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Jerry Tubbs
Date of birth: January 23, 1935 (1935-01-23) (age 74)
Place of birth: Throckmorton, Texas
Career information
Position(s): Linebacker
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 1957 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
 As player:
Chicago Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
Dallas Cowboys
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 1 (1962)
Playing stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

Gerald J. Tubbs (born January 23, 1935 in Throckmorton, Texas) is a former American football linebacker who played for ten seasons in the National Football League from 1957 to 1966, mainly for the Dallas Cowboys. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft. After his retirement he stayed with the Cowboys as an assistant coach for 22 years.

Tubbs played college football at the University of Oklahoma. In 1996 he was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame. Tubbs never played in a game his team lost until turning pro.


High school career

Jerry Tubbs was an honor graduate student and played center at Breckenridge High School. He was part of two Texas state championship football teams in 1951 and 1952. He played in three high school All-Star games and was a unanimous Texas All-State selection in 1952.

He never lost a game in high school.

The teams were coached by Cooper Robbins (1951) and Joe Kerbel (1952). Both went on to the college ranks.

Since 2008, the Breckenridge Buckaroos open the football season playing the Jerry Tubbs Kick Off Classic.

In 1971, he was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of fame.

College career

Jerry Tubbs played three varsity years at the University of Oklahoma, and the Sooners won all 31 games in that period. He was a fullback in 1954 and averaged six yards on rushing attempts. Head coach Bud Wilkinson moved him to center in 1955, and this became his signature position. He also played linebacker and in a victory over Texas in 1955, he intercepted three passes. In 1956 he was unanimous All-America center and was named Lineman of the Year by three agencies.

In 1954, when fullback Billy Pricer was injured, Tubbs had to replace him playing against Texas University, the first time he had ever played in the backfield. In the remaining games of that season, he averaged 6.1 yards per carry.

Tubbs graduated from Oklahoma with a degree in economics and was a 1956 Academic All-America.

During his three varsity years, Oklahoma's record was 10-0, 11-0, 10-0. His 31 wins were part of that legendary 47-game winning streak and two national titles from 1954-56.

The 1954 team was ranked third nationally in the Associated Press and United Press polls. The 1955 and 1956 teams were national champions. In those years Oklahoma played one bowl game. The 1955 team beat Maryland 20-6 in the Orange Bowl.

A consensus selection for 1955 and 1956 All-American honors at center and linebacker, Tubbs was the first Sooner ever to win the Walter Camp Award as the outstanding player of the year. He was the leading vote-getter for All-American in both UPI and AP polls and was voted the outstanding lineman in every poll he was eligible.

Tubbs finished fourth in the 1956 Heisman Trophy voting (very high for a lineman), behind his second place teammate, Tommy McDonald, and winner Paul Hornung of Notre Dame.

In 1996, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1999, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Tubbs had an 11-year pro career as linebacker for the Chicago Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys 1957-1967. He then had a 21-year career as assistant coach with the Cowboys.

He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the first round of the 1957 NFL Draft — 10th overall. Suddenly, he found himself on a perennial loser, playing out of position as an outside linebacker. He was benched, then traded to the San Francisco 49ers near the end of his second season. He finished out that year at outside linebacker. The following year he moved into the middle linebacker spot.

After the 1959 season, Tubbs planned to retire, so the Forty Niners left him off their list of players who were exempt from the expansion draft.

Tubbs was acquired by the Dallas Cowboys in 1960 NFL Expansion Draft. As it turned out, he would spend the next 29 years in Dallas — as a player, then a player-coach, then a fulltime assistant.

When Jack Patera fell to injury in the 4th game of the 1960 season, Tubbs became the starter in the middle for the team.

He was an impact player on those early Cowboys teams. He had speed, toughness and an unbeatable motor.

In 1962, he was one of the first Cowboys players voted to the Pro Bowl, along with: QB Eddie LeBaron; DT Bob Lilly; RB Don Perkins; and CB Don Bishop.

During his playing days, he rated among the top middle linebackers in the NFL.

Tubbs became a player-coach in 1965.

In 1966 Tubbs retired and was working for the Dallas Federal Savings and Loan Association, but was lured back for one more year by Tom Landry. He played just the first 3 games of the season, until he suffered a back injury. The following year (1967), Landry, sensing that the Cowboys had a real chance at a championship, wanted to have Tubbs as insurance in the event Lee Roy Jordan should be injured. Tubbs came back again, but didn't play a single down.

When he finally retired as a player in 1968, he became the linebackers coach under Tom Landry for 21 years. He coached in five Super Bowls, with Dallas winning two.

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