Tom Landry

Last updated

Tom Landry
Tom Landry Jan 1997.jpg
Landry in January 1997
No. 49
Position: Cornerback, Punter, Quarterback, Running back
Personal information
Born:(1924-09-11)September 11, 1924
Mission, Texas
Died:February 12, 2000(2000-02-12) (aged 75)
Dallas, Texas
Career information
High school: Mission (TX)
College: Texas
NFL Draft: 1947  / Round: 20 / Pick: 184
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Punts:338
Punting yards:13,651
Interceptions:31
Player stats at NFL.com
Head coaching record
Regular season:250–162–6 (.605)
Postseason:20–16 (.556)
Career:270–178–6 (.601)
Coaching stats at PFR
Tom Landry
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg United States
Service/branch USAAC Roundel 1919-1941.svg U.S. Army Air Corps
Years of service1942–1945
Rank US-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant
Unit Eighth Air Force
493d Bombardment Group
860th Bombardment Squadron
Battles/warsWorld War II
Air War Over Europe

Thomas Wade Landry (September 11, 1924 – February 12, 2000) was an American football player and coach. He was the original head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League (NFL), a position he held for 29 seasons. During his coaching career, he created many new formations and methods, such as the now popular 4–3 defense, and the "flex defense" system made famous by the Doomsday Defense squads he created during his tenure with the Cowboys. His 29 consecutive years from 1960 to 1988 as the coach of one team are an NFL record, [1] along with his 20 consecutive winning seasons, which is considered to be his most impressive professional accomplishment.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Dallas Cowboys National Football League franchise in Arlington, Texas

The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football team based in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The Cowboys compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team is headquartered in Frisco, Texas, and plays its home games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which opened for the 2009 season. The stadium took its current name prior to the 2013 season. The Cowboys joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960. The team's national following might best be represented by its NFL record of consecutive sell-outs. The Cowboys' streak of 190 consecutive sold-out regular and post-season games began in 2002. The franchise has made it to the Super Bowl eight times, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos for second most Super Bowl appearances in history, just behind the New England Patriots record eleven Super Bowl appearances. This has also corresponded to eight NFC championships, most in the NFC. The Cowboys have won five of those Super Bowl appearances, tying them with their NFC rivals, the San Francisco 49ers; both are second to Pittsburgh's and New England's record six Super Bowl championships. The Cowboys are the only NFL team to record 20 straight winning seasons (1966–85), in which they missed the playoffs only twice.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held on the first Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Contents

In addition to his record 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966 to 1985, Landry won two Super Bowl titles in VI and XII, five NFC titles, and 13 Divisional titles. He compiled a 270–178–6 record, the fourth-most wins all-time for an NFL coach, and his 20 career playoff victories are the second most of any coach in NFL history. Landry was also named the NFL Coach of the Year in 1966 and the NFC Coach of the Year in 1975.

1966 NFL season 47th regular season of the National Football League

The 1966 NFL season was the 47th regular season of the National Football League, and the first season in which the Super Bowl was played, though it was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The league expanded to 15 teams with the addition of the Atlanta Falcons, making a bye necessary each week for one team.

The 1985 NFL season was the 66th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XX when the Chicago Bears defeated the New England Patriots 46–10 at the Louisiana Superdome. The Bears became the second team in NFL history to win 15 games in the regular season and 18 including the playoffs.

Super Bowl National Football League championship game

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) played annually between the champions of the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The game is the culmination of a regular season that begins in the late summer of the previous year. Normally, Roman numerals are used to identify each Super Bowl, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The sole exception to this naming convention tradition occurred with Super Bowl 50, which was played on February 7, 2016, following the 2015 regular season, and the following year, the nomenclature returned to Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI, following the 2016 regular season. Also,The upcoming Super Bowl is Super Bowl LIV, scheduled for February 2, 2020, following the 2019 regular season.

From 1966 to 1982, Dallas played in 12 NFL or NFC Championship games, a span of 17 years. Furthermore, the Cowboys appeared in 10 NFC Championship games in the 13-year span from 1970 to 1982. Leading the Cowboys to three Super Bowl appearances in four years between 1975 and 1978, and five in nine years between 1970 and 1978, along with being on television more than any other NFL team, resulted in the Cowboys receiving the label of "America's Team", a title Landry did not appreciate because he felt it would bring on extra motivation from the rest of the league to compete with the Cowboys. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

1982 NFL season Sports season

The 1982 NFL season was the 63rd regular season of the National Football League. A 57-day-long players' strike reduced the 1982 season from a 16-game schedule per team to an abbreviated nine game schedule. Because of the shortened season, the NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament; division standings were ignored. Eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season records. Two teams qualified for the playoffs despite losing records. The season ended with Super Bowl XVII when the Washington Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-17 at the Rose Bowl.

NFC Championship Game

The NFC Championship Game is the annual championship game of the National Football Conference (NFC) and one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January by the two remaining playoff teams, following the NFC postseason's first two rounds. The NFC champion then advances to face the winner of the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

The 1970 NFL season was the 51st regular season of the National Football League, and the first one after the AFL–NFL merger. The season concluded with Super Bowl V when the Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16–13 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The Pro Bowl took place on January 24, 1971, where the NFC beat the AFC 27–6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Early years

Born in Mission, Texas, to Ray (an auto mechanic and volunteer fireman) and Ruth Landry, Tom was the second of four children (Robert, Tom, Ruthie, and Jack). [2] Landry's father had suffered from rheumatism, and relocated to the warmer climate of Texas from Indiana or Illinois. Ray Landry was an athlete, making his mark locally as a pitcher and football player. [3] Tom played quarterback (primary passer and runner, and also punter) for Mission High School, where he led his team to a 12–0 record in his senior season. [2] The Mission High School football stadium is named Tom Landry Stadium and is home to the Mission Eagles and Mission Patriots which also bears the Pro Football Hall of Fame logo.

Mission, Texas City in Texas

Mission is a city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. The population was 77,058 at the 2010 census and an estimated 83,563 in 2016. Mission is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas.

Rheumatism or rheumatic disorders are conditions causing chronic, often intermittent pain affecting the joints or connective tissue. Rheumatism does not designate any specific disorder, but covers at least 200 different conditions including arthritis and "non-articular rheumatism", also known as "regional pain syndrome" or "soft tissue rheumatism".

Mission High School (Mission, Texas)

Mission High School is a secondary school located in Mission, Texas. It is a part of the Mission Consolidated Independent School District.

Landry attended the University of Texas at Austin as an industrial engineering major. Landry had given thought to enrolling at Mississippi State University, where his friend John Tripson was an All-American, but he knew that he would be away from his friends and family. The main driving force in keeping him from enrolling at Mississippi State University was the notion that it would be too long a travel for his parents to see him play college football. [3]

University of Texas at Austin public research university in Austin, Texas, United States

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1883 and is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff.

Industrial engineering is an engineering profession that is concerned with the optimization of complex processes, systems, or organizations by developing, improving and implementing integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy and materials.

Mississippi State University public university in Starkville, Mississippi, USA

Mississippi State University for Agriculture and Applied Science, commonly known as Mississippi State University (MSU), is a public land-grant research university adjacent to Starkville, Mississippi. With 21,353 students at its main campus, it is the largest campus by enrollment in the state. It is classified in the category of "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity" by the Carnegie Foundation and has a total research and development budget of $239.4 million, the largest in Mississippi. It is listed as one of the state's flagship universities.

He interrupted his education after a semester to serve in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Landry was inspired to join the armed forces in honor of his brother Robert Landry, who had enlisted in the Army Air Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. While ferrying a B-17 over to England, Robert Landry's plane had gone down over the North Atlantic, close to Iceland. Several weeks passed before the Army was able to officially declare Robert Landry dead. [3] Tom Landry began his basic training at Sheppard Field near Wichita Falls, Texas (now Sheppard AFB), and his preflight training at Kelly Field (now Kelly Field Annex), located near San Antonio, Texas. Landry's first experience as a bomber was a tough one. A few minutes after takeoff, Landry realized that the pilot seemed to be working furiously, and Landry had realized the plane's engine had died. Despite this experience, Landry was committed to flying. At the age of 19, Landry was transferred to Sioux City, Iowa, where he trained as a copilot for flying a B-17. In 1944, Landry got his orders, and from Sioux City he went to Liverpool, England, where he was assigned to the Eighth Air Force, 493rd Squadron in Ipswich. [3] Landry earned his wings and a commission as a Second Lieutenant at Lubbock Army Air Field, and was assigned to the 493d Bombardment Group at RAF Debach, England, as a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber copilot in the 860th Bombardment Squadron. From November 1944 to April 1945, he completed a combat tour of 30 missions, and survived a crash landing in Belgium after his bomber ran out of fuel. [4]

United States Army Air Corps Air warfare branch of the US Army from 1926 to 1941

The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the aerial warfare service of the United States of America between 1926 and 1941. After World War I, as early aviation became an increasingly important part of modern warfare, a philosophical rift developed between more traditional ground-based army personnel and those who felt that aircraft were being underutilized and that air operations were being stifled for political reasons unrelated to their effectiveness. The USAAC was renamed from the earlier United States Army Air Service on 2 July 1926, and was part of the larger United States Army. The Air Corps became the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 20 June 1941, giving it greater autonomy from the Army's middle-level command structure. During World War II, although not an administrative echelon, the Air Corps (AC) remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947, when it was legally abolished by legislation establishing the Department of the Air Force.

Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Wichita Falls, Texas City in Texas, United States

Wichita Falls is a city in and the county seat of Wichita County, Texas, United States. It is the principal city of the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Archer, Clay, and Wichita Counties. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 104,553, making it the 38th-most populous city in Texas. In addition, its central business district is 5 miles (8 km) from Sheppard Air Force Base, which is home to the Air Force's largest technical training wing and the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, the world's only multinationally staffed and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for both USAF and NATO.

He returned to his studies at the University of Texas in the fall of 1946. [4] On the football team, he played fullback and defensive back on the Texas Longhorns' bowl game winners on New Year's Day of 1948 and 1949. At UT, he was a member of the Texas Cowboys and Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Omega Chi chapter). He received his bachelor's degree from UT in 1949. In 1952, he earned a master's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Houston. [5]

Playing career

Landry played in the AAFC in 1949 for the New York Yankees, then moved in 1950 across town to the New York Giants. In 1946, the New York Giants had drafted Landry in the seventh round of the college draft. He was drafted as a "Futures" pick, which was a rule in place at the time that allowed NFL teams to draft underclassmen, and hold their rights until the player had completed his college requirement. In 1948, the New York Yankees of the AAFC also drafted Landry.

Landry had just finished his final college football game, when Jack White, who was an assistant coach for the Yankees, took Landry aside. He offered Landry a contract to play for New York in the AAFC. The contract was for $6,000, plus a $500 signing bonus. Landry used the bonus money to pay for a wedding with his college sweetheart, Alicia.

Landry's career got off to a start after the Yankees' starting punter was injured in the preseason, and Landry performed well in his place. The Yankees shared Yankee Stadium with Major League Baseball's Yankees, and Landry remembered in his autobiography how in awe he was seeing names like DiMaggio, Rizzuto, and Ruffing above the lockers. Landry's career began as a back-up to Yankees star running back Buddy Young. His first start would come against the AAFC's powerhouse, the Cleveland Browns, coached by Paul Brown, and a roster full of future hall of famers like Lou Groza, Bill Willis, and Otto Graham. Landry did not have a good debut as a starter; Mac Speedie, the receiver he was assigned to cover, set an AAFC record for receiving yards in the game. After the game, Landry learned his wife had given birth to their first child, a son.

After the 1949 season, the AAFC folded, and the Yankees were not among the teams absorbed by the NFL. The New York Giants exercised their territorial rights and selected Landry in a dispersal draft. Under the guidance of Giants head coach Steve Owen, Landry got his first taste of coaching. Instead of explaining the 6-1-4 defense to the players, Owen called Landry up to the front, and asked him to explain the defense to his teammates. Landry got up, and explained what the defense would do to counter the offense, and this became Landry's first coaching experience. The 1953 season would be a season to forget, with the lowest point coming in a 62-10 loss at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. This loss would ultimately cost Coach Steve Owen his job, and would again have Landry pondering his future. [6] In 1954, he was selected as an All-Pro. He played through the 1955 season, and acted as a player-assistant coach the last two years, 1954 through 1955, under the guidance of new Giants head coach Jim Lee Howell. Landry ended his playing career with 32 interceptions in only 80 games, which he returned for 404 yards and three touchdowns. He also recovered 10 fumbles (seven defensive), returning them for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Landry on a 1955 Bowman football card Tom Landry - 1955 Bowman.jpg
Landry on a 1955 Bowman football card

Career statistics

Led the NFL
Led the AAFC
Special teams
YearTeamGPuntingKick returnsPunt returns
PuntsYardsAvgLongBlockKRYardsAvgTDPRYardsAvgTD
1949 NY Yankees 12512,24944.1223919.5035217.30
1950 NY Giants 10582,13636.8611
1951 NY Giants 121563842.5590100.00100.00
1952 NY Giants 12823,36341.061112020.0010888.80
1953 NY Giants 12441,77240.360023819.00155.00
1954 NY Giants 12642,72042.5610
1955 NY Giants 12753,02240.3691
Career (1949–1955)8238915,90040.969569716.20151459.70
AAFC stats (1949)12512,24944.1223919.5035217.30
NFL stats (1950–55)7033813,65140.469345814.5012937.80

Coaching career

For the 1954 football season, Landry became the defensive coordinator for the Giants, opposite Vince Lombardi, who was the offensive coordinator. Landry led one of the best defensive teams in the league from 1956 to 1959. The two coaches created a fanatical loyalty within the unit they coached that drove the Giants to three appearances in the NFL championship game in four years. The Giants beat the Paddy Driscoll-led Chicago Bears 47–7 in 1956, but lost to the Baltimore Colts in 1958 and 1959.

In 1960, he became the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and stayed for 29 seasons (1960–88). The Cowboys started with difficulties, recording an 0–11–1 record during their first season, with five or fewer wins in each of their next four. Despite this early futility, in 1964, Landry was given a 10-year extension by owner Clint Murchison Jr. It would prove to be a wise move, as Landry's hard work and determination paid off, and the Cowboys improved to a 7–7 record in 1965. In 1966, they surprised the NFL by posting 10 wins and making it all the way to the NFL championship game. Dallas lost the game to Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, but this season was but a modest display of what lay ahead.

Throughout his tenure, Landry worked closely with the Cowboys general manager, Tex Schramm. The two were together during Landry's entire tenure with the team. A third member of the Cowboys brain trust in this time was Gil Brandt.

The Great Innovator

Landry invented the now-popular "4-3 defense", while serving as Giants defensive coordinator. [7] It was called "4-3" because it featured four down lineman (two ends and two defensive tackles on either side of the offensive center) and three linebackers — middle, left, and right. The innovation was the middle linebacker. Previously, a lineman was placed over the center. But Landry had this person stand up and move back two yards. The Giants' middle linebacker was the legendary Sam Huff.

Landry built the 4-3 defense around me. It revolutionized defense and opened the door for all the variations of zones and man-to-man coverage, which are used in conjunction with it today. —Sam Huff [8]

Landry also invented and popularized the use of keys (analyzing offensive tendencies) to determine what the offense might do.

When Landry was hired by the Dallas Cowboys, he became concerned with then Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi's "Run to Daylight" idea, in which the running back went to an open space, rather than a specifically assigned hole. Landry reasoned that the best counter was a defense that flowed to daylight and blotted it out.

To do this, he refined the 4-3 defense by moving two of the four linemen off the line of scrimmage one yard and varied which linemen did this based on where the Cowboys thought the offense might run. This change was called the "Flex Defense", because it altered its alignment to counter what the offense might do. Thus, three such Flex Defenses were developed — strong, weak, and "tackle" — where both defensive tackles were off the line of scrimmage. The idea with the flexed linemen was to improve pursuit angles to stop the Green Bay Sweep — a popular play of the 1960s. The Flex Defense was also innovative in that it was a kind of zone defense against the run. Each defender was responsible for a given gap area, and was told to stay in that area before he knew where the play was going.

It has been said, after inventing the Flex Defense, he then invented an offense to score on it, reviving the man-in-motion and starting in the mid-1970s, the shotgun formation. But Landry's biggest contribution in this area was the use of "preshifting" where the offense would shift from one formation to the other before the snap of the ball. This tactic was not new. It was developed by Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg around the turn of the 20th century; Landry was the first coach to use the approach on a regular basis. The idea was to break the keys within the defense used to determine what the offense might do. An unusual feature of this offense was Landry having his offensive linemen get in their squatted prestance, stand up while the running backs shifted, and then go back down into their complete "hand down" stance. The purpose of the "up and down" (Landry Shift) movement was to make it more difficult for the defense to see where the backs were shifting (over the tall offensive linemen), thus to cut down on recognition time. While other NFL teams later employed shifting, few employed this "up and down" technique as much as Landry.

Landry also was ahead of his time in his philosophy of building a team. When the Packers were a dynasty in the 1960s with 245 lb (111 kg) guards and 250 lb (110 kg) tackles, he was busy stockpiling size for the next generation of linemen. Tackles Rayfield Wright stood 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) and Ralph Neely weighed 265 lb (120 kg). Center Dave Manders weighed 250 lb (110 kg). All went on to block in Pro Bowls and Super Bowls in the 1970s.

The same with defense: The better linemen of the 1960s were the shorter, stockier, leverage players like Willie Davis, Alex Karras and Andy Robustelli. But Landry drafted the taller, leaner linemen like 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) George Andrie and 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) Jethro Pugh in the 1960s and later 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) Ed Jones in the 1970s. Long arms allow for increased leverage in the pass rush.

In the days before strength and speed programs, Landry brought in Alvin Roy and Boots Garland in the early 1970s to help make the Cowboys stronger and faster. Roy was a weightlifter and Garland a college track coach. Now, every NFL team has specialty coaches.

Landry also was one of the first NFL coaches to search outside the traditional college football pipeline for talent. For example, he recruited several soccer players from Latin America, such as Efren Herrera and Rafael Septién, to compete for the job of placekicker for the Cowboys. Landry looked to the world of track and field for speedy skill-position players. For example, Bob Hayes, once considered the fastest man in the world, was drafted by and played wide receiver for the Cowboys under Landry. [9]

Landry also was the first to employ a coach for quality control. Ermal Allen would analyze game films and chart the tendencies of the opposition for the Cowboys in the 1970s. That gave Landry an edge in preparation, because he knew what to expect from his opponent based on down and distance. Now, every NFL team has a quality control coach, and most have two.[ citation needed ]

Landry produced a very large coaching tree. In 1986, five NFL head coaches were former Landry assistants: Mike Ditka, Dan Reeves, John Mackovic, Gene Stallings, and Raymond Berry.

Coaching in the Super Bowl

A sculpture of Landry Tom Landry sculpture.jpg
A sculpture of Landry

While Tom Landry's Cowboys are known for their two Super Bowls against Chuck Noll and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Landry also led Dallas to three other Super Bowls, and they were a Bart Starr quarterback sneak away from representing the NFL in the second Super Bowl. Tom Landry was 2-3 in Super Bowls, winning both in New Orleans and losing all three at Miami's Orange Bowl Stadium.

Landry coached the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl win, defeating the Miami Dolphins 24-3, holding the Dolphins to a mere field goal. The Cowboys won their first Super Bowl a year after losing to the Baltimore Colts. The Cowboys lost the first battle with the Steelers, in a game that is heralded as a classic. The rematch would be just as good, with the Cowboys being a Jackie Smith catch away from tying the Steelers and keeping pace early in the third quarter; instead, Pittsburgh scored twice in succession and put the game away. Before the Super Bowl XIII rematch, Cowboys linebacker Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson famously stated, "Terry Bradshaw couldn't spell c-a-t if you spotted him the C and the T." Landry recalled in his autobiography how he cringed when he heard that, because he did not feel that Bradshaw needed additional motivation in a big game like the Super Bowl. [6]

Dismissal and legacy

In the 1980s, the Cowboys won two Division Championships, and made five playoff appearances which included reaching the NFC Championship Game three consecutive years (1980–1982), but failed to reach the Super Bowl.

In 1984, Dallas businessman Bum Bright bought the team from Murchison. As the Cowboys suffered through progressively poorer seasons (from 10–6 in 1985 to 7–9 in 1986, 7–8 in 1987, and 3–13 in 1988), Bright became disenchanted with the team. Landry's game strategies and single-mindedness during these few seasons left him open to public criticism. [10]

Landry had signed a three-year contract in the summer of 1987. However, Schramm brought in Paul Hackett as the new offensive coach in 1986, and in 1987, he hired offensive line coach Jim Erkenbeck and special-teams coach Mike Solari. Some suggested that Schramm's moves divided the coaching staff, a plan to first undermine and then dismiss Landry. Bright, who usually stayed behind the scenes, publicly criticized Landry after an embarrassing home loss to the Atlanta Falcons in 1987, saying that he was "horrified" at the play-calling and complaining, "It doesn't seem like we've got anybody in charge who knows what he's doing, other than Tex". Bright was also upset at how top draft pick, defensive tackle Danny Noonan and running back Herschel Walker were not being used enough. Two weeks later, one day after the Cowboys' 27-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, a team that had come into the game tied with the Chiefs, Giants, and Rams for the worst record in the NFL, Schramm said on his radio show, "There's an old saying, 'If the teacher doesn't teach, the student doesn't learn'." Nonetheless, Bright maintained his hands-off approach on the team while Schramm retained his confidence in Landry. [11] [12]

Landry's Cowboys finished the 1988 season 3-13, which earned the no. 1 pick in the draft with the worst record in the NFL, taking his personal record to 270-178-6. It was the fourth time in five years that they missed the playoffs, as well as their third consecutive losing season. Nonetheless, in February 1989, before the start of the 1989 season, Landry remained determined to coach into the 1990s "unless I get fired", as he dismissed or reassigned his assistants. Landry had one year left on his contract which paid $1 million a season. [10] [13]

Two weeks later on February 26, 1989, Landry was dismissed as head coach, shortly after Bright sold the team to Jerry Jones. Bright had suffered major losses in his banking, real estate, and oil businesses in the last three years; during the savings and loan crisis, Bright's Savings and Loan was taken over by the FSLIC, forcing Bright to sell the team. During a more solid economic climate, Bright possibly could have held on and Landry may have remained as coach. However, in 1990, Bright said he wanted to fire Landry himself as early as 1987, but Schramm told him that there was not a replacement ready to take over yet. Jones hired Jimmy Johnson, his former teammate at the University of Arkansas, who had been serving as coach of University of Miami football team. Schramm was in tears at the press conference which announced the coaching change, and he was forced out as general manager shortly afterwards; Schramm and Landry had been together for 29 years since the Cowboys' inception in 1960. When Landry met with his players two days later to tell them how much he would miss them, he began to cry, and the players responded with a standing ovation. [10] [13] [14]

Landry received an outpouring of public support after his firing as the city of Dallas and fans everywhere forgot about the team's decline during the 1980s and instead remembered the memories of the legend in the fedora who built the Cowboys from nothing to champions. Jones stated he did not give consideration to retaining Landry for even a season, as he said he would not have purchased the team unless he could hire Johnson as coach. Jones also did not discuss the matter beforehand with Landry before announcing the decision. Landry's unceremonious dismissal by Jones was denounced by football fans and media as totally lacking in class and respect, as pride and tradition were part of the Cowboys where great performance and loyal service were expected to be rewarded. Since the dismissal, Jones has indicated he regrets the process of Landry's firing and his role in it. In the years since, while most fans retain their support for the team, there persists significant levels of resentment towards Jones over the mistreatment of Landry. [10] [13]

Landry's success during nearly three decades of coaching was the impetus for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, less than two years after his last game. Landry was inducted into the "Ring of Honor" at Texas Stadium in 1993. Landry had declined several earlier offers by Jones to enter the Ring of Honor before accepting in 1993.

Landry's last work in professional football was as a "limited partner" of the San Antonio Riders of the World League in 1992.

Head-coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
DAL 1960 0111.0427th in NFL West
DAL 1961 491.3216th in NFL East
DAL 1962 581.3935th in NFL East
DAL 1963 4100.2865th in NFL East
DAL 1964 581.3935th in NFL East
DAL 1965 770.5002nd in NFL East
DAL 1966 1031.7501st in NFL East01.000Lost to the Green Bay Packers in NFL Championship Game
DAL 1967 950.6431st in NFL Capitol11.500Lost to the Green Bay Packers in NFL Championship Game
DAL 1968 1220.8571st in NFL Capitol01.000Lost to the Cleveland Browns in Divisional Round
DAL 1969 1121.8211st in NFL Capitol01.000Lost to the Cleveland Browns in Divisional Round
DAL 1970 1040.7141st in NFC East21.667Lost to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V
DAL 1971 1130.7861st in NFC East301.000 Super Bowl VI Champions
DAL 1972 1040.7142nd in NFC East11.500Lost to the Washington Redskins in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1973 1040.7141st in NFC East11.500Lost to the Minnesota Vikings in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1974 860.5713rd in NFC East
DAL 1975 1040.7142nd in NFC East21.667Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl X
DAL 1976 1130.7861st in NFC East01.000Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round
DAL 1977 1220.8571st in NFC East301.000 Super Bowl XII Champions
DAL 1978 1240.7501st in NFC East21.667Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII
DAL 1979 1150.6881st in NFC East01.000Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round
DAL 1980 1240.7502nd in NFC East21.667Lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1981 1240.7501st in NFC East11.500Lost to the San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1982 630.6672nd in NFC21.667Lost to the Washington Redskins in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1983 1240.7502nd in NFC East01.000Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Wild Card Round
DAL 1984 970.5634th in NFC East
DAL 1985 1060.6671st in NFC East01.000Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round
DAL 1986 790.4383rd in NFC East
DAL 1987 780.4672nd in NFC East
DAL 1988 3130.1885th in NFC East
Total2501626.6052016.556

Death

Texas State Cemetery Tom Landry centograph, Austin, TX IMG 2141.JPG
Texas State Cemetery

Landry died on February 12, 2000, after battling leukemia. Landry's funeral service was held at Highland Park United Methodist Church, where he was an active and committed member for 43 years. He was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas. A cenotaph dedicated to Landry, complete with a depiction of his fedora, was placed in the official Texas State Cemetery in Austin at the family's request. [15]

The Cowboys wore a patch on their uniforms during the 2000 season depicting Landry's trademark fedora. A bronze statue of Landry stood outside of Texas Stadium, and now stands in front of AT&T Stadium since the Cowboys relocated in 2009. The section of Interstate 30 between Dallas and Fort Worth was named the Tom Landry Highway by the Texas Legislature in 2001. The football stadium in Landry's hometown of Mission, Texas, was named Tom Landry Stadium to honor one of the city's most famous former residents. [16] Similarly, Trinity Christian Academy's stadium in Addison, Texas, is named Tom Landry Stadium in honor of Landry's extensive involvement and support of the school. [17] [18] An elementary school in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School district, very near the Cowboys training facility in Valley Ranch, is also named in honor of Landry. [19] The Tom Landry Welcome Center at Dallas Baptist University, where he was a frequent chapel speaker and award recipient, was posthumously dedicated to him in 2002. [20]

In 2013, a major new biography of Landry was published, entitled The Last Cowboy. [21]

Personal life

Landry married Alicia Wiggs on January 28, 1949. They had a son and two daughters. [24] He was a Christian. [25]

See also

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References

  1. George Halas served as head coach of the Chicago Bears for a total of 36 years in four different stints of 9 years each.
  2. 1 2 St. John, Bob (September 20, 2000). "At Mission High, A Star is Unleashed". The Dallas Morning News .
  3. 1 2 3 4 Tom Landry:An AutoBiography ISBN   0-310-52910-7
  4. 1 2 Cavanaugh, 2008 pg. 27
  5. Cavanaugh, 2008 pg. 26
  6. 1 2 Tom Landry: an Autobiography ISBN 0-310--52910-7
  7. "Building America's Team". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 29, 2007.
  8. "Describing 'The Innovator'". The Sporting News . Archived from the original on December 1, 2005. Retrieved January 29, 2007.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. "Bob Hayes bio". Dallas Cowboys Fan Club.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. 1 2 3 4 "1989 Review: Jerry Jones Fires Tom Landry - Know Your Dallas Cowboys - Know Your Dallas Cowboys" . Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  11. The Spokesman-Review https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=EEYjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=APADAAAAIBAJ&pg=1958,6400221&dq=tom%20landry%20tex%20schramm%20falcons&hl=en . Retrieved July 9, 2016 via Google News Archive Search.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. "Assault On Mount Landry". CNN. December 21, 1987.
  13. 1 2 3 Landry at Dallas News
  14. "Ex-Cowboys Owner Bright Almost Fired Landry in '87." Los Angeles Times. February 26, 1990. Accessed July 14, 2011.
  15. Texas State Cemetery page Archived November 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  16. Tom Landry Stadium at TexasBob.com
  17. Addison's Tom Landry Stadium at TexasBob.com
  18. "Texas High School Helmet Project". Archived from the original on July 29, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. "Tom Landry Elementary School". Archived from the original on October 9, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2016.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. (PDF) https://www3.dbu.edu/dbu_report/Landry%20Center%20Dedication.pdf.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry in Publishers Weekly
  22. "To Tell the Truth Primetime Episode Guide 1956-67". "To Tell the Truth" on the Web. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  23. "Local Football Star Demarcus Ware to be 'Mama's Boy' in Campbell's Soup Ad", WSFA.
  24. Tom Landry Archived February 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at DallasCowboysFanClub.com
  25. Kinsolving, Carey (May 9, 1992). "Faith on the Field". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 20, 2017.

Bibliography

Further reading