On this day in 2000, Tom Landry lost his battle with leukemia. He was 75, born Sept. 11, 1924. Tom Landry was the classiest Dallas Cowboys coach ever. He also was the most successful.
He won two Super Bowls (1972,1978) five NFC titles and 13 Divisional titles. His record of 270-178-6 gives him the third most wins of all time. His 20 career playoff victories are the most of any coach in NFL history. Maybe more impressive is that he coached the Cowboys to 20 consecutive winning seasons (1966-1985), which is still an NFL record.
His trademark fedora hat is the namesake of this blog. Every day I come here to write, I do it in Tom Landry’s honor.
Tom Landry is the Dallas Cowboys.
I will never forget when he was let go by new owner Jerry Jones in 1988. I was terribly sullen over the news. It was a rude awakening for Cowboys fans. The way it happened still leaves a sour taste. It seemed unfathomable that he could be let go after so many years of success. Landry seldom visited the stadium after he was let go. He only made two visits since 1988, once for his Ring of Honor ceremony in 1993 and once for his farewell ceremony about two weeks after his firing. Although the Cowboys went on to have one of the franchise’s most successful decades without Landry on the sidelines, his spirit certainly never left the field. Even with a new stadium on the way, Landry will be there. He lives on.
He was an incredible coach, a quiet leader, who led by principle and faith. He was a brilliant football coach, who created the 4-3 defense that is so popular today. His stoic demeanor on the sidelines was evidence of the love he had for the game. Under Landry’s tutelage, the Dallas Cowboys became “America’s Team.”
I’d like to thank Deb and the other admins at Cowboyspride.net for providing the reminder of this day. We should celebrate Tom Landry’s life, not mourn.