I will no longer review Boys will be Boys chapter by chapter. I just finished reading the second chapter, which is all about the firing of Tom Landry and the sale of the team to Jerry Jones. I can tell that thsi book is just going to be full of negative connotations against our favorite Dallas Cowboys era (I say that because it is an era in which most of us were old enough to enjoy it).
I certainly don’t want anyone to avoid my site because I am ruining the book. However, since I did read the second chapter, let me talk about it for a few minutes.
It was unknown to me that Bum Bright hated Tom Landry so much that when he sold the team, part of the contract stated that the new owner must fire him. What was even more shocking was that the entire situation, and how it was handled, made Tom Landry cry. And he didn’t cry just once, he cried several times.
Jeff Pearlman, the author, is sure to touch on the most sensitive angles of this story. Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson celebrate at a Mexican restaurant at where Landry loved, especially the tacos. The place was a glitzy star-studded eatery, where you’d often run into Hollywood and sports stars while eating an enchilada.
And it turns out that a DMN journalist who was unable to get the story that the Cowboys were going to be sold, and that Landry would be fired, finally pulled the facts together by spotting the two at this eatery as his night wrapped up empty-handed. Until then. He called the office, and an intern photographer came over to take a now-famous non-artistic photo of the Jones-Johnson dinner. The front page of the next DMN said the Cowboys were near a sale, and Landry was going to be jobless. Not good for the Cowboys.
During this time in Dallas, the crime rate was high and the citizens’ favorite football team sucked–they sucked bad. The people of Dallas were on edge. So, here comes this southern drawl of a guy announcing on national television that he had bought the organization and fired its only head coach, all while bragging about how this was a dream come true for the rich oil speculation digger. Yikes. It truly was a massacre of a press conference. Pearlman touches on it well. It makes you want to find the press conference on YouTube and watch it. It’s not there; I checked.
Jones tells Pearlman that he regrets to this day the decision to meet with Landry face to face to let him know his fate. Landry, who you would expect to remain his stoic self, was bitter (rightly so) and started to cry. Landry would cry again when he addressed the team for the final time. Yet, Pearlman shows just how Landry’s hold on the team was loose, and that it really was the right time to let him go, just not the right way. Several, if not many teammates, we’re fine with the decision. Some were not. But Landry had “fired” so many football players over his career in Dallas, that it just seemed like someone above was issuing a payback. Life does go on, after all.
But the Jones press conference was truly awkward for several reasons, but chiefly because it seemed like the Cowboys were purchased by some idiot. This did very little to calm the fears of those in Dallas who desperately wanted to see their team return to glory. Jones had a ton to prove.
And we all know how he’d end up doing that.