Who is Tom Landry?
Thomas Wade Landry (September 11, 1924 – February 12, 2000) was an American professional football player and coach. He was the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League (NFL), a position he held for 29 seasons. During his coaching career, he created many new formations and methods, such as the now popular 4–3 defense, and the “flex defense” system made famous by the “Doomsday Defense” squads he built during his tenure with the Cowboys. His 29 consecutive years from 1960 to 1988 as the coach of one team is an NFL record, along with his 20 consecutive winning seasons, which is considered to be his most impressive professional accomplishment.
In addition to his record 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966 to 1985, Landry won two Super Bowl titles (in Super Bowl VI and XII), five NFC titles, and 13 divisional titles. He compiled a 270–178–6 record, the fourth-most wins all-time for an NFL coach, and his 20 career playoff victories are the second most of any coach in NFL history. Landry was also named the NFL Coach of the Year in 1966 and the NFC Coach of the Year in 1975.
From 1966 to 1982, a span of 17 years, Dallas played in 12 NFL or NFC Championship games. Furthermore, the Cowboys appeared in 10 NFC Championship games in the 13-year span from 1970 to 1982. Leading the Cowboys to three Super Bowl appearances in four years between 1975 and 1978, and five in nine years between 1970 and 1978, along with being on television more than any other NFL team, resulted in the Cowboys receiving the label of “America’s Team“, a title Landry did not appreciate because he felt it would bring on extra motivation from the rest of the league to compete with the Cowboys. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
It’s difficult to imagine an American football coach dressing for a game today in the way that Landry did 35 years ago. Just look at the setting of this interview below. The NFL was marketed in a high brow, almost academic way, once upon a time.
Times have changed.