Friday

Athlete Number 74 - Bob Lilly


"Mr. Cowboy," Bob Lilly, is the best pro athlete to wear the jersey number 74. The first ever draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys, Lilly went on to a Hall of Fame career in fourteen season with the Cowboys. In 1961, Lilly started his career as a defensive end for Dallas. In his third season with the 'Boys, coach Tom Landry moved him over to defensive tackle, where he would go on to dominate the league. In fact, the Sporting News had named Lilly the "best defensive tackle in NFL history."


  • 1980 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee

  • Named to eleven Pro Bowls

  • Two-time participant in Super Bowl
  • Five-time participant in NFL/NFC title games

  • Only missed one game in fourteen seasons (all played with the Cowboys)

  • Number 10 on Sporting News list of 100 greatest NFL players (1999)

  • Played in 196 consecutive regular season games

Did you know......Bob Lilly is an avid photographer?

(photo courtesy of cowboycards.com)


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Athlete Number 73 - John Hannah



The New England Patriot who played from 1973 to 1985, John Hannah, is the best professional athlete to wear the jersey number 73. Like Dan Dierdorf, John Hannah must have been destined for the Hall of Fame as he was born in Canton as well. Canton, Georgia, actually.

John, who anchored the offensive line for the Pats at the guard position was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft in 1973 and quickly became a mainstay on the line. John went on to a Hall of Fame career playing out his entire tenure with the Patriots.



  • 10-time All-Pro (1976-1985)
  • 9-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 1991
  • Four-time NFLPA Offensive Lineman of the Year
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team Member NFL 1980s All-Decade Team


Did you know......John's father, Herbert Hannah, played in the NFL for the New York Giants, and John's brother, Charley Hannah, played for Tampa Bay and the Raiders?

(photo courtesy of patriots.fanzone.jp)




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Thursday

Athlete Number 72 - Dan Dierdorf


Although we considered both Ed "Too Tall" Jones, and Carlton "Pudge" Fisk for number 72 (Pudge was discounted because he also wore 27 for much of his career,) the best pro athlete to wear the jersey number 72 is Dan Dierdorf.

Many of us know Dan from his stint as the Monday Night Football Announcer, along with Al Michaels and Frank Gifford. However, he was also a pro football player, and a pretty good one at that. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

  • 6-time Pro Bowler

  • 3-time NFLPA NFC Offensive Lineman of the year (1976, 1977, 1978)

  • 5-time All-Pro (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980)

Did you know......Dan was born in Canton, OH (and his bust now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame there?)

You can read Dan's introduction to the sports book Heroes of the Hall.

(photo courtesy of sportsecyclopedia.com)

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Sunday

Athlete Number 71 - George Connor


Although many younger sports fans may have never heard his name, George Connor is the best athlete to ever wear the jersey number 71. Some of Mr. Connor's accomplishments:

  • Five times All-NFL
  • All-NFL at three positions (linebacker, offensive tackle and defensive tackle)
  • Played both ways throughout playing career
  • 1950-1953 Pro-Bowler
  • Pro Football Hall of Famer (1975 Inductee)

He was a quick, large and hard-working linebacker for the Bears, who helped to end the Eagles dominance with their sweep play. He was so strong that sportswriter Grantland Rice once said that he was "the closest thing to a Greek God since Apollo." (source: chicagobears.com)

Did you know......George Connor was the first winner of the Outland Trophy in 1946?

(photo courtesy chicagobears.com)


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Athlete Number 70 - Rayfield Wright



The "Big Cat," Rayfield Wright, former Dallas Cowboy and Pro Football Hall of Famer, is the best athlete to wear the jersey number 70. Rayfield Wright played offensive tackle, tight end and defensive end in his first three seasons with the Cowboys. He finally settled in at the right tackle position, achieving first or second All-NFL honors for six consecutive seasons (1971-1976.) According to the Minnesota Vikings Carl Eller, "An all-day fight with Rayfield Wright definitely is not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I think he is pretty much of a composite of an all-pro tackle. He has size, strength, and quickness. The big thing in Rayfield's favor is that he has a lot of range. He moves faster than most tackles. He's just difficult to play against." (source: profootballhof.com) Rayfield played his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys from 1967-1979 and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2004. If you'd like to learn more about Rayfield, you can request the sports book Wright Up Front.

Did you know.....Rayfield played basketball at Fort Valley State University?

(photo courtesy of nfl.com)

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