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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Regional Semifinals: Tom Landry vs. Bob Hayes

The Midsummer Madness regional semifinal round is underway! Today’s Sweet Sixteen match-up features top seed Tom Landry facing off against four seed Bob Hayes. Who will survive and advance to the Elite Eight?

A couple of days ago, we had regional semifinal contest involving a superb, Lombardi-winning head coach and his star wide receiver. Today, as we head into the first contest in the Roger Goodell Regional, we have a virtual repeat of that scenario: a match-up between top-seeded Tom Landry, the chisled, fedora-wearing innovator, and his first star receiver, Bob Hayes, the man whose world-class speed radically altered defensive strategy. In the previous contest, the receiver, Michael Irvin, beat his head coach, Jimmy Johnson. Can Hayes make it two for two for the wideouts? Read the bios and comments and hit the poll, good people!

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; defeated Calvin Hill 597-13


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
krl97a Landry has had more net positive impact on the Dallas Cowboys than any other individual.
PettisN Landry built this team and the mystique that it still enjoys. Regardless of talent, Coach Landry built teams that competed at the highest level, and for such an extended period that to this day, no one comes near. 20 consecutive winning seasons is unmatched. 10 NFC or NFL championship games in 13 years is unmatched....This is a storied franchise with the well placed moniker "Americas Team" … and no one had more impact on that than the man in the hat.

Coach Landry


Player: Bob Hayes

Position: wide receiver

Seed: 4

How he got here: defeated D.D. Lewis, 585-55; defeated DeMarcus Ware 482-340


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Robert Lee Hayes

Bio: The Cowboys drafted Hayes in the seventh round of the 1964 Draft with a future draft pick, which allowed Dallas to draft him before his college eligibility was completed. He joined the team the following year, and exploded onto the scene; indeed, his best years as a pro were arguably his first two years in the league: 1965 (1,003 yards, twelve TDs, a remarkable 21.8 yards per reception) and 1966 (64-1,232  with thirteen scores). Both seasons' touchdown mark set a team record.

The NFL had never seen a player with Hayes' speed (he had clocked a wind-aided 9.91 in the 100 meters and an 8.6 final leg in the 4x100 relay en route to two gold medals and the moniker "World's Fastest Human" in the '64 Olympics). Indeed, his speed forced NFL defenses to develop new schemes to attempt to contain him, such as the bump and run and zone coverage. Hayes averaged more than 19 yards per catch six times in his career, including staggering averages of 26.1 (1970) and 24.0 (1971) per reception. He finished his ten-year Cowboys career with 365 receptions for 7,295 yards (an almost unfathomable 20 yards per catch average) and 71 touchdowns. Hayes' career touchdowns and yards per catch average remain franchise records.

Hayes helped Dallas win five Eastern Conference titles, two NFC titles, played in two Super Bowls, and was instrumental in Dallas' victory in Super Bowl VI, making him the only person to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring. His 7,295 receiving yards are the fourth-most in Cowboys history. To this day, Hayes holds ten Cowboys regular-season receiving records, four punt return records and twenty-two overall franchise marks. As a Cowboy, he was named to the Pro Bowl three times, and twice elected First-team All-Pro (and twice was named Second-team All-Pro). Hayes was inducted into the Ring Of Honor in 2001 and the Hall of Fame in 2009.

*Hayes's AV with the Cowboys was 95; his career AV (two teams) was 96.

Member comments:

Member Comment

Very few can claim to fundamentally change the way the game is played.

Bullet Bob is one of those.
angie'sdad For those who didn’t get to watch the Bullet in the ‘64 Olympics, watch him run the anchor in the 4×100; he passes the field like they’re standing still.

From an article in the NYTimes the day of Bob's passing:

Dick Lynch, the Giants’ broadcaster and a former cornerback, recalled yesterday how difficult it was to cover Hayes.
‘’He changed the game on offense just the way Lawrence Taylor would change it on defense,’’ Lynch said. ‘’Fans used to boo me when he got behind me, but how can you cover him running backward when he’s the fastest guy in the world.’’

Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the Elite Eight?

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