It’s late June, but how about we talk some Dallas Cowboys football?
The Cowboys - love ’em or hate ’em - are always a hot topic. Like Notre Dame football and the New York Yankees, there is no in between.
There are few teams that bring out the passion or the visceral hate the Cowboys conjure.
This may be more of a love fest as ESPN.com is conducting polls on who are the best quarterbacks of each team.
Like playing centerfielder for the Yankees or point guard for the Celtics, quarterback for the Cowboys is one of the glamour positions in sports.
You can be like Marlon Brando or Jack Nicholson if you bring home the Oscar or in this case the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Or you can be like Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford and win a Golden Globe and be a box office attraction, but not grab the big prize.
There are five signal callers that stand out in the history of America’s Team - (in order of appearance) Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Danny White, Troy Aikman and Tony Romo.
There’s no question the top two are Pro Football Hall of Famers Staubach and Aikman or Aikman and Staubach. The duo led the Cowboys to all five of their Super Bowl championships. Both were first-ballot inductees to Canton.
ESPN lists the case for each:
Staubach -Named to NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team; Hall of Fame Class of 1985, six-time Pro Bowl selection (tied with Aikman for most of any Cowboys quarterback); 85-29 (.750) as Cowboys starter; won more games (84) than any other QB in the ’70s; and two-time Super Bowl champion and Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI.
Aikman -Hall of Fame Class of 2006; six-time Pro Bowler (tied with Staubach for most of any Cowboys quarterback); three-time Super Bowl champion (MVP of Super Bowl XXVII); 94-71 as a starter, most wins in Cowboys history; ranked first in playoff passing yardage and completions, second in playoff passing TDs during the 1990s.
Any team would love to have both as a matinee idol.
I remember, growing up, the Cowboys quarterback debate was always fun. In my household, my mom was a Craig Morton fan and my dad was a Staubach fan, although I suspect my mom just wanted to be different.
Even today I love listening to my brother (Aikman) and my sister-in-law (Staubach) take sides in the argument.
For me, I could go with either one, but Captain America - Staubach - is my favorite.
The real debate is who is third, Dandy Don, White or Romo.
Both Meredith and White got the Cowboys to the threshold of the Super Bowl, but came up short. Meredith, the former SMU star, led Dallas to back-to-back NFL Championship appearances, but losses to the Green Bay Packers by seven and four points denied the Cowboys a trip to meet the AFL champions. If not for those losses, the Vince Lombardi Trophy could easily have been known as the Tom Landry Trophy.
White, the former Arizona State star, led the Cowboys to three-straight NFC championship appearances only to lose to the Eagles, 49ers and Redskins.
The case for both includes:
Meredith - Led Cowboys to first playoff appearance in 1966 and back-to-back NFL Championship appearances in ’66 and ’67; One of four QBs in NFL history (John Elway, Roger Staubach, Norm Van Brocklin) to make Pro Bowl during each of final three seasons (other three are in Hall of Fame); despite only 83 career starts, ranked seventh in passing yards, completions and TDs during the 1960s; and fifth in franchise history in pass completions, yards and touchdowns.
White - Third in franchise history in passing TDs and completions, fourth in passing yards; a 62-30 record and .670 win percentage during the 1980s, ranked third-best in the decade (minimum 25 wins); and threw for 3,980 yards and 29 TDs in 1983, both of which stood as franchise records for 24 years (Romo in 2007).
I would have to go with Meredith third because he brought the Cowboys onto the national scene, plus he had to endure so many beatings behind those first few offensive lines. White had to succeed Staubach, which was not an easy task, but Meredith is slightly ahead.
This brings us to Romo. Maybe he should be higher because, let’s face it; Romo did not have the tools that the previous Cowboys QBs had at their disposal.
Here is Romo’s résumé: Cowboys’ all-time leader in passing TDs and passing yards, second in completions; 25 career fourth-quarter comebacks and 30 career game-winning drives, both most in franchise history; and sixth in total QBR among all quarterbacks dating back to 2006 (minimum 100 games).
Tough choices, but if you would like to vote, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take an informal survey. Leave a comment, as well, if you wish.