• 08/06/2013, 07:34PM ET


MattUSA (3-4-3) vs Marlins Fan (156-78-31)

This throwdown is to list the 5 Greatest Dallas Cowboy players of All time.

From #5 to #1.

#5 Michael Irvin.
Often overlooked in the list of greatest WR's, but make no mistake he was a beast. One of leaders of the Great teams of the 90's.

#4 Randy White.
His nickname says it all, "The Manster"...1/2 man 1/2 monster.

#3 Emmitt Smith.
The NFL's all time leading rusher has be on this list.

#2 Roger Staubach.
It was a close call for me, but I just couldn't put him at #1. He was everything you could ask for as QB in the NFL. Great leader, great heart, great athlete and unbelievable competitor.

#1 Bob Lilly.
There is reason he called "Mr. Cowboy". Much like Joe Greene did with the Steelers, Lilly brought an unwillingness to accept losing. That, teamed with his ability to dominate the line of scrimmage turned the Cowboys into a Championship team.

5. Michael Irvin
Agree with Irvin at #5.

4. Larry Allen
People are going to absolutely ream me for this pick. I can live with that. Larry Allen was the best offensive lineman I'm Dallas Cowboys history. He was known as the NFL's strongest player for most of his career and he was the most dominant offensive lineman I have ever followed. Without Allen, Emmitt isn't Emmitt. Emmitt isn't the all time rushing leader. Aikman doesn't connect with Irving so frequently. Chances are Dallas doesn't steamroll it's way to three rings in the 90s. Allen is often overlooked but was completely indispensable.

3. Bob Lilly

Lilly was a beast, but wasn't as important as the quarterback. I have to put Lilly behind the QB who retired with the NFL's highest (at the time) rating and was MVP of Super Bowl VI.

2. Roger Staubach
I agree with you on Staubach at #2.

1. Emmitt Smith
To a Cowboys fan like me, Emmitt IS the Cowboys. At least he's the Cowboys all time greatest player.

Great topic, Matt, and good luck. Thanks for throwing me a bone with this one.

I like your picks. It gives us a very straight forward debate. Just 2 things to dispute in the last two arguments.

1. Who is the greatest Cowboy, Lilly or Emmitt?

2. Who is the greater Cowboy, L. Allen or R. White?

I will begin with #2.

When you talk about the greatest Cowboys of the late 70's early 80's only Staubach stands above Randy White. White was a 7 time first team all pro. Beating out Joe Greene in 1978 & 1979. Yes, he was that great.

Randy's regular season achievements are many.

Only missed 1 game in his 14 year career.
9 pro bowl selection.
111 sacks.
Over 1,100 tackles.
Defensive Player of the Year in 1978.
1980's all decade 1'st team

Randy's playoff number only got better.

9 playoff sacks (4 in his 3 SB's).
1 playoff safety
1 playoff int.
1 Super Bowl MVP.

Larry Allen was a great player, no doubt. His accolades just don't reach the level of "The Manster".

When you look at the all decade team of the 1990, the OT are Willie Roaf & Gary Zimmerman.
The 2000's all decade team OT's are Jonathan Ogden & Walter Jones.

Larry Allen is/was a great Cowboy, just not at the level of Randy White.

Sticking with the same portion of the argument that you focused on, there are a few quick points I'd like to make.

First, Larry Allen wasn't an OT, which is why he didn't make the All Decade teams as a tackle. Allen did, however, make both the 90's All Decade team and the 2000's All Decade team as a guard. Because Larry Allen was a guard. Best guard I've ever seen, to be specific.

We're talking about an 11 time Pro Bowler, a 7 time All Pro, a Super Bowl champion, a Hall of Famer.

Danny White was a great Cowboy. Amazing sack artist. Like Larry Allen, a Hall of Famer.

One thing that separates the two, in my mind, is the way they are perceived.

White isn't even regarded as the best defensive lineman in Cowboys history; that honor is usually reserved for Lilly. There is no doubt that Larry Allen is the greatest offensive lineman ever to wear the Star, though.

Remember how good those 90's Cowboys teams were? How they ran on everybody? How Aikman always had time to sit back and look for Irvin, or Harper, or Novacek, or Johnston, or whomever?

All due to the strength of Dallas' offensive line.

Larry Allen was more indispensable than Randy White.

Who is the greatest Dallas Cowboy?

Bob Lilly was the first draft pick in Cowboy history.
He was the first Cowboy rookie of the year.
The first Cowboy named All Pro.
First member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
The first "true" Cowboy elected into the Hall of Fame.
Bob Lilly is the Greatest player to ever wear a Cowboys uniform.

Lilly made the Pro Bowl team 11 of his 14 years in the league. Nine of those as a first team All Pro. He helped turn an expansion team into a perennial contender for the Championship. The Cowboys made the post season 8 of his last 9 seasons as a Cowboy. Playing in 7 NFL/NFC Championship games.

Lilly never once missed a game in the regular season. Playing in an unbelievable 196 straight games over 14 full NFL seasons. If he had an injury he played through it. If he thought he should be paid more, he went on the field and proved it. Always putting the team first.

Emmitt Smith may have been equal to Bob Lilly as an NFL player, but not as a Dallas Cowboy.

There is only one Mr. Cowboy.......Bob Lilly

I'll give you this much, Lilly has a lot of firsts on his resume. There is definitely a certain romanticism attached to being the first to do something, but that doesn't make it the greatest ever of that particular thing.

Emmitt may not have been the first Cowboys player to accomplish a bunch of things but his career is noteworthy for a host of other reasons.

Emmitt has three Super Bowl rings. Bob Lilly has one. Emmitt has a Super Bowl MVP trophy; Lilly does not.

Emmitt is also the NFL's all time leading rusher. The most accomplished running back in the history of the league. Lilly's 94.5 QB sacks places him WAY down the NFL's all time list. The list only includes players' official sack totals so Lilly isn't on the list because all his sacks were unofficial, but even excluding players with unofficial sack totals that would normally rank above Lilly, the best he could do is 37th on the all time sack list. His actual number is much lower, however.

One last note, Lilly was not, as you stated, a nine time All Pro first team selection. He was an All Pro nine times in total, seven times as a first team selection and twice as a second teamer.


August 6, 2013  07:50 PM ET

I'll get an argument posted before the night is over.

August 6, 2013  07:51 PM ET

Feel free to include Romo.

August 6, 2013  07:54 PM ET

Feel free to include Romo.

Lol, I believe I will have to pass on that offer.

August 6, 2013  08:35 PM ET

Lol, I believe I will have to pass on that offer.

What! No way!

<Very very smart move>

August 6, 2013  08:50 PM ET

Lol, I believe I will have to pass on that offer.

You have something against setting off fireworks?

Although I could probably name about 5 better than Tony off the top of my head.

Comment #6 has been removed
August 6, 2013  10:37 PM ET

5. Ed "Too Tall" Jones4. Tom Landry3. Randy White2. Roger Staubach1. Emmitt Smith

I agree with your number one.

August 6, 2013  10:41 PM ET

I agree with your number one.

But he'd need to replace Landry with a player.

August 6, 2013  10:57 PM ET

5. Ed "Too Tall" Jones4. Tom Landry3. Randy White2. Roger Staubach1. Emmitt Smith

I wouldn't leave Bob Lilly off that list.

August 7, 2013  01:11 AM ET

I wouldn't leave Bob Lilly off that list.


Lilly>White any day of the week.

August 7, 2013  02:51 AM ET

Indeed.Lilly>White any day of the week.

Heheh. Lilly White.

Comment #12 has been removed
August 7, 2013  03:57 AM ET

1. Staubach
2. Emmitt Smith (with his personal battering, Moose Johnston)
3. Troy Aikman
4. Bob Lilly
5. Randy White

Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan tied for 6th.
Jay Novacek and Jason Witten tied for 7th.
Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters tied for 8th.

Purposely leaving Michael Irvin off the list because of his "off the field" behavior that embarrassed Cowboy Nation.

And Cowboy Safety George Teague gets accolades and a place in the top 10 for curbing T.O. after owens was showboating on our star.

August 7, 2013  06:45 AM ET

I'd put Troy Aikman over Michael Irvin.

Comment #15 has been removed
Comment #16 has been removed
August 7, 2013  08:37 AM ET

1. Troy Aikman
2. Jay Novacek
3. Larry Allen
4. & 5. Everybody else

August 7, 2013  03:16 PM ET

The player who made the Dallas Cowboys exciting in the early 70's (when they became "America's Team"):

Bullet Bob Hayes

And Tony Dorsett should be on everyone's list ahead of Michael Irvin.

August 7, 2013  03:44 PM ET

The player who made the Dallas Cowboys exciting in the early 70's (when they became "America's Team"):Bullet Bob HayesAnd Tony Dorsett should be on everyone's list ahead of Michael Irvin.

I was wondering where Dorsett was too. Dallas couldn't win a SB until after they drafted TD in '76.

August 7, 2013  03:50 PM ET

I was wondering where Dorsett was too. Dallas couldn't win a SB until after they drafted TD in '76.


They beat the Dolphins. (The year before they went undefeated).


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