We are halfway through the fourth and final regional, with two second-round contests still on the docket. Today's match-up features two players who we identify with different eras, yet whose careers enjoyed a three-year overlap, from 1977-79. Third-seeded Rayfield Wright, the offensive tackle with the Hal of Fame resume, faces off against eleventh-seeded Tony "Thrill" Hill, one of the most potent deep threats in Cowboys history. In round one, Hill squeaked by another Hall of Fame lineman, Charles Haley, in an epic tug-o-war; can he make it two in a row? Read the bios and comments and hit the poll, BTBers!
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Player: Rayfield Wright
Position: offensive tackle
How he got here: defeated Dexter Coakley, 563-50
|Name||Years||Career AV||Pro Bowls||All-Pro||RoH||HoF|
|Larry Rayfield Wright
Bio: Wright was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round of the 1967 draft as a tight end; during the first three years of his career, he shuttled between tight end, defensive lineman, and offensive tackle (wearing jersey numbers 85 and 67 before settling on 70). However, in 1969, he had to sub in for injured starter Ralph Neely, against the Rams' Deacon Jones. Wright performed so impressively that the Cowboys named him the starter before the first training camp practice in 1970, a position he held for the remainder of his career - in an era in which right tackle was the most important spot on the offensive line, and was usually aligned against the opponent's best pass rusher.
From 1970-'76, he anchored the line for an offense that finished in the top 10 in scoring every year. Behind his blocking, Calvin Hill became the first 1,000 yard rusher in team history when he ran for 1,036 yards in 1972; in total, Wright helped to pave the way for the first five 1,000-yard rushers in Cowboys history. In 1978, he and his linemates protected Roger Staubach sufficiently enough for him to become the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season (he totaled 3,190).
Over the course of his thirteen year career, Wright started in six NFC Championship games, and played in five Super Bowls, winning two of them (VI and XII). He was named to the Pro Bowl every season from 1971-'76, and was a first- or second-team All-Pro each season in that span (he was a first-teamer on three occasions). Wright was a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1970s and, in 1972, was voted the NFLPA NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2004 and the Hall of Fame in 2006.
|Jeber||He was the consumate team player. He put the team before himself and it rewarded him personally.|
|Fergie3108||I was fortunate enough to be at his HoF induction ceremony, and his speech was absolutely phenomenal. I will really struggle to vote against him after that.|
Here's Wright's HoF induction speech.
His Cowboys pride is fun to watch.
Player: Tony Hill
Position: wide receiver
How he got here: defeated Charles Haley, 336-332
|Name||Years||Career AV||Pro Bowls||All-Pro||RoH||HoF|
|Leroy Anthony Hill, Jr.
Bio: Hill was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the 1977 draft, and started his career as a punt returner and occasional backup receiver, helping the Cowboys to win a Lombardi in Super Bowl XII in his rookie season. The following season he became the starter, and earned a Pro Bowl nod after averaging 17.9 yards per catch and scoring six touchdowns, while leading the led the team in both receptions and yardage for for the first of nine straight years and helping the team to their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance
In 1979, he, Drew Pearson, and Tony Dorsett became the first three teammates to have 1,000 yards receiving and rushing, respectively. Pearson and Hill also became the first wide receiver tandem in Cowboys history to record 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the same year. In 1981, Hill averaged a staggering 20.7 yards per reception. When Pearson retired after the 1983 season, Hill became the Cowboys top receiving threat and, in 1985, enjoyed his best season, catching 74 balls for 1113 yards and seven scores.
Hill was nicknamed "Thrill" and "Dial 80" because of his explosiveness and ability to make big plays. In the 1983 season opener, his big play ability was a key factor in the Cowboys coming back from a 23-3 halftime deficit to win 31-30, catching 75- and 51-yard Danny White bombs in the third quarter. Over his ten-year career, Hill was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He retired ranked first in receiving yards, second in receiving touchdowns and second in catches in Dallas Cowboys history.
I went for Tony Hill
People forget how dominant a WR he was. and how many big catches he made.
|JimmyJohnson||I voted for Tony Hill. One Superbowl win and it would have been Pearson /Hill in the HoF instead of Swann /Stallworth. Tony put up better numbers than Drew.|
Tony also had better per game stats than John Stallworth, and indeed the best of all four of these great WRs:
Tony Hill (1977-1986)
John Stallworth (1974-1987)
Drew Pearson (1973-1983)
Lynn Swann (1974-1982)
In fairness both Hill and Stallworth played longer into the more stat inflated 80s than Pearson and Swann did, but either way this shows the absurdity of having both those Steelers in Canton but neither great contemporary Cowboys WR.
Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the sweet sixteen?