In 1977 a sensational rookie Running Back named Tony Dorsett arrived in Dallas. His moves were some of the most fluid and natural you will ever see in a RB. He was aided by an Offensive Line nicknamed “Four Irishmen, and a Scott.” The Irishmen were LT Ralph Neely, Center John Fitzgerald, RG Tom Rafferty, and RT Pat Donovan. The Scott was the aforementioned Herb Scott at LG. This group graded the road for Dorsett, kept Roger Staubach in charge, and marched into the first ever indoor Super Bowl in New Orleans where they crushed the Denver Broncos.
In 1978 Pat Donovan moved to LT and the still amazing Rayfield Wright returned to man the RT spot. The interior of the O-line was still the solid trio of Rafferty, Fitzgerald and Scott who was himself a three time Pro Bowl Guard. Tony Dorsett once said that when Herb Scott blocked someone you saw their feet in the air.
This stable of men, many of them multiple times Pro Bowl honored, and All Pro honored, took the 1970′s Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowls. They battled to two wins in New Orleans and three losses in Miami. When the Hall of Fame was finally waking up to how good Rayfield Wright actually was and enshrining him in the hallowed halls of Canton, one of the voters who was unsure of Wright’s worthiness was noted to say he believed Ralph Neely was our best Lineman in those days and should go in instead of Wright. That is how good Neely was. You just read how good Herb Scott was in the eyes of the man he opened holes for. I firmly believe it is a sin that John Niland is not in the Hall of Fame. I listed his awards above. john Niland was as impressive as anyone who was a Guard from that era. The myopia when it comes to Cowboys greatness is galling at times.
Then came the 1990′s. If by now you do not know how great the 90′s O-line was, heaven help you. Oh heck, I will. In 1992 a monster from Hawaii named Mark Tuinei protected Troy Aikman’s blindside, and as some DFW media learned, Troy himself. It is doubtful you may find anyone in the History of the Cowboys more intense than Tui. He was a two time Pro Bowl and two time All Pro LT, and was simply as mean as a rattlesnake. At LG was a huge man named Nate Newton. Big Nate was a six time Pro Bowl OG and a two time All Pro. He was probably the best OG in the NFL in 1992 and 1993. Nate could talk, but Nate could flat out play. Nate should be considered for the Hall of Fame. I will explain why he hasn’t been, to this point later.
Tags: Dallas Cowboys