The Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League are a beloved team within the borders of Texas and far beyond. For more than forty years, the team has entertained its fans while performing at a consistently high level. In addition to its great success on the field, “America’s Team” has had the same success off the field and is considered one of the most valuable sports teams in North America. Behind every great sports franchise are the fans who support the team, no matter what. The Dallas Cowboys have had countless fans cheering for them over the past four decades, not to mention their own world-famous Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and team mascot, Rowdy. Yet among all those who cheer on Cowboys football, one fan stands alone. That fan is the late Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones.
Sadly, on March 17, 2007, in Dallas, Texas, Wilford Jones’ encouraging voice was silenced for the last time after enduring a decade of poor health, including diabetes and congestive heart failure. He was 76 years old. Known as the original and unofficial mascot of the Dallas Cowboys, Crazy Ray entertained generations of Cowboys fans. Over the years, he became as recognizable a symbol for Cowboys football as the Dallas Cowboys logo, the lone star. Driven by Crazy Ray’s passion for his team, countless fans proudly wear Dallas Cowboys apparel so they too can show their true colors.
Crazy Ray attended the first home game of the new Dallas Cowboys franchise in 1960. His true bond with the team began in 1962 when he began selling pennants at Cowboys home games. Outfitted with western appeal, complete with downpours, six shooters on their holsters, a vest, and a cowboy hat, he entertained fans from the sidelines with magic tricks, galloping on a workhorse, and other antics. His signature whistle, a shrill high-pitched, was also well known and earned him the nickname “Whistling Ray.”
Crazy Ray is said to have missed just three home games to the Cowboys in the team’s forty-seven years of existence. In fact, Crazy Ray is such an integral part of Dallas Cowboys history that he holds a place of honor in the fan section of the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Although Crazy Ray never officially worked for the Cowboys franchise, he was provided with a special parking pass and was granted unlimited access to Texas Stadium for all home games.
Jerry Jones, the owners of the Dallas Cowboys in conveying their condolences to the family, stated: “This is a sad day for anyone who is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Ray was the most dedicated, entertaining and passionate of the fans of the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys. Thousands of lives and generations of soccer fans. He will continue to be an important part of the heritage and family of this team. “
Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones was one of those people who appears from time to time. He dedicated his life to his team and touched the lives of countless Cowboys fans and soccer fans around the world. He will always be remembered for his spirit and love of the game. There is no doubt that Crazy Ray’s memory will live on in the hearts of Dallas fans and soccer fans everywhere, as well as the Dallas Cowboys franchise.