Robert Newhouse, a hard-working running back for the Dallas Cowboys who played in three Super Bowls and helped win one of them not just with his legs but also with his arm — throwing a game-clinching touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos in 1978 — died on Tuesday in Rochester, Minn. He was 64.
The cause was complications of heart disease, the Cowboys said.
Newhouse played 12 seasons in the National Football League, all of them for the Cowboys under Tom Landry. Selected by Dallas in the second round of the 1972 draft out of the University of Houston, he soon became essential for the Cowboys, playing mostly as a fullback expected to grind out three or four yards. He was quick and strong, propelled by thighs once measured at 44 inches around. In 1975 he led the team in rushing, with 930 yards, and was ninth in the league at 4.4 yards per carry.
Newhouse’s fortunes began changing in the late 1970s with the emergence of Tony Dorsett, the Cowboys’ top pick in the 1977 draft. Over the next few seasons, Newhouse became more of a blocker than a runner, opening holes for the speedy and dazzling Dorsett. He did not start a game after 1980.