Bill Bates is a former American football safety who played for the Dallas Cowboys his entire fifteen year NFL career. While with the cowboys, he played in Super Bowls XXVIII and XXX. He was also inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.
After the 1993 season Bill was selected by his teammates to receive the Ed Block Courage Award for successfully overcoming his injury. In 1995 Bill was named by the fans and his teammates the "Unsung Hero" award, which is given to one player from each NFL team. He has also been the recipient of the Dallas All Sports Association Courage Award.
Bill has been a perennial selection for the All-Madden Team. Along with being on the Madden Summerall "ALL DALLAS COWBOY TEAM", Bill has subsequently in 1999 been inducted to the Madden Hall of Fame. Starting with six years playing for legendary coach Tom Landry, Bill was an inspirational team leader and he exemplified the qualities of perseverance and dedication every time he stepped onto the field.
Prior to the 1990 season, Jimmy Johnson tabbed Bill as the Cowboy's special teams captain. Also, as Barry Switzer took over he made sure his role would remain the same and held the position for Coach Switzers five year tenor. Bill along with Ed "Too Tall" Jones shares the NFL record of playing 15 years for the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. He was a very visible member of the Dallas nickel defense at the middle linebacker position. His last minute interception at Chicago's Soldier Field preserved Dallas' 17 - 13 win in the team's triumphant return to the playoffs after a six year absence, and will surely go down as one of the big plays in the re-building of the Dallas Cowboys.
Bates was one of only a handful of Dallas players who had previous post-season experience as a Cowboy. One of the NFL's true success stories, Bill has overcome the odds his entire career, starting in 1983 when he made the team as a long shot free agent rookie. Bill immediately becomes a visible figure on the field with his ferocious special teams play. It was Bates' notoriety that helped propel the NFL into adding a spot on the Pro-Bowl teams for specials teams' coverage players. In 1984 he became the first NFC player so honored.