo plays in a pass happy league where numbers mean NOTHING!!! If Aikman was in a pass first offense his numbers would have been much better.

          • Jojo

            Tony is more mobile then Troy Aikman and that is it. No one throws more interceptions in the clutch then Tony Romo. First 9 years as starters in the NFL Tony Romo 110 interceptions Troy Aikman 110 intereptions. And that’s unfair to Aikman he started out on of the worst teams in NFL history and was thrown into the fire in the best division in NFL history. He got beaten up on a weekly basis with no weapons. Mike Sherrard injured, Michael Irvin injured, Herschel Walker gone. Doug Cosbie gone. Aikman had nothing. Romo has had good weapons since he started. Numbers are meaningless today. How many times has the 5,000 yard barrier been broken in the last 4 years? Putting up big passing numbers is nothing, that’s how you play the Broncos and lose 52-49 because whoever has the ball last wins. If I wanted to watch fast break I’d watch the NBA. Dallas got back to running the football and dominated teams because that is how you control the clock. Not that I care anymore but they did actually win that game in Green Bay…………that was a catch no matter how you slice it. Three steps with control of the football=possession.

          • Jojo

            Jimmy NEVER said that. Troy as I stated before was the most accurate passer as far as ball placement I’ve ever seen. Troy played behind a far worse line his first three years in Dallas then Tony did and he had fewer weapons. Here is the list of sure fire HOF’ers from that Dallas team if Jerry had just shut his mouth and kept signing the checks.Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Jimmy Smith, Emmitt Smith, Mark Stepnoski, Larry Allen, Erik Williams, Charles Haley, Darren Woodson, and Maybe Ken Norton, and Jim Jeffcoat if they had finished their careers in Dallas. Same for Stepnoski. and Smith.

        • Jojo

          It was more then just the call the 40 Whiners CHEATED on the salary cap in 1994 and stole multiple HOF’ers off of other teams rosters weakening the ENTIRE NFL. In one years time they STOLE Richard Dent HOF, Deion Sanders HOF, Rickey Jackson HOF, Charles Mann, Ken Norton the heart and soul of the number one defense in the NFL, Toi Cook the original LCB starter before Deion who they took from New Orleans. Ed McCaffrey, and Bart Oates a starter in multiple SB’s and a PBer. Tim McDonald the best SS in the NFL at the time. Gary Plummer the heart and soul of the Chargers defense that they would meet in the SB that year. They were also able to re-sign Tim Harris who had led them is sacks in 1992 with 17(and was the reason they traded Charles Haley to Dallas). Harris had a better year in 1992 then Haley ever had in his career. So the false narrative that the Cowboys had “dinged” the 49ers when they 49ers contacted them about trading Haley who wanted out of San Fran is garbage. Not only did the 49ers STEAL all of those players. Dallas also lost 10 key players and starters. Not only that but they also had to lose their Head Coach and both coordinators who became head coaches elsewhere. In order for the 40 Whiners to win by ten points not only did they have to loose all of that but San Fran scored 21 points off of turnovers in the first half. Dallas had 5 total turn overs. Dallas became an undisciplined team without Jimmy. Both on and off the field. Once Jimmy left the inmates were running the asylum and players did what they wanted. Would Erik Williams pulled his stunt under Jimmy Johnson? The players were afraid of Jimmy once he left all hell broke loose. Regardless. Jimmy would have had an the roster re-stocked. They would have traded out of the first round once again in 1994. He would have brought in these replacements and re-signed Mark Stepnoski, Ken Norton(who said he left because the “balance of power” had shifted once Johnson was fired). These re-placements would have covered Dallas” losses. Tom Myslinski as a back up Center and Guard, James Brown as a back up Tackle and Danny Stubbs as a back up defensive end( not Shante Carver) all former Cowboys and all capable replacements for their free-agent defections as well as inexpensive free-agents.

  • frank

    great article cowgirl I remind all my friends up here in giant land about harvey martin should be hall of famer no doubt. i said it before like big harb stated if the boys win either super bowl ten or thirteen over the steelers they would have more players in the hall. pearson should be in was and has better career numbers than swann and was just as clutch. (def28)

    • Thank You: Keep in mind, the refs cost us a loss in one of those super bowls against the steelers. We should have 6 and them 5. I am adamant that the HOF shouldn’t be based on bowl wins, but on a players individual performance throughout his career.

  • Lionone1

    No argument here.

    • Hi Lion: you need to come talk to me soon. It’s been a while

      • Lionone1

        Yea I know it has. We’re just kinda in that slow time of the month just less then a month from the draft. You know there is a lot going on behind the scenes in preparation. I try not to over think the teams needs and stay focus. When Dallas got 11 picks I figured you would be all over that and you did a great job with your mock picks. I was checking out the Cowboys dynasty week quite a bit on your site it was awesome. Can’t wait for the draft 🙂

  • Gabriel Carrasco

    Still I think that Everson Walls, Drew Pearson, Charles Haley and many other Cowboys belong in the Hall of Fame. If Bart Star is in the Hall of Fame those three mentioned, shouldn’t have a problem getting in. It is so biased, and I doubt, that they ever get in, thanks to the voters fascination with Green Bay and Steelers players.

  • Kevin Sivells

    Yes I am still alive (LOL). I am loving this “HeSaid/She Said”! I think i will write one called “But The Fat man Says!” HaHaHa. Martin is a great choice as well as Woody. Based on what Martin meant to that Doomsday Defense, he should get the nod first. Brining them both in at the same time does not sound like a bad idea.

    • It’s good to see you again kevin. You can write one called pretty much anything you want. I would agree with both at once, but Martin has got to be there.

  • Chris

    Loving this “He said/She said” articles and wow what an article. Jerrah should just make it a defense year and include both Martin and Woody. As long as one of these two players makes the ROH this year, i’ll be happy.

  • Jojo

    Harvey Martin was a HOF’er no doubt. However you are wrong about Troy Aikman Cowboygirl Cas. Tony Romo plays in a watered down pass happy league. The entire game has been changed to accommodate the offense. Troy Aikman was the most accurate passer in NFL history as far as ball placement is concerned. Aikman grew up in the best division in NFL history that won 7 of 10 Super Bowls from 1986-1995. Jimmy Johnson never said anything about having to “reign in” Troy Aikman. Dallas’ offense was a run first offense. Troy wasn’t concerned with numbers only winning. Dallas had a perfectly balanced offense. Aikman was perfectly suited to that offense. If Jerry Jones hadn’t been an ego maniacal fool Dallas would have been better and more of a passing team after the loss of Alvin Harper to free-agency in 1995. The worst mistake Jerry made(other than firing Jimmy) was his stupid spat with Jimmy Smith.Jimmy had led the Cowboys in receiving during the pre-season. He was stuck behind two former number one picks for obvious reasons. During the 1993 season he suffered an emergency appendectomy and almost died. Jerry tried not to pay him for the season because he said it was a “non-football injury”. They called Jimmy silk in practice because he was so smooth. In 1994 Jerry in a fit of wisdom. signed Cory Fleming the 49ers third round pick they couldn’t sign because they had taken half of the HOF’ers in the league. He gave Jimmy’s number to Fleming and cut Jimmy Smith as a way to further sever ties from the Johnson regime. Jimmy Johnson had given up the value of a first round pick to move up from the bottom of the second round near the top with Cleveland the pick BEFORE Darren Woodson to pick Jimmy Smith. He knew what he was getting with Smith which is why he gave up 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 12th round picks to get him. Harper was a compliment and nothing more. He was good for 2 catches a game for 40 yards. Jimmy Smith was a full fledged starter on the other side of Irvin. If you look at his career and just make his 1995 season the season he would have had as the 3rd receiver for Dallas in 1994. Jimmy Smith would have opened up the entire offense in 1995 and Aikman would have been able to pass the 30TD bar every season. Once Harper left Novacek had to retire a year later and because Jerry had never replaced them teams just doubled Irvin and put 8 men in the box for Emmitt. That is why Aikman’s numbers diminished. The tale of the tape Cory Fleming’s career in Dallas wearing Jimmy Smith’s number 6 catches for 82 yards. Jimmy Smith career 862 catches for 12,000+ yards and another HOF’er in the Dallas Dynasty. Jimmy Smith’s only football injury was a broken leg that caused him to miss some of 1992’s regular season. Jerry Jones ego DESTROYED the Dallas Dynasty. Dallas should have had at least 4 Super Bowls in a row and would have cemented their place as the best team in NFL history. Tony Romo plays in a pass happy league where numbers mean NOTHING!!! If Aikman was in a pass first offense his numbers would have been much better.