Roger Staubach is one of the most popular people in town and he has the votes to prove it.

If a youngster is seen in ths area wearing a football - styled tee - shirt, it most likely has the number "12" on it - Staubach's number.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback, who is beginning his ninth year in the NFL, has had more demands on his time through the years than any other player on the club. When there is an interview to be conducted, Staubach is a likely candidate.

The fans have voted him the Cowboys' most popular player so many times that last year he gave away the prize - a trip to Hawaii - to retired middle linebacker Lee Roy jordan.

But as another season approaches, Staubach's popularity is being challenged. And that is just fine with him.

This is the year of Tony Dorsett in Dallas. Area fans have not been so captivated by a football player since Bob Hayes set aside his Olmypic gold medals and started running under long touchdown passes a dozen years ag.

Dorsett has received the type of attention a Heisman Trophy winning all - time leading collegiate rusher would expect to get. And more so.

Staubach, has quietly worked himself into the best physical condition of his career this summer, has happily stayed out of the spotlight - so far.

"The quarterback is always going to get some attention," Staubach said before he left for the Cowboys training camp in Thousand Oaks, Calif., "simply because he is in the centre of the action.

"But, honestly, at this point in my career - while the amount of individual accomplishment is important - that really matters only as far as it involves the entire offense.

"Everyone has to be doing his job if the team is to succeed. But if the fans want to single out some particular person, I couldn't care less.

"I'd like to see Dorsett gain 3,000 yards and have everybody in the country interview him after every game. I'd like to see Drew Pearson catch 18 passes a game and it wouldn't bother me if no one came around after the game to talk to me."

All of that would sound sort of corny if it wasn't coming from Staubach, who is an old fashioned competitor without a new fashioned ego. he can use words like "pride" and "dedication" and get away with it.

'There is the obvious pride in playing to the ability that makes people realize you are capable football player,' said Saubach. "There is pride in accomplishing something at this level of highly tuned professionals skills."

Staubach, naturally enough, is less worried about any reduction of attention paid to him than he is making sure he returns to the level of excellence he obtained during the first half of the 1976 season.