Roger Staubach

Roger Staubach helped popularize the Cowboys' "shotgun" pictures of football players.
Roger Staubach helped popularize the Cowboys' "shotgun" pictures of football players.

Roger Staubach earned the 1963 Heisman Trophy as an All-American quarterback at Navy while leading the Midshipmen to second place in the national rankings.

The Dallas Cowboys made him a 10th-round draft choice in 1964 even though they knew they'd have to wait four years while he finished his obligation to the service before he could play pro football.


When he finally showed up in the Cowboys' training camp in 1969, Staubach (born 1942) was a 27-year-old rookie carrying more rust than any ship he'd ever served on.

For two seasons, Staubach backed incumbent Craig Morton. When he finally became No. 1 in 1971, Roger made the most of it, winning the NFL passing championship, being named Player of the Year, and leading the Cowboys to victory over Miami in Super Bowl VI.

Staubach's 1972 season was all but wiped out by injury, but he came back stronger than ever in 1973.

His nickname of "Captain Comeback" might well have applied to his own ability to bounce back from adversity, but in fact it referred to his remarkable knack for bringing his team back to victory from the brink of defeat.

No fewer than 23 times did he lead the Cowboys to fourth-quarter comebacks. On 14 of those occasions, the winning points came in the final two minutes or in overtime.

His most famous comeback came in a 1975 playoff game against the Vikings. With the Cowboys trailing 14-10 and only 24 seconds to go, he lined up at the 50-yard line.

Under a heavy rush by Minnesota, Staubach cut loose with a high, arching pass that receiver Drew Pearson somehow grabbed near the goal line for the victory. The pass became known as the original "Hail Mary."

From 1973-1979, the 6'3", 202-pound Staubach won three more passing titles, took Dallas to three more NFC championships, and led his team to a win in Super Bowl XII.

His career passing stats were 2,958 attempts, 1,685 completions, 22,700 yards, and 153 touchdowns. He also ran for 2,264 yards and a 5.5 average, earning himself another nickname -- "Roger the Dodger."


To learn more about football greats, see:

  • Great Football Players
  • Great Offensive Football Players
  • Great Defensive Football Players
  • Great Football Coaches