D. D. Lewis (linebacker, born 1945)

This article is about the former Dallas Cowboys linebacker. For the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks linebacker of the same name, see D. D. Lewis (linebacker, born 1979).
D. D. Lewis
No. 50
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1945-10-16) October 16, 1945
Place of birth: Knoxville, Tennessee
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Knoxville (TN) Fulton
College: Mississippi State
NFL Draft: 1968 / Round: 6 / Pick: 159
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Interceptions: 8
Interception yards: 97
Fumble recoveries: 14
Games started: 135
Games played: 186
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Dwight Douglas "D. D." Lewis (born October 16, 1945) is a former American football linebacker who played for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL) from 1968 to 1981. He played college football at Mississippi State University and was drafted in the sixth round of the 1968 NFL Draft. Lewis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Early years

Born in 1945 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Lewis was the youngest of 14 children. Lewis was named Dwight Douglas after two great generals in World War II, Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. He attended Fulton High School, where he was a Tennessee All-State linebacker in 1963.

College career

Lewis starred at Mississippi State University from 1965 to 1967 as a two-way player and three-year starter. He led Mississippi State in tackles and assists all three of his varsity seasons and was named team captain his senior year.

Despite being on teams that went 7-23, Lewis earned All-Southeastern Conference honors twice and was a first team All-American selection his senior year.

Repeatedly anointed as the top linebacker in the Southeastern Conference, Lewis made a distinct impression on rival coaches. Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant called D.D. Lewis "the best linebacker in the country". Bill Yeoman applauded Lewis' ability to recover and pursue and said he was the finest linebacker he had seen that year. Following the 1967 season, Vince Dooley said he was the best linebacker Georgia had faced - "He's terrific.".

Lewis won numerous awards: SEC all-sophomore team (1965), All-SEC (1966–67), SEC defensive player of the year (1967), UPI-All American (1967), outstanding athlete (1968). At the end of his senior year, Lewis was selected to play in the Senior Bowl, the Coaches All-America Game, and the Blue-Gray Game.

For his accomplishments while at Mississippi State University, Lewis was inducted into the nation's College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. In 1987, Lewis was inducted into the state of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.[1] Lewis is also a member of the Mississippi State, Blue-Gray Game, Knoxville, Mississippi and Tennessee sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Although he was a great college player, Lewis was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round of the 1968 NFL Draft, because teams thought that he was too small to play in the NFL. As a rookie at training camp, the team tried him at center, before moving him to outside linebacker.

In 1969, he spent what would have been his second season, doing military service. In 1973 after serving as a backup for four seasons, Lewis took over the weakside linebacker position, when Chuck Howley retired, and held this position for eight straight years.

His best game was in the 1975 season NFC Championship Game, when he intercepted two passes in a 37-7 victory against Los Angeles Rams, helping the Cowboys become the first wild-card team to make it to the Super Bowl.

To this day, he holds the Cowboys playoff record with 27 games played. During his NFL career, Lewis played in 12 NFC Divisional Contests, one NFC Wild Card Contest and nine NFC Championship Games. He made five Super Bowl appearances while winning Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII. During the 1980 season, he became along with Larry Cole, the first three-decade players in franchise history.

Lewis played for 13 years and started 135 consecutive games (third in team history), until his retirement after the 1981 season. He was voted the "Most Popular Player" by the Cowboys fans and given the Bart Starr Meritorious Award in 1981. He is one of only eight NFL players who have played in five Super Bowls: (V, VI, X, XII and XIII).

During the 1982 season, Lewis famously reasoned that "Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof so God can watch His favorite team play".

Although he was never selected to a Pro Bowl or All-Pro squad, he served as defensive co-captain in 1977 and 1978. In 1984, he was named to the Cowboys Silver Anniversary Team.


  1. "Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Inductees". msfame.com. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
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