I barely have time to post some quick pictures from our second day of Faith Builders Day Camp. Following our morning study, “Jesus: The Solution,” we ate lunch together and then took off for some pool crashing. 40 5th, 6th, and 7th graders and four adults slipped through the back gates at the Cliftons, the Grays, and our house to swim and make lots and lots of noise. The homeowners all acted pleasantly and graciously surprised. Whitney and Carley flipped out with astonishment at the sights and sounds of so many kids in one swimming pool. We’d swim for 40 minutes at one house, thank the hosts, and then pile in the church vans and drive to the next location. It was like a progressive dinner or Christmas caroling. Only much louder. And with slippery slides and juice boxes.
As always, click on the pic to get the full size:
33 days until Cowboys season. And today’s #33 in our Red Ribbon Review of the second-best players in Cowboys history according to jersey number is the only player in Cowboys history to start in two Super Bowls in his first two NFL seasons. Running back Duane Thomas, a number one pick in 1970 out of Dallas Lincoln High School and West Texas A&M, only played those two years with the Cowboys. But those two years were spectacular. As a rookie, he finished first in the NFL with 5.3 yards per carry, almost singlehandedly lifting the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl, a heart-breaking loss to the Colts. The following season, Thomas led the league with 13 TDs and racked up 95 yards and another score in the Super Bowl VI rout of the Dolphins.
Two spectacular seasons. One weird dude.
After just that first year, going into the ’71 season, Thomas held out of training camp in a contract dispute. Halfway through that camp, he called and held an unforgettable press conference in which he blasted Cowboys management. He called Tom Landry “a plastic man, no man at all.” He labeled Gil Brandt a liar. And he called Tex Schramm “sick, demented, and completely dishonest,” to which Schramm later replied, “Not bad, he got two out of three.”
Schramm traded Thomas to New England right before that ’71 season started, but Thomas refused to stretch during Patriots practice and wouldn’t get into a customary three-point stance. Pete Rozelle finally voided the trade when Thomas wouldn’t agree to a physical by the Patriots’ staff, citing his desire to take a nap instead. So Thomas was shipped back to Dallas. During that 1971 Cowboys season, Thomas refused to talk to coaches and teammates and media. He wouldn’t answer roll call in team meetings. He wouldn’t shake anybody’s hand. He ate by himself. Lee Roy Jordan had said, “As long has he keeps running like this, he doesn’t have to talk to anybody.” Well, Thomas never said a word. But he ran this team that didn’t want him to their first Super Bowl title.
It was during that Super Bowl week that Thomas uttered one of the more famous quotes in Cowboys history. After several uncomfortable minutes of complete silence during a group interview, he was asked what it felt like to play in the ultimate game. Thomas responded, “If it’s the ultimate game, why are they playing it again next year?”
After the 24-3 win over Miami, Tom Brookshire interviewed Duane Thomas on live national television. Thomas agreed to the interview at the urging of NFL legend Jim Brown. Thomas only provided one-word answers to the first three questions, so flustering Brookshire that his fourth question was just a rambling about how elusive and quick and unstoppable Thomas had been against the mighty Dolphins’ No-Name Defense. Brookshire ended the statement/question with, “Are you really that fast, that quick?” to which Thomas replied, “Evidently.” And then he walked off the stage.
The Cowboys successfully traded their star running back to the Chargers in a matter of weeks. He sat out their ’72 season, wound up in Washington, and played two forgettable years for the Redskins before leaving the game for good.
Two spectacular seasons. One weird dude.