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Cowboys 2015 Offseason: Introducing Midsummer Madness!

As we head into the summer doldrums, BTB introduces its own form of March Madness to get you through the slow period until training camp: a 64-player "Best Cowboy of all time" tournament!

Every year, there are a few long, agonizing weeks where football news slows to a trickle and we yearn ever more longingly for the start of camp. This year, to get you through, we're introducing a new series, a 64-man tournament wherein you will decide who the best Cowboy of all time is.

Here's how it works: every day, I will post a match-up between two players, including a blurb about each man's career, including relevant statistical information, post-season honors, Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame inclusion, etc. At the end of the post will be a poll. You, our loyal BTB readers, will vote who you think is the "better" player of the two (note that I placed better in quotes, as this is highly subjective, and could very likely mean "favorite" or "the guy who I feel most nostalgic about"). When the next post goes up, voting is closed, and whichever player gets the most votes moves on to the next round.

As the seeding committee does with the NCAA basketball tourney, I have seeded all the Cowboys greats and placed them in four "Regional" brackets, each of which is named after an NFL Commissioner. As an example, Bob Lilly is the top seed in the Pete Rozelle Regional. I've tried to give each region a good mix of positions and players from different eras. Also, you'll notice that I have included several important coaches, owners and front office personnel, all of whom I believe have made significant contributions to the success of the franchise.

Here's the bracket; you can increase the size of the image below by hovering over it with your mouse (apologies in advance for the poor quality; we had a doozy of a time getting this to work).

64-man tournament

Once you have absorbed all these great match-ups and found out who your favorite players will be facing off against (and, of course, harangued me for failing to include somebody or seeding a given player too low), it's time for the tourney tip-off. We'll start in the upper left hand corner, in the Bert Bell Regional, and work our way down. On to today's opening contest.

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Player: Emmitt Smith

Position: running back

Seed: 1

Essentials:

Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Emmitt James Smith III 1990-2002 170 8 4 yes yes

Bio: Smith is the NFL's all-time rushing leader, and played for three Super Bowl-winning Cowboys squads. He is the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL MVP award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl MVP award all in the same season (1993). He is also one of only four running backs to lead the NFL in rushing three or more consecutive seasons, doing so from 1991-93. Smith led the league in rushing and won the Super Bowl in the same year three times (1992, 1993, and 1995). He is also one of only two non-kickers in NFL history to score more than 1,000 career points (the other being Jerry Rice). Smith was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2005 and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Selected by Dallas in first round (17th player overall), 1990 … Won rushing crowns in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 … Led NFL in rushing touchdowns three times … Major contributor to Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII, XXVIII, XXX victories … Named first-team All-Pro 1992-95 … In 1993, named NFL’s MVP and MVP in Super Bowl XXVIII … 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons … Became NFL’s all-time rushing leader in 2002 … Career totals: 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns rushing; also had 515 receptions … Born May 15, 1969 in Pensacola, Florida. - See more at: http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=291#sthash.i2MiaRqc.dpuf

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Player: Larry Cole

Position: defensive tackle

Seed: 16

Essentials:

Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Lawrence Rudolph Cole 1968-80 77 0 0 no no

Bio: Cole played his entire professional career with the Cowboys, participating in five Super Bowls and winning two Lombardi trophies, after Super Bowls VI and XII. Although he was known as a run specialist, he still tallied an impressive (and unofficial) 60 career sacks. During his career, he made some of the biggest defensive plays in Cowboys' history, the most famous of which was his third-and-two tackle of John Riggins that set up one of Roger Staubach's most dramatic wins, a 35-34 victory over the hated Redskins in the 1979 season's final game.

Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the next round?

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