Month: June 2007 (Page 1 of 4)

Three Numbers, Mark Cuban, and a 60-Second Prayer

I got so wrapped up in writing yesterday’s post about the origin of the Four Horsemen (not THESE four horsemen!!!) FourHorsemenI completely forgot about the 80-days of football. Sorry about that. Let’s get caught up.

JohnFitzgeraldYesterday was #62, Dallas Cowboys glory-days center John Fitzgerald. Fitz anchored the middle of that Cowboys offensive line from 1971-1980, helping lead the team to seven NFC Championship Games, four Super Bowls, and two World Championships. When Tom Landry first suggested the shotgun formation to Roger Staubach, it all really hinged on Fitzgerald. And the rest is history. Former Texas and Denver Broncos offensive lineman Dan Neil, who visited us at the Marble Falls Church ocassionally back in the day, gets honorable mention. He’s co-hosting a midday sports talk show now in Austin with old Ticket workhorse Kevin Scott. And Jerry Fontenot, of Aggies and Bears and Saints fame, deserves a mention. But America’s Center, John Fitzgerald, is my #62.

#61 is a guy you’ve probably never heard of. But he was truly the first ever genuine BillGeorgemiddle linebacker. He practically invented the position. And it’s only fitting he played his career in Chicago with the Bears and became the great ancestor to the Monsters of the Midway. Bill George (two first names) was the Bears number-two pick out of Wake Forest in 1951 as a noseguard. Every team in football played a five-man front and George was drafted to anchor that Bears defensive line. But in a game against the Eagles that rookie season, George stood up and backed away from the line right before the snap and tackled the running back after just a one yard gain. On the very next play, George did the same thing and wound up making an interception. For the rest of that game George lined up in a standing position about six yards off the ball, and the 4-3 defense and the middle linebacker were born.

TommyNobisTomorrow, Sunday, is day 60 in the countdown. But I’ll go ahead and do it today. It’s the weekend, and this is kinda fun stuff anyway. #60 is one of those no-brainers. Tommy Nobis is the hands-down best ever player to wear the number. Nobis was an incredible two-way player at Texas, the only sophomore starter on the 1963 National Championship team. Darrell Royal called him the best two-way player he ever coached. A guard on the offensive line and a middle linebacker on defense, Nobis averaged 20 tackles per game, he made All-America twice, All-SWC twice, he was the Longhorns team MVP in ’64 and ’65, team captain in ’65, he won the Outland Trophy in ’65, and finished seventh in the Heisman voting. Texas went 27-5 during Nobis’ three years as a Longhorn. He was Texas’ first-ever overall number-one NFL pick when the Atlanta Falcons drafted him in 1966. The AFL Houston Oilers also picked him number-one, but Nobis signed with the more traditional and stable NFL franchise. He led the Falcons in tackles nine of his 11 seasons. He was NFL Rookie of the Year in ’66. And he played in five Pro Bowls. Following his retirement, Nobis worked for years in the Falcons front office. And he still serves the team as a consultant. Super nice guy out of San Antonio Jefferson High School. One of the all-time greats.

(I must also pay respects to Chuck Bednarik. Yes, he was a great #60 and deserving of mention. But mainly because I love this picture of Bednarik standing over the fallen Frank Gifford.)BednarikOnGifford


I don’t want to be overly critical of Mark Cuban. That’s not the stated or intended purpose of this blog. But it is the weekend. Give me a little freedom here. I believe he may be the worst owner in the history of professional sports in Dallas. And, good night, we’ve had some awful ones. Bum Bright. Eddie Chiles. Ross Perot, Jr. But has any one owner, repeatedly and consistently, singlehandedly embarassed his team, his league, and his city Cubesmore than Cuban? His whining after Game Five of the Finals against Miami last year was so childish and petty. And it was so bad that even Avery Johnson got caught up in it. The team took the cue from Cuban and the rhetoric was so bad and embarassing during the two days between Games 5 & 6, I actually rooted for the Heat in that last game. It’s awful.

His reality show. Remember? The most self-serving, egotistical, embarassing thing any owner has ever done in the history of professional sports. Ever. His in-game behavior is childish at best. I could go on and on. I don’t mean to. I really think he’s awful. I can stand outrageous. But childish and petty and embarassing are really too much.

And now he’s suing former Mavs coach and GM Don Nelson because Nellie used “inside information” to destroy Dallas in the first round of the playoffs two months ago. What?!? The claims in the suit are ridiculous. Randy Galloway’s column sums up most of it. His best line in the story is this: you wanna sue somebody over the Golden State series, why not sue Dirk? Suing an opposing coach for using insider information after that coach thumps your team in an historic upset sounds like something a five-year-old would do. But certainly not any right-thinking adult. Cuban makes it very hard to root for the Mavs.

I’m sure I’ll be in a better mood tonight at the Medina Children’s Home Auction and Dinner. Avery Johnson is the guest speaker. I see on Richard Brown’s run sheet that Avery gets 20 minutes to speak. And I’ve been allotted one minute for the opening prayer. 60-seconds! I’m scheduled to pray at 7:16 and then Dan Branch is making an announcement about dinner and the end of the auction at 7:17. Can you imagine?

Have a great weekend.



Saddle Up!

Something deep and profound happened to me in 2001. My life changed that year. My focus, for the first time ever, began to shift from me and my dreams and my goals to my Lord and his Kingdom and my purpose in it. In February of that year, David Bazillion and I planned a Men’s Advance weekend for the Mesquite Church. Four intense sessions with Dale Bresee from Tulsa. Intentional worship out in the woods. Meaningful discussions—no fluff—honest and open talk about who we are and what we’re doing here. Five hours of paintball. Prayer. Lots of prayer. Rededication. Recommitment to my Lord and my family. Like Cortez, I burned my boats that weekend. Change. Dramatic change.

I came back from that Advance a different person.  Different. Changed. With a purpose. So did Jason. So did Dan. So did Kevin.

 We began meeting together at 6am Tuesdays for Bible study. I really didn’t have anything in common with any of these three. Kevin’s a laid-back, even-keeled, think through things, super-smart kind of guy—an architect— who wears starched shirts. His belt and shoes always match. Dan was in retail, a jewelry salesman at the mall who didn’t really like his job. Hyper. Never without a smile on his face. I’ll never forget Dan getting lit up with frozen paintballs from point blank range during Gary’s Vietnam flashback. Dan was bruised and bloodied all up and down his side. And he smiled and laughed the whole time. Everything’s positive with Dan. All the time. Jason was a Garland cop. Hard. Cynical. Tough. He rode rodeo bulls in high school and busted crooks for a living. Not a whole lot in common. But we started praying together and studying together because each of us needed to. And we grew close.

The first time we knew it was special, something bigger than just four guys, was around my breakfast table one morning when I had invited those three to visit with me about what we were going to do regarding some turmoil that was going on in the Mesquite church. A couple of hours of heavy prayer and frank discussion led us to resolve together to serve the Lord and his church and never look back. We took all seven elders of the church out to dinner one night, brought them back to the building and prayed for them. With them. At a time when they were expecting us to tell them we were leaving the congregation, we lifted them up and vowed our full support. We began making trips to downtown Dallas to feed the homeless who camp out between the library and City Hall. Kevin would fund it, Dan would pray over every sandwich as we passed them out, Jason would keep his hand on his pistol, and I’d try to organize everything. We began the Second Saturday Servants in an effort to reach out to the Mesquite community with the love of Christ. We started eating together with our families at the building every Wednesday night before Bible classes.

Six years later: Jason and I have both quit our secular careers and are both gospel preachers. Dan is working for Kevin and planting a church in Forney. Kevin owns his own architectural firm, one of the largest in the state of Texas, and does so much work for the Kingdom behind the scenes with the blessings God’s given him it’s embarrassing. Kevin financially supported both Jason and me while we went to school to prepare for our ministries.

We first started calling ourselves the Four Horsemen after that morning around the breakfast table in my kitchen in Mesquite. It was kind of natural. I think Jason started it. And it stuck. We don’t even know what it means. The Revelation imagery is one of punishment and justice. That’s not what we’re about. The Zechariah picture is of those sent by God who find peace and prosperity among God’s people and bring news of God’s renewed blessings for Israel. I do like that. And then there’s the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame football lore. Dan and I like that. But Jason and Kevin have no clue what that means.

Jason and Kevin and Dan are my three dearest closest friends. I can count on each one of them to move heaven and earth to help me. And they know I’d do the same for them. We support each other. We pray for and with each other. We dream together. We push and encourage each other. Every February we spend a weekend camping together. Just us four. And we’re amazed at what God has done with our lives over the past six years. And we have no idea where to go from here. We each feel very strongly that our Lord has specific plans for each of us individually, and something huge for us four together. Something soon. Something big.

Today begins a new Horsemen adventure. As busy as all four of us are, we’ve vowed to drive to Dallas once a month to have a long lunch together. Once a month. Every month. We’re never going to miss. And it starts today. We’re all four going to be sitting together with our wives at the same table at tomorrow’s Medina Children’s Home Auction and Dinner at the Fairmont. But today’s lunch is really going to be special.

These three men have no idea how they have inspired me and encouraged me and pushed me to be who I am and to be doing what I’m doing with my life right now. I tell them all the time. But they don’t know.

Kevin, thank you for the big dreams and the huge vision and all your encouragement. Dan, thank you for your eternal optimism and your boundless energy and your beautiful prayers and all your encouragement. Jason, thank you for your phone calls and your constant presence in my life and for showing me what it means to put our God first in our lives. And for all your encouragement.

What’s next? More than we can ask or imagine.

Saddle up!



Another Picture of the Four Horsemen

GettinTipsyI’ve seen many more pictures of the flooding in and around Marble Falls and talked to many more of our dear friends down there since yesterday’s post. Thank God they didn’t receive hardly any additional rain last night. But the devastation from Tuesday night’s flood appears today to be worse than anybody originally thought. At least 150 homes and businesses have been damaged. They are able to produce a little bit of water for residents, but they first have to boil every drop they use. Because of that, most every business and restaurant in Marble Falls is still closed today. Mayor Raymond Whitman, a member of the church in Marble Falls, is estimating millions of dollars in damages to the city’s infrastructure, mainly in washed out bridges and roads. Here’s a short story from the Statesman on Marble Falls’ situation. They’re expecting up to six more inches of rain today and tonight. Here’s an interesting series of charts and tables from the LCRA on all five of the Highland Lakes. Scroll down and check out the spikes on the lake levels at Lake Marble Falls and Lake Travis. They’re still in a “major flood event” this morning on Travis. Here are some pictures and commentary from my good friend Jimmy Mitchell, the youth minister in Marble Falls. And here’s a whole bunch of great pictures from KXAN-TV in Austin. And, I can’t help it. Here are the ones that have impacted me the most. I’m not very good (any good at all, actually) at positioning these pictures where I’d like. Help me, John!!! Pardon the weird style of all this.

This is Margarita’sCreek the creek behind the Methodist church and Margarita’s, between 1431 and Mission Hills Drive, where we lived for the past two years. This is a portion of Avenue J AvenueJnear downtown that’s been washed out. This is Commerce Street where Dan Burdett lost four or five of his storage units. CommerceStreetA couple of boat shops and BFI’s Burnet County headquarters are there and received lots of damage from the flooding of Whitman Branch.  Here’s a picture of one of many cars that were washed out on Highway-1431 just east of town. 1431Car   Johnson Park is still under water. JohnsonPark This is the view from the skate park looking towards Johnson Park and Backbone Creek. Here’s another of Johnson Park. JPark This is Lakeside Park where all the picnic pavilions were under water. LakesidePark And this is the section of Broadway, right there by the Boys & Girls club, leading up to the old Marble Falls Elementary. MFElementary  Here’s some more of the damage that was done to the businesses along 281 next to Whitman Branch. Cars and boats and debris thrown around and into other cars and boats and windows and buildings. Limo Next to the shots of Johnson Park, this is the picture that overwhelms me most. This is the arm of the Llano River that shoots out onto the Kingsland Slab. That bridge that’s covered there is only for cars. If you want to get out into all that, you generally just step across on the rocks. I’ve never seen that more than knee deep. Never. That’s where you take the little kids to play in the water and picnic. I can’t believe how deep and wide it is today! KingslandSlab Finally, arial shots of Wirtz Dam between Lakes LBJ and Marble Falls WirtzDam and of Starcke Dam between Lakes Marble Falls and Travis. StarckeDam To all our dear friends in the Hill Country and along the beautiful Highland Lakes, we love y’all and we’re thinking of y’all and praying for y’all.


GeneUpshaw63 more days until football season. And the all-time #63 is Gene Upshaw. Out of Texas A&I Kingsville (Javelinas?), he was the Oakland Rai-duhs #1 pick in 1967 and played on the offensive line with Art Shell and John Madden for most of his 15 NFL seasons. Upshaw played in ten AFL/AFC title games and three Super Bowls. He played in 307 career games and became the first ever exclusive offensive guard to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He’s making big-time news now as the long-time head of the NFL Players Association and catching all kinds of heat for taking care of current players but ignoring and neglecting all the old-timers who can’t get out of bed in the mornings because of their chronic injuries and illnesses directly related to their football careers.



“Therefore, this is what the Lord says, ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty. Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says, ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.'”     ~Zechariah 1:16-17



Flooding in Marvelous Falls

Broadway19-1/2 inches of rain in less than ten hours on top of already saturated ground and swollen rivers and creeks produced some major flooding overnight and early this morning in our home away from home, Marble Falls. Our old house on Hackberry, in the Pecan Valley Subdivision two streets off the lake where we called home for almost seven years, is under water. Johnson Park, JohnsonParkwhere I’ve MCed beauty pageants and battles of bands, pushed my girls on the merry ground, prayed with youth groups, swung on the monkey bars, and eaten HowdyFest chili is underwater. Lakeside Park is flooded. A house across the street from Kyle & Marti Futrell was struck by lightning and burned to the ground because 1) fire crews were too busy rescuing people from their flooded-out homes and 2) they couldn’t get up there to fight it anyway. Highways 281, 29, and 1431 into and out of Marble Falls were flooded. Meadowlakes residents are trapped. There are 30 families trying to dry out at the Marble Falls Middle School, about two blocks up from the Futrell rent house we called home for the past two years. JohnsonStageGreat friends Jerry & Cindy Jamar had their house flooded. Clint & Tiffany Young are flooded. Dan Burdett, one of my closest friends, lost four of his commercial buildings on Commerce Street. There have been over 40 water rescues made since 4:00 this morning. There’s no water coming out of the city pipes. None. No drinking water. No bathing water. Everything’s shut down. A state of disaster has been declared. The National Guard has moved in. The Red Cross has set up shop at Cattleman’s Bank next to the HEB where they’re passing out bottled water. Apache helicopters and rescue units have arrived from Fort Hood in Killeen and have set up at Home Depot. LCRA Flood DataAll the floodgates on all five dams on the Highland Lakes are open, and the water levels are still rising. Lake Travis, not a small lake between Marble Falls and Austin, has risen over five feet since last night. The boundaries of the 100 year flood plain have been breached. Big time.

And they’re anticipating 8-9 additional inches of rain tonight.

Praise God there have been no injuries or deaths reported. Everyone was warned ahead of time. The LCRA did its job in getting the weather reports and communicating their forecasts for what the lakes and rivers would do. I know from long discussions with Guy Nelson and Don Graves how stressful that is. The system worked. But if they get more rain tonight, tomorrow will look worse than today.

Please pray today for all our great friends in Marble Falls. The people and the church there are a permanent part of our lives. Our hearts are with them today. And I wish you’d lift them up to God right now. May our Lord bless them and deliver them from the waters. May he grant them peace and comfort in the midst of the turmoil and uncertainties. And may he use that church, that body of believers who meet in Marble Falls, to reach out to the hurting community with the compassion and love of Christ. May our God use this awful circumstance to impact the area with his grace. And may the church there have the vision and the passion to see the opportunities for Christian service that are literally washing up all around them.


I delivered the Discipleship lessons I used at the Legacy Youth Retreat a couple of months ago to the teenaged children of the deaf people who are here for the annual National Deaf Christian Workshop. They were very responsive and enthusiastic about the pictures we have in our Scriptures regarding our God and his Son and what it means to truly follow him. Thanks to Collin Swofford for helping out and to Jason Brown for setting up my projector.


64Helmet64 days until football season. And #64 on my all-time jersey list is Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer. Some would list Kramer ahead of John Hannah and Rayfield Wright as the best pulling-guard to ever lead a sweep. I’m thinking you and I could pull pretty well if we were leading for Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung. But Kramer certainly belongs in the top five. He played for the Packers for 11 years, won five NFL titles, including the first two Super Bowls. But what he’s most remembered for is the clinching block he put on Jethro Pugh in the Ice Bowl NFL Championship game of 1966 in Green Bay to spring Bart Starr for the game-winning TD. IceBowlBlock

13-seconds left. Cowboys up 21-17. 3rd down and no timeouts. And they quarterback sneak it over Kramer for the winning score. A surprise call. A great block. And it made Kramer famous. End zone TV cameras captured the block so well, and they showed it over and over again for weeks. Kramer became the very first ever offensive lineman recognized nationally for his blocking. And it was all because of TV and instant replay. In fact, the name of Kramer’s excellent autobiography is Instant Replay.

I hate it. Had the Cowboys won the Ice Bowl, the Super Bowl trophy would be named after Landry instead of Lombardi.



“During the night I had a vision—and there before me was a man riding a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown, and white horses. I asked, ‘What are these, my lord?’ Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, ‘They are the ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth.'”

                                      ~Zechariah 1:8-10



Two Things on Singing

How many church songs do you know by memory? How many praise hymns, gospel songs, and youth-type songs do you know by heart? If I gave you the title or sang the first line, how many church songs could you be able to finish? 100? 200? More?

Next question: how many times did you actually sit down with a song book and intentionally work on memorizing the words? How many hours did you spend in a room by yourself pouring over the lyrics to memorize those hundreds of songs?

I’m betting you never did that once.

But you know the songs. The songs are in you. The music and the words and the tunes and all the images and emotions and memories and feelings those songs stir up are in your head AND in your heart. Our songs are so important to our worship and to our growth as God’s children. They become a part of us. They become who we are. I think half our theology is learned in the songs we sing. We know the names of the 12 apostles because of the song. We run the song in our heads as we’re searching for Philippians or Thessalonians in our New Testaments. Everyone of us would be able to recite all 39 books of the Old Testament in order if only there were a song. The passages of Scripture we know best are the ones that have been turned into church songs. Our pictures of heaven, of the cross, of Jesus in the Garden come from our songs. Our songs have defined for us our ideas about salvation and forgiveness and love. Our doctrines are shaped by our songs. Our songs are critical, paramount to our faith.

That’s the first thing on singing: the importance of it for the church, the community of faith.  

The second thing is this: Sing!

Don’t just sit there. Sing.

Everything we do in America now is geared more and more toward consuming entertainment and pleasant diversion and less and less toward active participation. We watch and listen. We don’t do. And I’m struck by the words of Darryl Tippens in his book That’s Why We Sing:

“We are less and less a singing culture, more and more a listening culture. We are surrounded, day and night, by professionally produced music. As we move from active participation to passive listening, an even more ominous consequence emerges. In a world of “American Idol,” we have become entitled judges of everyone’s performance. In other words, we move from being singers to being listeners, then, finally, to being consumers and self-appointed critics. In such a consumerist world, congregational singing suffers. Instead of praise being understood as a sacrificial gift to God; it becomes a human performance subject to critical analysis. (What did you think of the singing this morning?)

We moved all the chairs in our Worship Center Sunday afternoon so that the rows all faced toward the middle. And we spent an hour Sunday evening singing to our God AND to each other. Praising God, yes; but also teaching, encouraging, challenging, and loving each other with our songs. Instead of the backs of their heads, I got to see the faces of my brothers and sisters in full throat and wide smile as we sang together. And it was powerful.


65 days until football season. And #65 is old Houston Oilers great Elvin Bethea. ElvinBetheaYou know, I’m a sucker for the old Houston Oilers. He played defensive end for the Oilers for 16 seasons, from 1968-83 and is the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks with 210. He played in 135 straight games until his streak was ended by a broken arm against the hated Raiders in ’79. Bethea is old school—he played in the very last AFL All-Star game in ’69. He was a vital part of those Luv Ya Blue teams of the late ’70s. But he was also the best player on those lousy teams of the late ’60s and early ’70s. He racked up a record 17 sacks on a 1-13 team in 1973. That’s why he was so beloved. The Oilers retired his #65 in 1983. But his memory lives on in the countdown.



Ministry in the Interruptions

Christian ministry is a series of interruptions. And it’s our attitude toward and our selfless service in those interruptions that define our ministries.

My outlook on time and my control over my time was radically altered almost 20 years ago, the very first time I read C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape, the affectionate devil, tells his protege nephew in chapter 11 that “man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift.”

 Screwtape goes on to say that if in our “total service of the Enemy (God)” he demanded one day for us to do nothing more than listen for a half hour to the “conversation of a foolish woman,” we would be much relieved and happy to serve. If, one day, that’s all God wanted, just for you to pay attention for a little while to this person who needs you to listen, we’d be thrilled to obey. We’d be honored that God would choose us to be used by him in that way, that day. And then Screwtape concludes his thought by telling Wormwood, “if the man thinks about this assumption for a moment, even he is bound to realize that he is actually in this situation every day.”

Jesus, the Christ, is our perfect example of selfless service. And, apart from the cross, that service is best seen in the interruptions to his schedule. Jesus washed feet, hugged lepers, and called tax collectors down out of trees. Despite the strain on his schedule and the personal risk to his reputation and his position, people always came first to the Son of God. When a blind man or a beggar or a lonely woman called out to Jesus, he didn’t reschedule them or avoid them because it wasn’t in his plans that day. He healed them. He taught them. He served them.

Christian ministry is not in the things we schedule as much as in the interruptions to those schedules.


Speaking of schedules, there are several big items on the calendar this week. Here at Legacy we’re honored to host the annual National Deaf Christian Workshop. Over 500 deaf Christians from all over the country are meeting here tonight through Thursday for a series of sessions revolving around the Texas-inspired theme “Deep in the Heart of God.” The lectures and classes focus on spiritual matters and deaf ministry issues and include such topics as “Improving Church Interpreting,” “Facial Expression in Interpreting,” and “A Heart for Interpreting.” This place has been buzzing with activity since before 7:00 this morning. And the unmistakable energy and enthusiasm in the air will only build through the week up to Tom Ramey’s message “Hearts That Are Heaven Bound” Thursday night. Congratulations to our own deaf minister Terry Heidecker and his wife Cindy, Bill and Katie Baker, and the dozens of others who’ve worked so hard to pull this off. May our God bless the workshop and use the workshop to spread the borders of the Kingdom!

HorsemenI’ll begin a new tradition with some old friends this Friday in Dallas. The Four Horsemen are riding together with increased frequency and fervor. Woe to those who would………

Nevermind. More on that Friday.

And this Saturday night is the annual Medina Children’s Home Dinner and Auction at the Fairmont in downtown Dallas. I’ve been privileged in the past to work with my good friends David & Linda Cause in gathering autographed items from the Rangers and Stars and Mavericks to be auctioned off at the dinner. But this year I’m honored to be leading the invocation. Mavericks coach Avery Johnson is the guest speaker. And I’m looking forward to a wonderful night with dear friends to support a great cause.


The resource page is beginning to take some kind of shape. Check it out for bulletin articles, book reviews, exegetical papers, and essays I’ve written in the past. And feel free to use them anywhere and anytime you’d like.


Finally, there are 66 days until football season. And #66 in the countdown is the Packers long-time Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Nitschke. RayNitschkeNitschke was the core of the Green Bay defense during their dynasty days of the ’60s. They won five NFL titles in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls with Nitschke wreaking havoc for opposing quarterbacks and enforcing his will on opposing running backs. He kept his teeth on a shelf in his locker. His autobiography was entitled “Mean on Sunday.” In 1969 he was named the best linebacker in the history of the NFL. He was the first Packers defender from the ’60s to get into the Hall of Fame. And it’s amazing to me that he only played in one Pro Bowl. And of course, in that one Pro Bowl, in 1964, he returned an interception for a TD. Ray Nitschke is, without doubt, the best player to ever wear #66.

Catching up from the weekend (there’s gotta be a better way to do this): Russell Maryland is my #67. RussellMarylandMaryland won two national championships and the Outland Trophy at the University of Miami, he won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys as their #1 draft pick in ’91, and finished his career with the Raiders and Packers. He was a great football player on great teams. His timing was impeccable. But more than that, he’s a really great guy. I had the pleasure of working with Russell at a benefit golf tournament three years ago for Athletes in Action and listened to him at dinner passionately tell the golfers about his conversion to Christ and his life as a disciple. God bless him and John Weber, John Wetteland, and Sean Payton for the work they’re doing for our Lord.

And #68 is old Cowboys nemesis L. C. Greenwood. GreenwoodOut of little bitty Arkansas Pine Bluff, he was a 10th round pick of the Steelers, but became the team’s all-time leading sack man with 73-1/2. On the famed Steel Curtain defense he played left defensive end next to Mean Joe Green, Ernie Holmes, and Dwight White; a defensive line that posted five shutouts in the last eight games of 1976. He wore those awful gold high top cleats, remember? And the NFL fined the team after every single game for the uniform violation. And Art Rooney wrote the checks with a smile. Greenwood sacked Roger Staubach three times in Super Bowl X. He was 6’6″, super quick, and unstoppable coming around that corner. Cowboys offensive lineman Herb Scott gets my #68 honorable mention. But Greenwood’s the best.



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