Dallas Cowboys: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)
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Pro Football Hall of Fame
CANTON, OH – AUGUST 4: A general exterior view of the Pro Football Hall of fame prior to the Class of 2012 Enshrinement Ceremony at Fawcett Stadium on August 4, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

123. . Defensive Tackle. (1961-1974). Bob Lilly. 3. player

Known as “Mr. Cowboy”, Bob Lilly was a man of “firsts”.  Lilly was the “first” real superstar ever to play for the Dallas Cowboys. Many consider him to be the greatest defensive tackle ever to play the game. And that’s despite the fact he started his NFL career as a Pro Bowl defensive end.

In fact, Hall of Fame head coach of the San Francisco 49ers Bill Walsh praised Lilly as one of the greatest players he’d ever seen regardless of position.

Lilly was the Cowboys’ “first” Ironman, playing in a consecutive 196 games. Before that, he was Dallas’ “first” ever draft selection, picked 13th overall by the Cowboys in the 1961 NFL Draft.

On his way to becoming the “first” Cowboys player ever to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame having spent their entire career in Dallas, Lilly was truly dominant. He earned 11 Pro Bowl nominations and was named an All-Pro nine times. He also led the Cowboys to two Super Bowls, winning their “first” championship after the 1971 regular season.

Lilly was placed on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for both the 1960s and 1970s. He was also elected to the league’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the “first” player ever inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

In his “first” year of eligibility, Bob Lilly was welcomed into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.