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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys

I had an ulterior motive for yesterday’s poll asking who deserves to be the most beloved coach in Dallas sports history. I figured that Tom Landry, longtime coach of your Dallas Cowboys, would win easily. I left him in, and didn’t just make it a contest to find the second-most beloved coach, because I wanted to gauge just how easily. (Answer: extremely)

I knew I’d be announcing this morning that the latest selection in our 40 Greatest Stories series is Peter Gent’s October 1981 article about Landry and his teams of the 1960s and ’70s. Gent, as many of you know, played for the Cowboys for five seasons and went on to a career as a novelist. His first was a semi-autobiographical effort about his pro football career, called North Dallas Forty, and he penned the screenplay for the 1979 film adaptation as well. He died of complications of a pulmonary disease in 2011, at age 69.

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Poll: The Most Beloved Head Coach in Dallas History?

A recent Grantland piece about the abrupt resignation of Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington referred to him as “the most beloved head coach in the history of North Texas sports not named Tom Landry.” Which got me thinking “Really?” And then “Hey, yeah, I guess so, maybe.”

Followed by, since we’re now 25 years on from Landry’s dismissal by Jerry Jones and that first 1-15 season under Jimmy Johnson, “Does St. Landry still mean much to today’s whippersnappers?”

So let’s take a poll. Nominees are the two most successful coaches in each of Dallas’ pro sports teams’ histories, based on overall record and championships.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Dandy Don

The NFL season kicks off tonight, though your Dallas Cowboys won’t get started until they host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon. Most experts aren’t high on the team’s chances to make the playoffs, let alone reach the Super Bowl. ESPN expects them to post their fourth straight 8-8 record. Only one of the outlet’s 16 experts thinks the Cowboys are playoff-bound. Sports Illustrated doesn’t have the Boys in the postseason either. Peter Schrager of Fox Sports is saying 10 wins and a playoff appearance, but he’s also characterized that as a “bold prediction.”

Who will get the credit or the blame for however this shakes out? Most likely, it’ll be Jerry Football or quarterback Tony Romo, who (fairly or not) can’t disprove his reputation for not being able to carry his team to a win in a big game. Romo isn’t the team’s first QB to be saddled with the vitriol of fans despite evidence that other deficiencies may have had more to do with a run of mediocrity.

Before Tony and Troy and Roger, there was Dandy Don.

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Leading Off (8/8/14)

Why Businesses Aren’t Charged With Bribing John Wiley Price.  News 8’s Brett Shipp investigated why the companies named in the indictment of the county commissioner aren’t themselves having to facing possible punishment for their parts in the alleged crimes. And it turns out, well, maybe the federal prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to charge the companies? Or maybe they just focused on the bigger target, a government official? Or somehow Bradley Cooper fouled the whole thing up by falling hard for one of his informants? Hard to say.

Cowboys Lose Meaningless Game. Quarterback Tony Romo didn’t play, so feel free to blame him for the 27-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers in the team’s preseason opener.

Family Sues DirecTV For Sending Sex Offender to Their Home. Wahren Scott Massey didn’t work for DirecTV, nor for the subcontractor sent to respond to a service call at a home in Murphy. But he did tag along with an installer in August 2012 and was caught taking photos of the family’s 12-year-old daughter while she was stretching. Massey has been a registered sex offender since 1998. The family believes DirecTV should be held accountable, while the company denies responsibility since Massey didn’t work for them and should never have been along on the call with the installer.

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Poll: Which Dallas Sports Team Will Win a Championship Next?

The Texas Rangers were expected by many baseball experts to contend for the American League West division crown. Instead, they’ve been beset by injuries and have limped into the All-Star Break having lost eight in a row and 22 of their last 25. It’s the worst such stretch for the club since 1972, the first year that the team played in Arlington (having relocated from Washington, D.C., where they were the Senators.) That team finished with 100 losses. This year’s team owns the worst record in Major League Baseball. It’s time — after cheering on Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre in the All-Star Game tonight — to start thinking about next year.

Meanwhile the Dallas Stars and the Dallas Mavericks were both impressive, if unsuccessful, in their first-round playoff match-ups this spring. And each of those teams has made major additions to their rosters that raise hopes for next season.

So, we asked a version of this question back in May, but given what’s changed since then, it seems like an appropriate moment to ask again.

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Leading Off (5/9/14)

Dallas Cowboys Pass on Johnny Manziel. The former Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner was still available when the team made its first-round pick — No. 16 overall. But despite the marketing bonanza that could’ve come from pairing Manziel with Jerry Jones in a Papa John’s commercial, the Cowboys selected Zack Martin, an offensive lineman out of Notre Dame. Johnny Football is taking his talents to Cleveland.

City to Award Love Field Gates to Virgin. According to WFAA’s sources, an announcement will be made today. City Manager A.C. Gonzalez made the call, which comes as no surprise, given the Justice Department’s stance on which carrier should get the gates the American Airlines is being forced to divest in order to have its merger with U.S. Airways approved.

Storms Flooded Streets, Downed Trees, Cut Power. Late Thursday, thousands of homes were still waiting for electricity to be restored. Though some places saw several inches of rain, officially (at D/FW Airport) the area got only a half-inch, leaving us still 8 inches below normal for precipitation this year.

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Celebrating (?) 25 Years of Jerry Jones With Your Dallas Cowboys

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Jerry Jones purchasing the Dallas Cowboys. For our 35th anniversary issue, Jones wrote about his dealings with prior owner Bum Bright. Even after the deal was announced publicly in 1989, as well as was the decision to fire Tom Landry and replace him with University of Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson, there were weeks of negotiations involving millions of dollars that had to be settled before it was finalized:

When we finally resolved the details, there was a figure in excess of $350,000 we couldn’t agree on. Bum said we should just flip a coin. I called—tails—and Bum flipped it. I lost.

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Poll: Dallas Cowboys Remain America’s Team

A new poll released today by Harris Interactive shows that the soon-to-be Frisco-based Dallas Cowboys of Arlington, despite their recent mediocre seasons, remain America’s favorite football team for the sixth straight year. Here’s the top 10 NFL squads this year, and how they’ve ranked each year since 1998. Despite the team’s popularity, only 3 percent […]

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A Portrait of Jerry Jones, In Quotes

When the National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame inducted Jerry Jones into its ranks at a dinner here the other night, a who’s who of the city’s business and sports elite showed up to toast and roast the Dallas Cowboys owner. National figures turned out as well, including General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Sports […]

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Experts: The 2013 Dallas Cowboys Won’t Win Super Bowl XLVIII, Probably

The National Concussion League season kicked off last night with a game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens, but it won’t really get rolling until this weekend. The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants will face off in Arlington on Sunday night. So what are the preseason expectations for the Boys? Four […]

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Irving Mayor All But Admits a Personal Vendetta Against Billy Bob

In my August D Magazine column (on newsstands now), I wonder aloud what is driving Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne’s attempts to scuttle a deal that could get the city’s entertainment complex  back on track. I ask, as others do, whether it’s just a personal vendetta against the former mayor’s biggest backer, Billy Bob Barnett. […]

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Sports Illustrated on The Dallas Cowboys Drinking and Driving and Dying

Last December, as you’ll likely recall, Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was arrested after a DUI-related accident killed his teammate, Jerry Brown (who was also Brent’s college teammate and roommate). There was some uproar when, out on bond, Brent was allowed to attend a home game and momentarily walk the sidelines with his teammates. […]

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