Throughout his nine-year career with the Cowboys, "Dandy" Don Meredith was one of the Cowboys' most recognizable stars, his brash, outgoing style epitomizing the growing city he played in during his college and professional career. And while the free-spirited Meredith didn't always have a loving relationship with the Cowboys faithful, his lasting legacy will be that of leading his team to three straight division championships and trips to consecutive NFL Championship games following the 1966 and 1967 seasons, losing both times, though, to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
During the 1966 season, the Cowboys' first winning season in franchise history (10-3-1), Meredith was named NFL Player of the Year, throwing a career-high 24 touchdown passes that season. He also was one of nine Dallas players named to the Pro Bowl that year, Meredith's first of two career Pro Bowl selections.
Meredith still is one of only three Cowboys quarterbacks (Roger Staubach and Danny White the other two) to have thrown for at least 300 yards in three games during a single season. And he still holds the record for the longest pass completion in franchise history, hooking up on a 95-yard touchdown pass to Bob Hayes on Nov. 11, 1966. Meredith also is tied for the franchise lead for having thrown the most touchdown passes in a single game, completing five in three different games, the most of any of the four other quarterbacks he's tied with.
"Dandy" Don unexpectedly retired before the 1969 season, and while the fans in Dallas were known to get on him at the Cotton Bowl, his coaches and teammates were not ready to let him go.
"I tried to talk him out of it," late Cowboys head coach Tom Landry said. "But when you lose your desire in this game, that's it."
Meredith eventually would go on to a prosperous TV career as an analyst on Monday Night Football.
Meredith spent his entire college and pro careers in Dallas, attending SMU for four years and playing nine for the Cowboys. He was a two-time All-American at SMU where he shattered all of SMU's passing records. The Cowboys, in an attempt to prevent the AFL upstart Dallas Texans from signing Meredith out of college, worked a trade for future draft picks with the Chicago Bears to acquire his rights and allow original Cowboys owner Clint Murchison Jr. to sign him to a personal services contract.
In 1976, Meredith joined former Cowboys running back Don Perkins as the second and third members of the Ring of Honor. Meredith and Perkins began and ended their careers together, so it was fitting they be inducted into the Ring together.
Born April 10, 1938, in Mount Vernon, Texas.