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Mailbag: Favorite Cowboys Play Of All Time?


With Drew Pearson (and the Hail Mary) going to the Hall of Fame, what is your favorite Cowboys play of all time? Mine happened Jan 1., 1967 against Green Bay at the Cotton Bowl. Trailing by seven, Bob Hayes streaked down the sideline and when the safety moved over, Don Meredith hit a wide-open Frank Clarke for a 68-yard TD pass. Except for a failed fourth-and-goal pass, Dallas would have been in the first Super Bowl. — RICK LEWIS / ARLINGTON, TX

Nick: One play? You're giving me one play over 40 years of either being a fan or working here? Man, I don't know about just one play. That's as tough as it gets. There are so many. I'm thinking I might have to do my own personal Top 10 plays coming out here soon. Initially, I think of 99-yarders, goal-line stands, tip-toe runs on the sideline and the greatest 2-yard run ever that avoided a safety. But if you're giving me just one – it's actually not a touchdown. But it's the one that ignited the Cowboys into the Team of the 90s. It also showed the type of swagger, toughness, guts and whatever else you want to call it. But my favorite play is probably the Troy Aikman 72-yard pass to Alvin Harper in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game in the 1992 season. Just everything about that play is symbolic for what the Cowboys were for that decade.

Rob: Yeah, this is tough. I've got to choose a play from a game I covered. How about Tony Romo's ridiculous scramble for a first down against the Rams after a botched shotgun snap flew 30 yards over his head? A few plays later he ran it again, this time for a 15-yard touchdown. That was early in 2007, Romo's first full year as a starter, and I just remembered thinking in the press box, "This might be a special year." To a certain extent, that turned out to be true: 13 wins, 13 Pro Bowlers, No. 1 seed … but heartbreak in the divisional round.

Now that Drew Pearson has entered the Hall of Fame, I'd like to know where Drew ranked all-time in stats at the time of his retirement. Obviously with today's game they look paltry, but I'd like to know how he ranked among his peers at the time he ended his playing days, which I think is more relevant. — JOHN PHILLIPS / VICTORVILLE, CA

Nick: Look no further than the All-Decade Team for the 1970s. That is what matters the most because that's an entire decade of football and Drew Pearson was considered one of the very best wide receivers in the game. Today, the stats are definitely all crazy – like you mentioned. Drew had 489 catches in his career. Right now, Stefon Diggs has 492 and he entered the league in 2015. So it's hard to really compare stats since the game is so different. What I judge with Drew was how many great moments he had for a franchise that was winning every year. Just look at the Top 10 plays in Cowboys history and you'll find a play that Pearson made or contributed to, on about half of them. Good enough for me. And now good enough for the Hall of Fame voters – finally.

Rob: It's a great point, John, because we're talking about two completely different eras and styles of play. Pearson retired in 1983 as the Cowboys' all-time leader in catches and receiving yards. He also ranked third in NFL history in playoff catches and fourth in playoff receiving yards and touchdowns. All were franchise bests. So, yes, he absolutely had the numbers in his era.

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