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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Second Round: Roger Staubach vs. Cliff Harris

Round two of our Midsummer Madness tournament is underway! Today’s match-up features top seed Roger Staubach facing off against eight seed Cliff Harris. Who will advance to the Sweet Sixteen?

Today's match-up is between two men who spent their careers as teammates and stand as icons from the greatest decade in Cowboys history. Top-seeded Roger Staubach and eighth-seeded Cliff Harris each had his early career truncated due to military service, and both retired in 1979, after being Cowboys for the duration of the 70s. Indeed, Staubach's retirement at the end of the '79 season has been marked as a turning point in Cowboys' history, but one could argue that "Captain Crash"s retirement was similarly impactful. Who will advance? Read the bios and comments and hit the poll, loyal readers!

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: Roger Staubach

Position: quarterback

Seed: 1

How he got here: defeated Eugene Lockhart, 671-22


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Roger Thomas Staubach

Bio: A 10th-round "futures" draft pick in the 1964 Draft, Staubach, who attended the Naval Academy, joined the team in 1969 after fulfilling his military commitment. After backing up and sharing time with Craig Morton for two plus seasons, Staubach took over the starting role for good midway through the 1971 season, leading the team to ten straight wins, including its first Super Bowl victory (where he won MVP honors, becoming the first Heisman Trophy winner to be a Super Bowl MVP). Later that decade, "Roger the Dodger" led the Cowboys to a second Super Bowl victory and two other appearances in the Big Game (both agonizing losses to the Steelers).

Staubach had several nicknames; he was was known as "Roger The Dodger" for his scrambling abilities (in his career he made innumerable scrambles to buy time for a receiver to get open, and also carried the ball 410 times for 2,264 yards. Staubach was also known as "Captain America," as quarterback of "America's Team"; from 1971-'79, the Cowboys won an astonishing 95 games with him at the helm, and never won fewer than eight games in a season. And, finally, he was known as "Captain Comeback" due to his penchant for leading the Cowboys to improbable victories. In his career, Staubach led the Cowboys to 23 game-winning drives (15 comebacks) in the fourth quarter, with 17 of those in the final two minutes or in overtime, the most famous of which was the "Hail Mary" pass in a divisional round playoff game against the Vikings in 1975.

Staubach retired as the NFL's highest-rated passer of all time (when we subtract Otto Graham's AAFC numbers); he was the NFL's top-rated passer four separate seasons, each of which he also led the league in adjusted yards per attempt, finished with a .750 career winning percentage, and six Pro Bowl invitations. He played on five Super Bowl teams, four as the primary signal-caller, and twice took home a Lombardi. Staubach was a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1970s, and, in 1999, was ranked 29th on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, the second-ranked Cowboy behind Bob Lilly. In 2010, a Dallas Morning News poll selected him as the greatest Cowboy of all time. Staubach was inducted into the Cowboys' Ring of Honor in 1983 and elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Member comments:

Member Comment
kfell I never watched him play live but seen the highlights and he was the greatest scrambler of all time. I own one jersey and its Roger’s and when I wear it to work in Patriot land, no one bothers me and most people say that Staubach got them into watching the NFL. And yet, football wasn’t his greatest talent. Great American, family man, military man, Incredible businessman and human being. They broke the mold when Roger was born. God Bless Him!

Roger Staubach

One of the all time great Cowboys.

Tom Ryle

It's Captain America.



Player: Cliff Harris

Position: free safety

Seed: 8

How he got here: defeated Nate Newton, 432-174


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 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, and was a key part of two Super Bowl winners. He was selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls (from 1974-'79) and received four straight All-Pro nods (1976-'79). In 1984, Harris 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.

Member comments:

Member Comment

Cliff Harris all the way.

HoF safety Larry Wilson said, "I feel Harris is the finest free safety in the business today. He changed the way the position is being played. You see other teams modeling their free safeties around the way Harris plays the pass, and striking fear in everyone on the field because he hits so hard."


Harris made receivers not want the ball

He was going to punish them if they caught it or if they didn’t. You would constantly see them take their eyes off the ball to see where he was. He’d be suspended with today’s rules but he was the baddest dog in the pound in his day.


I should add that Harris was also a big special teams player, with over 2,000 return yards and a 25.7 yards/kick off return average.

Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the sweet sixteen?

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