Jethro Pugh (July 3, 1944 – January 7, 2015)

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Jethro Pugh (July 3, 1944 – January 7, 2015)

Post by Cowboy1959 on Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:21 am


Old-school Cowboys fans like myself were saddened to learn about the passing of former Cowboys' DT Jethro Pugh, one of the cornerstones of the orignal Doomsday Defense (and, later, Doomsday II), on January 7th.

Pugh had a long and productive career (14 years, 183 games, 95.5 sacks, 14 fumble recoveries, 2 safeties, and an INT), yet he was perennially overshadowed on those great defensive fronts, first by Hall of Famer Bob Lilly, then by Hall of Famer Randy White, along with Harvey Martin and Ed Jones.  In fact, even though the Cowboys played in 22 playoff games--including 9 NFL/NFC Championship Games and 5 Super Bowls--during his career, Pugh never once had the honor and distinction of being selected to the Pro Bowl (receiving only a solitary 2nd-Team All-Pro selection).  And that's a shame.

Pugh will always be remembered (unfairly, in my view) as the guy who was pushed out of the way by Green Bay Packers G Jerry Kramer so that QB Bart Starr could sneak into the end zone for the winning TD in the Ice Bowl.  But, as Lilly maintained in looking back on that game, “They could have gone over anybody.  We were standing on pure ice.  It wasn’t Jethro’s fault.”  (And it turns out that Kramer moved a half-second before the snap, gaining a big advantage on the play.)

I prefer to remember Pugh for his steadiness and consistency as a member of one (or two!) of the greatest defenses in NFL history.  He was not only a perfect complement to Lilly, he was a valuable resource to his teammates for his knowledge and understanding of the Cowboys' complicated Flex Defense.  He is remembered by his teammates for his intelligence, and for both his on-field toughness (he played an entire season with appendicitis, enduring regular shots of penicillin so he could keep playing) and his off-field gentleness and congeniality.  They will miss him, and so will I.

Pugh will never be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and unfortunately there's no Hall of Very Good.  But he was a solid and dependable contributor throughout his decade-and-a-half of service, and he won 2 rings.  Sometimes that has to be enough.

Farewell, Jethro.  Cowboys Nation is a little poorer and a lot sadder without you.
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Re: Jethro Pugh (July 3, 1944 – January 7, 2015)

Post by caddy4bp on Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:25 am

Correct, he wasn't a "big" name and never got the recognition on a team full of star power. He always answered the bell and just made solid plays, game after game, year after year. You penciled him in and knew he'd get the job done.

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