The legacy of the late Tom Landry was honored last week at Mission (Texas) High School during another memorable “Hometown Hall of Famers™” ceremony. the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company joined the students, staff, and community members of Mission, as they gathered to remember the legendary Cowboys coach on Thursday, Oct. 9.
Mission High School Principal Joe Lopez kicked off the ceremony by introducing the drill team, cheerleaders, and band for special performances in honor of the Landry family’s visit. After the a highlight reel, Lopez announced the speakers as they emerged through the giant blow-up Mission Eagle tunnel. With the cheerleaders and drill team surrounding them as the crowd cheered, it was as if they were football players taking to the field.
Allstate representative Hector Dominguez took the stage first, thanking the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Mission High School for partnering with Allstate for this exceptional event.
“Just like these Hall of Famers, we at Allstate know and understand the value of hometown pride, which we can see clearly here today at Mission High School. That is why we are a part of this program,” said Dominguez.
George Veras from Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises then spoke to the students about the importance of achieving their dreams and continuing to work hard even after they leave the familiar halls of Mission High. “Let this plaque serve as an inspiration for you to become a Hall of Famer in your own right,” Veras encouraged the students.
Tom Landry, Jr. was on-hand to present the plaque to his mother, Alicia Landry, who graciously received it on her late husband’s behalf. Landry, Jr. recapped his father’s outstanding NFL career, but also gave the students insight into who his father was outside of just a winning coach.
“My dad left quite a legacy as a coach, but what made him really great was that he wasn’t just a sports hero. If you asked my dad what his priorities were, he would tell you it was faith, family, and football, in that order.”
Landry, Jr. also shared a memorable quote that his father used to always say, which is that, “the quality of a person‘s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence.” Landry, Jr. then invited his mother to unveil the plaque with him, and she shared a few brief remarks about her first memories in Mission with her husband and how happy she was to be able to return here and relive some of those cherished moments.
After the ceremony, all of the student-athletes waited patiently for their chance to get a photo with the Landrys, many lingering to look at the plaque long after the gymnasium began to clear. It was very apparent that the students were as grateful for the plaque as the Landrys themselves.
Landry is widely known as one of the greatest, most innovative coaches in NFL history. After playing one season in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and six years with the New York Giants in the NFL, the Mission native became the defensive coordinator for the Giants, joining forces with then offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi. From 1956 to 1959, Landry led one of the best defensive teams in the NFL.
In 1960, Landry was selected as the first head coach of the expansion Dallas Cowboys. Landry would continue to serve as their head coach for the next 29 seasons. At the time of Landry’s retirement, only George Halas’ 40-year stint with the Chicago Bears exceeded his 29-year tenure with the same team.
In the 1960s, Landry introduced the now-popular "flex defense" and "multiple offense," and in the 1970s he restructured the "shotgun" or "spread" offense. Landry’s regular season career record is 250-162-6 and his record counting playoffs is 270-178-6. Halas and Don Shula are the only other two coaches to top his 270 career wins. Landry also won two Super Bowl titles (VI, XII), five NFC titles, 13 division titles.
Landry was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 1966 and the NFC Coach of the Year in 1975, but arguably his most impressive professional accomplishment is his 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966-1985. Landry was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. He passed away on Feb. 12, 2000 at the age of 75.
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