I know I’m a Redskins fan, but I’ve always hated the term America’s Team and not just because it’s been associated with the Dallas Cowboys. I would hate that term if it were associated with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles as well. Actually, I would hate it if it were associated with any team in the NFL. Why, because it assumes that America is so small that we only have one team. The New York Yankees are treat in Major League Baseball, because of the success that they’ve had and the fact that they represent New York City and people there like to refer to New York as the big great city of America as if we only have one. Tom Landry didn’t built America’s Team. He built the Dallas Cowboys and made them the great franchise that they are today.
When you look at Tom Landry, you need to think about head coaches and executives like Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, because he’s in the same class as all of those guys as far as the success he had over a twenty-year period. From 1966-85, the Dallas Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons. Think about that for a moment. Twenty straight seasons of winning more games than you loss. And here’s another record, 19 playoff appearances in those 20 seasons. Two records that will probably never be passed, but the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick could come close. This is also before free agency and where you had to build your team through the draft and trades. And finding player that other teams didn’t want that could fit for you.
How many other head coaches did you know that could run both the offense and defense for their teams, or did that? Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson , were smart enough to do that as well and all had defensive backgrounds, but tended to leave both their offense and defense to their coordinators. Landry ran his own offense even though he was a defensive head coach and a brilliant defensive mind, but put together both the offensive and defensive game plans and systems together for his team each week. He was a mastermind when it came to football as well as personal and who to get the best out of all his players. I don’t believe we’ve seen a head coach as smart as Tom Landry, other than perhaps Bill Walsh since.
The Cowboys of the 1970s were labeled America’s team, because of the success that they had and winning five conference championships, 2 Super Bowls and 9 divisional titles in that decade. As well as the popularity of their uniforms, merchandise and cheerleaders. But whether you believe the Cowboys were ever America’s Team or not and I definitely don’t and have already made that case, Tom Landry as well as Tex Schramm the President of the Dallas Cowboys with Tom Landry, deserve all the credit for that. For putting those teams together and having the success that they had. And that is the legacy of Tom Landry and what he gave the Cowboys and the NFL.