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How Did Our Fans View Duane Thomas in the Early 1970s?

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by ClappingCarrot, May 23, 2020 at 8:00 PM.

  1. ClappingCarrot

    ClappingCarrot Well-Known Member

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    Question for some of the older guys that post in here - how did our fan base view Duane Thomas in the early 1970s? I feel like it was one of the biggest wastes of talent in the history of this franchise.

    I got around to watching a special on ESPN a few hours ago about the 1971 Cowboys Super Bowl team, and one of the central characters around that season's events was RB Duane Thomas.

    A little background, for those unaware:

    Duane was drafted in the First Round in 1970 by Landry and Gil Brandt, and there were early comparisons to Jim Brown, which excited everyone in Dallas because he went to Lincoln High School and was eventually a star at West Texas State. Duane had a fantastic rookie season, finishing second in rushing yards in the NFC and averaged a whopping 5.3 YPC (a record which Emmitt Smith eventually tied). He was also the first rookie in NFL history to have back to back 100 yard rushing games in the playoffs, a feat he accomplished against Detroit and San Francisco respectively. Duane Thomas was named Rookie of the Year, and subsequently, his head got a little big also. He more or less demanded a revised contract from Tex Schramm after he won the Rookie of the Year honors, and Tex being Tex wasn't having any of it. Thomas ended up holding out, and also went to the media saying that Tex was cheap and hypocritical and that Landry was a "plastic man", a comment that befuddled teammates. Thomas was eventually traded to New England, but due to his inability to get along with Head Coach John Mazur, New England went to the Commissioner, who in an unprecedented move, voided several aspects of the deal - which subsequently sent Thomas back to Dallas. Thomas remained silent for the entire duration of the season, refusing to speak to teammates, coaching staff, and even the media. Thomas dominated the Dolphins on the ground in Super Bowl VI, and unanimously won the voting in MVP honors, but officials were afraid of how he would act at a banquet in New York, and decided to give the MVP award to Staubach, who only completed 12 passes in that game.

    Eventually, Duane was traded to San Diego and bounced around the league after that. He returned to Dallas in 1976, but was not nearly as effective as he was in his prime. High character HOF Cowboys like Staubach and Bob Lilly have been on the record saying that Thomas would have had a HOF career if he would've just gotten his head right, and I believe I read that Landry lamented that he would have beaten the Steelers in Super Bowl X and XIII had he had Thomas on the field.

    We were all hard on guys like Taco Charlton when we drafted him, but my question is this - how did our fans deal with these events in the early 1970s? Having Duane around could've possibly changed the trajectory of this franchise in the 70s and we could quite possibly have seven Super Bowl victories. Are Landry and Staubach just out of their minds, and were we just destined to lose to the Steelers anyway? Was Duane Thomas not that special of a RB at all, who just had two fluke seasons?

    Interested in hearing from you guys on this subject, as I'm always trying to learn new things about my beloved team.

    :starspin:
     
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  2. PAPPYDOG

    PAPPYDOG "It was a catchable pass" Zone Supporter

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    Loved Duane but the fumble on the goal-line in SB V still breaks my heart!!!
     
    tyke1doe, BAT, DuncanIso and 3 others like this.
  3. Hardline

    Hardline Well-Known Member

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    I've only seen him in highlights but my dad used to tell me how great he was back in the day.
     
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  4. Centex

    Centex Well-Known Member

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    I was only 7 and viewed him as a really good player but a nutjob. I'm sure my view was based on how my dad saw him.
     
  5. Brax

    Brax Well-Known Member

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    Just remember who came out of the pile with the ball, terrible call.
     
  6. Brax

    Brax Well-Known Member

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    Could of been one of the greatest, he was Jim Brown good. Sad it ended the way it did.
     
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  7. PAPPYDOG

    PAPPYDOG "It was a catchable pass" Zone Supporter

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    Nah, replay lol.....Have watched all our games from start to finish.
    Even the losses we had from the Browns after our Packer Lombardi losses.
     
    BAT likes this.
  8. ClappingCarrot

    ClappingCarrot Well-Known Member

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    I never understood that call. Manders came out of the pile with the ball!
     
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  9. Brax

    Brax Well-Known Member

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    Correct but like today bad calls happen, that game also gave the NFL something that will never happen again in a SB, a MVP from a loosing team.
     
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  10. Hagman

    Hagman Put Niland and Green in the ROH

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    He was one of the most amazing shifty runners I ever saw. His body could move like a cat to avoid tacklers in his prime. Really something else to watch. Unfortunately he was bat **** crazy. Landry normally would not have put up with antics like his but he was really hungry for a Super Bowl victory Duane could’ve been one of the all-time great’s but they were just things going on in his head. We should remember that later the Cowboys took him back for a tryout but his magic was gone by then. I’m proud to say that I am a friend of his on Facebook though, well not a friend friend but one of those I liked his page type of friends.
     
  11. Hagman

    Hagman Put Niland and Green in the ROH

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    Oh and it was only for a couple of games but I remember one of those few times that Calvin Hill was healthy and we played Hill and Thomas together. With Staubach at quarterback It was devastating on the opposing defense. Really something special to watch
     
  12. PAPPYDOG

    PAPPYDOG "It was a catchable pass" Zone Supporter

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    Tex paid no one.
    Duane just couldn't stomach it and lashed out in the quietest way possible.
     
  13. MaineBoy

    MaineBoy Well-Known Member

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    Duane was a special talent and I agree with Landry that Duane would have been a difference maker against the Steelers. He was a great back....though he did break my heart too with that fumble. I agree he was Jim Brown good. He was an awesome combo of power and elusiveness with enough speed thrown in. Duane and Hollywood Henderson were HOF talents with HOF head issues unfortunately.
     
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  14. PAPPYDOG

    PAPPYDOG "It was a catchable pass" Zone Supporter

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    We choked big time in that game literally gave the game to the Colts.
    After that game, it just kept the fire burning on the name "Next Years Champions"
     
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  15. ClappingCarrot

    ClappingCarrot Well-Known Member

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    Yep.

    Tex's strategy was to low ball his stars that didn't have agents like Staubach and Lilly and when the time came to pay other players they'd be like "you can't make more than Staubach!"
     
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  16. Alexander

    Alexander What's it going to be then, eh?

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    BAT likes this.
  17. Alexander

    Alexander What's it going to be then, eh?

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    The Landry Cowboys were notoriously cheap. Even Gil Brandt admits his role in that.

    But then again, I think all NFL teams were that way.

    Back in the 1970s, even Hall of Fame quality players had to take offseason jobs.
     
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  18. America's Cowboy

    America's Cowboy Well-Known Member

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  19. America's Cowboy

    America's Cowboy Well-Known Member

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    Wish you were like Duane. :confused::D
     
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  20. PAPPYDOG

    PAPPYDOG "It was a catchable pass" Zone Supporter

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    :muttley::clap:
     
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