Robert Newhouse dies at 64

ByJean-Jacques Taylor ESPN logo
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Robert Newhouse, responsible for one of the most iconic plays in Dallas Cowboys history, died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 64.

Rodd Newhouse told Minneapolis TV station KMSP-TV that his father was surrounded by his wife and four children at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, when he died from the effects of heart disease.

Newhouse had been in declining health since suffering a stroke in 2010.

Newhouse, a Longview, Texas, native, played fullback for the Cowboys from 1972 to '83.

He helped Tom Landry win his second Super Bowl with a memorable play against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl X.

With about seven minutes left, Newhouse took a handoff from Roger Staubach and headed left. Suddenly, he pulled up and lofted a pass to receiver Golden Richards just over the outstretched arm of a Denver defender to give the Cowboys their final points in a 27-10 victory.

"The thing I remember most is for that halfback option play we ran against Denver," former Cowboys player personnel director Gil Brandt said. "We ran it going left, and it's a lot harder to go left than right. During the week they must've practiced the play 10 times, and he never completed it. And that was going right. Here it is going left, and he completed it."

Before spending several seasons as Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett's lead blocker, Newhouse -- equipped with 44-inch thighs -- was one of the focal points of the Cowboys' offense.

He gained a career-high 930 yards with a 4.4 average and two touchdowns in 1975. Newhouse finished his career with 4,784 yards, a 4.1 average and 31 touchdowns. He is fifth on the Cowboys' all-time rushing list.

"He led our team in rushing in '75, and he would've been a great back in a one-back system because he was such a strong runner," Brandt said. "He would be that guy who could move the chains, running inside. He could run outside."

After his career, Newhouse spent several years with the Cowboys working in the player-relations department, where he worked closely with players in a variety of roles in their off-the-field lives.

"He had no airs about him at all -- just a genuine, wonderful, really top-flight man," Brandt said. "I don't know that he was ever late to anything. The guy was just a really model citizen."