Tom Landry: Giants Fan?


“A meaty biography of one of the NFL’s legendary coaches… [Ribowsky] provides as complete a picture of ‘God’s Coach’ as we’re likely to get. A must-read for fans of ‘America’s Team’ and, given Landry’s impact on the game, for Cowboy haters too.”
—Kirkus Reviews

A Life of Tom Landry
Mark Ribowsky

“In Ribowsky’s authoritative biography, Landry appears more stoic king than coach, his ever-present fedora serving as a crown…Ribowsky’s thorough examination of a surprisingly complicated man offers original reporting, which serves here as merely a complement to this impressively researched work…An eloquent, honest tribute to a football genius.”
—?Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Ribowsky] recounts Landry’s life honestly, avoiding both distortion and hagiography while portraying a stoic, flawed man of honor…A triumph of extensive research and interviews. It will be welcomed by all football fans.”
—?Library Journal (starred review)

“Fascinating…Readers looking for a recap of one of football’s greatest innovators and coaches will be enthralled.”

In his in-depth new biography of “America’s coach,” THE LAST COWBOY, Mark Ribowsky takes a fresh look at one of football’s most legendary figures, showing us that Tom Landry was a  much more complex man than the steely visage beneath his trademark fedora suggested.

Texas born and raised, Landry had a noteworthy high school and college football career (interrupted by WWII) before being drafted by the New York Giants.  In his debut as a starter, he would set a league record for receiving yards in the game. Yet his talents as a coach soon outshone his physical prowess on the field. In 29 seasons leading the Dallas Cowboys, Landry won two super bowls, five NFC titles, thirteen divisional titles, and had 20 consecutive winning seasons – a record unbroken and unchallenged.

However, as Ribowsky reveals, for all Landry’s restrained emotions, Christian faith, and old-world courtliness, he was a man of great reach and curiosity. When not redefining the game by inventing the Flex defense and popularizing the shotgun, he was a connoisseur of art and fine wine, a world traveler, and a collector of first-edition classic literature. His stone-faced sideline visage was in fact a well deployed coaching tactic. It would divide and mystify his players and opponents, who either loved or feared him.

Landry’s story is also a cautionary tale of modern professional sports. Who today commands the same attention as he did in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s?  Once, fans flocked to see not Bart Starr and Don Meredith but Lombardi and Landry.  Indeed the NFL changed so radically over the course of Landry’s career that corporate politics turned teams like his beloved Cowboys into money machines that had lost touch with the game at the center. Today the new $1.15 billion stadium barely acknowledges that legacy; naming rights went to AT&T with box seats too precious to spare for the Landry family.  In the final years of his life, marginalized by Jerry Jones and the franchise he helped build, Landry and his wife Alicia would root for the Giants.

Based on a tremendous amount of original research and unprecedented interviews with many of Landry’s teammates, players, coaches, and family members, THE LAST COWBOY tells the riveting story of a distinctly American icon.

Mark Ribowsky is the author of seven books, including Howard Cosell and the New York Times Notable Book Don’t Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball. He lives in Florida.

TITLE: THE LAST COWBOY: A Life of Tom Landry
AUTHOR: Mark Ribowsky
PUBLICATION DATE: November 11, 2013
PAGES: 704 / PRICE: $29.95
ISBN: 978-0-87140-333-9