The Dallas Cowboys have a storied history of pass catchers, and tight end is no exception. The Cowboys had one of the most prolific tight ends in recent memory, along with several players who were ahead of their times and helped transformed the position from an extra blocker into a weapon in the passing game.
Here are the five Best Cowboys tight ends in history:
5. Pettis Norman
Norman played for the Cowboys from 1962-70, when passing wasn’t nearly as prevalent as the modern-day NFL. He caught 124 balls for 1,672 yards and scored 14 touchdowns in nine seasons with Dallas before finishing his career in San Diego.
One of the first tight ends in franchise history, Norman suffered through the lean years in the early 60s before playing a role in Dallas’ playoff runs from 1966-70. The only problem is Norman left Dallas the year before they won their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
4. Doug Cosbie
Cosbie spent his entire 10-year career with the Cowboys, reaching the Pro Bowl three times from 1983-85. His career began at the peak of Tom Landry’s tenure but ended without a ring. Cosbie ranks eighth all-time in Cowboys history with 3,728 receiving yards and caught 300 balls and 30 touchdowns.
3. Billy Joe DuPree
DuPree also spent his decade-long career entirely with the Cowboys. But unlike Cosbie, DuPree was part of the height of the Landry era and was a member of the Super Bowl XII team. DuPree sits eighth all-time in franchise history with 41 touchdowns to go with 267 receptions and 3,565 yards.
2. Jay Norvacek
Norvacek spent his final six professional seasons in Dallas and reached his professional peak there. He was a Pro Bowler in five of those six seasons and was a key member of Dallas’ late 90’s dynasty that won three titles in four years. Norvacek was forced to retire due to injury, but he at least called it quits on top after Dallas’ Super Bowl victory to cap the 1995 season.
Norvacek finished his Cowboys career with 339 catches for 3,576 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was also clutch in the postseason, catching 62 balls for 645 yards and six touchdowns in 13 playoff games.
1. Jason Witten
Is there any doubt that Jason Witten is the greatest tight end in Dallas Cowboys history? He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions – with more than 1,700 — and receiving yards – with nearly 13,000. And he’s second in touchdowns to Dez Bryant (73 to 72). But Witten wasn’t just prolific, he was reliable, hauling in 71.3% of his targets.
What’s even more impressive is Witten put up these stats with a bunch of different quarterbacks: Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe, Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Matt Cassel and Dak Prescott. Even when times were tumultuous in Dallas, Witten was the rock fans could depend upon.
Oh, and did I mention Witten is an iron man? He played all 16 games in all but his rookie season, when he played in 15 games.
The only thing the 11-time Pro Bowler missed was a Super Bowl ring, as Dallas failed to advance further than the Divisional Round during his career. But a Hall of Fame ring should be in his future.