D.D. Lewis: Back when he made every tackle

Funny how you mind plays tricks on you, more often as you get older. This was back in the ‘60s. Ole Miss had beaten USM in a close game and now our family was driving back to Hattiesburg afterward.
State was playing a night game in Jackson. Can’t remember the opponent, but I do remember Jack Cristil’s voice and I do remember what he kept saying.
Tackle by D.D. Lewis.
Lewis makes the tackle again.
Still another tackle by D.D. Lewis.
Thank God for D.D. Lewis.
We kept on driving and D.D. Lewis kept on tackling. We hit Jackson about halftime and I asked Dad if he thought we might could watch the second half.
His answer, more or less: “Why not?”
There were no cell phones back then, but Dad had some pull. We pulled over. He made a phone call from a phone booth. And then we drove right up to the back gate of Veterans Memorial Stadium where a smiling Dick Hitt was waiting. He opened the gates and we drove on in, right up behind the south end zone.
Dad went up to the press box to visit with Bob Hartley and his media friends. Bobby and I watched the game behind the south end zone. And I kept my eyes on D.D. Lewis.
And he continued to make nearly every tackle. Now it was the P.A. announcer:
Tackle by Lewis.
Tackle by D.D Lewis.
Lewis makes the tackle.
On and on it went like that. Again, my mind plays tricks. I can’t remember if State won or not. I can’t remember the opponent. Florida? Texas Tech? Auburn?
I just remember D.D. Lewis making every tackle.
I saw D.D. at Starkville Saturday, where I snapped the photo to your left with my cell phone.
I tried to pick his brain and see if he remembered that game in Jackson. He recalled having one of his best games there, but he couldn’t remember the opponent either.
“Too many hits on this ol’ noggin,” D.D. said.
About 30 of them had to come that night.
D.D. Lewis remains one of the greatest linebackers I’ve ever watched play the game. He made All American on a team that finished 1-9, and that should tell you everything you need to know about him, except for the fact that Bear Bryant once said he was the best linebacker in America.
He’s a College Football Hall of Famer and a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer. A lot of scouts thought he would be too small to play professional football, but he played in five Super Bowls for the Dallas Cowboys.
Today, he’ll play in your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s annual celebrity golf tournament, one of our biggest fundraisers of the year.
D.D. still lives in Dallas but he remains one of the Hall of Fame’s most loyal supporters. And I join Jack Cristil in saying: Thank God for D.D. Lewis.

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