It is Garrison though who also probably details so simply the genius of Tom Landry. In the above mentioned book Garrison also tells a story about how a player was late to practice or a team meeting one day. This player had what many of us would consider, a great excuse. On the way to the team function his car got a flat tire. For most people this would be sufficient. Most people are not Tom Landry. Coach said to his team in response to this flat tire that they need to have plans in place for car troubles, traffic jams, and other unforeseen things so that they are not late to assigned team meetings. In other words, Tom Landry didn’t want his players to show up at the last minute. He wanted them on site, and then to show up from on site and be on time. That way if they had a flat tire they’d arrive to the meeting on time.
It is a testament to the drive Tom Landry had to think that he even scheduled for unseen obstacles. Tom Landry was all about not letting those who counted on him down. That included his family, friends, team, and the Cowboys fans. In Tom Landry we saw the culmination of just about everything we can respect in an American male.
Tom Landry was a war hero. He earned a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat as the bomber he piloted was shot down. He was a man of deep abiding principles. I’ve known atheists who respected Tom Landry’s commitment to the Fellowship for Christian Athletes. I think if Tom Landry had ever run for Government Office it would have been crazy to run against him. Even people who opposed his Politics admired the man. This is beyond rare these days. The only man in Texas who might have been more popular was his Quarterback, Roger Staubach, for many of the same reasons of character.
What I will always remember most about Coach was his single minded drive to make the Dallas Cowboys great. My favorite sportswriter of all time, Blackie Sherrod, once wrote an article that summed up this drive in Landry so well. Blackie, ever the clever wordsmith, painted a vision for the reader of a beach scene with a beautiful woman walking on the beach and a man sitting in a lounge chair studying a book who didn’t even see her. It was Tom Landry, and in the off season he was studying his own playbook.
We could use some drive like that. We miss you Coach.