American Football Database
Willie Townes
No. 71     
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1943-07-21) July 21, 1943 (age 79)
Place of birth: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Career information
College: Tulsa
Debuted in 1966 for the [[{{{debutteam}}}]]
Last played in 1970 for the [[{{{finalteam}}}]]
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A
Safety     1
Touchdowns     1
Stats at

Willie Carroll Townes (born July 21, 1943 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi) is a former professional American football defensive end in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1966 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Tulsa.

Early years

Willie Townes was born on July 21, 1943 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He played high school football at Rowan High School.

College career

After high school, Townes signed with Indiana University but ended up transferring to the University of Tulsa, where he became one of the best defensive lineman in school's history.

He was a two time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection in 1964 and 1965. Also named the MVC's sophomore of the year in 1964 as selected by United Press International.

The 1964 team beat Mississippi 14-7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl, where he was named the game’s outstanding lineman.[1] He also was an honorable mention All-America selection and a member of that year's All-Bowl team.

Townes passed up his senior year in 1966 to enter the NFL, when he became eligible for the draft, because he was a redshirt player whose class graduated that year.

In 1986, he was inducted into the University of Tulsa Athletic Hall of Fame.[2]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Townes was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1966 NFL Draft as a defensive tackle.

Townes started his professional career as a defensive tackle, but in the middle of his rookie season, he was moved to left defensive end and replaced Larry Stephens in the starting lineup.

He is perhaps best known for causing Bart Starr to fumble in the 1967 NFL Championship Game, commonly known as the Ice Bowl. The fumble was picked up and returned for a touchdown by Cowboys defensive end, George Andrie.

The NFL didn't start recognizing quarterback sacks as an official stat until 1982; however, the Cowboys have their own records, dating back before the 1982 season. According to the Cowboys' stats, Townes is unofficially credited with a total of 9 sacks during his 1966 season, tying him with Harvey Martin for the most by a Cowboys rookie in franchise history. With 15 sacks, he is also tied with Larry Cole for the third most sacks recorded by a Cowboys player in his first two years in the NFL, behind Demarcus Ware and Harvey Martin.

He played only 4 games during the 1968 season, after he suffered a knee injury and was replaced in the starting line up by rookie Larry Cole.

He missed the entire 1969 season due to the knee injury.

Citing injuries and weight problems as a major reason for their decision, the Cowboys traded him for a draft choice to the New Orleans Saints at the start of the 1970 season.

New Orleans Saints

Townes was released during the 1970, after appearing in just six games with the New Orleans Saints.[3]

New York Giants

He finished his NFL career, after he was released by the New York Giants before the start of the 1971 season.

During his short career he played 38 games, recorded 1 safety and scored 1 touchdown on a fumble return.