Continuing our series of revisiting jersey numbers we move to number 77.
This jersey number wasn’t worn by many greats until in the later years.
The first man to don that jersey was Byron Bradfute in 1960-1961. He eventually became a starter in 1961 before an injury cut his season short. Bradfute announced his retirement prior to the 1962 season.
Bill Gregory was a defensive lineman in the 1970’s and the only other player to have worn 77 for seven years or more. However, his time in Dallas was relegated to backup duty mostly and never breaking into the starting role until Bob Lilly’s retirement in 1974. Gregory also was the backup for Randy White, Jethro Pugh, Harvey Martin and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. He was eventually traded to the Seahawks prior to the 1978 season.
There are many players who wore this number that only could have a stint of a few seasons or less. It wasn’t until Jim Jeffcoat in 1983 that made number 77 a bit more prestigious. Jeffcoat played in the league until 1994, winning two Super Bowl Championships with the Cowboys. During his 12-year career Jeffcoat recorded 94.5 sacks and 690 tackles.
The latest to wear 77 is current blindside protector of the new franchise quarterback, Tyron Smith who is a monster of a man. He was the first of three first round offensive lineman selected to solidify the line as the best in the business. Smith started his career at right tackle in 2011 before moving to left tackle in 2012. Smith signed a new deal recently that will keep him in Dallas through the 2023 season. Time will tell if he is indeed the best in Cowboys’ history of anyone to wear 77.
The title ‘best to wear 77’ comes down to just two players. Jim Jeffcoat and Tyron Smith; one the rusher and one the protector. We give the nod for the best to Jeffcoat for his longevity. In the not too distant future it may very well be Tyron Smith.
All players who wore 77:
|Pat McQuistan||OT||2006-2009, 2012|