#4 The Defensive Line
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has a litany of defenders that would rival any other franchise. The Doomsday defense was a nickname that carried the same amount of fear in the league that our Armed Forces do today. There is no better place to start than in the beginning.
The Dallas Cowboys’ first franchise selection could not have gone any better. Defensive Tackle Bob Lilly or “Mr. Cowboy” is still referenced to as the best defensive lineman in the team history. His Pro Football Hall of Fame Career is certainly strengthened by a Super Bowl victory but was also named to the 1960s and 1970s All-Decade team. His selection of the league’s 75th-anniversary team didn’t hurt either.
Defensive Tackle Randy White or the “Manster” referring to his half man half monster comparison is also a Pro Football Hall of Famer and played in six NFC Championship games with three Super Bowl appearances with one victory where he was named co-MVP of the Super Bowl.
Speaking of Super Bowl Co-MVP, Defensive end Harvey Martin was the other person of that honor. Although Martin is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his unofficial but Dallas Cowboys credited, 23 sacks in the 1977 season is more than the current record held by Giants defensive end Micheal Strahan of 22.5. Just to be clear, sacks did not become an official NFL stat until 1982.
Defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones was as massive as his name suggests and I am not sure why he isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This almost instantly recognizably Dallas Cowboy should be considered for this honor after playing 15 years for this organization.
Defensive Tackle Jethro Pugh was mostly remembered as the person who was blocked on the last play of the Ice Bowl but nonetheless had a great career while defensive end George Andrie suffered from being overshadowed by Bob Lilly. Both were great players in their era.
Defensive end’s Charles Haley and Tony Tolbert were a fearsome duo at the end positions in the 1990s with Haley eventually going into the Hall of Fame while defensive tackles Leon Lett and Jim Jeffcoat provided valuable stability in the middle.
Even with this top-heavy defensive line, I think there are certainly other teams that could have a claim for the “defensive line university” throne simply because the Cowboys only have three of the 38 pure defensive linemen in the Hall of Fame counting Charles Haley.
The “Purple People Eaters” of Minnesota, The “Steel Curtain” of Pittsburgh, and the Jack Youngblood and Fred Warner led Rams makes this a hard case to win.