American Football Database
John Dutton
Date of birth: (1951-02-06) February 6, 1951 (age 71)
Place of birth: Rapid City, South Dakota, United States
Career information
Position(s): Defensive end
Defensive tackle
College: Nebraska
NFL Draft: 1974 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
 As player:
Baltimore Colts
Dallas Cowboys
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 1975, 1976, 1977
Playing stats at

John Owen Dutton (born February 6, 1951 in Rapid City, South Dakota) is a former professional football player, a defensive lineman in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts and Dallas Cowboys. He played 14 seasons, from 1974-87.

Early years

Dutton graduated from Central High School in Rapid City in 1969, where led the Cobblers to the state Class A basketball title in his senior year.

He was all-state in basketball and football two years and was a high school All-American in both sports. He also was an accomplished Discus thrower.

College career

Although he received more scholarship offers for basketball, he signed with Nebraska to play college football for head coach Bob Devaney.

In 1971, as an alternate starter, he was part of the 1971 national championship team. Dutton participated in the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game, also called the "Game of the Century", generally considered as one of the greatest college football games ever played.

As a senior in 1973 under new head coach Tom Osborne, he earned All-America and All-Big 8 honors, finishing fourth on the team with 63 tackles. In the 1974 Cotton Bowl in Dallas against the University of Texas Longhorns, Dutton and the Blackshirts held the Longhorns to one field goal and 196 total yards. It was the Huskers' fifth bowl victory in as many seasons.

In 1981, he was inducted into the Nebraska football Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Baltimore Colts

Dutton was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft, the 5th overall pick. In 1974, the 6-foot-7, 266-pound defensive end was named to NFL all-rookie team.

In 1975 as a defensive end and member of the "Sack Pack", he led the Colts in sacks with a career-high 17 and was named to the first of three straight Pro Bowls 197577, becoming one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys

In October 1979, a contract dispute forced the Colts to trade him to the Dallas Cowboys. Because of the retirement of Jethro Pugh and the desire of Ed "Too Tall" Jones to become a professional boxer, the Cowboys traded the first and second round picks in the 1980 NFL Draft.

When Jones returned in 1980, Dutton moved to defensive tackle alongside Randy White, establishing a formidable defensive line that also included Harvey Martin. He was part of the 1985 defensive unit that holds the Cowboys’ single-season sack record (62).

During his 9 years in Dallas, he helped the Cowboys reach the NFC title game three straight years (1980, 1981 and 1982). He may have been the best Cowboys defensive lineman to have never won a Super Bowl ring.

Dutton retired in 1987, after 14 seasons and 185 games in the NFL. He recorded only 18 official sacks, because the NFL didn't recognize quarterback sacks as an official statistic until 1982.

Personal life

After his career in the NFL, former Husker Dutton retired to Lincoln, Nebraska. He became involved in businesses and for a short time owned and operated Dutton's Den, an off-sale liquor store and restaurant.


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