Allen and Parcells headline the HOF class of 2013.

by Dustin Dietz | Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

By: Dustin Dietz

Among the many festivities surrounding the Super Bowl hoopla last weekend was the NFL announced the latest Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, with two of the seven newest members of football royalty having ties to the Dallas Cowboys.

The headliner of the 2013 class which will be enshrined August 3rd in Canton, Ohio is former Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman Larry Allen. Allen was the immovable stalwart on a Cowboys front five which was considered the best in the league for the majority of the 1990’s. Allen was the Cowboys second round selection out of tiny Sonoma State in the 1994 draft and became an instant star for Dallas.

Allen first gained recognition for his incredible athleticism for a 325 pound guard during a Monday Night game in New Orleans in December of 1994 when he chased down linebacker Darion Conner after Conner intercepted a Troy Aikman pass late in the game. The stunned announce team of Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, and Dan Dierdorf marveled at Allen’s speed and ability to get downfield so quickly.

Allen was arguably the greatest lineman in Cowboy history as he earned ten trips to the Pro Bowl, was a seven time All-Pro, and was voted onto the prestigious NFL All-Decade Team in both the 1990’s and 2000’s. Larry was widely known across the country because former broadcaster John Madden would enjoy pointing out the sweat dripping down Allen’s football pants during games.

Allen would play the final two years of his career for the San Francisco 49ers and would even earn an eleventh trip to Hawaii in 2006. Larry retired in August of 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys after the club allowed him to sign a one day contract. Allen would be inducted into the exclusive Cowboys Ring of Honor three years later at halftime of a November 2011 game with former teammate Charles Haley and former Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson.

The other 2013 Hall of Fame inductee with Dallas Cowboy ties is former head coach Bill Parcells, who was voted into Canton on his fourth try. Parcells coached in Dallas from 2003-2006, and guided the club to two playoff appearances and three winning seasons.

Parcells replaced Dave Campo in January of 2003 and immediately turned around the downtrodden franchise which had gone 5-11 three consecutive seasons. In Parcells first year, the ‘03 Cowboys would surprise all the pundits and finish the season 10-6 with Quincy Carter as the starting quarterback. The Cowboys would lose in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual NFC champion Carolina Panthers, but the return to respectability was complete for a Cowboys franchise which had become a laughing stock under Campo.

Unfortunately, Parcells was never able to win a Super Bowl, or even a playoff game, while in Dallas, but his mark on the Cowboys is still seen on the field six years after he left Valley Ranch. Parcells drafted Jason Witten, Marcus Spears, Jay Ratliff, and DeMarcus Ware, and also signed a couple of unheard of rookie free agents named Tony Romo and Miles Austin.

Overall, Parcells reversed the fortunes of four franchises while head coach, and won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants in 1986 and 1990. Parcells remains the only coach to lead four teams to the playoffs and won 183 games during his illustrious career.

The other five inductees were wide receiver Cris Carter, tackle Jonathan Ogden, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, and being voted in by the veteran’s committee were linebacker Dave Robinson and defensive tackle Curley Culp.

Chris Berman came up with the saying all Cris Carter did was catch touchdowns, and Carter’s 130 touchdowns during his spectacular 16 year NFL career prove Berman’s statement to be accurate. Carter caught 1,101 passes for 13,899 yards and was known for his uncanny ability to maintain balance with both feet in bounds while catching footballs appearing to be sailing out of play.

Ogden was the first ever draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 1996 and his phenomenal play for twelve seasons in the trenches earned him eleven Pro-Bowl appearances and a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000’s.

Sapp terrorized quarterbacks for 13 seasons in Tampa Bay and Oakland, collecting 96.5 sacks. Sapp was the key member of the vaunted 2002 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense, and was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999.

Culp was a nightmare for offenses during his 14 year career spent most notably with Kansas City and Houston. Culp was a six-time Pro Bowler and was voted the league’s top defensive player in 1975.

Robinson was a vital piece of the suffocating Green Bay Packer defenses of the 1960’s. Robinson intercepted 27 passes in his 12 year career and is a member of the 1960’s All-Decade Team.

The three men who advanced to the final round of voting, but did not make the cut, were former running back Jerome Bettis, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., and much to the delight of Cleveland Brown fans, Art Modell. Bettis was making his first appearance on the ballot in 2013, but should have no issue being selected to football immortality in the near future.

Follow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz18

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