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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Round One: Cliff Harris vs. Nate Newton

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 eight seed Cliff Harris facing off against nine seed Nate Newton

Thus far, our first round has given us a series of blowouts, with the closest contest being the one between eighth-seeded Too Tall Jones and ninth-seeded Erik WIlliams. Still, close is relative, as Too Tall won by roughly a two-to-one margin. Here, at last, we have a match-up that, on paper, should be closer: eight seed Cliff Harris, a stalwart of Doomsday II, and Nate Newton, a perennial All-Pro on the great 90's lines that paved for Emmitt and protected for Troy. Will we have a nail-biter? Read the bios and cast your ballots!


Player: Cliff Harris

Position: free safety

Seed: 8


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Clifford Allen Harris

Bio: Harris was undrafted; the Cowboys invited him to camp as a free agent and he beat out third-round draft choice (and twelfth-seeded) Charlie Waters for the starting free safety position his rookie year. He eventually teamed up with Waters to form the NFL's top safety duo in the 1970s. Harris was nicknamed "Captain Crash" by his teammates for his punishing hits and reckless pursuit of ball carriers and was also described as a "rolling ball of butcher knives" by Redskins coach George Allen (frankly, this is the only likeable thing that ever came from Allen's mouth).

Harris finished his career with 29 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries, and innumerable shattering hits. In addition, he is one of only thirteen players to have played in five Super Bowls. In 1984, he was selected to the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team as well as the Cowboys' Silver Season All-Time Team. In 2004, he was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into Ring of Honor.


Player: Nate Newton

Position: offensive tackle, guard

Seed: 9


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Nathaniel Newton, Jr.

Bio: Like Harris, Newton was signed as a free agent in 1986 (unlike Harris, it was after the USFL folded; Newton had played for the Tampa Bay Bandits). He earned a starting role the following season, but was on shaky ground with the coaching staff due to his weight (Newton was referred to as "the Kitchen," since he was larger than William Perry, aka "the Fridge"). His career really took off when Jimmy Johnson came to Dallas, forced him to lose weight and moved him to right tackle, where he played until 1991.

The emergence of Erik Williams necessitated a move to left guard, where Newton stayed for the rest of his career, accumulating six Pro Bowl and two All-Pro nods. He played with tremendous power and surprising agility, and was a key member on the offensive line that was the heart of Cowboys teams that were victorious in three Super Bowls and never won a playoff game by fewer than ten points.

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

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