I cut my teeth on Dallas Cowboys football. They were born in 1960 and I decided I just had to get into the world ASAP and did so in 1961.
It was 1970 by the time my football consciousness began to really take shape. I have paid close attention to every team and every key player from then to now. I even went back and familiarized myself with players I never really got to see play. Those sixties teams were chock full of personalities and players who could flat play. By the latter part of that decade, they were playing in the biggest of games with the highest of stakes, knocking on that proverbial door.
Mike Gaechter is one player who escaped my consciousness for decades. I never heard enough about him for his name to stick. That was my loss.
Mike Gaechter died last Monday. He was 75 years old.
A defensive back, Gaechter appeared in 108 games during an NFL career that spanned eight seasons from 1962 to 1969. His name remains etched in the team’s record books after he ran back an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in a 1962 victory over Philadelphia that also featured a 101-yard kickoff return by Dallas’ Amos Marsh. By the time he walked away from football, he had picked off 21 passes.
I am not alone in overlooking Gaechter. If you Google his name, only the top result on the first page is actually about the former Cowboys. It seems the world at large hasn’t bothered remembering him.
Speaking of remembering, in his waning years, Gaechter, who once owned a billboard company, suffered from Alzheimer’s. As it turns out, even he was subject to forget the great performances he put together in a Cowboys uniform.
Let us whose heroes have been Cowboys join together in remembering one of the unsung heroes of yesteryear. May God give his widow and family peace and bless his memory.
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