In exactly 80 days, the Dallas Cowboys will kick off their 2009 regular season against the Buccaneers in a Sunday afternoon game in Tampa Bay. 80 days from right now, this historic 50th season of Cowboys football will be underway. And we’re going to count down the long summer days on this blog with what we’ve dubbed the Red Ribbon Review. For the next 80 days, we’ll honor the second-best Cowboys player to wear each jersey number.
Similar to the countdown to football season we did two years ago in which we named the best players in football history by number (99 Days of Football), we’ll take this thing one day and one number at a time. Except it’s all Dallas Cowboys. And it’s all second-best. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the stats, the guessing and second-guessing, and the daily anticipation.
We begin with the second-best player to ever wear #80 for the silver and blue, wide receiver Alvin Harper. Harper was a first round pick of the Cowboys in 1991 out of Tennessee and teamed up opposite of Michael Irvin for four seasons and two Super Bowl championships. After catching 124 balls for 2,486 yards and 18 scores, Harper left for bigger money and greener pastures (and a different jersey number) in Tampa Bay. He bombed out for one year with the Redskins before finishing his short career back in Dallas where he appeared in two games in ’99, but didn’t catch any passes.
Harper led the NFL in ’94, his last good year in Dallas, with a 24.9 yards per catch average. His one Super Bowl catch came in the first quarter of the blowout Super Bowl XXVII win over the Bills.
Harper grew up in Frostproof, Florida where he set the state high jump record as a junior. He also broke the SEC high jump record at Tennessee in 1989.
Not Rod Barksdale. Not Everett Gay or Oronde Gadsden. The second-best player to ever wear #80 for the Cowboys is Alvin Harper.