With all the doom and gloom that we are all experiencing in the wake of Monday nights game against Chicago I think that it is a good time to step away from the current team and take a look at one of the guys who helped the Dallas Cowboys become "America's Team. Step back from the edge of the cliff for a moment, and let's take a trip back in time to one of the great periods in Cowboy history as we take a brief look at "The Human Bowling Ball.
Robert Newhouse was born in 1950, a native of Longview, Texas. Although a standout at Galilee High School in Hallsville, Robert attracted interest from just one division 1 program despite his putting together a series of 200 and 300 yard rushing efforts during his senior year. Most schools felt that his 5'10" 209 pound frame would limit him at the next level. Only the University of Houston offered the young Newhouse a scholarship. Other schools would soon have reason to regret not taking a chance on him.
Robert joined the Cougars during one of the better periods in University of Houston football. During his three varsity seasons the Cougars had combined record of 26-8 and finished in the AP top twenty all three years. For his senior year Robert was selected as one of the three team captains. It was a season that almost did not happen. Prior to the start of fall practice that year Newhouse was seriously injured in a car accident; suffering a cracked pelvis. This was before the era of redshirts, so he faced a decision that would effect the future of his entire life. He could play the season with a painful injury, or he could give up football forever. Robert chose to play. What a season it turned out to be. That year Newhouse set several Cougar records that still stand. He led the nation in rushing that year, gaining a total of 1757 years; a school record and at that time the second highest total ever gained by a collegiate running back. Out of eleven games he rushed for over a hundred yards ten times. Three of those games he actually broke the 200 yard barrier. For his efforts Robert Newhouse was named second team All American by the Associated Press and was selected to both the Hula Bowl and the Collegiate All Star team. During the all star game newhouse would score his first touchdown against an NFL defense. That defense belonged to the team he would soon join, the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys.
Drafted in the second round of the 1972 draft Robert Newhouse was the 35th player taken that year. As a Cowboy he was primarily used as a fullback and special teams player: however, Tom Landry did not hesitate to use "The House" as his primary back when needed. He was effective in that role as well. For the 1975 season he led the Cowboys in rushing with a total of 930 yards. Built low to the ground and with amazing 44 inch thighs Robert thrived on second effort. He was, in the words of one NFL defender, "like trying to tackle a fire hydrant". Over the course of 12 seasons in the league Newhouse cleared the way for teammates Calvin Hill, Duane Thomas, and Tony Dorsett; but he still managed to gain 4784 yards himself on 1160 carries for a 4.1 yard average. At the time of his retirement, at the end of the 1983 season, that was good enogh to rank him as the fourth leading rusher in team history. This total becomes even more impressive when you realise that the final four years of his career Newhouse was a special teams player and only relieved Ron Springs on occasion. He also finished his career with 120 receptions for 956 yards. Along the way he scored 36 touchdowns, 31 of them on the ground.
During his tenure as a player the Cowboys played in three Super Bowls; winning in 1977 against the Denver Broncos. This game was the stage for the most memorable for Newsomes touchdowns. Ironically it was neither a running play or a catch. Taking the pitch from Roger Staubach, Robert Newhouse on a fullback option became the first running back to throw a touchdown in the Super Bowl when he hit Golden Richards for a 29 yard score.
Like many former players on the team Robert maintained close ties with the organization after he retired, heading up Alumni Affairs for the Cowboys. Along the way he had the opportunity to see his son Reggie play in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals. In 2010 Robert Newhouse suffered a major stroke, but thankfully it was no more successful in knocking number 44 down than NFL defenders were during his career. Although he has many medical issues that he will face throughout the remainder of his life, Robert has met each one in the same manner that he dealt with the injury that threatened his career before it had even started.