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Thread: Watkins: Who belongs in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor?

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    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Watkins: Who belongs in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor?

    Who belongs in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor?
    By Calvin Watkins Nov 1, 2018

    Ed “Too Tall”​ Jones is not bitter. But​ his voice rises when talking about his lack of​​ inclusion in the Dallas Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

    The Cowboys don’t retire jersey numbers; they idolize names. Having your name placed along with the organization’s greats is special.

    It can help you get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, something that happened to Charles Haley. He was added to the Ring of Honor in 2011 and elected into the halls of Canton in 2015.

    None of this is to say the organization doesn’t cherish numbers. Look at the history of No. 12, No. 8, No 74, No. 33 and even No. 88.

    But the Ring of Honor is about names. The 21 men whose names are displayed inside AT&T Stadium serve as reminders of the historic significance some of these men had on the game. In some cases, all you need is first names to understand their contributions: Emmitt, Michael, Troy, Roger, Dandy Don. Bob Lilly, Chuck Howley, Tom Landry, Tex Shram, Randy White, Woody, and Tony D are not only legendary Cowboys but revered in the NFL.

    The man in charge of selecting the next class for the Ring of Honor is Jerry Jones, and he’s left Too Tall Jones confused about the process.

    This debate started when Jerry Jones mentioned the name of Tony Romo.

    Romo never won a Super Bowl or led his team to a conference title game. However, the quarterback became a beloved player who solidified that all-important position for the team and finished his career as the franchise leader in yards, touchdowns, quarterback rating and comebacks.

    “And he elevated the franchise, and that’s what the Ring of Honor is about,” Jerry Jones said in an interview with 105.3 The Fan. “Certainly he’s got to be a great player in mind, but they have to do something that pushes, takes the step up for the franchise. While there wasn’t a Super Bowl there, I think he’s one of the best at his position. He was unique. He is unique now. He’s as quick and articulate as anybody I’ve ever been around. So, the bottom line is the answer is that is, yes, he will be in the Ring of Honor. Now, the details will follow.”

    The organization’s former greats, whether they’re in the Ring of Honor or not, have nothing against Romo. But they believe other candidates are being skipped, especially from the era of Tom Landry and Tex Schramm.

    Jones was a three-time Pro Bowler, an All-Pro in 1982 and missed just seven games in a 15-year career in Dallas. He started every game for 11 consecutive seasons. Jones was a dominating defensive lineman who earned unique praise because 6’9 linemen just are not the norm in the NFL. Especially back then.

    Jones is missing from the Ring of Honor.

    “I’ve followed the Cowboys since I was in high school and in college,” Too Tall Jones said. “I’m a student of the game and I know the history of the Cowboys because they were my favorite team growing up. I played with guys who accomplished something that took the Cowboys to another level and they’re not in the Ring of Honor. I’m confused, I don’t get it. I feel bad for those who, I won’t say they deserve to, but know they do. If you feel you should be in that Ring of Honor, you know it. There are guys who should be in that Ring of Honor who is not in there and know they should be. Now a lot of people are very sensitive when they work very hard at their trade.”

    Drew Pearson waited 29 years before being inducted in the Ring of Honor with Haley and Larry Allen. Pearson is one of the most legendary players in Cowboys history, and his signature moment is on display in a collage of photos at The Star. His catch of Roger Staubach’s Hail Mary pass to beat the Vikings in the 1975 NFC Divisional Round is iconic. Pearson was named to the 1970s All-Decade Team at wide receiver. After he retired, Pearson feuded with Jones because of his criticism of the team. The two reconciled and Pearson has morphed into a bigger ambassador of the franchise than ever before. During the 2017 NFL Draft, Pearson trolled Eagles fans when he introduced second-round pick Chidobe Awuzie.

    The moment pushed Pearson into the spotlight with more endorsements and he even opened a restaurant at DFW Airport.

    Pearson is grateful for his induction but sounds irked about waiting a long time to get inducted. He also wants somebody else included on the list of people not in the Ring of Honor.

    “There’s no groundswell. How come Clint Murchison isn’t in the Ring of Honor? That to me is the most logical question,” Pearson said. “The original owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Without Clint Murchison, none of us are here. How come he’s not in and you can go from there and talk about numerous or call out numerous names of people who deserve that recognition. The fact that they keep that limited is so selective to get into. I waited 29 years before my name was called so I guess that gives it some credibility, but it’s not like the Hall of Fame or anything like that. There’s nothing extra that comes with that.”

    A perception exists that there are more Jerry Jones-era Cowboys in the Ring of Honor than Tom Landry-era Cowboys. But of the 21 members, 15 are from the Landry/Tex Schramm-led era and six are from the Jones-owned Cowboys. Yet, Jones has added 15 players into the Ring of Honor, nine from the Schramm-Landry era. Landry and Schramm were inducted with Jones as the owner. With that being said, the previous generation of Cowboys were generally more successful — especially when you account for the Cowboys’ last 22 seasons.

    With Jones talking about Romo’s induction two years after retirement, discussions began about why more Cowboys from the 1970s and 1980s teams have not been inducted.

    Danny White, who replaced Roger Staubach, led the Cowboys to three consecutive NFC Championship games and finished his career as the franchise leader in completions and touchdowns.

    Those are records he held until Romo surpassed him.

    Do you put Romo in before White?

    Is White surprised he’s not in the Ring of Honor?

    “No, no I don’t even, that’s not something that I even think about,” White said. “I don’t have any control over it. My career is over, it’s not like I can go back and play and throw fewer interceptions and more touchdown passes or do something to change my career. It is what it is. So no, I’m glad that Jerry is keeping it exclusive. The worst thing you can do with something like that with a Hall of Fame or Ring of Honor is put too many people in it. It loses its value.”

    Gil Brandt was the Cowboys’ vice president of personnel from the organization’s inception until 1988. He created a scouting formula for college players and introduced the use of the computer to the Cowboys. Brandt is in a similar situation to Haley; a Ring of Honor induction could help his Hall of Fame candidacy. Brandt is a finalist as a contributor for the Class of 2019 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    One theory has Jerry Jones putting Brandt and Romo into the Ring of Honor together to help the former executive get into the Hall of Fame. Jerry Jones hasn’t said who will be next, other than Romo.

    “I don’t think it could hurt it,” Brandt said of his chances. “But I think as a voter, they vote on what you’ve done, whether you’re in the Ring of Honor or not. I’m in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. There’s a lot of people that also belong in there that aren’t in there. It’s just kinda what the voters sometimes voters see one thing and voters see another thing.”

    Even Brandt has a name he would like to see in the Ring of Honor: Cornerback Cornell Green.

    “I have a special feel for Cornell Green because I dug him out,” Brandt said of Green, who played 13 seasons and was a three-time All-Pro. “He was a basketball player and the first year at training camp he wore his hip pads backward, and then he goes in and plays in (five) Pro Bowls and he might have had 90 interceptions.”

    Green ‘only’ had 34 in his career, but he’s just another example of a player who should get consideration for the Ring of Honor. Harvey Martin, Charlie Waters, and Everson Walls are others worth mentioning for the Ring of Honor from the Landry-Schramm era. Jimmy Johnson, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and Romo are recently retired Cowboys up next for the honor.

    “I’m probably not the right one to ask, I don’t know the criteria to get in, I really don’t,” Too Tall Jones said. “I only heard rumors and it’s been a few years ago, they said you can’t get in unless you’re a Hall of Famer or going into a Hall of Fame. Not that they don’t deserve it. I’ve talked to guys with other organizations and they told me the qualification for their players to go in and what they said was made sense to me. No. 1 you have to had to accomplish something and take the team to another level.”

    Does that include winning a championship? Don Meredith and Don Perkins are the only Cowboys in the Ring of Honor without a championship. If and when Romo gets inducted, he will join them in that club.

    “First of all, you’ve heard me say this. If I had to list my number one disappointment since owning the Cowboys, it would be not to have gotten Tony Romo to a Super Bowl,” Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “He’s deserving of it. He’s that caliber of quarterback. But Tony was magnificent for this franchise during his career.”

    The criteria for inclusion in the Ring of Honor is unknown because Jerry Jones really doesn’t have one. He does talk to people in the organization and former players but ultimately it’s his decision.

    Should Jerry Jones get help in the process?

    “No, cause a committee would be you guys, sports writers, I got enough problems with that and the Hall of Fame,” Pearson said. “If you do a committee it should be the players that are still alive, that are in there, that are part of that process.”

    Before Jones purchased the team, Schramm, the Cowboys’ first general manager, picked who went into the Ring of Honor.

    “Tex never asked myself, to my knowledge, he never asked Tom, he just thought who should go in by his criteria,” Brandt said. “I’m sure Jerry doesn’t ask Jimmy Johnson or Stephen Jones who should go in. He’s familiar enough with these players he does it himself. You can say a lot of things about Jerry, but I don’t think that he’s biased. I don’t think you can ever accuse him of that. I think he has a pretty good grasp of who should be put in and when they should be put in and why they should be put in.”

    The next player, coach or executive to get inducted is uncertain outside of what Jerry Jones said of Romo.

    In some ways, maybe adding to the Ring of Honor will never make anybody happy because someone will always believe they’re getting left out.

    Too Tall Jones tells a story of a speaking engagement during his playing days where he met the late Senator John McCain. McCain’s words that day resonate with him even today, and serve as a symbol of what he thinks of the Ring of Honor, not only for him but anybody else who wants in.

    “You don’t always get what you deserve,” Too Tall Jones said of his conversation with McCain. “That’s always something that’s true in life for everybody and that’s one of the things I’ve always remembered.”
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  2. #2
    Teh Acester Texas Ace's Avatar
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    No one should get in before Jimmy Johnson.
    2013 DCC Fantasy Football Champeen

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    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Ace View Post
    No one should get in before Jimmy Johnson.
    Took the words out of my mouth. I have no idea why Jerry is so petty to have not given Jimmy his due. Come the fuck on, Jer. Show just an ounce of humility and gratitude. You, Jerry, can take all the credit in the world for HIRING Jimmy. That was a brilliant stroke, and did singularly create a dynasty.
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    Senior Member DLK150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Ace View Post
    No one should get in before Jimmy Johnson.
    I agree but not this time, it's Brandt.

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    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLK150 View Post
    I agree but not this time, it's Brandt.
    Just a reminder of what the organization has become over this last 30 years.
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    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    Gaining on .500

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    Hotlinking' sonofabitch NoDak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Ace View Post
    No one should get in before Jimmy Johnson.
    Jimmy certainly deserves it. But before I put him in or any more of the Jerry era guys, I wish he’d tie up the loose ends of the players from the past guys like Harvey Martin and Too Tall deserve it. They were part of what made us into America’s Team.

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  10. #8
    Senior Member DLK150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoDak View Post
    Jimmy certainly deserves it. But before I put him in or any more of the Jerry era guys, I wish he’d tie up the loose ends of the players from the past guys like Harvey Martin and Too Tall deserve it. They were part of what made us into America’s Team.
    Yeah, this is true. It probably doesn't help that sacks didn't start being accepted as an official stat until the early 80s. I'm sure their career numbers would be up there otherwise, they were a big part of those great DLs.

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    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLK150 View Post
    Yeah, this is true. It probably doesn't help that sacks didn't start being accepted as an official stat until the early 80s. I'm sure their career numbers would be up there otherwise, they were a big part of those great DLs.
    Exactly. I wonder what criteria the HOF used in those days to determine worthy candidates, insofar as neither Too Tall or Harvey got in. Of course, Randy White was better than either one, and was taken second overall in the famous 1975 draft class. Thanks Gil.
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    Senior Member L.T. Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p1_ View Post
    Exactly. I wonder what criteria the HOF used in those days to determine worthy candidates, insofar as neither Too Tall or Harvey got in. Of course, Randy White was better than either one, and was taken second overall in the famous 1975 draft class. Thanks Gil.
    The criteria is subjective to Jones interpretation of deserve or chooses. The Dallas Cowboys are a privately owned entity and the process of who gets to be in the ring of honor is dealers choice.
    Since Day One

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