Missing in Action: Charles Young’s Disappearance From The Cowboys Backfield In 1975
One of the primary concerns for the Dallas Cowboys going into the 1975 season was the uncertainty hovering over the running back position. Calvin Hill had signed a contract with the Hawaii franchise of the World Football League, leaving head coach Tom Landry scrambling to find a replacement.
Of the three prime candidates going into training camp, Charles Young appeared to be the odds-on favorite to win the starting job. A 1974 first-round draft pick out of North Carolina State,the speedy Young had impressed coaches in limited action as a rookie. His 53-yard run against Houston proved to be the team’s longest of the season. But injuries, combined with the emergence of both Robert Newhouse and newcomer Preston Pearson, resulted in Young sliding down the depth chart as the 1975 season progressed.
Still, Young played a key role in the Cowboys’ fast start in ’75. After siting out the opener against Los Angeles, he scored on his only rushing attempt in a Week 2 victory versus St. Louis, and then wowed the Silverdome crowd and a Monday Night Football audience with his two touchdown effort against the Lions a week later. At blustery Shea Stadium, Young was awarded a career-high 27 carries which he parlayed into 93 yards in a 13-7 Cowboys victory.
However, he emerged from that game with another ailment that caused him to miss Dallas’ Week 5 game at Texas Stadium against the Packers. When he returned, Landry had settled upon a rotation that included a lot of Newhouse, Pearson, and Doug Dennison, and not so much of Young.
Over the final nine regular season games, Young was awarded just 16 carries, half of which came in a meaningless regular season finale versus the New York Jets. His most significant offensive contribution during the season’s latter half came in Super Bowl X, when he tallied three pass receptions for 31 yards.
You can read more about Charles Young and the Dallas Cowboys’ miracle season of 1975 in Ryan Bush’s new book “The Dirty Dozen.” Order your copy today using this link: