Roger Staubach Enshrinement speech
Roger Staubach Enshrinement Speech 1985
Presenter: Tom Landry
Distinguished enshrinees, members of the Hall of Fame and football fans: It is a great honor for me today to be here to be asked by Roger to present him for this occasion. You know, in any profession, there are two ways to make a winner: how he performs his job and more importantly, how he performs as a human being. Roger Staubach is an all-pro in both categories. We are here today to honor Roger for his achievements as a professional football player and rightfully so, but if there is a Hall of Fame for people, they better save a spot for him there, too.
As coaches, one of our greatest blessings is to be able to coach a player who does not only possess outstanding athletic ability but has the inner qualities that make it just a joy to be around him. Roger it that kind of a person. On the football field, Staubach was at his best just when the opponents thought they finally had him cornered. Twenty-three times he engineered fourth-quarter comeback victories. Fourteen of them were in the final two minutes or in overtime. The odds were against him from the outset. The Cowboys drafted Roger as a future choice in the 10th round in 1964 when he still had a year in the Naval Academy and four years of active duty ahead of him. I never thought we would ever see this Heisman Trophy winner in a Cowboys uniform. But when training camp opened in 1969, there was this 27-year-old rookie from Cincinnati and a Navy haircut and a gung-ho attitude. He was ready to play football, and it didn't take long for him to make a believer out of me.
In 1971, Roger was the Cowboys' starting quarterback. We won our first Super Bowl that year, and Staubach was named the Most Valuable Player. We went onto another Super Bowl with Roger at the controls, and we lost two. In the two losses, Staubach went down with guns blazing, and none of us who saw those two games with the Steelers can forget him firing away at the end zone when time just ran out on us. Roger did learn one important lesson along the way: Don't try to run over a 240-pound linebacker at the goal line, especially don't lead with your throwing shoulder, because Staubach had most of the 1972 season to think about that on the sidelines after leading Mr. Marlin McKeever of the Rams.
This experience did make him less of a scrambler, but he never lost the ability to make the big scramble play when it made the difference of winning and losing. Roger led the NFL in passing five times. When he retired upon the 1979 season, he was the top-rated passer in pro football's history. In his last regular-season game at Texas Stadium, against the Redskins, Roger's entire football career came down to as exciting a performance as you will ever see. The Cowboys were behind 17-0. We went ahead 21-17, then we were behind with time running out 34-21, and the Eastern Division was on hand and things looked pretty hopeless. Fortunately for the Cowboys, we had Roger Staubach. He threw a touchdown to Tony Hill that beat the Redskins 35-34 in the last play, and Roger really did what every athlete dream of doing: He went out on top.
So for Marianne and the five Staubach children, for all his coaches and his teammates, for the millions of fans who watched the man become a legend on the football field and perhaps most of all, for the people whose lives he has touched in a hundred different ways, it is my pleasure to present the latest Dallas Cowboy in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Mr. Roger Staubach.
Thank you, coach, and ladies and gentlemen. Boy it is a pleasure to be here today. Right where I am, too. I want to thank Coach Landry. He came back from Thousand Oaks where he is getting the Cowboys ready for the 1986 Super Bowl, well I know there are not all Cowboys fans out there. I want to thank Coach Landry for being the biggest influence in my life personally from 1969 to present, and it is a privilege and honor for me to have him come up here and speak on my behalf.
And I also want to mention to some of the old-timers in the Hall of Fame to my left, that Ray Nitschke and Sam Huff told me out at the Super Bowl this past year that I had a shot at this Hall of Fame, and when they told me that, I started to believe it, and we got to telling sea stories yesterday at our table. Deacon Jones and Sam and Ray Nitschke and, let’s see there was a whole crew there. Frank Gifford was there, and Roosevelt Brown, and we were really reminiscing about the past. I was mainly listening, and I can't wait to come back to Canton and sit at those tables again and start telling a bunch of lies like they were telling because it just gets better and better the longer you are out. And it is an honor to be part of their fraternity, and I am looking forward to the future and my involvement with my peers in the Hall of Fame.
Also, we spent some time together in Hawaii this class, and I feel that it has been a lot of fun sharing moments with them and being part of their big day today also. Of course, one of the sports writers at the press conference today mentioned that fact that Joe was about ready to have a little one and O.J. was going to have a little one and I had a grandchild, and he said, "You are really a competitor, Roger. What are you and Marianne going to do about that?" I said, "I'm not a competitor with you guys any more, I'm in the Hall of Fame now with you guys." This is as far as Marianne and I are going, but I just hope that their babies turn out as great as our five, and I also want to thank, of course, Tex and the Cowboys organization and some of the organization that is here today for their support and they gave me through my professional football career and, of course, the fans of Dallas-Fort Worth and all their support they have given me in the years I have played with the Dallas Cowboys.
You know, I look back and it has been awhile, somebody over the last couple of days, one of the reporters, asked about when I had a dream of the Hall of Fame. Well, I as a young little halfback at St. John Eagles grade school in Cincinnati, Ohio. And I was a halfback there, and I really wasn't thinking about the professional football Hall of Fame as a quarterback. I got to high school, and a coach there by the name of Jim McCarthy decided that I possessed something that was in the quarterback mold, so he decided to switch me to quarterback. And I didn't want to do it. I was an end. I was a running back, and I wanted to really stick to being a receiver, and he said, "You are going to be a quarterback." Well, it was the biggest decision in my life because I fought him on it, but he made me a quarterback, and I have never regretted the day that I was not a quarterback. So in the old days at Purcell High School, though I really didn't get a chance until my senior year, I mostly played defense. And some people recognized my baseball arm. They thought I could throw the ball, and Bob Shell at New Mexico Military Institute helped me develop my arm. And Wayne Harden at the Naval Academy helped me continue throwing the football and, of course, I went on to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and learn how to be a professional quarterback not only as a runner but also a passer.
Coach Landry and I got along very well. He let me call a few plays and he let me run. And I tried to corral that running, and I threw that ball and I learned, of course, to control that baseball arm and the velocity that it had to a professional quarterback. It has been a tremendous past, and I cherish the opportunity to be in the Hall of Fame today, and I know that at times I really felt uncomfortable after we had won a Super Bowl from just the impact of winning and being on top and the uncomfortable feeling that, gee, other people weren't as lucky as me and there was turmoil here and there and we had to go back to camp also individually and bring it back. So, there was a bit of discomfort. You know, when we lost a game and I had some juices that would just fire up inside of me cause I couldn't wait to come back for the next week or if we had a tough season, come back for the next year or tough three quarters, the juices inside would say, "Come on, let's turn this thing around."
Well, I think awards are like that. You know there are awards that you get, you know you feel uncomfortable about, you feel you don't deserve them and you are on this high and you just feel you really aren't that good but, gee, you are up there and it is something special. Well, the Hall of Fame, this award, isn’t like that. I'm not uncomfortable. This is the greatest award in my athletic life, and I am not that uncomfortable with this award. And the reason is I've got so many people to share it with. There are a lot of other people up here. It is not Roger Staubach that is up here with me. The friends I got here with me from Dallas that are here with me that are part of this event. The players I have played with, the coaches back to Purcell High School, the players that I played with at Purcell, and I have got teammates from those days. I've got teammates from the Naval Academy and the captain of our football team in 1963 is here. They are up here to share this award and, of course, the players I played with with the Dallas Cowboys.
I am the first to say that I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be drafted by Dallas. I’m not crazy to say if I was drafted by someone else, I might not be here. I think you sometimes have to take advantage of the opportunities you have, and even when I was on the bench, second team, behind Craig Morton, I still prepared myself physically when I had the opportunity, and hopefully I was going to make the best of it. And when I got the chance, boy did I have a good supporting cast and a great coach. And good things happen. We won a lot of games in the 70s, and boy what a great time period it was. A great time. And a lot of players, of course, believed in me and, of course, I believed in them, and we did some good things together. So, I thank them. I thank all the coaches and players that have been part of my history as far as developing as a professional football player, as a professional quarterback, that are part of this Hall of Fame today. Thanks.
Also, the last thing I want to mention, is off the field it gets a little difficult. You know this is a glamorous life at times, but sometimes it's not so glamorous. But I thank, of course, my family for the support they have given me during my years as a professional football player. Our five young ones at the time -- they are older now and they're giving me gray hairs in the older teenage years. But when I was playing, they couldn't stay out very late, so I got more sleep as a professional player, but boy I love them, and they were there. You know, you have to have your own identity in life, and all of us want it. Our kids want it, too. But they have shared the spotlight with me, and that's great. The other thing I want to mention: You know, it was a pretty neat deal when I got married. I married a nurse. I didn't know I was going to be a professional football player at the time, but it sure came in handy. She was a good one. She was a good nurse, but more than that, she was a loving wife, and it's tough. It's tough to leave a home and go out and play professional football when things aren't right at home. Boy, it's extra tough. Well, I never had that problem. I had someone who loved me, and I loved her very much. She is up here, too. With my teammates and my coaches and I tell you what, I really cherish this moment, and you are all part of it. Everyone that is in this stadium today is part of the feeling that I have right now that it is fantastic. It is a good deal, and I thank you very much. I thank the people who voted for me because if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here, and I tell you it wouldn't be as much fun as it is right now, and I love every daggon’ second of it.