The Dallas Cowboys and their History of Brilliant Football Minds

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Our Dallas Cowboys were the first team to take advantage of the computer, and it was Schramm that created the computerized scouting system that Gil Brandt used to accumulate the talent.  Ring of Honor? That was Schramm. First professional cheerleaders? That was also Schramm. Wearing white at home since 1964? Schramm was the reason. That holiday we have played on every year since 1966 (except 1975 and 1977 when the NFL gave the Cardinals a shot)? You guessed it, Schramm again.

He passed away 10 years ago, but his legacy to the Dallas Cowboys will live on forever. Bottom line is this; we would not have achieved the level of success we sustained over the first 29 years of Dallas Cowboys football without these men. Appearing in five Super Bowls (winning two of them) in one decade does not happen without these men. Accumulating 20 consecutive winning seasons (a feat shared only by baseball’s New York Yankees and hockey’s Montreal Canadiens) does not happen.

“America’s Team?” Dream on. Without the contributions of Tom Landry, Tex Schramm and Gil Brandt, our everlasting moniker never would have stuck (by the way, thank you Bob Ryan). And of course you cannot mention success, dynasty talk, and the Dallas Cowboys in the same sentence without also mentioning Jimmy Johnson.

Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Fox broadcaster Jimmy Johnson prior to the NFC Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Landry was the calculated professor. Brandt was the talent agent. Schramm was the architect. Murchison was the money. And Jimmy was the motivator. He knew how to maximize the potential of every single player on his roster. With Jimmy, winning was the only thing on his mind.

Of course he knew the shoes he had to fill. “I don’t expect to replace Tom Landry.” “All I can ask is just let me do my thing, let me work, let me show my enthusiasm and judge me by what happens later,” Jimmy said upon being hired for the head coaching job.

What happened later was the first team in NFL history to win three Super Bowl titles in four years, because every Cowboys fan knows Jimmy’s roster and foundation won the third title following the 1995 season. Johnson was obsessed with winning at all costs.

“Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great,” said Johnson.

Those teams in the glory years of the 1990’s were indeed great. Of course I am one of those fans that puts Bill Parcells in this conversation as well, as the veteran core of our current team was all Parcells’ doing from 2003-2006.

 Yes, we only had two playoff appearances (2003 and 2006) which turned into two playoff losses during his four years with the team. But if you are going to give Jimmy credit for that third Super Bowl and the foundation he laid, then you have to give a little credit to Parcells for Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware (even though he wanted Spears more at number 11 overall in the 2005 Draft), Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher and of course Marcus Spears who came after Ware in that same 2005 first round.

Jason Garrett? Brilliant football mind? I like the foundation he is laying with this team, and I think he shares some of the characteristics that made men before him great. What about Jerry Jones? That’s a whole other story. I think we can all agree, like Clint Murchison Jr. before him, Jerry is a brilliant “business mind” but is not a brilliant “football mind.”

And as we have learned, it will take brilliant football minds to rightfully return our once proud franchise back to glory. I think this coaching staff has potential; however brilliance and potential are far different things.