Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Landry attended the University of Texas but interrupted his education to serve in the U.S. Army Air Force during WW II. He returned to Texas and played fullback and defensive back on Longhorns bowl winners in 1948 and 1949.
He became a defensive back in the National Football League for on 1949 for the New York Yankees, then moved in 1950 to the New York Giants. In 1954 he was selected as all-pro. He played through the 1955 season, and acted as a player-assistant coach in 1954-1955, then became a full-time assistant coach with the Giants where he led one of the best defensive teams in the league from 1956 to 1959.
In 1960 he became the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and stayed for 29 years (1960-88). During this run he won 2 Super Bowls (1972,78); and is 3rd on the NFL all-time coaching wins list with 270. Tom Landry invented the "Flex Defense", when coaching in New York. It has been said that after he invented the flex defense, he then invented the offense to score on it, reviving the man-in-motion and the shotgun formation.
He was known as a quiet, religious man unfazed by the hype that surrounded the Cowboys, then being billed as "America's Team".
Landry's departure came shortly after the Cowboys were sold to Jerry Jones before the 1989 season. Jones hired Jimmy Johnson, his former teammate at the University of Arkansas, away from the world of college football. Landry's uncermonious dismissal by Jones was lamented by football fans and media as lacking class and respect. Landry was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
On his passing, Tom Landry was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. The Cowboys wore a patch on their uniforms during the 2000 season depicting Landry's trademark fedora. A bronze statue of Landry stands outside of Texas Stadium.
In King of the Hill, a TV show, the local middle school is named after Tom Landry, and Landry is a personal hero of the show's main character Hank Hill.
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