Height: 5’11” Weight: 192
Dorsett had a brilliant college career, receiving All-American recognition in all four years and culminating in Pitt winning a national championship and the star running back winning the 1976 Heisman Trophy. The Cowboys traded for
’s second overall pick in the first
round of the ’77 NFL draft to get Dorsett. He spent most of his rookie season
backing up HB Preston Pearson until being inserted into the starting lineup for
the last four games. Seattle
1977 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]
Attempts – 208 
Most attempts, game - 23 (for 206 yds.) vs.
Yards – 1007 
Most yards, game – 206 yards (on 23 carries) vs.
Average gain – 4.8 
TDs – 12 
200-yard rushing games – 1
100-yard rushing games – 2
Receptions – 29
Most receptions, game – 5 (for 48 yds.) vs.
Yards – 273
Most yards, game - 48 (on 5 catches) vs.
Average gain – 9.4
TDs – 1
Pass attempts – 1
Pass completions – 1
Passing yards – 34
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 0
TDs – 13 
Points – 78 [9, tied with Nat Moore & John Smith]
Postseason: 3 G
Rushing attempts – 51
Most rushing attempts, game - 19 vs.
NFC Championship Minnesota
Rushing yards – 222
Most rushing yards, game - 85 vs.
Divisional playoff Chicago
Average gain rushing – 4.4
Rushing TDs – 4
Pass receptions – 4
Most pass receptions, game - 2 vs.
Chicago, NFC Divisional playoff, vs. , Super Bowl Denver
Pass receiving yards - 48
Most pass receiving yards, game - 37 vs.
NFC Divisional playoff Chicago
Average yards per reception – 12.0
Pass Receiving TDs - 0
Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: UPI, NEA
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
NFC Rookie of the Year: Sporting News
Cowboys went 12-2 to finish first in the NFC East with the conference’s best record while leading the NFL in total yards (4812) and touchdowns (42, tied with
). Won NFC Divisional playoff over Chicago
Bears (37-7), NFC Championship over Minnesota Vikings (23-6), and Super Bowl
over Denver Broncos (27-10). Oakland
The 1000-yard rushing season as a rookie proved to be the first of eight in his initial nine years with the Cowboys (missing out only during the strike-shortened 1982 campaign). He had a career-high of 1646 rushing yards in 1981, when he was a consensus All-NFL selection, and he received at least some All-NFL or All-NFC recognition five times and was selected to the Pro Bowl on four occasions. His career highs for pass receiving were 51 catches for 459 yards in 1984. Dorsett was with the Cowboys for 11 seasons, eventually splitting time with Herschel Walker, and finished his career in 1988 with the Denver Broncos. At the time of his retirement, Dorsett’s 12,739 rushing yards ranked second all-time. He also caught 398 passes for another 3554 yards and scored a total of 91 TDs. In 17 postseason games, he rushed for 1383 yards. Dorsett was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1994.
Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year).