Several times in the past two days, I've thought of the Dirty Dozen.
Thirty years ago, Landry, Brandt and Schramm hit the mother lode in the NFL draft. They leaned heavily toward defense, especially in the early rounds, and hauled in an amazing class of head hunters.
Dallas had missed the playoffs the previous season and witnessed the retirement of several key players, including Bob Lilly. This great draft couldn't have come at a more critical time in team history. The franchise was desperate for a boost.
They picked some solid offensive players such as Burton Lawless, Herbert Scott and Scott Laidlaw, but it was the defensive guys who made this draft class great.
Randy White and Thomas Henderson were first-rounders, and they also added safety Randy Hughes and linebackers Bob Breunig and Mike Hegman.
I remember reading a quote from one of the veteran players about the 1975 training camp in Thousand Oaks. He was an offensive player and said that all during camp ... when the defense and offense were doing separate drills ... the offensive players kept getting distracted because of all the noise on the defensive end of the field. Helmets cracking, yelling, whooping, hollering, laughing, hitting, fighting, cursing.
Later, veterans such as Lee Roy Jordan and Charlie Waters commented on the incredible boost these bunch of athletic, enthusiastic hitters had on the team as a whole .. both physically and emotionally. Dallas went on to shock the league in 1975, reaching the Super Bowl.
There will never be another 1975 class, but this year's group could have a similar effect on the franchise. This aggressive bunch of head hunters should help give the team a new identity and hopefully be the foundation for another Super Bowl run.
"That's the fastest-running, slowest-walking guy I've ever seen."
-- Matt Millen on Tony Dorsett