5 Favorites from Dez’s Days in Dallas
Dez Bryant may no longer be ‘throwing up the X’ as a member of the Dallas Cowboys following his release by the team, but in the 113 games he played in Dallas, Dez carved himself a spot in the franchise’s record books as well as the hearts of so many fans.
It’s hard to whittle down so many of our favorite Dez stories to five, but here are our on-and-off field favorites from #88 that we’ve enjoyed reporting on 5PB.
Dez Breaks “Bullet” Bob’s Team Record for Most Career TD Receptions
Dez’s 13-yard touchdown catch in the 4th quarter of the Cowboys’ 38-14 win over the Redskins on Thursday Night Football last season (November 30, 2017) moved him into sole possession of 1st place on the Cowboys’ All-Time Touchdown Receptions list. He surpassed Hall of Fame receiver and Cowboys Ring of Honor member Bob Hayes who totaled 71 TD catches in his ten seasons in Dallas (1965-74).
Later in the 2017 season, Dez added one more touchdown reception to his career total. Dez finishes the Cowboys’ portion of his NFL career with 73 touchdown catches. He also recorded 2 career punt return touchdowns. In the playoffs, Dez totaled 15 catches for 218 yards and 2 touchdown catches in 3 career postseason games.
Deep Blue 88: Dez Joins Fellow Legendary 88’s for Deep Conversation
When the Cowboys traded up three spots in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft to select Dez with the 24th overall pick, the Jones Family had the equipment staff prepare #88 for the new star wide receiver.
Dez was challenged by Jones and the franchise to carry on the legacy of the 88 Cowboys’ jersey, a tradition that started with Ring of Honor member Drew Pearson. After Pearson, the torch was passed to Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor member Michael Irvin. Eventually, Dez would carry on the legacy.
In the summer of 2016, all three 88’s gathered to film a documentary for the Dallas Cowboys’ Deep Blue Documentary series. It was Drew, Michael, and Dez sitting down for a once-in-a-lifetime conversation about the pressures and expectations of playing for America’s Team and the dawning of the #88 on their jersey.
If you’re a long-time Cowboys’ fan who has not yet seen this documentary, you will love it. View it here.
Dez’s Magical 2014 Season
The Cowboys won the NFC East and finished 12-4 in 2014 thanks in large part to Dez’s only season as a First Team All-Pro. Dez led the NFL in touchdowns (16) in 2014. Sixteen TD catches was also a new Cowboys’ single-season record.
Dez also led the team that season in catches (88) and receiving yards (1,320). During the Cowboys’ six-game win streak in 2014, he caught 41 passes and scored 4 touchdowns.
The terrific 2014 season led to Dez’s first career playoff game. In his postseason debut, a Wild Card game hosting the Detroit Lions, Dez finished with 3 catches for 48 yards including a 45-yard reception to set up DeMarco Murray’s 1-yard touchdown run.
The next week, in a Divisional Round playoff game at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, Dez made a spectacular grab down the left sideline….at least we thought he made the grab…which leads to one of the most ignominious moments in Cowboys/NFL history….
Dez Caught It!
A controversial call by the officiating crew robbed Dez Bryant and the Cowboys of a 31-yard pass completion from Romo-to-Bryant down the left sideline on a 4th-and-2 play at the Packers.
Dez was covered by Packers cornerback Sam Shields. Although Dez caught the ball with two feet down, as Dez lunged towards the goal line and stretched the ball forward, the ball bobbled. The play was initially ruled a completed pass. But Packers head coach Mike McCarthy challenged the ruling. Upon further review, referee Gene Steratore changed the call to an incomplete pass.
The Cowboys lost the Divisional Round playoff game on January 11, 2015 to the Packers by a score of 26-21. The play lives in infamy and remain controversial. In March, 2018, NFL owners voted to change the rule defining completion of a catch. It’s too little, way too late for Dez, Romo, and the Cowboys.
Throwing Up The X
For every fan who has encountered Dez – whether it’s watching practice during Cowboys Training Camp in Oxnard, or engaging with him during pregame warmups at AT&T Stadium, or one of the team’s numerous charity events
– no player has been more engaging over the years than Dez. He was especially popular with youngsters.
Dez is a big kid at heart, and maybe that’s why he identifies so strongly with young fans.
And for multiple generations of Cowboys’ fans, Dez has re-purposed one of the letters of the alphabet. By “Throwing Up the X” and making it his hallmark celebration, the letter “X” will always be identified with Dez.