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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Round One: Mel Renfro vs. Daryl Johnston

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! Today’s first round match-up features three seed Mel Renfro facing off against fourteen seed Daryl Johnston.

Another day, another David and Goliath-style matchup. This time, its third-seeded Mel Renfro, he of the Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame resume, against fourteenth-seeded Daryl Johnston, one of many players who did the dirty work that led to multiple championships for the great 90s teams. Can the popular Johnston ("Mooooooose!") pull off the upset? Read their respective bios and cast your ballots, faithful readers!


Player: Mel Renfro

Position: free safety; running back; cornerback

Seed: 3


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Melvin Lacy Renfro

Bio: Renfro, a collegiate running back, was drafted by the Cowboys in the 2nd round (17th overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft (and by the Raiders in the 10th round of the AFL Draft), but the defensive-minded Tom Landry decided to start him at safety, where Renfro made an immediate impact, leading the team with seven interceptions, and the league in both punt return and kickoff return yardage, capping off his stellar rookie campaign with the first of his ten straight Pro Bowl nods.

Renfro briefly transitioned to running back at the beginning of the 1966 season, but the emergence of Dan Reeves allowed him to return to the defensive backfield, and another All-Pro season. Halfway through his career, Renfro moved to cornerback, where he continued to excel. He remains the Cowboys all-time leader in interceptions with 52 (in 1969 he led the NFL in picks with 10) and in career kickoff-return average (26.4 yards). His 14 seasons with the team ties him for second place in franchise history. Renfro joined the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1981 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

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:


Player: Daryl Johnston

Position: fullback

Seed: 14


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Daryl Peter Johnston

Bio: Johnston was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the 1989 NFL Draft, and played in 149 consecutive games from 1989-1997. Although he was never much of a running threat, he did everything else superbly; Johnston's 294 receptions is the third highest career tally for a Cowboys running back, and he amassed 2,227 receiving yards in his career. He was a crushing blocker who paved the way for Emmitt Smith to become the NFL leading rusher, and also was one of the greatest special teams players in franchise history.

Due mainly to Johnston's overall excellence in the absence of many carries, the NFL created the fullback position in the Pro Bowl. In 1993 Johnston became the first blocking fullback ever selected, earning trips in 1993 and in 1994. Most fitting is this: as a rookie, he received his nickname "Moose" from Babe Laufenberg. The name caught on among Dallas fans who would intone a deep "Moooooose" call whenever he made a play. What more could a blocking fullback ask?

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

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