Tom Rafferty
Date of birth: (1954-08-02) August 2, 1954 (age 65)
Place of birth: Syracuse, New York
Career information
Position(s): Center
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
College: Penn State
NFL Draft: 1976 / Round: 4 / Pick: 119
 As player:
1976-1989 Dallas Cowboys
Career highlights and awards
Honors: Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame[1]
Dallas Cowboys All-Time Team[2]
Playing stats at

Thomas Michael Rafferty (born August 2, 1954 in Syracuse, New York) is a former American football offensive lineman in the NFL. He attended Fayetteville-Manlius High School in Manlius, New York, and went on to start four years for coach Joe Paterno at Penn State University earning All-American honors in 1975.

Early yearsEdit

Rafferty attended Fayetteville-Manlius High School where he was an all-league athlete in football and lacrosse.

He continued his football career as an interior lineman at Penn State University where he played for the legendary head coach Joe Paterno. The 6-foot-3, 256-pound Rafferty earned All-American honors in 1975.

He was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 1998,[3]

Professional careerEdit

Rafferty was drafted in the 4th round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.

It took him one year to become the starting left guard, after Blaine Nye retired before the 1977 season, performing also as a long snapper for field goals and extra points. That team won Super Bowl XII.

During this period, center John Fitzgerald nicknamed the Cowboys offensive line as the "Four Irishmen and a Scott", when it was formed by him, Fitzgerald, Pat Donovan, Jim Cooper and Herb Scott.

Known to his teammates as "Raff", he established himself as one of the better linemen in Cowboys history with an exemplary work ethic, durability and versatility. In 1981 he was moved to center after Robert Shaw went down with a knee injury, becoming the anchor of an offensive line that would enable the Cowboys to reach 2 NFC Championship Games.

Rafferty retired at the end of the 1989 season after rookie Mark Stepnoski became the Cowboys starting center. He played in 221 total games for the Cowboys, including 167 consecutive games, which at the time was more than any other Cowboy in history.[3] He appeared in 18 post-season games and 2 Super Bowls (XII and XIII).

He was named to the Dallas Cowboys All-Time Team in 2003.[4] He is the only Cowboys offensive lineman to block for both Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, and one of only two players (Ed "Too Tall" Jones being the other) to be a teammate of both Hall of Fame quarterbacks.


Rafferty earned his Bachelor of Science in physical education from Penn State University in 1976, and later earned an MBA from the University of Dallas.

Rafferty lives with his wife Donna and their children Michael and Rachel in Keller, Texas, where he is currently a regional sales manager at Sports Supply Group, a Dallas sports supply company.[5] In April 2008, he had a sudden bout of the neurological disorder transverse myelitis. The disorder has caused him to use a walker and wheelchair while he undergoes physical therapy to re-learn how to walk.[6]


External linksEdit

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