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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Second Round: Tom Landry vs. Calvin Hill

Round two of our Midsummer Madness tournament is underway! Today’s match-up features top seed Tom Landry facing off against nine seed Calvin Hill. Who will advance to the Sweet Sixteen?

Today, we move to the Roger Goodell regional, and another contest featuring a heavy favorite: top-seeded Tom Landry, he of the indomitable fedora, and ninth-seeded Calvin Hill, perhaps Landry's first truly great running back. In round one, Hill upset the best cover corner the NFL has seen; does he have what it takes to put the whammy on one of the greatest head coaches in football's long and glorious history? Read the bios and comments and hit the poll, faithful readers!

Wanna keep tabs on the state of the bracket or look ahead to future contests? All the Midsummer Madness info you could ever want can be found right here.


Player: Tom Landry

Position: head coach

Seed: 1

How he got here: defeated John Fitzgerald, 802-15


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Thomas Wade Landry

Bio: In 1960, Landry was hired to be the expansion Cowboys first head coach. The expansion team started inauspiciously, sporting an 0–11–1 record during their first season and five or fewer wins in each year from 1961-64. Despite the team's early struggles, owner Clint Murchison Jr. gave Landry a 10-year extension in 1964 - a move that proved to be inspired. The Cowboys improved to a 7–7 record in 1965 and, in 1966, they surprised the NFL by posting 10 wins and making it all the way to the NFL Championship game, where they fell to the Packers. The 1966 season began a streak of 20 consecutive winning seasons, an NFL record.

Landry proceeded to coach the Cowboys for 29 consecutive years, an NFL record. In that time frame, Landry compiled a 270-178-6 record, the third-most all-time, and led the Cowboys to thirteen division titles, five NFC titles and two Super Bowl wins. From 1966-'82, a span of 17 years, Dallas played in 12 NFL or NFC Championship games; in the 13-year span from 1970 to 1982, Landry's teams played in 10 NFC Championship games. As these number suggest, his 20 career playoff victories are the second most of any coach in NFL history. Landry was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 1966 and the NFC Coach of the Year in 1975.

As impressive as his record is the long list of his innovations. Landry invented the 4-3 defense, along with the use of "keys" for players to react to the flow of a play. To stop the Packers' famed power sweep, he later refined the 4-3 defense by "flexing" two of the four linemen off the line of scrimmage to improve pursuit angles. In Landry's "Flex" defense, each defender was responsible for a given gap area, and was told to stay in that area before he knew where the play was going. On offense, he revived old single-wing concepts like motion, the shotgun, and multiple pre-snap shifts, including the famed "up-and-down" offensive line shift designed  to make it more difficult for defenders to see where the backs were shifting, thus cutting down on recognition time.

He also was the first coach to develop a strength and conditioning program and to introduce the notion of "quality control"; watching extensive film to chart opponent's tendencies so that the Cowboys could be better prepared. Working closely with Tex Schramm and Gil Brandt, Landry helped to revolutionize scouting, both in terms of how players were evaluated and graded and where they looked for talent. The Cowboys were one of the first teams to draft players from small schools and HBCUs and to target athletes from other sports. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1990 and inducted into the Ring of Honor in 1993.

Member comments:

Member Comment

Two more things on Landry

1. He was not only head coach, but also offensive and defensive coordinator throughout his career; a responsibility load unthinkable today.

2. He branched a long and decorated coaching tree with former players / coaches such as Mike Ditka, Dan Reeves, Dick Nolan, Ron Meyer and Gene Stallings.

As decorated as Landry is, he doesn’t receive the accolades he actually deserves. In terms of longevity, success and innovation only Al Davis is anywhere close to Landry’s accomplishments.


Landry belongs on the NFL's Mount Rushmore.

He’s at least in the argument for greatest coach of all time, all things considered, and should certainly be regarded as being in the top tier of coaches, along with a few others.

DannyPhantom If NFL football was like a computer, then Staubach would be Google…but Landry would be the Internet.


Player: Calvin Hill

Position: running back

Seed: 9

How he got here: defeated Deion Sanders, 449-428


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Calvin G. Hill

Bio: Hill was selected in the first round of the 1969 Draft, becoming the first Ivy Leaguer drafted in the first round. After initially trying him out at linebacker and tight end, the Cowboys moved Hill to running back. Once ensconced there, Hill was simply terrific; despite playing the last month of the season with a broken toe, he finished with 942 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns, enough to garner the delicious trifecta: NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. In 1970-'71, Hill failed to build on this success, suffering through two injury-plagued seasons, missing twelve games.

He bounced back in 1972, becoming the first back in franchise history to break the 1,000 yard barrier, rushing for 1,045 yards and 6 scores. The following campaign, he topped that, scampering for 1,142 yards and six TDs. For his career in Dallas, Hill ran for 5,009 yards and 39 touchdowns, adding 1,359 receiving yards and six more scores. In Hill's six seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys won two NFC Championships and a Super Bowl (VI). In addition, he made four Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams.

*Hill's AV as a Cowboy was 64; his career AV (three teams) is 88.

Member comments:

Member Comment
wgr56 Calvin Hill’s reckless abandon is what made me a true fan of the running game, and all the great Cowboys backs who came afterward. Don Perkins might have been first, but I was a little too young, and Calvin is the first one I really, really noticed....He’s a true silver and blue star, and although he wasn’t the greatest, he’ll always be one of my favorites.

Went with Calvin, because of his great days as a player

And his long time commitment as an important member of the advisory staff.


Calvin Hill is one of the Cowboys players who had a rule written just to stop him.

Hurdling was made illegal for a time because of Calvin Hill. The NFL deemed it too dangerous. Of course Calvin was one of the few players who was able to do it and it helped him and Dallas pick up extra yards so it was made illegal. Obviously it was repealed later or TNew would still be playing here.

Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the sweet sixteen?

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