Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hall of Fame Game Countdown: The 31 of Tom Landry

The Hall of Fame Game is in 31 days… and pardon the Dallas Cowboys logo in the featured image, as I assure you it all adds up.

Tom Landry’s Giant 31

During his six-year playing stint with the Giants from 1950-1955, defensive back Tom Landry intercepted 31 passes in a measly 70 games. The above sentence is not a misprint — Tom Landry was a pioneer Giant. In fact, Landry ranks 6th on the franchise’s all-time INT list, well ahead of names like Terry Kinard (27), Corey Webster (20) and Jason Sehorn (19). For the sake of connecting dots, Sehorn also donned the #31 for eight seasons with Big Blue (his last INT was returned a fitting 31 yards). It’s hard to forget his exciting brand of corner which resulted in five touchdowns, 359 tackles and 19 picks:

Speaking of INT’s and TD’s, among Landry’s 31 career picks, three were returned for touchdowns. He also recovered ten fumbles and returned another two for scores. To top off his deluge of on-field responsibilities, Landry uncorked 338 punts at an average of 40.4 yards.

Tom Landry will always be viewed as ‘the enemy’ in Giants circles, and that moniker is warranted. He coached the Cowboys for 454 games — from their inception in 1960 to 1988 — accumulating 270 W’s along the way. Nicknamed “God’s Coach”, Landry has 20 playoff coaching wins on his resume and a pair of Super Bowl Championships.

But lest us not forget… in addition to his illustrious, albeit brief, playing career, Landry also served as the Giants Defensive Coordinator from 1954-1959 before ultimately moving on to Dallas. His brilliance was fully uncovered in Big D with heaps of head coaching success. However, it’s arguable that Tom Landry’s heart felt the strongest bond to the Giants in his latter years. According to remnants of his private life, it seems the manner of his firing by a businessman named Jerry Jones never sat well with Landry.

The following quotations are the words of his wife, Alicia Landry, from the book The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry”:

“The Giants are still like family,” Alicia Landry said in a December 2011 interview, according to the book. “I still have dinner with Ann Mara [Wellington Mara’s widow] when she comes in. …The Giants never stopped being our family.”

“That’s why I watch Giants games. I want ‘em to win so I get involved in watching their games, as did [Tom Landry]. We loved the Maras the way we loved the [family of original Cowboys owner Clint Murchison]. After [the firing by Jones], well … it wasn’t the same.”

It wasn’t the same.

That’s the NFL machine, sometimes firings change relationships. It changes the course of loyalty. Over the path of time, Giants Nation has had an interesting relationship with Tom Landry. From championship wins, to watching him hoist titles as the enemy to seeing him terminated from the Cowboys and remain loyal to the Giants family.

With 31 days left until the Hall of Fame game, please, reflect on Tom Landry’s 31. A number lost in the annals of time but remembered today as we rush towards NFL’s future with a game featuring the past.

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Tags: Hall Of Fame New York Giants Tom Landry

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