The March Madness NCAA Basketball tournament was canceled this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put together our own 64-team bracket. To help our tournament withdrawals and keep our minds occupied until the NFL Draft gets here, the writing staff over here at Blogging The Boys have put together our own tournament... Dallas Cowboys style.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to throw out clips of some of the most memorable plays in Cowboys history, and have you vote for which one is the best one. We’ll start with 64 plays, whittle them down to 16, and then a final four before determining the best Cowboys play ever.
We are only picking specific plays or moments in games for our tournament. So while the Emmitt Smith game in 1993 against the Giants with a bum shoulder was memorable, it was more of a game effort rather than a specific play. We’re sticking with those moments that happened in a very small window of time during a game.
As far as any ground rules for picking your favorite, we’ll, there aren’t any. Whether it be playoff significance, overall amazement of the play itself, or just how good it made you feel when you saw it - you decide which play you like best. To kick things off, here is the first group of plays for your viewing pleasure.
No helmet, no problem
Former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has played in 255 games with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s caught over 1,200 passes for nearly 13,000 yards. But few of them were more memorable that the time he ran 30 yards down the field without a helmet. After catching a Tony Romo pass over the middle of the field, the Eagles safety launched himself into Witten, jarring his helmet loose, while another another defender came along and ripped it right off.
You don’t see plays like this anymore because after this happened, the NFL instituted a rule that stated the play is immediately dead if the ball carrier loses his helmet. But that doesn’t stop this play from being immortalized as part of Cowboys history as a giant poster of a helmet-less Witten hangs outside the locker room at The Star in Frisco.
Bob Lilly’s Super Bowl sack
Most of us know that Mr. Cowboy himself, Bob Lilly, was the first ever draft pick of the Cowboys. Lilly earned All-Pro honors in half of his 14 seasons, paving his way into Canton. The biggest play of the Cowboys star defensive lineman came in Super Bowl VI when he chased around Miami Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese for a 29-yard loss. The Cowboys beat the Dolphins 24-3.
The play stands as the largest negative play in Super Bowl history. It has been voted as among the best Super Bowl plays in NFL history numerous times. It helped the Cowboys overcome the moniker of “Next Year’s Champions” after they had repeatedly come close to winning a tile but failed. They had lost the previous year’s Super Bowl to the Colts 16-13, and one memorable image of that game was Lilly flinging his helmet in disgust after the loss. This sack against the Dolphins finally helped to right all those Cowboys’ wrongs.
Romo’s scramble Broncos
Back in 2013, the Cowboys got into a shootout with the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, they came out on short end of a 51-48 score. Despite the loss, it was a remarkable game for Tony Romo. He finished the game with over 500 yards passing and five touchdowns. A late game interception that set up the Broncos game winning field goal caused this amazing performance to be forgotten, but for some of us - we’ll never forget.
Romo had several great plays on that day, but there was one particular moment that embodies what the Cowboys star quarterback did his entire career - escape.
Dorsett’s big run against the Patriots
After leading the Pittsburgh Panthers to a national title, Dorsett won the Heisman trophy and was one of the top coveted players entering the 1977 NFL Draft. The Seattle Seahawks held the second overall pick, but was looking to deal it away in an attempt to stockpile picks. The Cowboys packaged a deal they liked, and just like that Dorsett was wearing the star.
When Dorsett retired from football, he finished with 12,739 running yards, second only to Walter Payton at the time. It was such a thing of beauty to watch him run as that 4.3 speed was dangerous once those long strides got going. And that was on full display when you broke a 75-yard run against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football in 1981.
Which is your favorite play?
This poll is closed
Bob Lilly sack
Tony Romo gets away
Tony Dorsett 75-yard run