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Cook’s Top 5: Dallas Cowboys Quarterbacks

Steve Cook graces you with more NFL QB talk, and this time it revolves around the best signal callers for America’s team. Not the Browns–the Dallas Cowboys!

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Troy Aikman Dallas Cowboys

Steve Cook graces you with more NFL QB talk, and this time it revolves around the best signal callers for America’s team. Not the Browns–the Dallas Cowboys!

HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS?

There are few more high profile position in sports than that of the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback. Something about “America’s Team” makes the Cowboys one of the most discussed teams in the NFL every season, whether they deserve to be or not. Whether people love or hate them, everybody has an opinion.

Today, we look at the five greatest Dallas Cowboy quarterbacks of all time. It wasn’t hard filling this list.

5. Don Meredith

“Dandy” Don was beloved during his high school & college football career in the Dallas area, so it only made sense for the expansion Cowboys to have him on their roster. Sure enough, Meredith was one of the first Cowboys, and after a couple years serving as a backup he became the full-time starter in 1962. He had a couple of rough seasons, but broke out in the late 1960s and was selected to the Pro Bowl each of his last three seasons in the NFL. His laid-back style made him popular with his teammates, if not with his coaches.

1966 was his finest season, with 2,805 yards, 24 touchdowns & 12 interceptions. He won the Bert Bell Award, becoming the first Cowboy to win a player of the year award. His retirement after the 1968 season at the age of 30 came as a surprise, as he’d led the Cowboys to an 11-2 record that season and seemed to have a few good seasons left. He had gotten tired of playing though, and found new things to do in television. As it turned out, Meredith would start a long-running tradition of Cowboys quarterbacks announcing games on television after their retirement.

4. Danny White

Being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys isn’t as easy as some people make it look. There’s a lot of pressure involved with leading America’s Team out there every week. Take Danny White, for instance. By most standards, White had a good, solid career. He led the Cowboys to three straight NFC Championship Games from 1980-82, went to the Pro Bowl in 1982 & had his best season in 1983 with 3,980 passing yards & 29 touchdowns. That wasn’t good enough for Cowboys fans, who had become spoiled by the performance of Roger Staubach during the 1970s.

White’s inability to get over the hump & make a Super Bowl got the fans upset with his performance, and eager to see new faces like Gary Hogeboom get a chance. It didn’t help that White’s teammates were irritated by his siding with the owners during the players’ strike in 1982. White did have a 62-30 quarterback record, and still holds the record for most games played by a Cowboys quarterback, largely due to his stint as punter while he was backing up Staubach.

3. Tony Romo

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

I have to admit that I was surprised to find out that Romo was the all-time passing yardage (34,183) & touchdown (248) leader for the Cowboys. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, and as people have found out during his time on CBS, a fine spokesperson for the league. Romo went from an undrafted quarterback out of Eastern Illinois to one of the league’s biggest stars.

Much like White, Romo’s career with the Cowboys had one major flaw: He never made a Super Bowl, in fact, he never got past the Divisional round. There are high standards in Dallas, set by a couple of eras of dominance that they haven’t been able to replicate since. During his career, Romo’s playoff shortcomings & love life were the main topics of conversation. I think hindsight will be kinder to his actual play on the field.

2. Troy Aikman

The Cowboys had reached a low point when they took Aikman with the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. They had lower to go, as they went 1-15 during Troy’s first season with the team. Jimmy Johnson & Jerry Jones had plans though, and they had a lot of draft picks, many of which became focal points of an early 1990s run where the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Aikman was selected to six straight Pro Bowls & was MVP of Super Bowl XXVII.

Aikman’s career numbers are comparable to the likes of Mark Brunell, Alex Smith, Ken Stabler, Carson Palmer & Jay Cutler. Yet, Aikman was a first ballot Hall of Famer while none of these men would be considered in that class. Winning the biggest games in the biggest moments is what separated Aikman’s perception from that of other men that might compare to him in statistical categories. Aikman also had better players around him, but he wasn’t in control of all that. What he could control, he handled very well. He played more games than any other Cowboys quarterback, won more games and is second in career passing yards and touchdowns for the franchise.

Honorable Mention: Dak Prescott

Dak is well on his way to joining this list, and with his recent contract extension will have plenty of time to do so. He’s on a pace that would give him most of the franchise records should he stick around and stay healthy. The question Cowboys fans have: Will he be able to win the big one like the top two on this list, or will he come up short like the two behind them? He’s 1-2 so far in playoff games.

1. Roger Staubach

The man that became known as Captain Comeback first gained attention as the quarterback for the Naval Academy, where he won the 1963 Heisman Trophy. After serving in Vietnam, Staubach joined the Cowboys & was the quarterback throughout most of the 1970s. He led the Cowboys to a 10-0 record and a victory in Super Bowl VI in his first season as starting quarterback, also winning the game’s MVP award. He missed most of 1972 due to a separated shoulder, but won his job back in a playoff game and never gave it up for the rest of his career.

He added a victory in Super Bowl XII & led the team to a 85-29 record before retiring after the 1979 season. 1979 was his best statistical season, with 3,586 passing yards & 27 touchdowns as career highs. The Cowboys won less than ten games one season during his time as quarterback. Staubach is the yardstick against which all Cowboys quarterbacks are measured on & off the field.

Thanks for reading! Join me next time when we look at the Denver Broncos!


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Chairshot Radio: The NFL Adds Game 17 [040221]

After forty plus years the NFL has voted to add a 17th game to the regular season schedule. Join Rey, Chris, AJ and PC as we divulge our opinions.

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Chairshot Radio: The NFL Adds Game 17 [040221]

After forty plus years the NFL has voted to add a 17th game to the regular season schedule. Join Rey, Chris, AJ and PC as we divulge our opinions.

Today’s Hosts: PC Tunney (@PCTunney) Chris Platt(@therealcplatt) Rey Cash (@itsreycash) & AJ Balaz (@PhenomenalAJB)

  • The NFL Votes to Add a 17th Game

About Chairshot Radio

The rebirth of Chairshot Radio will see a rotating cast of hosts delivering you a new show EVERY day. Sports, Entertainment and Sports Entertainment is the umbrella under which we seek to invade your earballs. So sit back, relax and LET US IN…

Your Weekly Chairshot Radio Schedule:

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For the latest, greatest and up to datest in everything pro wrestling, sports and entertainment head to TheChairshot.com and remember to ALWAYS #UseYourHead.

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.


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Cook’s Top 5: Cleveland Browns Quarterbacks

The Cleveland Browns have a storied–sometimes confusing–history. Steve Cook looks at the quarterback portion of it, ranking the Top 5 Cleveland Browns QBs!

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Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have a storied–and sometimes confusing–history. Steve Cook looks at the quarterback portion of it, ranking the Top 5 Cleveland Browns QBs!

It’s easy to forget that the Cleveland Browns actually have a proud tradition. Most of it took place before many of us were alive. They won seven out of ten championships during their first decade in existence, but their last title would come in 1964.

If I have any readers that were alive the last time the Browns won a league championship, let me know!

Their quarterback history has become a punchline during the last two decades. We’ve all seen the jersey with the lengthy list of names. Baker Mayfield is the first man since Tim Couch to lead the team in passing for three straight seasons. In order to rank the greatest Browns quarterbacks of all time, we have no choice but to go back to before they went on hiatus in the late 1990s.

5. Bill Nelsen

Nelsen had a relatively short run with the Browns, only leading the team from 1968 until early in the 1972 season. It was a successful run though, as the Browns went 34-16-1 during his tenure and made three playoff appearances. Like many players, Nelsen was plagued by injuries, which led to his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers not going well. He was traded to the Browns before the 1968 season, and once he got the starting position he led the Browns to a 9-2 record & a playoff berth.

Things also went well in 1969, as Nelsen got his one & only Pro Bowl selection & led the Browns on another playoff run. Knee injuries would lead to the end of Nelsen’s career after the 1972 season.

4. Brian Sipe

Sipe was born in San Diego & went to San Diego State, where he was developed by coach Don Coryell. Cleveland is quite a different experience from San Diego, but that’s where he was drafted in the thirteenth round of the 1972 NFL Draft. Sipe spent his first few seasons as a backup, finally catching on as the full time starter in 1978. He quickly became known for leading the Browns to many comeback victories & game winning drives, ending up with 17 comebacks and 23 game-winners during his career.

Sipe led the NFL in touchdown passes (28) & interceptions (26) in 1979, but 1980 was by far his finest season. He led the Browns to an 11-5 record while winning the MVP award, throwing for 4,132 yards & 30 touchdowns. These are still Cleveland single season records. Unfortunately, the next season saw the Browns go 5-11 & Sipe’s performance take a steep decline. He rebounded in 1983, his last season with the Browns before spending his last two in the USFL.

3. Frank Ryan

Ryan was drafted by the Rams in the 1958 NFL Draft, then traded to the Browns prior to the 1962 season. Ryan became the starting quarterback when Jim Ninowski got hurt, and he didn’t look back. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three straight seasons (1964-66) & led the league in touchdown passes in 1964 & 66. 1964 also saw the Browns win their most recent NFL Championship.

The 1964 Pro Bowl saw the beginning of injury issues that would plague Ryan for the rest of his career. A shoulder injury led to more arm issues during 1965, and surgery in early 1967 affected his throwing motion. Ryan was benched in 1968 & would retire in 1970 with Washington, where he would later work as director of information services for the U.S. House of Representatives before spending the rest of his life in other academic endeavors.

2. Bernie Kosar

People of my age and slightly older grew up with Bernie Kosar as the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Prior to that, Kosar led the Miami Hurricanes to their first national championship, coached by the legendary Howard Schnellenberger. Bernie, a Youngstown native, pulled some strings to get drafted by the Browns in the 1985 Supplemental Draft. After starter Gary Danielson was injured, Kosar got the starting gig, and in 1986 the Browns made it to the AFC Championship Game. It was the closest they’ve gotten to a Super Bowl appearance, as John Elway drove the Denver Broncos 98 yards to tie the Browns in the last seconds so they could win in overtime.

The experience wasn’t a complete loss for Kosar, as he set the then-record for passing yards in a playoff game during the divisional round with 489 yards. Kosar also set the record for consecutive playoff games with at least three touchdown passes, which stood until Matt Ryan broke it in 2017. 1987 saw Bernie make the Pro Bowl in a strike-shortened season where he still managed to throw his most touchdown passes in a single season. The Browns went back to the AFC Championship Game, only to come up short against the Broncos again, this time due to a fumble on the one yard line by Earnest Byner. Had either of these games gone the other way, Kosar & Marty Schottenheimer get far more accolades from NFL writers & experts.

Kosar set another long-standing record when he went 308 passes without throwing an interception in a span covering parts of the 1990 & 91 seasons. The Browns & Kosar would struggle in the early 1990s, and coach Bill Belichick would bench Kosar in 1993, to the anger & frustration of Browns fans that liked their guy. Kosar would end his career as a backup for the Cowboys & Dolphins, and is still one of the most beloved ex-Browns.

1. Otto Graham

The Browns started off in the All-America Football Conference in 1946. While Graham wasn’t the team’s first quarterback, he would soon take the helm and lead the Browns to four straight championships. Paul Brown’s offense & Graham’s leadership made for a winnng combination. Graham led the AAFC in passing yards three out of the four seasons the league existed, and in most of the other relevant passing statistics on multiple occasions. His quarterback rating of 112.1 in 1946 stood as a professional football record until 1989.

The Browns entered the NFL in 1950, and didn’t lose a step despite supposedly stepping up to face fiercer competition. Graham found just as much success against NFL defenses as he had in the AAFC, winning the MVP award in 1951, 53 & 55. The Browns won the NFL Championship in 1950, 54 & 55, while losing the championship game in 1951, 52 & 53. During the ten seasons Graham played, nobody was better at the quarterback position.

Graham and a number of his teammates that had been around from the beginning of the franchise retired after the 1955 season. Paul Brown was fired after the 1962 season. The Browns would win the NFL Championship in 1964, but haven’t won one since.


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