Tom Landry

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.

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.

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.

Tom Landry
refer to caption
Landry in January 1997
No. 49
Position:Cornerback, Punter, Quarterback, Running back
Personal information
Born:September 11, 1924
Mission, Texas
Died:February 12, 2000 (aged 75)
Dallas, Texas
Career information
High school:Mission (TX)
NFL Draft:1947 / Round: 20 / Pick: 184
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Punting yards:13,651
Player stats at
Head coaching record
Regular season:250–162–6 (.605)
Postseason:20–16 (.556)
Career:270–178–6 (.601)
Coaching stats at PFR
Tom Landry
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army Air Corp seal U.S. Army Air Corps
Years of service1942–1945
RankUS-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant
UnitEighth Air Force
493d Bombardment Group
860th Bombardment Squadron
Battles/warsWorld War II
Air War Over Europe

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.

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]

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]

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.

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

Career statistics

Led the NFL
Led the AAFC
Special teams
Year Team G Punting Kick returns Punt returns
Punts Yards Avg Long Block KR Yards Avg TD PR Yards Avg TD
1949 NY Yankees 12 51 2,249 44.1 2 2 39 19.5 0 3 52 17.3 0
1950 NY Giants 10 58 2,136 36.8 61 1
1951 NY Giants 12 15 638 42.5 59 0 1 0 0.0 0 1 0 0.0 0
1952 NY Giants 12 82 3,363 41.0 61 1 1 20 20.0 0 10 88 8.8 0
1953 NY Giants 12 44 1,772 40.3 60 0 2 38 19.0 0 1 5 5.0 0
1954 NY Giants 12 64 2,720 42.5 61 0
1955 NY Giants 12 75 3,022 40.3 69 1
Career (1949–1955) 82 389 15,900 40.9 69 5 6 97 16.2 0 15 145 9.7 0
AAFC stats (1949) 12 51 2,249 44.1 2 2 39 19.5 0 3 52 17.3 0
NFL stats (1950–55) 70 338 13,651 40.4 69 3 4 58 14.5 0 12 93 7.8 0

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 George Halas-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.

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

Tom Landry sculpture
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]

Retirement 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

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
DAL 1960 0 11 1 .042 7th in NFL West
DAL 1961 4 9 1 .321 6th in NFL East
DAL 1962 5 8 1 .393 5th in NFL East
DAL 1963 4 10 0 .286 5th in NFL East
DAL 1964 5 8 1 .393 5th in NFL East
DAL 1965 7 7 0 .500 2nd in NFL East
DAL 1966 10 3 1 .750 1st in NFL East 0 1 .000 Lost to the Green Bay Packers in NFL Championship Game
DAL 1967 9 5 0 .643 1st in NFL Capitol 1 1 .500 Lost to the Green Bay Packers in NFL Championship Game
DAL 1968 12 2 0 .857 1st in NFL Capitol 0 1 .000 Lost to the Cleveland Browns in Divisional Round
DAL 1969 11 2 1 .821 1st in NFL Capitol 0 1 .000 Lost to the Cleveland Browns in Divisional Round
DAL 1970 10 4 0 .714 1st in NFC East 2 1 .667 Lost to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V
DAL 1971 11 3 0 .786 1st in NFC East 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl VI Champions
DAL 1972 10 4 0 .714 2nd in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to the Washington Redskins in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1973 10 4 0 .714 1st in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to the Minnesota Vikings in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1974 8 6 0 .571 3rd in NFC East
DAL 1975 10 4 0 .714 2nd in NFC East 2 1 .667 Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl X
DAL 1976 11 3 0 .786 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round
DAL 1977 12 2 0 .857 1st in NFC East 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XII Champions
DAL 1978 12 4 0 .750 1st in NFC East 2 1 .667 Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII
DAL 1979 11 5 0 .688 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round
DAL 1980 12 4 0 .750 2nd in NFC East 2 1 .667 Lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1981 12 4 0 .750 1st in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to the San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1982 6 3 0 .667 2nd in NFC 2 1 .667 Lost to the Washington Redskins in NFC Championship Game
DAL 1983 12 4 0 .750 2nd in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Wild Card Round
DAL 1984 9 7 0 .563 4th in NFC East
DAL 1985 10 6 0 .667 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round
DAL 1986 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC East
DAL 1987 7 8 0 .467 2nd in NFC East
DAL 1988 3 13 0 .188 5th in NFC East
Total 250 162 6 .605 20 16 .556


Tom Landry centograph, Austin, TX IMG 2141
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]

In popular culture

  • On December 24, 1959, while defensive coach of the Giants, Landry pretended to be Catholic missionary Father William A. Lightning on the panel game To Tell The Truth.[22]
  • The coach in Peter Gent's novel North Dallas Forty is based on Tom Landry. G.D. Spradlin played the role in the film of the same name. Gent portrayed Landry as an overbearing, petty tyrant.
  • In the animated sitcom King of the Hill, The Middle School in Arlen is named "Tom Landry Middle School", and Landry is a personal hero of the show's main character Hank Hill. He mentions being "mortified" because he went to work on the date of Landry's death after his cousin Dusty (guest star Dusty Hill of ZZ Top) had previously tricked him into thinking Tom Landry had died, and he thought it was a repeat of that prank. Hank also has a Tom Landry ceramic plate that he sometimes consults in times of need, on one occasion saying, "Where did I go wrong, Tom?" Landry also occasionally appears to Hank in dream sequences to counsel him in times of need, such as during Hank's varnish induced hallucination on the episode "Hillennium", and in "Trans-Fascism"" when he tells Hank the consequences of breaking the law.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons ("You Only Move Twice"), Homer Simpson buys Tom Landry's trademark fedora in an effort to improve his leadership qualities, and is shown in several later episodes wearing the hat. Landry is also featured in the season 7 episode "Marge Be Not Proud" as one of the Christmas carolers introduced by Krusty the Clown early in the episode.
  • In a Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial, the game takes place in a fictional Reginald H. White Memorial Park, on the corner of Landry Road and Halas Drive.[23]

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


  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. ^ a b St. John, Bob (September 20, 2000). "At Mission High, A Star is Unleashed". The Dallas Morning News.
  3. ^ a b c d Tom Landry:An AutoBiography ISBN 0-310-52910-7
  4. ^ a b Cavanaugh, 2008 pg. 27
  5. ^ Cavanaugh, 2008 pg. 26
  6. ^ a b 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 2005-12-01. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  9. ^ "Bob Hayes bio". Dallas Cowboys Fan Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d "1989 Review: Jerry Jones Fires Tom Landry - Know Your Dallas Cowboys - Know Your Dallas Cowboys". Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  11. ^ The Spokesman-Review,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. ^ a b c 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
  17. ^ Addison's Tom Landry Stadium at
  18. ^ "Texas High School Helmet Project". Archived from the original on July 29, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  19. ^ "Tom Landry Elementary School". Archived from the original on October 9, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  20. ^ (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
  25. ^ Kinsolving, Carey (May 9, 1992). "Faith on the Field". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 20, 2017.


  • Cavanaugh, Jack (2008), Giants Among Men. New York:Random House. ISBN 978-1-58836-697-9

Further reading

  • Summerall, Pat and Levin, Michael (2010), Giants:What I learned about life from Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry, Hoboken, New Jersey:John Wiley and Sons, Inc., (ISBN 978-0-470-90908-9)

External links

1943 Texas Longhorns football team

The 1943 Texas Longhorns football team represented the University of Texas at Austin during the 1943 college football season. Before the season began, Tom Landry left the Longhorns and joined the Army Air Corps.

1948 Texas Longhorns football team

The 1948 Texas Longhorns football team represented the University of Texas in the 1948 college football season. After the season, Tom Landry signed with the New York Yanks of the All-America Football Conference.

1967 Pro Bowl

The 1967 Pro Bowl was the seventeenth annual National Football League (NFL) all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1966 season. The game was played on January 22, 1967, in a heavy rainstorm at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California before a sparse crowd of 15,062. This was the second-lowest attendance in the history of the Pro Bowl next to the inaugural game in 1939. The final score was East 20, West 10. For the second year in a row, the East dominated the West on the strength of turnovers. They recovered two fumbles and intercepted four passes.The game proved that the NFL had a successor to the great Jim Brown, who had retired after the 1965 season, with the presence of the Chicago Bears' Gale Sayers. Sayers was named back of the game while Floyd Peters of the Philadelphia Eagles was selected as lineman of the game. The coaches were Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys for the East and George Allen of the Los Angeles Rams for the West.

1969 Pro Bowl

The 1969 Pro Bowl was the NFL's nineteenth annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1968 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 19, 1969, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The final score was West 10, East 7. Merlin Olsen of the Los Angeles Rams was selected as lineman for the game. Roman Gabriel of the Rams received the back of the game award.Attendance at the game was 32,050. The game was noteworthy because of the contributions of Los Angeles Rams players and their coach. George Allen, the coach of the Rams, had been fired after the season. But, after a great outcry from the fans, he was rehired by Rams management after the Pro Bowl. The coach of the East was Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys. The game ball was presented to Allen due to his trials in the previous weeks.

1973 Pro Bowl

The 1973 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 23rd annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1972 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 21, 1973, at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. It was the first Pro Bowl not to be played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.The final score was AFC 33, NFC 28. O. J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills was named the game's Most Valuable Player.Attendance at the game was 47,879. Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers coached the AFC while the NFC was led by the Dallas Cowboys' Tom Landry. The game's referee was Dick Jorgensen.Players on the winning AFC team received $2,000 apiece while the NFC participants each took home $1,500.

1974 Pro Bowl

The 1974 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 24th annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1973 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 20, 1974, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The final score was AFC 15, NFC 13. The attendance for the game was 51,484 though nearly 70,000 tickets were sold.John Madden of the Oakland Raiders coached the AFC while the NFC was led by the Dallas Cowboys' Tom Landry.Kicker Garo Yepremian of the Miami Dolphins was the game's MVP. Yepremian set a Pro Bowl record which still stands as of 2018, kicking five field goals in the game. This was the last American football game to have the goal posts on the goal line, before being moved back to the endline the next year to make field goals harder for teams to make. The referee for the game was Jack Reader, who retired from on-field work after the Pro Bowl to accept a position as the NFL's Assistant Supervisor of Officials.Players on the winning AFC team each received $2,000 while the NFC participants took home $1,500.

1975 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1975 Dallas Cowboys season was the team's sixteenth season in the National Football League (NFL) and their sixteenth under head coach Tom Landry. They finished second in the National Football Conference (NFC) East division with a 10–4 regular season record and advanced through the playoffs to Super Bowl X, where they were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were also the first wild card team to reach the Super Bowl.

1980 Pro Bowl

The 1980 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 30th annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1979 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 27, 1980, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii before 48,060 fans. The final score was NFC 37, AFC 27.Don Coryell of the San Diego Chargers lead the AFC team against an NFC team coached by Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry. The referee was Dick Jorgensen.Chuck Muncie of the New Orleans Saints was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Players on the winning NFC team received $5,000 apiece while the AFC participants each took home $2,500.Starting in his seventh and final Pro Bowl, defensive end Jack Youngblood of the Los Angeles Rams played in the game with a fractured left fibula, just as he had played during the NFC Divisional Playoff and in Super Bowl XIV. Pro Bowl Flashback Friday: Jack Youngblood's broken legThis was the first of thirty consecutive Pro Bowls played in Honolulu. It also marked a return to the game being played on a Sunday.

1983 Pro Bowl

The 1983 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 33rd annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1982 season. The game was played on Sunday, February 6, 1983, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii before a crowd of 47,207. The final score was NFC 20, AFC 19.Walt Michaels of the New York Jets led the AFC team against an NFC team coached by Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry. The referee was Fred Silva.Dan Fouts of the San Diego Chargers and John Jefferson of the Green Bay Packers were named the game's Most Valuable Players. A late touchdown pass from Danny White of the Dallas Cowboys to Jefferson provided the NFC margin of victory.

Players on the winning NFC team received $10,000 apiece while the AFC participants each took home $5,000 which were double the payouts of the previous year.

1985 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1985 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 26th season in the National Football League. The Cowboys improved on their 9-7 record from 1984 and made the playoffs after a one-year absence. This marked the final postseason appearance for the Cowboys under Tom Landry, where they were shutout in the divisional playoff game to the Los Angeles Rams. The team holds the record for consecutive winning seasons with 20.

1988 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1988 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 29th season in the National Football League. They failed to improve on their 7–8 record from 1987, finishing at 3-13 and missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Also this was the final year for Cowboys head coach Tom Landry.

1988 NFL season

The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division. The playoff races came down to the regular season’s final week, with the Seattle Seahawks winning the AFC West by one game, and the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers winning their respective divisions in a five-way tie, with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants losing the NFC Wild Card berth to the Los Angeles Rams on tiebreakers.

This season marked the final coaching season for the legendary Tom Landry.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXIII when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20–16 at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Florida.

Interstate 30

Interstate 30 (I-30) is a 366.76-mile-long (590.24 km) expressway in the southern states of Texas and Arkansas in the United States, part of the Interstate Highway System. I-30 travels from I-20 west of Fort Worth, Texas, northeast via Dallas, and Texarkana, Texas, to I-40 in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The highway parallels U.S. Route 67 (US 67) except for the portion west of downtown Dallas (which was once part of I-20). Between the termini, I-30 has interchanges with I-35W, I-35E and I-45. I-30 is known as the Tom Landry Freeway between I-35W and I-35E, within the core of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

Jim Myers

James A. Myers (November 12, 1921 – July 17, 2014) was an American football coach. He coached for 40 years at the collegiate and professional level. He is probably most remembered for his time as line coach and (since 1971) associate head coach with the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry. He was also an offseason member of the Card-Pitt team in 1944, playing as a guard. Card-Pitt was the contraction of the Cardinals and Steelers teams during World War II and was generally considered one of the worst teams in history, finishing 0–10 and outscored by 220 points.

After serving as line coach under Henry Russell Sanders at the Vanderbilt University and later University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Myers became head coach at Iowa State University in 1957, where he compiled a 4–5–1 record. He was the head football coach at Texas A&M University from 1958 to 1961. His record there stands at 12–24–4. Myers frequently used a single-wing formation he had learned at Tennessee under head coach Robert Neyland.

Myers was hired by Tom Landry to coach the Dallas Cowboys offensive line in 1962. He later became offensive coordinator and associate head coach.

Myers died at the age of 92 on July 17, 2014.

King of the Hill

King of the Hill is an American animated sitcom created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels for the Fox Broadcasting Company that ran from January 12, 1997, to May 6, 2010. It centers on the Hills, a middle-class American family in the fictional city of Arlen, Texas. Patriarch and main character Hank Hill, who works as assistant manager at Strickland Propane, is the everyman and general protagonist of the series. His modest conservative views and biases often clash with that of his wife, Peggy; his son, Bobby; his father, Cotton; his niece, Luanne; his boss, Buck Strickland; and his neighbor, Kahn. Hank is friends with other residents on his block, especially Bill Dauterive, Dale Gribble, and Jeff Boomhauer, all of whom he has known since elementary school. It attempts to maintain a realistic approach, seeking humor in the conventional and mundane aspects of everyday life.

Judge began creating King of the Hill during his time making the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head, which he also created and voiced. After pitching the pilot to Fox, Judge was paired with Greg Daniels, an experienced writer who previously worked on The Simpsons. The series debuted on the Fox network as a mid-season replacement in 1997, quickly becoming a hit. The series' popularity led to worldwide syndication, and reruns aired on Adult Swim from 2009 until 2018. As of July 24, 2018, reruns aired on Comedy Central. The show became one of Fox's longest-running series (third-longest as an animated series, behind The Simpsons and Family Guy). A total of 259 episodes aired over the course of its 13 seasons. The final episode aired on Fox on September 13, 2009. Four episodes from the final season were to have aired on Fox, but later premiered in nightly syndication from May 3 to 6, 2010.

In 2007, it was named by Time magazine as one of the top 100 greatest television shows of all time. King of the Hill won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for seven. The series' celebrity guest stars include Chuck Mangione (playing a fictionalized version of himself), Tom Petty (playing the recurring character Lucky), and numerous country music artists.

List of Dallas Cowboys head coaches

The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football team based in Frisco, Texas. Their stadium is located in Arlington, Texas. They are members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Cowboys franchise was founded in 1960 as an expansion team. The team played their games in the Cotton Bowl from 1960 to 1970, then in Texas Stadium from 1971 to 2008, and AT&T Stadium from 2009 to present.

There have been eight head coaches for the Dallas Cowboys. Three coaches have won Super Bowls with the team: Tom Landry in Super Bowl VI and XII, Jimmy Johnson in Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII, and Barry Switzer in Super Bowl XXX. Landry is the team's all-time leader in games coached and wins, and Switzer leads all coaches in winning percentage with .625. Dave Campo is the only Cowboys coach with a losing record (.313), and is also the only coach in franchise history to have never posted a winning season. The team's first coach, Tom Landry, has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The current coach is Jason Garrett who replaced Wade Phillips on November 8, 2010.

List of Super Bowl head coaches

This is a list of Super Bowl head coaches.

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.

It serves sections of Mission, Palmhurst, and Alton, as well as the Mission CISD portion of the unincorporated area of West Sharyland.For many years, Mission High School was the city's only high school. As of 2011, it competed in the 5-A Texas classification was home to some 2,200 students. At its peak, it was home to over 4,000 students before MCISD split the Mission High School attendance zone into two, with the addition of Veterans Memorial High School.

Mission High students were victims of the September 21, 1989 Alton, Texas bus crash; the students' school bus, also carrying students to Mission Junior High, fell into a caliche pit after a collision with a truck, causing 21 deaths.

San Antonio Riders

The San Antonio Riders were a professional American football team that played in the WLAF in 1991 and 1992. The team played at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio in 1991 and then were forced to move to Bobcat Stadium on the campus of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, Texas, 45 miles northeast of San Antonio, for the 1992 season after the San Antonio Independent School District refused to allow the sale of beer at WLAF games or the display of beer advertising at Alamo Stadium. In return, Riders ownership scrapped plans to fund $235,000 in renovations to the Stadium. In June 1991, SAISD officials announced plans for a rent increase on the Riders for the 1992 season. The relationship would last for only one season.

The team was owned by Larry Benson, the brother of Tom Benson (owner of the New Orleans Saints of the NFL). The general managers were Tom Landry (Pro Football Hall of Fame coach) and Tom Landry, Jr. The head coach for both seasons was Mike Riley.

The team's record in 1991 was 4-6. San Antonio turned things around in 1992 with a mark of 7-3. The Riders were not able to compete in the highly competitive North American West Division during the 1992 season, and like the Frankfurt Galaxy of 1991, they did not make the playoffs despite a 7-3 record.

Former players include professional wrestler John "Bradshaw" Layfield, better known as JBL of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Jason Garrett who not only went on to play for and serve as current head coach for the Dallas Cowboys, and head coach Mike Riley, who went on to coach the San Diego Chargers of the NFL.

After the 1992 season saw the suspension of the WLAF (and ultimately the abandonment of North American teams), Benson applied to the Canadian Football League to have the Riders join that league instead for the 1993 season. The CFL accepted, and admitted the Riders and the Sacramento Surge/Gold Miners to the CFL. The Riders were to change names to the San Antonio Texans (there was already a Rough Riders and a Roughriders, both of whom were known as the "Riders" for short), but the team folded abruptly prior to the 1993 season. The San Antonio Texans name would later be used for the aforementioned Gold Miners when they moved to San Antonio in 1995.

Tom Landry—awards, championships, and honors

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