Jethro Pugh

Jethro Pugh Jr. (July 3, 1944 – January 7, 2015) was an American football defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys for fourteen seasons.[1][2] He played college football at Elizabeth City State College.

Jethro Pugh
No. 75
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born:July 3, 1944
Windsor, North Carolina
Died:January 7, 2015 (aged 70)
Dallas, Texas
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school:Windsor (NC) Bertie
College:Elizabeth City State
NFL Draft:1965 / Round: 11 / Pick: 145
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games:183
Fumbles recovered:14
Safeties:2
Interceptions:1
Quarterback Sacks:95.5 (unofficial)
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Born in Windsor, North Carolina, Pugh graduated from its W. S. Etheridge High School and enrolled at nearby Elizabeth City State College at the age of 16. He played college football for the Vikings on offense and defense and became a two-time All-CIAA defensive end in 1963 and 1964.[3] He is one of five persons to have his jersey retired by the school, now Elizabeth City State University.

In 1979, he was inducted into the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Hall of Fame. In 1980, he was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In 1981, he was inducted into the ECSU Sports Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.[4]

Professional career

Pugh was selected in the eleventh round (145th overall) of the 1965 NFL draft, by the Dallas Cowboys, and was also offered a contract to play with the Oakland Raiders of the AFL. He was only 20 years old when he started his professional career as a backup defensive end for the Cowboys. At the end of the 1966 season, he was moved to left defensive tackle replacing Jim Colvin in the starting lineup.[5]

He played with the Cowboys for his entire career, from 1965 through 1978. His 14 seasons represent the fourth-longest career in Cowboys history; only Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates, and Mark Tuinei played more years.

In the final seconds of the 1967 NFL Championship Game, the famous Ice Bowl at Green Bay, Pugh was blocked by Packers' guard Jerry Kramer for the game-deciding touchdown. Kramer's block cleared the way for Bart Starr to score on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 16 seconds remaining, lifting Vince Lombardi's team to a 21–17 victory and an unprecedented third consecutive title game win in −15 °F (−26 °C) weather at Lambeau Field.[6] It was the second consecutive season that Dallas had fallen to the Packers in the championship game; the previous year was a close game in the Cotton Bowl. Always a team player, Pugh carried on through the 1971 season with a case of appendicitis and delayed his surgery until the offseason, by taking shots of penicillin.[7]

Although he was widely regarded as an excellent player and received All-Pro honors, he was never voted to a Pro Bowl. Pugh's achievements as a professional athlete were largely overshadowed for most of his career by his defensive line teammates, who were Pro Bowl regulars. When Pugh started, he had to compete for attention with future Hall of Famer Bob Lilly and George Andrie; when they retired, Pugh played in the same defensive line with Randy White, Harvey Martin, and Ed "Too Tall" Jones.

Even though he was a physical player against the run, his athleticism enable him to become an excellent pass rusher for a defensive tackle.

While quarterback sacks were not an official NFL statistic during his career, Pugh is unofficially credited with a career total of 95.5. He led the Cowboys in sacks each season from 1968 to 1972 with a high mark of 15.5 in 1968, a team record that stood until 2010 when DeMarcus Ware reached six straight seasons.[8] He averaged 12½ sacks, during one amazing stretch of his career (1968–1972) and currently ranks sixth on the Cowboys all-time sacks list with 95.5.[9]

Following the 1978 season and Super Bowl XIII, Pugh retired on January 29, 1979,[10] after helping the Cowboys win two Super Bowls, five NFC Championships, qualify for the NFL post-season in 12 out of 14 seasons, and played in a then league record 23 playoff games.

Personal life

Pugh owned a number of western-themed gift shops at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas.[11] He also hosted an annual Jethro Pugh Celebrity Golf Tournament in Dallas to raise funds for the United Negro College Fund. On January 7, 2015, he died at the age of 70 in Dallas, Texas.[2][12] Surviving him were two children, a son Trey and a daughter Jethrolyn.

References

  1. ^ "Jethro Pugh became known". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. January 30, 1979. p. 24.
  2. ^ a b Hill, Clarence E. Jr. (January 7, 2015). "Cowboys legend Jethro Pugh dies". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (obituary). Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  3. ^ "The Sumter Daily Item - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  4. ^ "University Relations & Marketing Heasline News - Definitions and Specifications - Elizabeth City State University". Archived from the original on September 16, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "RED HOT COWBOYS ON A RAMPAGE". SI.com. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "End is near for Pugh". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. Associated Press. January 12, 1978. p. 15.
  7. ^ "Pugh risks mistakes to dazzle Colts". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. October 18, 1972. p. 47.
  8. ^ "Ex-Cowboys will be honorary captains". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  9. ^ http://espn.go.com/dallas/nfl/story/_/id/12134583/former-dallas-cowboys-defensive-standout-jethro-pugh-dead-70
  10. ^ "Cowboy great calls it quits". Kingman Daily Miner. Arizona. Associated Press. January 30, 1979. p. 5.
  11. ^ "University Relations & Marketing Heasline News - Definitions and Specifications - Elizabeth City State University". Archived from the original on January 8, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  12. ^ "Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman, 'Ice Bowl' participant Jethro Pugh dies". Dallas Cowboys Blog. Retrieved January 8, 2015.

External links

1966 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1966 Dallas Cowboys season was the seventh for the franchise in the National Football League. The Cowboys finished the regular season at 10–3–1, their first winning record as a franchise and first Eastern Conference title. They hosted the NFL Championship Game at the Cotton Bowl, but lost to the defending champion Green Bay Packers, who went on to win the first Super Bowl two weeks later.

1976 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1976 Dallas Cowboys season was their 17th in the league. The team improved on their previous output of 10–4, winning eleven games. They qualified for the playoffs, but were stunned by the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional round.

1979 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1979 Dallas Cowboys season was their 20th in the league. The team was unable to improve on their previous output of 12–4, winning only eleven games. They qualified for the playoffs, but lost in the Divisional round.

The Cowboys still possessed a great offense, but suffered defensive losses as defensive tackle Jethro Pugh retired, safety Charlie Waters missed the season with injury, Ed "Too Tall" Jones left the team while he embarked on a professional boxing career (Jones would return in 1980), and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson was cut in November for erratic play and behavior. The season began 8–2 before a three-game losing streak placed the season in jeopardy (one of the three being a 30–24 loss to Houston in which Oilers coach Bum Phillips declared the Oilers as "Texas's Team"). The team rallied to win their final three to finish at 11–5 and gain the number one seed in the NFC.

In the season's final regular season game against the Redskins, with the NFC East Title at issue, Roger Staubach rallied the Cowboys from a 34–21 deficit in the last four minutes to win, 35–34. It turned out to be Staubach's last win. The Cowboys were upset at home in the divisional playoff by the Rams and Staubach retired after the season.

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The Doomsday Defense is often recognized as having two different "generations," but different listings of players and time periods exist. The original "Doomsday Defense" can generally be identified as the Cowboys' defenses from 1966 to 1974. "Doomsday II" had its heyday from approximately 1975 to 1982. Many Cowboy fans recognize the defense from 1992 to 1996 as "Doomsday III", though to a lesser extent. This defense was in part, responsible for the Cowboys being the first team to ever win three Super Bowls in a four-year span.

The first defensive player to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Super Bowl was linebacker Chuck Howley (V). Later linemen Harvey Martin and Randy White became the first (and only) teammates (co-MVPs) to win the award (XII).

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