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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.

  1. Alexander

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

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    Kids these days grew up on crap recaps with Chris Berman, if they were lucky.

    We grew up on John Facenda.
  2. cowboyec

    cowboyec Well-Known Member

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    helluva player.
    helluva pain in the ***.
    BAT and America's Cowboy like this.
  3. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Moderator

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    Great player.

    Marched to the beat of his own drummer.
    BAT, America's Cowboy and cowboyec like this.
  4. TexasHillbilly

    TexasHillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Mindsets were different back then. The FO could get away with a lot more.
  5. Redball Express

    Redball Express All Aboard!!!

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    back then..I was in my teens when Thomas played.

    I was young and rebellious and identified with Thomas a lot. Jim Brown was his mentor and I thought Brown was the best player I had ever seen play.

    So when Thomas called Landry " a Plastic Man" I understood it and while I loved the Cowboys, Landry was a bit eccentric and he only cared about his flex defense and trying to get Meredith to win.

    So I had no issues about his and when it got rough at the SB..that was pretty much the end of the Cowboy story for him.

    His running style was gliding and smooth and he could hit up field with power and speed. He also caught screen passes well and moved the sticks. Staubach must have been OK with him as they rode him to 2 SBs and won one.

    So others may view him differently. There were other RBs of the day who held up better, but not sure they were better than Thomas.
    BAT, Big D and rags747 like this.
  6. ClappingCarrot

    ClappingCarrot Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't Meredith already out of the league by this point though?

    One of the more bizarre stories of the season is Landry declaring that Dallas had "two starting QB's" in Morton and Staubach, and once they realized how much of a distraction it was, they abandoned that plan.
  7. Redball Express

    Redball Express All Aboard!!!

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    but Landry was still eccentric.

    Meredith was an example like Thomas was. Landry did not understand them well at all.

    Hollywood Henderson was another one.
    BAT likes this.
  8. CooterBrown

    CooterBrown Well-Known Member

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    I watched every Cowboy game Duane Thomas played. He was simply the best running back in the NFL. With Doomsday, Roger, that offensive line and Duane, I thought they were going to win multiple Superbowls. And then, Jim Brown got into Duane’s head. Looking back on it now, I realize the team was not treating the players right, but at the time I blamed it all on Duane Thomas and Jim Brown.
    He was a good receiver, a great blocker, and as I said a great ball carrier. That game with Thomas and Hill running from the pro-T offense was awesome.
    But, if things had not played out the way they did, Tony Dorsett would have never been a Cowboy.
    BAT, Bobhaze, Luther and 3 others like this.
  9. rags747

    rags747 Well-Known Member

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    Morton was playing with his arm basically hanging off of his body, he was really banged up pretty badly.
    Redball Express likes this.
  10. landroverking

    landroverking Well-Known Member

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    Smoothest runner until Dorsett
    pitt33 and Redball Express like this.
  11. Redball Express

    Redball Express All Aboard!!!

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    True about Dorsett.

    That was our talent guys that found Thomas.

    Schramm and the others.

    I hated it when Hill moved to Washington. Happy later when he came back for Player development.

    His son was quite a B-baller.
  12. Fritsch_the_cat

    Fritsch_the_cat Well-Known Member

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    I just remember being confused as hell about what was going on with him.
  13. GimmeTheBall!

    GimmeTheBall! Junior College Transfer

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    The fans, most seemingly looked the other way no matter how diva-ish Thomas was. He could have been a millionaire in texas, mate, but is now, maybe, a door greeter in a Louisiana casino.
  14. Redball Express

    Redball Express All Aboard!!!

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    So was he.

    We never knew if he was our RB or was about to join the Black Panthers or The Symbonese Liberation Army.

    But it kept your attention.
  15. GenoT

    GenoT Well-Known Member

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    A lotta talent...a lotta attitude. That was a tough blend back then.

    I liked him.
  16. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Well-Known Member

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    I saw every game Duane Thomas played. At least 4-5 in person. He was an incredible talent- a combination of size and speed similar to the great Jim Brown. Had DT been able to keep his head straight, he had HOF talent. If you go back and look at his highlights- take the 1970 game against the KC Chiefs his rookie year for example- he was fantastic.

    But sadly DT couldn’t keep his mind engaged. After his rookie season in 1970, he had a contract dispute with Tex Scramm and the team decided they had enough of his weird, detached behavior. He was actually traded in ‘71 before TC started to New England but amazingly, the trade was voided by the commissioner because of some crazy conflict with the pats HC.

    So DT goes back to Dallas where he literally went the entire ‘71 season not speaking to anyone. Not just the press- everyone- teammates, coaches, everyone. His talent made Coach Landry give him chance after chance. He led the Cowboys in rushing in ‘71 and was a star on their first SB winning team. He scored THE first TD ever scored in Texas Stadium and had a great run in the playoffs and SB.

    But when he showed up for training camp in ‘72 out of shape and still disgruntled, he was traded to San Diego. Amazingly, he refused to show up to the Chargers camp and missed the whole season in ‘72. Eventually he was traded to the deadskins in 73 where he played two seasons without much success. He had one more attempt to come back to Dallas in ‘76 but he was cut before the season started.

    It’s really hard to find another former Cowboys player to compare Duane Thomas with. He was an unbelievable talent. Some have made TO comparisons but that one is not very applicable. TO talked too much, and despite that, TO ended up having a much longer and effective career. DT had some kind mental health issues- or perhaps he was just ahead of time by expecting more than what players in those days usually got. BTW, to my knowledge, he did nit have alcohol or drug issues.

    Whatever the reasons, Duane Thomas remains one of the biggest enigmas in NFL history. A super talent who could not succeed because of whatever was going on in his mind and heart.
    What did Cowboys fans think of him in those days? Well I was 12 his rookie year and I loved him. Most of the older fans in those days didn’t like him. But keep in mind, in those days, there was not nearly as much information about players the way we have today. We have access to so much more info than we did in the early 70s.

    I encourage all our younger Cowboys fans to look up DTs highlights on YouTube. For a brief time, he was brilliant.
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  17. plasticman

    plasticman Well-Known Member

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    Some other interesting aspects of Duane's time as a Cowboy. Landry didn't put up with that krap. He didn't
    care who youi were, if you gave him attitude, it was next guy in line and you were gone. Landry was so stubborn on that point that they say it cost him the 1972 NFC championship.

    Landry had benched future Hall of Famer Herb Adderly for arguing with him. When Charlie Water, his replacement, broke his arm in the NFCC game, Adderly got ready to go in and Landry made him sit. Instead, :Landry replaced Charlie Waters with roolie low draft pick Mark Washington. Just about every Redskin score in that NFC championship game was over Washington's head.

    So he wasn't going to put up with Thomas for long. Here is another interesting part. As the OP mentioned Duance Thomas was the Cowboys 1st round pick in 1970. They also drafted a RB the year before in 1969 in the first round, Calvin Hill, and he was Rookie of the Year as well as Pro Bowler and 1st team All Pro. And the year before that they dafted a RB in the 2nd round, Claxton Welch. They also had Walt Garrison at FB and Dan Reeves as a player coach and all purpose back. They were stacked and it wasn't very smart at that point for Duane to make demands.

    The only reason Duane Thomas played so much in 1970 and 1971 is because Hill was hurt much of the seasons. 1971 was the year that Staubach became a starter but another reason for their great offense was Calvin Hill returning to the field late in the season. That's when they began destroying other teams. They scored 125 points against their last three opponents. The Cowboys offense was ranked #1 in both points and yardage.

    Even Roger Staubach contributed to the running game. The running game was so dominant that fans began discussing the possibility of the Cowboys switching to the Wishbone. Landry was having none of that, Besides both WR's and the TE .were future Hall of Famers

    Yes, Duane gave the media the silent treatment....except after the Sjuper Bowl when they wished he would have kept silent. They asked him if he was really that fast and he answered, "Evidently". ". Before the game they asked him what it was like to play in the "ultimate game". That's when he gave the historical quote, "If this is the ultimate game then why are they playing it again next year"

    Duane Thomas was a discipline problem everywhere he went. He was traded to the Chargers and didn't show up, was suspended the entire season. The Chargers traded him to the Redskins and he demanded a salary increase.after two seasons. when they refused he didn't show up for training camp and was cut. He played a total of 4 NFL seasons.

    I think fans regarded him as very talented but absolutely not essential. He was a trouble maker. The next draft after the trade they drafted a RB in the first and second round. That was the Cowboy way. It wouldn't have really mattered. In 1973 the top NFL stars left the league due some crazy contracts given out by the new WFL. Some of the best teams were gutted. The Cowboys lost Calvin Hill that season
  18. DandyDon52

    DandyDon52 Well-Known Member

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    Well back then no one knew, there was no way for fans to discuss except in person.
    Duane had a salary of 10 ,000 a year, so I thought he deserved a raise.
    2 years ago I read that with bonus's he made 70,000 the first year.
    also he had a wife and kid and I think she left him so he was paying her, and spent the money, and was broke.
    So he wanted more money. Then ironically Jim brown is the one who got in his ear telling him he deserved more and was the best rb in nfl.

    But as a fan I liked him, and felt it was the cowboys fault for being cheap with him at the time.
    Had they just gave him a raise , it might have garnered them another ring or 2 but they were cheapo's back then .
    most owners and gm's were.
    Duane had a long smooth stride, he didnt look like he was running fast, but he was. They would do a pitch play to either side and he would run
    in untouched.

    Something you might not know, back then if cowboy game did not sell out by friday I think, and it was a home game, it was blacked out in
    the dallas area, hometown fans could not watch it on tv lol, and no cable etc, you just missed the game if you didnt go to the game.
    That was a real drag let me tell you.
    Bobhaze and CooterBrown like this.
  19. DuncanIso

    DuncanIso Well-Known Member

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    His attitude and lack of respect to command cost him....

    he probably carried that for a long time.

    see it all the time.

    people wreck their careers.
  20. pitt33

    pitt33 Well-Known Member

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    Duane Thomas can be best described as an enigma. A very smart guy who simply did things his way. He didn’t conform with the establishment at the time. And it cost him.

    I loved what Bob Lilly said about him during America’s Game 1971 edition...not exact quote here but how he was a beautiful runner and how he fully expected him to be in the hall of fame. And he said he could still picture him running.

    We as Cowboys fans were only left to wonder what could have been from the original #33.
    BAT and Bobhaze like this.

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