Best Dallas Cowboys Player Ever: Lilly, Staubach, or Smith?

It seems like a rather simple question: Who is the greatest Dallas Cowboy of all-time? Instantly, in my mind anyway, three figures appear: The great Bob Lilly, “Mr. Cowboy” himself. Captain America, Roger Staubach. And the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith.

Jan 2, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Florida Gators and Dallas Cowboys former running back Emmitt Smith watches the Sugar Bowl from the sidelines during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

What’s interesting about these three are the generational gaps between them. Any fans under the age of 40 will have a hard time not picking Emmitt Smith on this list simply because they don’t really remember much about the other two. And although Lilly and Staubach played together between 1969 -1974, many older fans may side with “Mr. Cowboy” as he was the original team’s superstar when they were growing up. The same goes for Staubach. By the time young Roger “the Dodger” came along, Lilly was at the end of his career. Those who don’t remember the 1960′s might edge with Staubach.

Here’s how their numerous awards stack up:

Bob Lilly, Defensive End/Tackle. Played for the Cowboys from 1961-1974. 11 time Pro Bowler. 7 time first team All-Pro. Super Bowl Champion. Hall of Famer.

Roger Staubach, Quarterback. Played for the Cowboys from 1969 – 1979. 6 time Pro Bowler. 5 time All-NFC selection. 2 time Super Bowl champion. Super Bowl MVP. Hall of Famer.

Emmitt Smith, Running back. Played for Cowboys from 1990 – 2002. 8 time Pro Bowler. 6 time first team All-Pro. 4 time NFL Rushing Leader. 3 time Super Bowl champion. Super Bowl MVP. Hall of Famer.

Tough choice. Maybe your top Dallas Cowboy of all-time isn’t even on this list. If not, tell us who and why in the comment section below.

Here at The Landry Hat, we care about what our readers think. Our entire site is dedicated to you, the die-hard Dallas Cowboy fans. And there is no better way to gauge your opinions then through our poll questions. Please submit your choice below, leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and come back to check and see what the bulk of Cowboy fans feel is the right answer.

Best Dallas Cowboys Player Ever: Lilly, Staubach, or Smith?

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Topics: Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith, Polls, Roger Staubach

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  • Hawk

    More than any one player Bobby Hayes (Robert Lee Hayes) made the Cowboys America’s team. After the Olympics, everybody tuned in to see the Cowboys…They wanted to see how hayes was doing.

  • Billy Roberts

    No Roger Staubach,no America’s Team. One of the best quarterbacks that ever played.

  • lightofthedawn

    Sorry children (I’m 57), Bob Lilly was always a dominant NFL player despite being a defensive lineman (one of four). He was Dallas’ first draft pick and is and always will be “Mr. Cowboy” despite everybody’s understandable love for Roger and Emmitt. Without Lilly, the Cowboys would have been just another team much less America’s Team.

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