Tuesday February 12th, 2013 marked the thirteenth anniversary of the passing of Tom Landry. Thirteen years, where did they go? For those of us who became fans of the Cowboys prior to the Jerry Jones era, Tom Landry is the icon we all remember. The silhouette of Tom Landry and his hat is an image that is almost a brand in Dallas. Perhaps only our beloved star is more of a brand than Coach. The creator of that iconic star, Jack Eskridge, passed away on Monday the 11th. I bet the reunion of icon and icon creator was nice.
For thousands of Dallas Cowboys fans, Tom Landry is forever the face of the franchise, no matter how long he has been gone from the picture, and later this month it will be 25 years since he was let go. Tom Landry is the reason why I respect the title of Coach. To me there are few titles in the world that command more respect than that of Coach, and my respect level is entirely because of Tom Landry. I don’t respect any President of our country more than I respect Coach Landry.
The thing I remember most about Coach was his stoic presence on the the sidelines. If the only thing you ever saw of football was the demeanor of Tom Landry, you’d never know if the Cowboys were winning or losing. In recent years I’ve heard fans want Jason Garrett to lose his cool on the sidelines. One of the things I appreciate about him is that he doesn’t. He is nowhere near Landry as far as his stoicism. No one is. Thomas Wade Landry of Mission, Texas became the single most powerful figure in the History of the Dallas Cowboys because nothing could knock him off balance.
Walt Garrison, a Fullback for the Cowboys in the 1960′s and early 1970′s, and a fantastic storyteller, loves to tell stories about Tom Landry. My favorite one about Landry is when Garrison describes how someone once asked him if Landry ever smiled. Garrison deadpanned back, “I don’t know, I’ve only been here nine years.” In his book, “Once a Cowboy” he added this one liner. “I know he’s smiled at least three times in his life because he’s had three kids.”