By Helen Modesett
Editor’s Note: In this installment of “Mind of Sabol,” we take a closer look at Tom Landry, the storied former coach with both the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. Please let us know what you think about Steve’s famous card catalog by leaving a comment below or tweeting @NFLFilms with #MindofSabol.
During his twenty-nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, legendary head coach Tom Landry lead the team to two Super Bowl wins (VI, XII), five NFC titles, thirteen divisional titles and twenty consecutive winning seasons. He left his mark not only in the record books, but also in the way the game is played, including the invention of the now well-known 4-3 defense. Through Steve’s notes, we learn more about Landry as a character, as well as his work ethic and his leadership skills that shaped him into the coach that history knows today.
Prior to becoming a popular NFL coach, Landry spent time playing cornerback for the New York Giants.
When he made the transition from player to coach in 1955, his position on the team was not the only thing to change.
“My feelings? About 10 years ago, I hid them somewhere and haven’t been able to find them”– Landry
While many coaches reverted to yelling at their players in frustration both during the game and practice, Landry had a different way of handling things.
Underlined section: “Some of you are professionals, others are amateurs drawing pay.”
“He is a patient and tolerant man, but in his own way a tough leader.”
“For Landry it is not important that others understand him, only that he understand himself. So long as others respect what he does it suits him just as well if they occasionally are left shaking their heads…Looked like regional director of FBI…World according to Landry.”
The Cowboys where a powerhouse while Landry was coach. They where especially known for their strong finishes. This can be attributed to his slogan.
Underlined section: “Feel ’em out in the first quarter, establish yourself in the second, take command in the third, and put ’em away in the fourth, became Landry’s slogan among the players.”