Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1976 Topps #14 Robert Newhouse

I've been writing for this blog for almost two years, and I've never written about my all-time favorite Cougar, Robert Newhouse. I wish I could say it was because of his incredible career at the University of Houston, but it's not. I grew up in Dallas, and if you grew up in Dallas in the 1970s, you were a Cowboys fan.

As a kid, you choose your favorites in odd ways. I think I liked Newhouse because he was called the Human Bowling Ball. Plus he had the biggest legs, supposedly 40+ inches around. That's enough for a kid. I didn't even know he was a Cougar until I went to school at UH and started reading our athletic history.

Robert Newhouse was an amazing college running back. He played for UH from 1969 to 1971. No coincidence, but that was a very successful stretch for the Coogs. In 1969, UH went 9-2 and finished #12 in the AP poll. 1970, the Coogs went 8-3 and finished 19th. 1971 saw UH go 9-3 and finished 17th. He was co-captain of the 1971 team along with Gary Mullins and Frank Ditta.

In those years, Newhouse wrote his name all over the UH record book:
Most rushing yards in a season (1757 in 1971)
Most 100 yard games in a season (10 in 1971)
Most 100 yard games in a career (16)
Most consecutive 100 yard games in a season (7 in 1971)
Most consecutive 100 yard games in a career (8)
Most 200 yard games in a season (3 in 1971, tied with Anthony Alridge and Paul Gipson)
Most 200 yard cames in a career (4, tied with Anthony Alridge and Paul Gipson)
4th and 5th most yards in a game
2nd most rushes in a season (277 in 1971)
Tied for 5th most rushing TDs in a season (12 in 1971)
4th most all purpose yards in a season (1988 in 1971)
3rd most career rushing yards (2961)
4th most career rushes (461)
5th best career rushing average (6.4 yards)
10th career rushing TDs (19)
10th career all purpose yards (3426)

Wow! That's alot of records.

The 1757 yards in 1971 was the second most yards in a season in NCAA history at the time. Unfortunately Ed Marinaro rushed for 1881 yards that same year. In the Heisman Trophy vote that year 4 of the top 5 vote getters and 5 of the top 10 were running backs. Shamefully, Newhouse was not one of them. All of the 4 top vote getters are in the College Football Hall of Fame. Why isn't Newhouse?

He was also won the Dana X Bible Award (best football player in Texas), Houston Chronicle Player of the Year, and was AP 2nd team All-American.

After his remarkable college career, he was selected in the second round of the 1972 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He played his entire career for Dallas from 1972 to 1983. He rushed for 4,784 career yards, leading the Cowboys in 1975, and had 956 yards. But as a pro, he was primarily known as a blocking fullback.

While Newhouse was on the team, the Cowboys went to four Super Bowls winning two. In the Super Bowl XII 27-10 win over the Denver Broncos, he threw a TD pass to Golden Richards.

Today's collectible is Robert Newhouse's rookie card, the 1976 Topps #14. The card features a staged photo of Newhouse in front of a sky blue background. As with all Topps cards in the 1970s, there is no Cowboys or NFL logo as Topps didn't have those rights. The back features career stats and a note that he was the Cowboys' leading rusher in 1975 and fourth in the NFC. It also has a clue about a Cowboys mystery player.


Anonymous said...

Hello. Through pure chance I ended up playing golf with Robert Newhouse. As a lifelong Philadelphian, I of course had no idea who he was, and he did not wear his fame on his sleeve. He did wear it on his finger though--yowza that Super Bowl ring was amazing.

Long story short he is a super nice guy and a very good golfer. I married a Cowboys fan (I know, we have a house divided), and he graciously wrote her a personal message and autograph, which she treasures.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you since you are such a big fan. If all Cowboys were like him, I might only hate that team a little . ;-)

NTXCoog said...

What a great story! I've always thought of Newhouse as a great man both on and off the field. Unfortunately I've never had a chance to meet him. He'd probably get beaten down with stories of how great I think he is.