Larry Cole

Larry Cole
No. 63
Position: Defensive end / Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1946-11-15) November 15, 1946
Place of birth: Clarkfield, Minnesota
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 252 lb (114 kg)
Career information
High school: Granite Falls (MN)
College: Hawaii
NFL Draft: 1968 / Round: 16 / Pick: 428
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Interceptions: 4
Interception yards: 102
Fumble recoveries: 14
Games started: 130
Games played: 176
Total TDs: 4
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Larry Rudolph Cole (born November 15, 1946) is a former American football defensive lineman in the National Football League who played his entire professional career with the Dallas Cowboys. He played in five Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl VI and XII. Cole played college football at the University of Hawaii and the Air Force Academy.

Early years

Cole attended Granite Falls High School in Minnesota. Granite Falls merged with other schools, creating a new one called Yellow Medicine East High School.

Although he finished playing at University of Hawaii, Cole was a one-year transfer from the United States Air Force Academy,[1] where he started his college career. He later graduated from the University of Houston.

Professional career

Cole was drafted in the sixteenth round of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys as an offensive tackle, but was switched to the defensive line during training camp.

Dave Edwards nicknamed him "Bubber Frank", which later evolved into "Bubba". Cole made an immediate impact, playing in all 14 games (10 starts replacing an injured Willie Townes) and scoring 2 defensive touchdowns his rookie season.[2] During the middle of the season, an injury to Willie Townes moved him to the starting left defensive end position. As a player, he was said to be very smart and a versatile player, playing different positions along the defensive line during his career.

He was a member of the "Zero Club" which prided itself on performing behind the scenes. Their first rule, "Thou Shalt Not Seek Publicity", kept their members (Cole, Blaine Nye and Pat Toomay) out of the limelight.[3]

Cole was overshadowed as a defensive lineman by not one, but two generations of great players: first Bob Lilly, Jethro Pugh and George Andrie; then Randy White, Harvey Martin and Ed "Too Tall" Jones. Cole started at left end for the Cowboys in their first two Super Bowls, Super Bowl V (a loss to the Baltimore Colts) and Super Bowl VI (a 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins). In Super Bowl X vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cole moved to right tackle to replace the retired Lilly and allow youngsters Martin and Jones to start at end.

White took over the starting position at right tackle in Super Bowl XII, relegating Cole to a reserve role in the Cowboys' 27-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. He returned to the starting lineup at left tackle for Super Bowl XIII when age caught up with Pugh. During his career, he made some of the biggest defensive plays in the history of the Cowboys franchise. Probably his most famous play, was the tackle of hall of famer-to-be John Riggins, that set up one of the most dramatic wins in Cowboys history on December 16, 1979. As it turned out, it was the last of Roger Staubach's comebacks.

The NFL didn't start recognizing quarterback sacks as an official stat until 1982, however, the Cowboys have their own records, dating back before the 1982 season. Although he was known as a run specialist, he had the athletic ability to be unofficially credited with a career total of 60 sacks.

Cole scored 4 touchdowns during his career (3 interception returns and 1 fumble return), all coming against the rival Washington Redskins. His 3 interceptions returns for touchdowns, is tied for second in Cowboys history. During his last season, he returned an interception for a touchdown against the Redskins on 23 November 1980.[4] When he retired after playing 13 seasons, asked about the 11-year hiatus between his third and fourth NFL touchdowns, he replied: "Anyone can have an off decade".

He retired at the end of the 1980 season, becoming along with D.D. Lewis, the first three-decade players in franchise history. He is one of only eight NFL players who have played in five Super Bowls: (V, VI, X, XII and XIII). Cole helped the Cowboys win 2 Super Bowls and 5 NFC Championships. He played in 26 total playoff games, a record when he retired.[5]

Personal life

After his football career he became a real estate developer. In 2012, he joined other retired players to file a concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL.[6]


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