Tom Landry was the rock-jawed, suit-clad, fedora-topped figure patrolling the sidelines of Texas stadium, giving guidance and stability to America’s Team, my beloved Dallas Cowboys. He had the visage of a Mount Rushmore figure, the piercing glare of a drill sergeant, the calculating mind of an actuary, the detailed vision of a NASA scientist, and the steady hand of a sculptor. He was MacArthur on the sideline, Michelangelo in a fedora.
He was one part mad scientist and two parts accountant.
He was never disheveled, never frantic, never equaled.
I have read every biography written about Tom Landry. And now, I am reading the last one I will ever need to read. Mark Ribowsky has captured the life and times of Tom Landry, the struggles and triumphs, the joys and sorrows, the victories and defeats like no other. The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry is the last and best word on the life of a Texas legend and American icon.
If you are a child of the 60’s or 70’s and grew up loving—or even hating—America’s Team, this book is a must read. If you are a Cowboys’ fan who came along too late to be a part of the greatest era in Cowboys’ history, this book is a must read. If being a Cowboys fan means more to you than swilling beer and swearing at the TV, if it means you see yourself as part of something special, something with a rich history, this is a must read.
Did you know that Landry grew up in a Texas border town? Did you know he lead his high school team to an undefeated season, one in which their opponents managed but one touchdown the entire year, including the playoffs? Did you know he was the singular star of that storied team, playing quarterback and safety? Did you know his final high school game was just days before Pearl Harbor? Did you know his older brother, Robert, was killed in action in World War II, while Tom was a freshman at the University of Texas? Did you know Tom himself was a WWII pilot? Do you know how Landry and Lombardi were connected?
Did you know Landry died a Giants’ fan?
Do you know why?
There is so much to learn, so much to explore about this great man who was, as the author tells us, “the first Cowboy and, all too sadly, the last.”
Do yourself a favor and ask Santa for your very own copy of the best book ever written about the greatest Cowboy who ever lived.