IRVING, Texas – While the focus remains heavily on the draft and free agency, it won’t be too long before the Cowboys report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif.
It’ll be a longer camp and preseason this year with the Cowboys playing five exhibition games, including the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. That pushes up the start date to camp, meaning the pads will be coming on before too long.
So as we count down the days to camp, let’s take a light-hearted look at the significance of each number as we stroll through the years of Cowboys football, continuing today with No. 90.
- The best player to wear the No. 90 jersey for the Cowboys is without question the current player. Jay Ratliff actually started out with 66 in his rookie season of 2005, but switched to No. 90 in 2006. He has made four Pro Bowls from the defensive tackle position and figures to be a key player in the Cowboys’ new 4-3 scheme as well.
- The first player in Cowboys history to wear No. 90 was Willis Crockett in 1990. Crockett was a fifth-round pick in 1989, but didn’t play his first season until 1990.
- In the midst of the Cowboys’ 1975 Draft, which has been dubbed the “Dirty Dozen,” the Cowboys picked Pat Donovan with the 90th overall pick. Donovan was a defensive end from Stanford who eventually switched to offensive line, where he was a four-time Pro Bowler.
- The 1990 draft might not have been the best from top-to-bottom in terms of an overall class, but the best overall selection likely occurred. The Cowboys actually forfeited the No. 1 pick by taking Steve Walsh in the 1989 Supplemental Draft, but they more than made up for it by getting Emmitt Smith with the 17th selection. Smith went on to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
- Thanks to the emergence of Smith, and offensive weapons such as Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, the 1990 season saw a big improvement for Dallas following a 1-15 campaign in 1989. The Cowboys had a chance to make the playoffs after winning four straight games to get to 7-7, but Aikman suffered a shoulder injury against the Eagles in Game 15, and the Cowboys dropped their final two to finish 7-9. However, it would be the last year the Cowboys missed the playoffs until 1997.
- The Cowboys have scored six touchdowns in franchise history from exactly 90 yards out, and have done so in four different ways. Troy Aikman’s two-longest touchdown passes in the regular season have both come from 90 yards away. He hit Alvin Harper on a 90-yarder in 1994 against the 49ers and then connected with Jason Tucker on a 90-yard touchdown in 1999 against the Giants.
- In the return game, Bob Hayes had a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Steelers in 1968, James Dixon returned a kickoff 90 yards against the Chiefs in 1989 and Mel Renfro had a 90-yard interception for a score against the Cardinals in 1965.
- But Alexander Wright has the 90-in-90 distinction, returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown against the Giants in Week 2 of the 1990 season.
- Last year, Tony Romo finished the 2012 season with a 90.5 quarterback rating, the lowest of his career. Romo threw 28 touchdowns but had 19 interceptions. His 648 passing attempts was easily a career-high.