Randy White is one of six Pro Football Hall of Famers who'll be in attendance as we unveil the entire Team For the Ages at "Football Legends LIVE!" Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50

This feature originally ran in Pro Football Weekly, Vol. XIV, No. 20, Dec. 22, 1980

DALLAS — It's an arguable, perhaps unprovable, point. But it says here that one thing the Dallas Cowboys have going for them in their drive toward another playoff tournament is the best defensive tackle in football.

And if Randy White isn't the best, he'll do.

Other sports lend themselves to specific measurement of success and failure. You could tell how many hits an outfielder had, and how many errors. You can measure a power forward by his rebounds, or a defenseman by how many goals are scored when he's on the ice.

Football is different. The only players who can be measured by numbers available to the public are on offense. Passes completed, passes caught, yards gained.

IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to measure by statistics the play of the defensive linemen. Quarterback sacks and total tackles only tell half the story.

Having said all that, you need only ask opposing players and coaches what it's like facing Randy White. Not many of them like doing that.

White's brainy teammate, SS Charlie Waters, calls White "the best football player alive." Waters also calls White "Manster," a name he gave the former Maryland All-American three seasons ago. Half man, half monster.

The awards have begun to build ... three straight years in the Pro Bowl, two straight years All-Pro, co-MVP in Super Bowl XII, NFC Defensive Player of the Year in '78.

IN DALLAS, THE ultimate compliment is that some people are starting to compare White to the man who used to play right defensive tackle for the Cowboys, Bob Lilly.

Lilly, himself inducted into the Hall of Fame last August, sees some differences. "I'm a little bigger than Randy, but he may be a little quicker. But I know there are also many similarities."

Tom Landry, who has coached both, once said, "You only get one Bob Lilly in a career." That may have been true, but Landry is now saying, "If I had 11 Randy Whites, I wouldn't have any problems."

Landry also says White is the easiest kind of player to coach. "There's no such thing as getting him ready to play. Randy's always ready. He's the same every week."

AND THEREIN PROBABLY lies the most significant thing that sets Randy White apart from most contemporary athletes, you pick the sport. He is actually the same in his preparation, whether he's playing the Steelers or the Saints. In fact, he probably plays harder in practice than some players do in some games.

"He's amazing that way," says Dallas Pro Bowl OT Pat Donovan. "On offense day (in practice), our defense has to give us a good look at the way the team we're about to face will play. Randy goes hard every play. He always gives us a great picture."

White himself may be the only one who doesn't think his consistency and attitude are remarkable. "That's just the way I've always played," he shrugs. "Look, I like to play football. I play it the same all the time. I don't think about anything on that field except the guy I'm playing against. You can't ever start thinking you're good. About the time you do is when you get in trouble."

Does White see himself still needing improvement? "Absolutely. You know, when I was a rookie (in 1975), they tried to make me a middle linebacker. It still bothers me that I just wasn't able to grasp that position. But I'm more comfortable as a down lineman. I've always played up front. I just try to get better every week."

No offense to Larry Brooks and Louie Kelcher, but Randy White may not be able to get much better. He may already be the best.

Randy White is one of six Pro Football Hall of Famers who'll be in attendance as we unveil the entire Team For the Ages at "Football Legends LIVE!" Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50