” The secret to success as a coach in professional football, is the ability to recognize what other teams are doing and make what ever adjustments are necessary to counter that action”
As shocking as it may seem, especially knowing that Landry had just designed the most effective and modern form of defense, that not only revolutionized football, but took him to 3 championships in his 1st four years as a coach, he was ready to improve it. (What he would eventually learn , is it’s very difficult to find 11 players who are as smart as the coach, and have not only the intelligence to comprehend the system, but the high level of discipline required to execute it.)
He realized that you select your personnel based on instincts, intelligence, discipline and work ethic over athleticism. Example,,,, Jerry Rice was slower than alot of the defensive backs that covered him, but he was smarter, in better shape and had better technique. The one thing that separates a good football player from a great football player is being conditioned well enough to play the 4th quarter just as hard as you did the 1st quarter. In most cases the team who has the most fuel in the tank at the end of the game will win! You have to be able to play with intensity for 60 minutes.
In the days before strength and speed programs, Landry brought in Alvin Roy and Boots Garland 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.
By now I am sure you are thinking, “what does all of this have to do with the success of the modern Cowboys? Landry has been gone for a quarter of a century.” Let me answer that for you. “History is the best teacher.”
Lets start with the one thing that never changes. “FUNDAMENTALS”. Which can also be described as “COMMON SENSE”. Tom Landry laid a foundation that has now been implemented in to every team in the NFL. Some teams are successful with it,, others fail.
The biggest investment most people make in their life time is their house. The first thing someone who owns a home wants to do is protect their investment right? I mean there are such things as fire, natural disasters, vandals etc. So what do they do? They take out an insurance policy right? If you pay say, $10,000,0000 for your house, are you going to insure it for $5,000.000? That just sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? You are not going to buy the cheapest policy that will give you the worst protection! “Common Sense”.
The biggest investment a football team usually makes is their QB. What does “COMMON SENSE” tell you? Problem #1 with the modern Cowboys success! Common sense tells you 1st and foremost you cant win in the NFL if your QB is on his back or much worse out for the season! (Indianapolis Colts) It also tells you that once you made your investment and protected it, now it’s time to accessorize it. Furniture, appliances, drapes, etc. You build and protect the house first, then you put the rest of the pieces in place. This is fundamental #1 laying the foundation.
When Tom started his career as a head coach, he started with an expansion team. Lets face it, he had all the left overs. This was in an era before all the big money, and many players worked a regular job in the off season. He had his work cut out for him. It wasn’t like modern football where you can just go out in to free agency and sign great players. Even if you could, they didn’t even have a fan base yet, and funds were limited. A big crowd for a football game was less than 20,000 people.
He had to be able to coach up what he had and make due until he could build the team in to something better. His first few years were rough. He was trying to teach two entirely new systems to his team. He had not only designed his own defense, but his own offense as well. What this means is, no one else could teach it! He had to divide his time between the offense and the defense. He couldn’t just let assistants teach it because they didn’t know it either. Fundamental #2 the ability to coach up sub par players! Another problem with the modern Cowboys.
The story continues on the next page…