Tom Landry would not be happy with the Dallas Cowboys today.
I don’t recall watching a live game with Tom Landry on the sidelines. I wish I could remember, but I can’t. I was too young (If you are wondering, I am 30 years old). When I look back at old videos with the old Cowboys, I see something different. Something is missing in today’s Cowboys. Somewhere along the years, we lost more than just a winning tradition.
The Dallas Cowboys have lost their identity; it was an image that branded the team and organized them into one of the most popular teams in the NFL. America’s Team, they said. All thanks to a man who walked the sidelines — with swag — wearing that funny looking hat.
When I imagine Coach Landry, I think of quiet coaching, tactful planning, and football innovation. For 29 years he roamed the sidelines. And it wasn’t all winning years either. The Cowboys didn’t have a winning record until their seventh season in the league. In Coach Landry’s first six seasons, he posted a 25-53 record.
Yes, it’s hard to believe: The Cowboys were once losers.
The ghost of Tom Landry haunts The Dallas Cowboys to this day. If you look closely, in the shadows, you may see him. He’s there, standing, learning, and coaching. But when he scopes the present Cowboy organization, he is deeply humbled.
This isn’t the same team he once built. This isn’t the stadium he saw rise from nothing to something. Today, Landry’s philosophy of sportsmanship and class is now murdered by a man who fixes fires by throwing paper money into it.
If you could see Tom Landry today, he might have tears in his eyes. The man loved The Cowboys. Deeply. He still does, somewhere or wherever he is. I’m sure of it. And because of this, he wouldn’t give up on the team he helped mold.
I can see The Coach roaming the sidelines. Though current players can’t hear or see his haunts, The Coach doesn’t give up — quitting is not an option. He continues to coach; he continues to glue the team. He tries to fix plays. Future schemes are planned. He calls on the coaching staff for new formations. He goes back to his desk quietly only to ruminate on new medicine for the team — his team.
I can see him whispering into Romo’s ear, asking him for better and to learn for the better. I see him burning The Cowboys of the 90’s in a barrel of flames. The man is wired to start over and begin anew. He is not afraid. He is not afraid of starting out as a loser. Because he knows that anything worth something, starts from nothing.