Sideline Chatter

Appreciating Drew Pearson

This past Sunday, during halftime of the Cowboys’ game against the Seahawks, the team inducted Larry Allen, Charles Haley and Drew Pearson into the Ring of Honor. While Allen and Haley’s names now surround “The Triplets” – Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin – on one side of the stadium, Pearson’s name is honored next to Tex Schramm on the other side.

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were a part of this memorable halftime ceremony. Not only was this a wonderful event to be a part of because three amazing Cowboys legends were being inducted into the famous Ring of Honor, but also because it was the first time that the Cowboys have done so in the thee-year history of the new stadium. The last players to be inducted were “The Triplets” in 2005 at Texas Stadium.

After Allen was escorted to the field by DCC Brittany Evans, Haley by Ally Traylor, and Pearson by Cassie Trammell, it was time for the players to give a speech and receive their very own silver bowl and blue blazer with the Ring of Honor patch.

Melissa Kellerman and Kelsi Reich presented Allen, an 11-time Pro Bowler, fan-favorite and an inspiration to many, with his bowl and blazer. Whitney Isleib and Kaitlin Ilseng presented the bowl and blazer to Haley, one of the Cowboys’ best defensive players who has five Super Bowl titles to his credit, including three for the Cowboys. And, I had the honor of presenting Pearson with his silver bowl, while Ashton Torres gave him his blazer. It was an incredible feeling standing next to Pearson as he stated, “I waited and I prayed. I always believed that one day this day would come.”

As a little girl, I remember Sundays on my great-grandparent’s farm in South Texas. Each Sunday I would play out in the fields for fun and pick fresh fruits and vegetables, play with the new baby calf in the barn, and sit on the giant tractor and pretend I was a farmer. But the best part of the day was when all of my relatives and I would enjoy a delicious home-cooked, family-style meal while watching the Cowboys.

I recall my great uncle, Kenneth, talking about how his favorite football player, the amazing wide receiver Drew Pearson, who played with the Cowboys from 1973-1983, had such great speed and quick hands. It was during this time that Uncle Kenneth would share interesting stories about the Cowboys. Little did I know that one day I would be a part of the wonderful Cowboys organization and actually be at the game when Pearson was inducted into the Ring of Honor.

After becoming a DCC, my Uncle Kenneth gave me his Cowboys collection of books, memorabilia and Dallas Cowboys Weekly magazines. It’s fun to look back through his issues of the Dallas Cowboys Weekly, which is now known as theDallas Cowboys Star Magazine, and read articles about the Cowboys players and cheerleaders who formed what everyone now knows as America’s Team. I feel honored that I have the opportunity, today, to include my experiences and stories in a column for the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine, “Love & Cheers.”

One of the books that my uncle gave me from 1974 was by Roger Staubach, called Staubach: First Down, Lifetime To Go. In it, he revealed his admiration and respect for Pearson. During a playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams, whose offense was the highest-scoring unit in the NFC, Staubach connected with Pearson for an 83-yard touchdown. He recalled Pearson jumping up and down after that touchdown saying, “That’s it! That’s it! The ultimate feeling!” After an additional field goal, the game ended with a Cowboys win, 27-16.

In 1979, Pearson and Tony Hill helped the Cowboys become the first team in NFL history to have two 1,000-yards wide receivers in a single season. A few months before I had any idea that my new home would be in Dallas, and I would soon be donning the iconic star-spangled uniform of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, I made a new friend. A few friends and I joined my new friend and his family for dinner at his house one evening. We enjoyed a delicious meal, exchanged stories and played Lawn Bowling, an outdoor game in which a heavy ball is rolled toward another, more stationary ball known as a “jack.” Whoever can roll their ball closest to the “jack” is the winner.

Through the laughter and storytelling, I realized that my new friend’s dad was indeed the famous Tony Hill. I began to tell him how I would be auditioning for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders’ 2008 squad a few months later. I had such a wonderful evening listening to his interesting stories from his years as a Cowboy and how much it meant to him to be a part of the organization with unbelievable teammates such as Pearson and Tony Dorsett.

Another example of Pearson’s talent is the famous “Hail Mary” pass. It was the 1975 NFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Cowboys and the Vikings. With 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, trailing 14-10, Staubach threw a desperation pass to Pearson, who barely caught the ball, trapping it against his right hip at the 5-yard line and backing into the end zone, winning the game 17-14. In an interview after the game, Pearson stated that he didn’t even know he had the ball at the time, but discovered it against his hip when he reached the end zone with the winning touchdown. Staubach said, “It was just a ‘Hail Mary’ pass; a very, very lucky play.”

Earlier this year, in January, Pearson had the honor of carrying the Vince Lombardi Trophy into the Dallas Convention Center. During the parade of the trophy, the escalator he was on suddenly came to an abrupt stop, and Pearson jolted forward and braced himself, but he did not drop the trophy. “I never dropped it. I never dropped anything,” he said. I guess that was another “Hail Mary!”

Pearson played at the University of Tulsa before being signed as a free agent by the Cowboys in 1973. His record shows 489 receptions, 7,882-yards, and 50 touchdowns. He was named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and was an All-Pro selection in 1974, 1976 and 1977. Pearson was a part of three Cowboys Super Bowls and won Super Bowl XII in 1978.

Now, Pearson has been inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor and will always be a legendary figure in football history. He stated it best when he recently said, “It is an incredible honor to go up alongside the greats of this great organization.”

For me, as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, it is an honor to be able to look back and appreciate the history of such an amazing football player, but it’s even more of an honor to have been a part of his induction ceremony into the Ring of Honor. Standing on the field during the ceremony, I could feel the happiness and the pride that those three men felt, and in return I received so much joy!

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