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Heart Disease Claims Former Cowboy Fullback Robert Newhouse

Growing up in north Texas, Robert Newhouse was larger than life in my eyes. It is with great sadness that I write a few words in memory of one of my childhood heroes.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Back in the days when I first started writing about the Dallas Cowboys, one of the first FanPosts that I penned took a look back on one of the great fullbacks to ever wear the star on his helmet, Robert Newhouse. As a young fan, Robert was one of those guys that always seemed to be doing something good for the team, making positive things happen. With my love of the history and lore that revolves around America's Team, I felt the need to share Robert's story with the readers here at Blogging The Boys. Today I am saddened to write another post about one of my early heroes, a Cowboy who has gone to his eternal reward.

Robert Newhouse was a native of Longview, Texas and played his high school ball in the town of Hallsville before attending college on a football scholarship. As a fellow University of Houston alum, I am equally proud of Newhouse's achievements as both a Cougar and a Cowboy. In school Robert piled up the yardage while leading U of H to some of its most successful seasons in school history. During his senior season Newhouse set school records with 1,757 yards rushing, ten games with over 100 yards on the ground, and three where he eclipsed the 200-yard barrier. Those are the kind of numbers that quickly get the attention of NFL teams, as my front page colleague Kegbearer pointed out. He directed me to a quote from the book The Ones Who Hit The Hardest by Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne.

"As the 1972 draft neared, [Chuck] Noll eyed a running back from Houston named Robert Newhouse. An All-American, Newhouse finished his senior year with the second-most rushing yards in a  season in NCAA history. He wasn't big, but he was squat and ran low to the ground. He used his forty-four-inch thighs to churn through tacklers, earning him the nickname "The Human Bowling Ball." One arm wasn't enough to bring him down, and neither were two. It took an entire team. Noll looked at Newhouse and thought he was the antidote to the Steelers' offensive ills."

It was those forty-four inch thighs that another of my colleagues also remarked on.
My dad always talked about how his thighs were larger than his waist, and he had to have his pants special made. Loved to watch him hit the line. - Tom Ryle
Indeed, it was that pair of thighs that made Robert the devastating blocker and ball carrier that Tom Landry relied on to get the tough yards. Tackling #44 was said to be like trying to tackle a fire hydrant, and when he was blocking, opposing players knew that they had been hit. Newhouse was as tough as they come. Over the course of his NFL career (1972-1983) he carried the ball for nearly 5,000 yards while picking up almost a 1,000 more as a receiver. He scored 31 touchdowns. The biggest highlight of Newhouse's career came in Super Bowl XII. On a halfback option, the House rolled left and hit Golden Richards for a 29-yard touchdown reception to help seal the win over the Denver Broncos and give Landry his final championship.

Away from the game Newhouse stayed active in the Dallas organization. Most recently he handled Alumni Affairs for the Cowboys.The last few years of his life were a challenge for Robert, but he met those battles head on just like he did would be tacklers. Even as a stroke and heart disease took their toll on his body, Robert remained the same tough-nosed man who played his senior season with a broken pelvis. In the end, heart disease claimed the Cowboy, but Robert battled every step of the way.

Robert Newhouse; may he rest in peace.

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