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Favorite underrated player series: Don Perkins

Discussion in 'History Zone' started by THUMPER, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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    OK, here's today's Favorite Underrated Player: Don Perkins, RB 1961-68

    Perkins was the first in a long line of outstanding RBs that has become a tradition for the Cowboys. He was selected to the Pro-Bowl 6 times in his 8-year career and is STILL 3rd in rushing for the Cowboys, and that was mostly on a losing team! He was also named rookie of the year in 1961.

    At the time that Perkins played, Landry ran a 2-back offense so he shared carries with Amos Marsh, then with Dan Reeves. This was a major reason why he never had a 1000+ yard season although he came close in 1962 with 945 yards.

    Perkins was a good all-around back who could run and catch well and was excellent as a blocker. He played both the HB & FB positions, which were nearly interchangeable in Landry's offense.

    Even though he was the 5th leading rusher in NFL history with 6217 yards when he retired there has never been serious consideration by the HoF for him. The guys ahead of him when he retired were:

    Jim Brown - 12312, Joe Perry - 9723, Jim Taylor - 8597, & John Henry Johnson - 6803.

    Perkins ranks #62 currently partly because of the era he played, the few number of years/games he played, the relatively few number of carries, and playing for a losing team for most of his career.

    About the time he would have been eligible for induction consideration there were a slew of RBs who were putting up multiple 1000+ yard seasons like OJ Simpson, our own Calvin Hill, Lawrence McCutcheon, Larry Csonka, Franco Harris, and others so his standing as the 5th highest didn't last long and too many were putting up bigger numbers per year than he ever did.

    Again, a lot of that had to do with the changes in offenses from a 2-back to a feature-back running attack.

    When you look at what Perkins did in the era, style and team he did it in it is amazing! To be selected to 6 PBs in 8 seasons is phenomenal.

    Don Perkins holds a special place for me because he was the "first" to do so many things for the Cowboys and was our first real star player. I loved watching him run, in fact Barber reminds me of him sometimes in his determination. He was as tough as they come on the field an as nice as could be off it.

    At least the Cowboys understood his value to the team as he was the 2nd member of the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium (He & Don Meredith went in together in 1976. Lilly was the first in 1975.).

    Some highlights from Wikipedia:
    Perkins signed a personal-services contract with the Dallas Cowboys for a $1,500 bonus and a $10,000 salary. This meant he would play for the Cowboys if and when they received an NFL franchise. But he was drafted in the 1960 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, before he was granted to an NFL franchise. Because of this issue, the Colts were compensated with a Cowboy's 9th round draft pick, in the 1961 NFL Draft.

    He sat out the entire 1960 season with a broken foot (fifth metatarsal) he suffered in training camp.

    He was a runner that lacked long-distance speed, but made it up with outstanding quickness and deft agility. He also had great balance and could really cut.

    He was considered a superb blocker. Perkins has said that he was a blocker first and a runner second, even though he finished in the NFL’s top 10 rushing, in each of his eight seasons in the league.

    He became the first running back in Dallas Cowboys history to run for 100 yards in a game. It came against the expansion Minnesota Vikings at the Cotton Bowl on September 24 1961, when he rushed for 108 yards on 17 carries.

    Don Perkins best year was in 1962, when he rush for 945 yards and seven touchdowns. In that year, he became the first Cowboy to make All-NFL.

    He was coming off his two best all-around seasons with the Cowboys, when he decided to retire prior to the 1969 season.

    When he retired following an eight-year career, all of them with the Dallas Cowboys, only four other running backs in NFL history had rushed for more yards than his 6,217.

    During his career, he maintained a 4.1 yards per carry average, accumulating 6,217 yards total over eight seasons (third on the Cowboys' all-time list behind Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett) and was named to six Pro Bowl teams.

    He gained a reputation in the NFL for his courage and his resolve on some of worst teams in Dallas Cowboys history.

    Perkins wore No. 43, and even though he played the fullback position at 5-10 204-pounds, he led the Dallas Cowboys in rushing, in six of his eight NFL seasons, which ranks third in club history, as does his 42 career rushing touchdowns.

    His 10, 100-yard games in his career ranks fourth in club history. And his four consecutive seasons leading the team in rushing touchdowns, ranks him in a second place tie behind only Emmitt Smith.

    Probably the only thing he couldn't do, was complete Tom Landry’s annual “mile run” in camp.

    Tom Landry once told NFL Films: "[Perkins] was in the toughest times,", "The guy was a remarkable runner, a great pass blocker and one of the best players in our history."

    He was inducted into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium alongside his quarterback Don Meredith in 1976. Only Bob Lilly got inducted ahead of them in 1975.

    Walt Garrison was the player that replaced him in the starting lineup. Garrison once said: "Don Perkins was the best fullback the Dallas Cowboys ever had".
  2. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    I'm not sure if he still does this or not, but Perkins used to be on the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities roster for chautauqua performances. He used to portray Frederick Douglass.
  3. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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    Cool. :thumbup:
  4. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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  5. yentl911

    yentl911 Well-Known Member

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    Hey Thumper - you really can't say he was underrated can you? From everything I read he was recognized.

    6 pro-bowls in 8 seasons says you were a known quantity.

    Wish I could have seen him play.

    Out of curiosity, why did he play only 8 seasons?
  6. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    Thumper could have meant "underappreciated" or somewhat forgotten by the fanbase, especially the younger ones.

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  7. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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    He was recognized when he played but not afterwards. He has been kind of the forgotten RB for the Cowboys since most fans were too young to have seen him play.

    My main issue is with the HoF committee of mediots who have completely neglected him over the years. I realize that now his numbers don't warrant induction when compared with the 50 or so guys who are ahead of him and aren't in the Hall yet but he should have been inducted when he was first eligible, or at least been a finalist.
  8. yentl911

    yentl911 Well-Known Member

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    He falls right in line with a few other Cowboys from the landry era that were overlooked after their careers for the HOF. A few people might not agree but Cliff harris comes right to mind....should already be in the HOF....great player.
  9. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you on Cliff Harris and I would add Lee Roy Jordan who should be in by now

    Jordan was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, with the sixth pick of the first round of the 1963 NFL draft. Legend has it that that in the 1963 NFL Champions vs. the college all stars, Lee Roy held Packers running back Jim Taylor to zero yards, thus raising his draft stock in the eyes of many. Jordan played middle linebacker for the Cowboys under Tom Landry.

    Jordan was small for a MLB, and though many sites list Jordan as 6'1", 215lbs., he told me himself that he never weighed over 205.

    While in Dallas, Jordan accumulated 743 solo tackles, the leader for the Dallas Cowboys until he was passed by Darren Woodson. Perhaps Jordan's most memorable performance came against the Bengals in 1973 when Jordan intercepted three passes from Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson in just five minutes, and returned one for a touchdown.

    Jordan's 32 interceptions ties him third all-time amongst linebacker. Jordan was a five-time Pro Bowler.
  10. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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    Add in:
    Chuck Howley, LB - 6 Pro-Bowls & 5 times an All-Pro, MVP of SBV.
    John Niland, OG - 6 consecutive Pro-Bowls & 3 times All-Pro
    George Andrie, DE - 5 consecutive Pro-Bowls
    Cornell Green, DB - 5 Pro-Bowls, 3 times All-Pro

    You could also consider:
    Harvey Martin
    Ed Jones
    Drew Pearson
    Nate Newton
    Jay Novacek

    I could probably go on but I think that's about it for now.
  11. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    No doubt their play on the field regardless if you are a Cowboy fan or not is deserving of the honor of being in the HOF.

    I have always considered myself more than just a Cowboy fan but a fan of the game in general and have seen many great players over the years and was glad to see many of them make the HOF and felt they too were deserving but these players you listed are very much deserving as well and it has been an injustice to see them passed over and just hope that changes soon because some of the names you listed become less likely each passing year.
  12. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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    It's funny that when it comes to the Cowboys the excuse is that there were so many great players on the team that it made everyone look great but when you are talking about the 60s Packers or the 70s Stealers that doesn't apply.
    :bang2: :bang2: :bang2: :bang2: :bang2: :bang2: :bang2:
  13. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    I met Don Perkins in Albuquerque when I was a kid. He was one of the most gracious and genuine people I have ever met. Truly a class act.
  14. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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    I've heard that from everyone who ever met him. Well, and said something about it where I could either hear or read it that is.
  15. Big Country

    Big Country Rolling Thunder

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    Definitely a couple of guys snubbed who were great to watch.. I didn't see much of Howley though... I'm just a runt

    I never got to see him play... who would you compare Perkins with that plays presently today. Anyone come to mind?
  16. FanSince61

    FanSince61 Thanks for the memories Dandy

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  17. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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  18. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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  19. FanSince61

    FanSince61 Thanks for the memories Dandy

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    Same author, different article. The author wrote of series in 2008 on some of the older Cowboys players and events. He called the series the "Old Boys Club". Most if not all were posted in the Daily Zone.
  20. THUMPER

    THUMPER Papa

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    Oh cool! Good read too. :starspin

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