Dallas Cowboys Twitter Reacts: 88 is more than just a number

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The No. 88 holds special meaning for the Dallas Cowboys so it’s understandable fans have a strong reaction when the iconic jersey is used

The No. 88 jersey is sacred in Cowboys Nation. All-time greats, Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, and Dez Bryant have all graced the ‘dubs’ for the Dallas Cowboys. Every generation of Cowboys fan has a No. 88 near and dear to his/her heart. It’s only fitting this new wave of Cowboys fans gets an eighty-eight of their own.

After teasing fans for about a week, the Dallas Cowboys announced their new first round WR, CeeDee Lamb, will be donning the 88 for Dallas in 2020. This announcement was met with some passionate responses throughout the fan base and even garnered a response from the latest Cowboy who wore the eights, Dez Bryant.

88 or 10?

“What will CeeDee wear for the Cowboys?” That was the question asked last week when Dallas stole the best WR in the draft at Pick 17. CeeDee said it’ll be 10, but Jerry Jones hinted at the ‘ol 88. Fans were divided from the start.

Did Ceedee even want 88? Dez’s body isn’t even cold yet – isn’t this in bad taste?

Dez Bryant still lives in our hearts

Perhaps the main reason this seems so indigestible is because of how the relationship with Dez Bryant ended. Dez was unceremoniously cut two years ago and Cowboys fans still haven’t gotten over it (and neither has Dez). He was the inspirational leader of the team and a fan favorite. Outsiders saw a sideline distraction but fans saw a guy who cared, stuck on team that often didn’t care.

Since being released, Dez Bryant has been publicly lobbying to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys at a reduced role. Fans fell in love with the romance of the idea and Jerry Jones refused to shut the door on a return.

Reissuing No. 88 to CeeDee all but assures a Dez Bryant reunion is impossible. It’s harsh because Cowboys fans never really got closure.

Clearly many of us are forgetting a guy by the name of Antonio Bryant. He was the No. 88 that came between Irvin and Dez and he’s the one guy who couldn’t live up to the expectations of the number.

Other Numbers

The Dallas Cowboys have a handful of other iconic numbers in their rolodex, as well. 94 was for Charles Haley and DeMarcus Ware. But Dallas issued it again on Randy Gregory. No. 54 was Randy White and then Jaylon Smith. But in between were guys like Bruce Carter, Darren Hambrick, and about 10 others. Some numbers are unofficially off limits: 12, 8, 22.

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Why not retire the numbers?

This one is easy. The Dallas Cowboys have had so many great players in their history they’d run out numbers if they started retiring. Unless you want to start seeing rookies get issued numbers like “124”, you need to avoid retiring numbers.

Instead, the Dallas Cowboys honor players in the ring of honor. And if the player is especially iconic, they’ll create a legacy jersey like the No. 88. It’s one part marketing, one part nostalgia, and one part self-fulfilling prophecy.


Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the no. 88 has reemerged and been awarded to the Dallas Cowboys top rookie. Will he live up to the expectations that come with it? Hopefully. Will he ever be accepted as the next great 88? Yes. The moment CeeDee takes one to the house and puffs out his chest for the cameras, Cowboys Nation will be on board.

Give fans a moment to grieve the loss of Dez. We were never really given closure. But at the end of the day, Dez Bryant has come to peace with it so it only seems right Cowboys Nation does as well.

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The backlash over Lamb wearing the No. 88 has really nothing to do with Lamb. It has everything to do with Dez. Everything’s going to be fine just give us time…and that first TD.

  • Published on 05/01/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 05/01/2020 at 09:18 AM