Contributor / Contributor
Class of 1991
Straight winning season
Super Bowl apperances
I happen to be a very emotional person. Whatever I get into, I get in over my head…I’m the type of guy who has confidence in what I believe in, which is key to the whole thing."
Tex Schramm, except for a three-year stint as assistant director of sports for CBS television in the late 1950s, played a dynamic role in professional football throughout a 44-year span between 1947 and 1990.
He began his NFL career as publicity director of the Los Angeles Rams and finished as president and chief executive officer of the World League of American Football. In between, he served the Rams for 10 seasons and the Dallas Cowboys for 29 years.
Schramm earned his journalism degree at the University of Texas. After two years as a sports writer with the American-Statesman in Austin, Texas, Schramm moved to Los Angeles to join the Rams. He advanced through the ranks and was general manager of the team when he joined CBS in 1957.
Tex joined the Cowboys at the time of the team's inception in 1960. In a 29-year tenure that ended after the 1988 season, Schramm fashioned the Cowboys into one of the showcase franchises of all professional sports. His Cowboys teams played in five Super Bowls, winning two, had 20 consecutive winning seasons, and 18 playoff appearances in those 20 years.
Schramm's contributions to pro football did not stop with the Cowboys however. For 23 years, he was the chairman of the influential NFL competition committee. Along with Lamar Hunt, he was a leading force in the AFL-NFL merger that was culminated in 1970.
Schramm introduced the concept of three divisions in each of two conferences with wild-card playoff teams. He led the fight for instant replay as an officiating tool and a fan-interest enhancer. He was a leading advocate of such innovations as a referee's microphone, a 30-second clock between plays, extra-wide sideline borders, wind-direction strips on goal post, uprights and multicolor striping for 20- and 50-yard lines.
Tex Shramm Enshrinement Speech 1991
Presenter: Pete Rozelle
I first met Tex Schramm in 1952, I interviewed with him for the Los Angeles Rams public relations job and Tex explained what was wanted for the job etc. and we had a good discussion. Finally, we got to salary. He said that the salary would be $5500 a year. I said well perhaps $6000 would be more appropriate so we compromised on $5500, so that sets the stage for my appreciation for Tex's negotiating skills that came into play again some 14 years later in 1966 on the merger of the AFL and NFL. And largely because of the appreciation of his negotiating with me he became the point man with the NFL in negotiating with Lamar Hunt on the merger which we will discuss a little bit later. But Tex started his 44-year career with the National Football League in 1947 as the public relations man for the Los Angeles Rams. And at that time the Rams had just been in Los Angeles after moving from Cleveland, I think it was their second year they moved in '46, and they had a very colorful football team which Tex I am sure enjoyed publicizing. They had five Hall of Famers, quarterbacks Van Brocklin and Waterfield, the ends Elroy ''Crazy Legs'' Hirsch, and Tom Fears and another Hall of Famer here was Andy Robustelli who we saw earlier this week. So, he honed his skills with the media during that period and also learned a great deal about scouting and the importance of the draft and building a team. He was with the Rams for about 10 years until 1957 and served as an Assistant President-GM later on and finally he moved to CBS Sports in 1957. He was assistant director of sports and had an opportunity to learn for about three years about this virtually new television medium. But his big break came in 1960 with an expansion team in Dallas, Texas and Tex became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the club for Clint Murchison. And his first step was to hire a relatively obscure defensive coach and assistant coach named Tom Landry and as you know he too came here to this building.
But Tex and Tom were a tremendous team for 29 years in Dallas. Tom taking care of the team on the field and Tex taking care of everything else. And they had a tremendous record and they were known as America's team. Tex didn't name them that, but they kind of clung to the tag anyway. They had 20 straight winning seasons, 18 of those were in the play-offs and they participated in five Super Bowl games, winning two of them. The amazing thing is the three they lost, I am sure each one of them bothers Tex to this day, by the total 11 points for the three games they lost in the Super Bowls. He did other things in Dallas. He elevated the level of club operations I think for the whole league. He developed computer scouting that helped him on the draft. He had a very colorful Cowboys Newsletter every week. He developed a tremendous state of the art stadium. in Dallas and he also built a tremendous Cowboy complex of offices. And, of course, not forgetting maybe the most important thing; my wife will take exception to this, but the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders are not too bad either.
But Tex had more time than just the Cowboys and he offered tremendous amounts of time to the National Football League. Every activity we were involved in Tex would participate and attempt to help and for these contributions of course he certainly deserves a great deal of credit and he is getting that today.
He had worked as the chairman of the league's competition committee. He was involved with the playing rule~ on the field and all aspects of the playing of the game and that to me is an example of pushing several crowd pleasers through. The referees' mike so he didn't have to give hand signals so you would hear the ref's mike and instant replay. So, I think that during his 44-year career especially the 29 with the Cowboys he has seen so many things. But the key of course of 1966 when he was a designated Ram on the merger talks, secret talks, with Lamar Hunt with the AFL. And I know I went to Dallas and stayed about a week and looking down here I can see Texas' daughter Kandi who just had gotten into her teenage years and Tex would go off to have these secret talks with Lamar during the day. And I would stay at the home and make these calls to the NFL owners who were out of the country and gave me their ideas and approval on several things and Tex would come home at night and he and I would talk verbally deep into the night and so Kandi tagged me then as a ''sneaky pete'' and she still calls me that. She was trying to understand what was going on.
In any event, I can only say that 160 men have been inducted into this Hall of Fame none with more pride or appreciation or happiness than Texas E. Schramm. I give him to you today.
Thank you, Pete. Pete is one of three men that played the biggest role in me being at this rostrum here today. But I will touch on that later. Right now, you’re probably looking at the happiest man in this world. As you heard my resume I wasn't one of the great athletes, the great players like these men are behind me and to be, it is really humbling and I am humble, and my associates and friends will say that is not a major part of my personality, but I am really humble and in awe to be standing here in front of the building that means so much and in front of these men that are members of this Hall many of them my heroes. And to be here rubbing shoulders with them it is really beyond comprehension. When you have been in the NFL for 40 years, 44 including CBS, you owe an awful lot to an awful lot of people. I am not going to be able to touch on all of them obviously, but it takes a lot of help when that happens, and you get to somewhere like this in the role that I was in.
First, I would like to touch on my family. Unfortunately, my mother or my father, Tex and Elsa were able to see a great deal of my career. My father didn't even see any of the Cowboy days. My mother called my father Tek and so they called me Tekky and that Tekky might have been alright in the household but didn't play very well in the neighborhood. But now I can say I hope they are looking down and know. their Tekky did okay. The other part, the other major obviously that anyone is up here has to have a very, very unusual wife and a very, very unusual family because they have to put up with an awful lot with someone who is in a competitive, emotional, visible business like professional football is. And my wife has had to do the tough part. She had to raise three great daughters and put up with me 49 years now will be 50 next April and it doesn't happen very much anymore. And she had to put up with that life of me never coming home and eating when other people do or only thinking of that damn football or living in an atmosphere with our daughters and friends of stay away from daddy when they lose. But my wife, Marty, I wouldn't be here without her. I understand that they are going to introduce our families later on and you want to look at a bunch of good-looking Texas girls you are going to see them when my family gets up there.
Now, the Dallas Cowboys. What years, what memories, so many contributed and so many that I wish I could start naming them but if I did Jan Stenerud would never get up here to the rostrum. But the great players I think two of them that really epitomize what I would like people to think of as Cowboy football players is Roger Staubach and Bob Lilly. They are here in the Hall, our coach Tom Landry a very, very unique person because he not only was a great football coach he stood for so much more and when he was on that sideline I think it just gave everybody a kind of sense that there was some solidity and some reason in this world. Tom was the only coach we had, that was all we needed -- the only head coach. But he was backed up by a bunch of great assistants as anybody is successful. One of them was with us just about the whole trip, our defensive coordinator, here this weekend Ernie Stautner from Pittsburg. Great person, great name and another Jim Myers, you folks don't know him, but he was with us for 25 years, 26 years and he was our offensive line coach and he worked in that area. One I am very pleased of was one of our younger coaches, in fact we had two younger coaches which I am very proud of. The other is here this weekend and that was Dan Reeves who was a player and a coach with us. And the other was a fellow that always stayed in the background and you really don't hear much about him because he likes to be low key, Mike Ditka.
Now along with that part, you know every organization has to have an organization. There has to be people that furnish the glue and furnish the oil that makes your organization stay together and function. These are the members of the staff that are mostly unpublicized and unknown. Yet they are the ones who get the people in the stadium, get the cameras on the field and furnish and provide the atmosphere for your combatants to compete successfully. They also play a very big role in which I think is very important and which we tried to do with the Cowboys and that is in their dealing with everybody to create an image - to create an image that has some style and a little bit of class because I think that is essential if you are going to have a winning team you want everybody to be proud of it and be able to look up to it and along with just winning and that is what these people did for us. I want to point out just two or three some of the names won't mean anything to you, but they mean a tremendous amount to me because that is why I am up here and that is who I worked with all the years. I especially want to point out Gil Brandt who you've heard his name. He was one of the first people I hired even in the fall of '59 before we had a franchise. He was responsible for most of the players we had, the great players - he was our chief scout. And then others that contributed for most of the years some of them all the years like Joe Bailey, Kay Lang, Doug Todd, Don Wilson, Bob Freedman. I want to mention them because they mean a great deal to me.
Now at this point I want to tell you specifically the three men that are most responsible for me being here. The first one, he is gone his name is Dan Reeves, not the coach. He was the farsighted owner that moved the Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles in 1946 before anybody else was thinking about going to the west coast. And he hired me in 1947 and he was a very innovative forward-thinking bright man and he gave me the first base to build on with the Los Angeles Rams and I will also be indebted to him. The second one probably is just about more important or as important as any of them, and that was Clint Murchinson, Jr. who was the founder of the Cowboys he had the courage to go with an expansion team, and he had the courage to go with me as his general manager. He gave us tremendous support. I think he would be proud today that I am here because I wouldn't be if it weren't for the rare confidence and the unqualified support, he gave to all of us in the Cowboys organization. Now the third man and I want to give you just a little - life in the Rams in 1947 I was 26 years old and there were 10 teams in the league. Wasn't really a national league then in 1947, there were all pushed in the northeast part of the country. There were two New York’s, two Chicago’s, Green Bay, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington and Los Angeles stuck out on the west coast.
And I learned very, very quick that before any club can be successful or any individual can be successful, the league has to be successful. Because the teams and individuals get their recognition and their strength from the strength of the league so early on, I made up my mind that I wanted to try to play a role in the development of our game, the development of our league. If necessary, a club has to sacrifice for the good of the league. And I tell you how they thought back a few years ago which I am not sure applies now, but if you got a picture of today of a team in NY city like the Yankees we will say, agreeing to share all of their television revenue with all the members of the league, that is what the Mara's did in 1961 for the good of the league. That was a breed, a special breed of people. And in working with the league the reason I said that this man had so much to do with me being here because if it had not been for Pete Rozelle I don't think I would have been able to make any of the contributions or played any of the rules that I played. Because of his support and the confidence that he had in my judgement so between Dan Reeves, Clint Murchinson and Pete Rozelle they are the reason that I am standing here today, and Pete thank you very much.
Finally, this is really something important to me because in my role, there is nothing like the fans. The fans are just a great bunch of people and I talked with them every day on the radio. The fans they develop an attachment that is very close to love like you have in the family. And boy they love you when things are going good and when you disappoint them you know they want to lash back and that's because you always want - so often you hurt the one you love the most and so the fans they will always be a tremendous part of my life - I love you all. Now, I do want to touch on one other group and sometimes these people aren't the most popular but the members of the media, the press, television and radio. They have a tough job; they work for someone else and anyone of them can be promoters of our sport. And I have found that there are a great number of them and that I was able to develop a wonderful professional relationship with and they do a great job for our league and for all of us.
To recognize the depth of this honor for me, I have been in the league for 40 years starting in '47, the people who are here in this Hall are the people I saw and meant that I never dreamed that someone on the administrative side like myself would ever be here. They were my heroes; they were people that I idolized and now it is really staggering to think that here I am joining them. There could be no greater honor and I also would like to hope that maybe the fact that I am standing here now will help some of those people out there doing those jobs that you never hear about in the organization will think, gee maybe I will have a chance. But I would like to give them one piece of advice - you have to remember that the game is the thing that has to progress, the game is the thing that has to grow and if you dedicate yourself to making sure the game grows instead of your own career or your own team, you will find out some amazing things will happen for you. And thank you, I am humble and I'm telling you I am the happiest man in this organization.