In a recent interview with Forbes (which was covered here) the daughter of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stated that the family wants each of us to feel that we are part owners of the Dallas Cowboys.
"We want people to feel like they own a part of the Cowboys and that they are equally invested as we are as owners, as an organization." - Charlotte Jones Anderson
Well, speaking as an "owner", my opinion is that there are two gentlemen whose turn to be recognized for their achievements as members of the legendary teams of the 1970's is long overdue. Those two men are defensive ends Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Harvey "Too Mean" Martin. As two of the pieces of legendary head coach Tom Landry's Doomsday Defense, Jones and Martin became two of the leading sack artists to ever wear the star. Their on the field contributions played a critical role in developing the mystique that the Jones family bought into when Jerry purchased the franchise from Bum Bright in the late 1980's. It is time for him to once again pay homage to the legacy that he inherited with that purchase by inducting both men into the Ring of Honor during the 2014 season.
Ed "Too Tall" Jones
Although most recently seen as the subject of a Geico Insurance commercial that asks if Too Tall really is too tall, Jones is also seen in the memory of the NFL quarterbacks that he routinely plagued during his 232 games as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. In a career that spanned from 1974-1989 (excluding a "retirement" during which Jones fought as a heavyweight boxer), Jones used his 6' 9" height and long arms to bat down passes when he could not get to the quarterback. Jones was so effective at this that it forced the league to stat keeping track of another official stat. That ability has led to some of the more memorable moments in Cowboys history.
Jones also had a knack for batting down passes from opposing quarterbacks. Two of his most memorable deflections coincidentally occurred in similar situations. In 1985, Jones batted down a Phil Simms pass against the Giants at Texas Stadium, which was caught in midair by Jim Jeffcoat, who returned it for a game-deciding touchdown in a critical December win that clinched the NFC East title for the Cowboys. Two years later, Jones again swatted a Simms pass that landed to Jeffcoat, who also returned it for a touchdown at Texas Stadium.
When he was not batting down their passes, Jones was terrorizing opposing passers with an effective repertoire of pass rushing moves. Officially the NFL credits Jones with 57.5 sacks, but the Cowboys, who maintained sack stats for a much longer period of time than the league, "unofficially" credit him with 106. This number is good enough to rank him third in team history. In addition to his mark as a pass rusher, Jones also ranks as the fifth-leading tackler (1,052) and its all time leader in games played and seasons with the team (along with Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei). In his career, "Too Tall" never missed a game. During his tenure Jones was named to both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team on three successive occasions (1981-1983). For his efforts, especially during his second stint with the team, "Too Tall" Jones has earned his spot among the best Dallas Cowboys to ever wear the blue and silver.
Harvey "Too Mean" Martin
Playing at the opposite end from "Too Tall", Tom Landry had the man who became known as "Too Mean" thanks to the fierce nature of his play. Harvey Martin was not naturally an aggressive person, at least not until he met up with the Dallas coaching staff and a Hall of Fame offensive tackle named Rayfield Wright who brought out a side of him that was not previously seen. Under their combined efforts, Harvey Martin went on to become one of the greatest pass rushers of all time.
"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." - Tex Schramm
Until he was surpassed by DeMarcus Ware last September, Martin held the Dallas Cowboys all-time sack record with 114 "unofficial" sacks since the NFL did not recognize the stat until 1982. Over his eleven-year career, Martin led the team in sacks seven times. His highest single season output came in his 1977 campaign, for which Harvey also won Defensive Player of the Year honors (and a season that is widely regarded as one of the greatest seasons by any NFL player EVER). He recorded 23 sacks, which of course exceeds the "official" NFL mark set by newly elected Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (22.5). (Harvey also set the standard in a 14 game season, as opposed to Strahan's 16 game mark.)
During his time wearing the star, Harvey Martin represented the Cowboys four times at the Pro Bowl (1976-1979). The 1977 season earned him first team All-Pro recognition while the others brought second team honors. Harvey is also a member of the NFL's All Decade team of the 1970's and a former Super Bowl (XII) co-MVP, along with teammate Randy White. Despite the success he experienced, Martin is, for inexplicable reasons, not a member of either the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. While the HOF is what it is, the missing ROH induction is a simple matter of owner Jerry Jones making a choice to do what is right and adding Martin to his rightful place. Even more than "Too Tall" Jones, Harvey Martin deserves his rightful place among the greatest Cowboys of all time.
Too Danged Long
Ed Jones walked away from the game for the second time in 1989; that was 25 years ago. Martin has been away for even longer, 31 years, and he went on to whatever his eternal reward held for him in more than a dozen years ago. Both men gave Dallas Cowboys fans more than a few great moments to remember. Each man earned the right to have his name listed alongside Bob Lilly, Roger Staubach, and the other icons of what Dallas Cowboys should all strive to be. Few players have equaled what Ed Jones and Harvey Martin gave the team on the field, and the time has long since passed for the organization to return the favor.
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