Dirty Dozen (American football)
The Dirty Dozen is the nickname referring to the number of rookies that made the Dallas Cowboys team in 1975. These players were credited with helping the Cowboys advance to Super Bowl X and was a key foundation of the team's success during the latter half of the 1970s going into the early 1980s, as by 1979 many of these players would have replaced many of the Cowboys' aging starters of the 1960s. The rookies came up with the nickname inspired by the film of the same name, and spent half of the season without shaving.
List of the rookies
- Randy White, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle (originally middle linebacker). He was named to nine consecutive All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams. NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
- Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, an outside linebacker who replaced Dave Edwards after Super Bowl X. He was a one-time Pro Bowler
- Bob Breunig, MLB who succeeded Lee Roy Jordan at the position following Jordan's retirement in 1976. He was a four-time All-Pro and a three-time Pro Bowler
- Pat Donovan, Offensive Tackle who succeeded Ralph Neely at the left tackle position following Neely's retirement after Super Bowl XII. Started Super Bowl XII at right tackle in place of future Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright. Formed what was known as the "Irish Triumverate" with Guard Tom Rafferty and center John Fitzgerald. He was a four-time Pro Bowler
- Herbert Scott, an guard (replaced Blaine Nye after Nye's retirement in 1976). He was a two-time All-Pro and a three-time Pro Bowler
- Mitch Hoopes, a punter
- Percy Howard, a wide receiver best known for his only career catch being for a touchdown in Super Bowl X
- Randy Hughes, a safety
- Scott Laidlaw, a running back
- Burton Lawless, an guard
- Kyle Davis, a center
- Roland Woolsey, a defensive back
For all of the accolades that the Dallas Cowboys scouting department had received throughout the years, the team had never kept more than nine draft choices and the average number was keeping six. In this draft, eleven picks and one undrafted free agent (Percy Howard) made the team, hence the "The Dirty Dozen" nickname for the 1975 Cowboys draft class. This group of rookies didn't even include linebacker Mike Hegman, who was drafted that year but did not enter the NFL until 1976, nor undrafted free agent Jim Zorn who made the team, but was later cut to make room for running back Preston Pearson, who had been waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The infusion of new talent not only meant an immediate rebuilding process and competition, but also changed the course of the team in a significant way. This group helped the Cowboys reached Super Bowl X that season, and moving forward would play a key role in the franchise being given the nickname "America's Team".
- "Youth is served on Cowboys but in very limited portions". The Miami News. January 15, 1976. p. 1C. Retrieved October 26, 2013.