Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes: The Definitive Oral History of America's Team

Overview

This inside story begins with the Cowboys' founder, Clint Murchison, Jr., a hard-nosed dreamer in the grand Texas tradition who trusted his instincts infinitely more than logic or the balance sheet. It follows the Cowboys into their glory years, as they evolve into the most famous and infamous team in NFL history, and on to the present day. Assembled by bestselling author Peter Golenbock, here are the words, the thoughts, and the memories of the heroes fans will never forget: from legendary coach Tom Landry and ...
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Overview

This inside story begins with the Cowboys' founder, Clint Murchison, Jr., a hard-nosed dreamer in the grand Texas tradition who trusted his instincts infinitely more than logic or the balance sheet. It follows the Cowboys into their glory years, as they evolve into the most famous and infamous team in NFL history, and on to the present day. Assembled by bestselling author Peter Golenbock, here are the words, the thoughts, and the memories of the heroes fans will never forget: from legendary coach Tom Landry and greats such as Roger Staubach, Don Meredith, Duane Thomas, Calvin Hill, Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Pete Gent, Bob Hayes, Lance Rentzel, Bob Lilly, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Randy White, and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson ... to such 1990s names as Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Barry Switzer, and Michael Irvin. Here is how Landry shaped the Cowboys with exacting precision to become the dominant team in the NFL. How the assassination of President Kennedy in the team's home city of Dallas seemingly placed an early curse on the fortunes of the Cowboys and how, in the end, the 'Boys helped pull the town out of its civic hell. How quarterback Craig Morton led the Cowboys to the threshold of the mountaintop, only to be summarily cast down to the shadows by the advent of his successor, Roger Staubach. How Duane Thomas rallied the team to not one but two Super Bowl appearances, while waging a costly private war against the game's racial double standards. How the talented combination of coach Landry and quarterback Staubach proved to be one of the most successful in NFL history, the former designing the game plan, the latter covering any sudden trouble late in the game. And how the 1990s became the Cowboys' most raucous decade - roller-coaster years that saw them win three championships, while off the field some of their stars became mired in drug and sex scandals.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Golenbock (Bronx Zoo) has put together an oral history of the Dallas Cowboys from their start in 1959 through 1996 that is definitive and fair. Here are candid portraits of initial owner Clint Murchison Jr., who ran a $1.25 billion fortune amassed by his father into a $500 million debt, and Tom Landry, who coached the team from its first game, in 1960, until he was fired in 1989. Innumerable colorful minor characters fill these pages, such as Peter Gent, an ex-player whose expos, North Dallas Forty, depicted a Landry with feet of clay; "Hollywood" Henderson, who wrecked his career with cocaine; Roger Staubach, part of whose triumphant quarterbacking resulted from ignoring his coach's orders. Racial discrimination looms large here; several African American players fought for integration. But black players couldn't claim bias in Cowboy pay scales, for penurious general manager Tex Schramm kept all salaries among the lowest in the league. Even football fans who chafe at the designation "America's Team" will find this saga absorbing and revealing. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Here is a book that will appeal to all football fans and Dallas Cowboys fans in particular, since it recounts the glory of the team in considerable detail; Cowboys haters may enjoy it, too, because the author and those interviewed do not hesitate to discuss negative things about the team that have been made familiar through the media. The mystique about the Cowboys, embodied in the phrase "America's Team," is reflected by huge sales of team logo items around the country and multiple appearances on national television. Golenbock (Wild, High, and Tight, LJ 1/94) has been able to talk to many of the "movers and shakers" from the Cowboys but aparently was unable to interview Don Meredith and Jimmy Johnson, which leaves some gaps. The coverage is somewhat uneven, as the early years are relived in great detail, but more recent seasons are skimmed over lightly. In sum, though, this is a fascinating, highly readable look at pro football and the team you either love or hate. Recommended for public libraries.William O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, Pa.
Kirkus Reviews
An outstanding four-decade overview of American social history masquerading as an impossibly entertaining sports tell-all. Bestselling sportswriter Golenbock's (Wrigleyville, 1996, etc.) brilliantly conceived and executed chronicle of the Dallas Cowboys speaks volumes about modern America. Granted an expansion franchise for the 1960 season, Texas oil millionaires Clint and John Murchison set about building a top-flight organization. To this end, they hired former PR man Tex Schramm as general manager (the author calls him "a businessman as tough as Jimmy Hoffa"), personnel manager Gil Brandt, and coach Tom Landry, a no-nonsense, fundamentalist Christian. This troika built one of the most successful—and profitable—sports franchises. But if winning was the Cowboys' trademark, then management's failure to adapt to changing times was their undoing. Through interviews and secondary sources, Golenbock charts football's evolution from sporting afterthought to big-money television spectacle; he also reveals how players metamorphosed from anonymous drudges to entertainment superstars and vocal community leaders. Golenbock's study demonstrates how players' activism helped promote social causes such as civil rights. And for this outspokenness, many Cowboys, including a large number of blacks, wound up in the coach's and managers' doghouse. Schramm's and Brandt's penuriousness occasionally derailed the Cowboys gravy train. (Had they rewarded the players who helped win the team's first Super Bowl after the 1971 season, they likely could have kept the team intact.) And Landry's inability to understand the new breed of player created deep, damaging rifts in the Cowboy organization. Thecomments Golenbock elicits from individuals (conspicuously absent is Landry) shows readers another side of sports, and makes the business seem tawdry and dehumanizing. If this book has one fault, it's that it seems mostly to side with the players. But if even half of what they say is true, then it's small wonder. Should not be missed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446519502
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 809
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 2.20 (d)

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