Please LIKE, SHARE, COMMENT, and RETWEET …
On Tuesday, October 8th, I got the chance to speak with Tom Landry Jr. over the phone, son of the late legendary Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry.
Landry Jr. was in Mission, Texas, hometown where the Landry’s grew up to honor his father by receiving his historic plaque during a special ceremony on Wednesday, October 9th in part of the “Hometown Hall of Famers” recognized by Allstate and the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Mission High School.
Tom Landry is known as one of the greatest, most innovative coaches in the history of the game. His vision and expertise revolutionized the game from his invention of the 4–3 defense, and the “flex defense” system that would later become known as the “Doomsday Defense” during his 29 year tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. His 29 years as the coach of one team are an NFL record, along with his 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966-1985. He won 2 Super Bowl titles (VI, XII), 5 NFC titles, 13 division titles and an overall record of 270-178-6, the 3rd most wins of all time for an NFL coach. His 20 career playoff victories are the most of any coach in NFL history.
We began our conversation on where it all started for his father’s coaching career with the New York Giants with the legendary Vince Lombardi. I asked Landry Jr. about his Father’s days with Lombardi on what he got out of his experience.
“The Cycle was much more different during that time in terms of coaching expertise when you look at the complexity of things, said Landry Jr. You didn’t have computer printouts and all of the resources like they do today. My father ran the defense and Lombardi ran the offense. The 4-3 defense that my father created was in response to the Browns in developing the “flex” variation.”
We then got into the realm of organizations that continue to change schemes, coaches, something the Dallas Cowboys have been in the midst of doing since their last Super Bowl title. The Cowboys clearly have had talent on paper to be better than what the results have turned out to be. I asked Landry Jr. about the difference during his father’s days of keeping the system intact for such a long period of time with tremendous success, the difference between a talented quarterback like current Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach who always came through in the clutch during his father’s tenure on winning 2 Super Bowls, and why the Cowboys and Romo haven’t been able to accomplish the same feat.
“My father had lots of stability and things were well organized during his time with the team, said Landry Jr. There was no free agency and we were able to scout well and grab good players during the 60’s. Tex Schramm ran the administrative side of things. We never got stuck and always had things aligned on how we were running things. One of the key attributes of my father was his flexibility and being an innovator. He was tremendously knowledgeable, and I remember times during training camp, listening to his ideas and approach was like listening to someone talking in a different language. That’s how smart he was.”
“Certain coaches and quarterbacks aren’t made winners. Not to say that Romo can’t get it done, but during the time of my dad and Roger’s days, it became a self-fulfilling process early on winning big games that helps the rest of the guys rally around you because of gaining the confidence of winning in crucial moments. Those are one of the key things that help a coach and quarterback gain success for an extended period of time like Roger and my dad.”
In my opinion Tom Landry was the greatest teacher that ever walked the face of the earth, an inspiration to many within the game of football. He was also a War Hero during his college days at the University of Texas. I asked Landry Jr. on how much of an inspiration his father was to him and many others during his illustrious career.
“My father wasn’t just a great coach, he was a tremendous person, a great father, Christian, very down to earth and did lots in servicing his community, said Landry Jr. Texas had a good program in place for him during that time-frame for him to succeed and return to his studies at the University.”
“He played fullback, defensive back and punter. He played with Bobby Layne who was the quarterback when at Texas and won the Sugar and Orange Bowl. My dad put in lots of time there in working his way up. He was a hard dedicated worker, and that’s what helped propel him in being so successful.”
In conclusion to our conversation, I asked him about the emotion that would be riding for the ceremony on him receiving his legendary father’s historic plaque at Mission High School in front of representatives of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“It’ll be a tremendous day full of excitement for me, the Landry’s, and for the people of Mission knowing that the Landry’s are returning to honor a great person that my dad was and what he meant to so many people to have a plaque that will permanently stay as a memorial of him in the community.”
May the Good Lord Almighty rest the soul of the greatest Dallas Cowboy in history, coach, teacher, innovator and inspiration that will never be forgotten.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate have hosted 27 plaque ceremonies around the country since the fall of 2011. They will honor another 30 Hall of Famers in their hometowns in the fall 2012, and a total of 90 through 2014.
You can follow Massimo Russo on Twitter @NFLMassimo and SilverandBlueReport.com @SilverBlueRpt