The Dallas Cowboys’ fans are making a bold statement as of late, “We have the best WR tandem in the NFL with Dez and Austin.” Far beat it for me to disagree, but I think we have the best team period. The Cowboys have had some great wide receiver tandems in the last 53 years of the team’s existence starting, with the “fastest man in the world” and the man named Lance.
In 1965, the Dallas Cowboys signed Bob Hayes, the fastest man in the world, while Lance Rentzel signed in 1967. Their first year together netted the two almost 2,000 yards with a combined 107 catches and 18 touchdowns. They only played together for three seasons, but the first one was by far the best between these two early Cowboys.
In the 1970s, the passing game slowly began to gain some more usage, as the old “three yards and cloud of dust” were being turned into a way of the past. We also saw a lot of success out of our boys with all of the Super Bowl appearances, including a record season in which a player wearing #88 and another wearing #80, along with a running back sporting the initials, TD.
The 1979 season proved to be an amazing season, despite the fact the Cowboys didn’t reach back to back Super Bowl victories. Drew Pearson (#88) and Tony Hill (#80), along with running back Tony Dorsett, were the first players on the same team to reach over 1,000 yards in a season. Hill caught 60 passes for 1,062 yards, while Pearson garnered 55 catches with 1,026 yards. Dorsett ran for 1,107 yards that season completing the trifecta of thousand yard gainers.
The 1980s were none too kind to the Cowboys, as hard times fell on the team. The 1990s saw a resurrection as the ‘Boys won three out four Super Bowls. As the team saw their Super Bowl resurgence, there came another…the resurrection of #88 and #80 as a tandem once again. This time Michael Irvin sported the coveted #88 while Alvin Harper wore #80. Much like the combo of Pearson and Hill, these two lit up the yards and touchdowns. In 1994, they combined for over 2,000 yards receiving. Irvin with 1,241 while Harper had 821, with 14 touchdowns, although the Cowboys fell that year in the NFC Championship game.
In 2006, Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn came on the scene and put up great numbers. Owens caught 70 passes for 1,047 yards and Glenn caught 85 balls for 1,180 combining for over 2,227 yards.
Dez Bryant and Miles Austin had a monster of year last year. Bryant broke over the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career with 1,382 and 92 touches. Austin was 57 yards shy of a thousand as he caught 66 catches for 943 yards.
With a new play caller in Bill Callahan, we could possibly see the Cowboys get another set of 1,000 receivers. Bryant is on the upswing of his career, as his numbers improve every year. Austin has been playing for eight seasons now, and is trying to shrug off his poor numbers from 2011, in which he only caught 43 catches for 579 yards. He did well in bouncing back last season, so let’s hope that the trend continues. If we can keep a healthy Demarco Murray, we may mirror the 1979 season. That season the Cowboys went to play in Super Bowl XIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers. We shall see as training camp is underway and the NFL season is right around the corner.