Bob Lilly Dallas Cowboys
"A man has to figure out what has to be done and how to do it. You have to be able to spin out of a block, recognize a play immediately and then react accordingly. I figure I’m as strong as anyone else; so getting the job done becomes a matter of pride and determination.”
Bob Lilly was a two-time All-South West Conference pick and a consensus All-America choice at Texas Christian before the Dallas Cowboys' selected him as their first-ever draft choice in 1961.
For the next 14 seasons, his play on defense was so outstanding that he became popularly known as "Mr. Cowboy." Bob starred as a defensive end in 1961 but then moved to a defensive tackle spot in his third season with even more sensational results. As a tackle, Lilly was a first-team All-NFL choice every year from 1964 through 1969, then again in 1971, and 1972. The only years he missed first-team honors was his final two seasons in the league and in 1970 when he was a second-team choice.
Equally effective as both a pass rusher and a rushing defender, Lilly continually battled double-team and even triple-team opposition but he rarely was delayed in his pursuit of the ball carrier. Quick, agile and coordinated, he even scored four touchdowns in his career. One came on a 17-yard interception return in 1964 while the other three came on fumble recoveries. Altogether, he returned 18 fumbles for 109 yards.
Extremely durable, Bob played in 196 consecutive regular-season games. His only career "miss" came in the 1973 championship game with Minnesota, when a leg injury put him on the bench. Post-season play became a way of life for the 6-5, 260-pound Olney, Texas, native. The Cowboys played in seven NFL/NFC title contests in an eight-year period from 1966 through 1973 and also in Super Bowls V and VI. Bob also was selected to play in 11 Pro Bowls. He is the first player who spent his entire career with the Cowboys to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.