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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Round One: Tony Dorsett vs. Thomas Henderson

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 two seed Tony Dorsett facing off against fifteen seed Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson

Today we have the final first round match-up in the Pete Rozelle Regional, a skirmish between second-seeded Tony Dorsett, who, on almost any other team, would be the franchise's leading rusher, and fifteenth-seeded Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, the super-athletic linebacker for the Cowboys "Doomsday II" defense. Who will survive and advance? Read the bios and cast your ballots, good people!

Wanna keep tabs on the state of the bracket or look ahead to future contests? All the Midsummer Madness info you could ever want can be found right here.


Player: Tony Dorsett

Position: running back

Seed: 2


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Anthony Drew Dorsett

Bio: Dorsett was drafted with the second pick of the first round of the 1977 Draft. Although he wasn't immediately installed as the team's starting tailback (Tom Landry didn't know exactly what to do with him), he did make an impact, eventually starting four games and rushing for 1,007 yards and 12 touchdowns, which was enough to take him Rookie of the Year honors.More importantly, he added an element to a team that had everything except an elite runner, and the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII at the end of his initial campaign.

Dorsett enjoyed 1,000-yard seasons in eight of his first nine years in the league, with the lone exception being the strike-ridden 1982 season, when he led the NFC in rushing with 745 yards. In his sophomore campaign, Dorsett recorded 1,325 yards and nine touchdowns, helping the Cowboys to reach another Super Bowl, where they lost to the Steelers. His most productive season was in 1981, when he recorded 1,646 yards, breaking the Cowboys franchise record, and averaged 102.9 yards per game.

In his eleven years in Dallas, Dorsett rushed for 12,036 yards and 72 touchdowns, including an NFL-record 99-yarder in a Monday Night tilt against the Vikings. He caught another 382 passes for 3,432 yards and thirteen scores. As these numbers suggest, Dorsett was versatile; he was also surprisingly durable for his size, missing only six games in his Dallas tenure. Dorsett was a four-time Pro Bowler, and was a first-team All-Pro in 1981 and a second-team All-Pro in 1982 and '83. In 1999, he was ranked number 53 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

Dorsett is one of only two players in history (the other is Marcus Allen) who has won the Heisman Trophy, a Super Bowl, and a National Championship, and has been enshrined in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. In the same year, 1994, he was added to the Ring of Honor and elected to both College and Pro Football Halls.

*Dorsett's AV with the Cowboys was 132; his career AV (two teams) was 138.

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: Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson

Position: linebacker

Seed: 15


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Thomas Edward Henderson

Bio: Henderson was drafted in the first round of the 1975 Draft, and became one of the "Dirty Dozen" - the twelve rookies who made the team that year. After two years as a stand-out special teams player (including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on a reverse), he ascended to the starting strongside linebacker position in 1977, playing in all fourteen games and returning an interception 79 yards for a touchdown.The following year, he made his first and only Pro Bowl.

Henderson was a new breed of linebacker, with more athleticism than the NFL had ever seen; at 220 pounds, he ran a 4.3 40-yard dash (and 9.5 seconds in the 100) - in an era in which the league's fastest backs ran in the 4.6 range. He used his speed to make plays on the perimeter and to excel in coverage. He helped the Cowboys get to three Super Bowls, including a win in Super Bowl XII, and led the team in tackles in a Super Bowl XIII loss.

Sadly, the "Hollywood" nickname meant he was partying too hard; indeed, he often snorted liquid cocaine on the sidelines from a little vial he kept in his football pants. In 1979, a Week 12 loss to the Redskins during which he was seen waving little Cowboys flags was the final straw; coach Tom Landry deactivated Henderson for the season's final four games and later waived him. This left many in the Cowboys front office wondering what might have been; Gil Brandt always thought that Henderson was one of the very best athletes the Cowboys had ever drafted.

Brandt is right; Henderson was electric. And then he was gone.

*Henderson's AV with Dallas was 31; his career AV (two teams) was 32.

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

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