Mike Gaechter
Date of birth: (1940-01-09) January 9, 1940 (age 80)
Place of birth: Santa Monica, California
Career information
Position(s): Strong Safety
College: Oregon
 As player:
1962-1969 Dallas Cowboys
Playing stats at

Michael Theodore Gaechter (born January 9, 1940 in Santa Monica, California) is a former American football safety in the National Football League who spent his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at the University of Oregon.

College careerEdit

After going to Antelope Valley High School (Lancaster, CA), Gaechter attended the University of Oregon.

Because of grades, he enrolled at Clark College where he competed in the long jump, the 100, 200, low and high hurdles, and as a member of the relay team.[1]

In 1961 he earned his reacceptance to the University of Oregon. That year during a track meet at the University of Washington, he recorded his fastest time with 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash.

In 1962, Gaechter with teammates Mel Renfro, Jerry Tarr, and Harry Jerome, ran the third leg on the University of Oregon’s world record setting team, in the 4x440 yard relay.[1]

Gaechter’s main college sport was track and field. He became a first-time starter on the football team until his senior year, playing half back and being voted the most improved player.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Dallas CowboysEdit

Gaechter was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 1962 as an undrafted free agent. He became the starting left cornerback as a rookie, and in that same season, the Cowboys became the first NFL team in history to produce two 100-yard plays in the same game: a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by Gaechter and a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by running back Amos Marsh.[3] His interception return was a franchise record that was broken by Bryan McCann 48 years later in 2010.

Although he had a track background, he was a punishing hitter, so he was switched to strong safety in 1963, where he earned the reputation as a feared defensive player in the Cowboys secondary.

His open-field hit on the Packers' Boyd Dowler in the 1966 NFL Championship Game remains a highlight-reel play.

Gaechter had been a mainstay on the Cowboys defense for most of the 1960s, but he ruptured his achilles tendon in the 1969 NFL's Playoff Bowl, playing against the Los Angeles Rams. He would never play again, after eight seasons and 21 interceptions during his time in Dallas.

In 1970 Cornell Green moved from cornerback to strong safety to replace Gaechter. After sitting out the entire season, he was traded to the Washington Redskins for a draft choice.

Washington RedskinsEdit

Gaechter was released before the 1971 season started.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1972 and 1982, he filed lawsuits against the Dallas Cowboys.[4]


External linksEdit

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