Express-News report on the big Book and Author luncheon for the CTRC

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Authors share wit, wisdom at luncheon
by Hector Saldana, San Antonio Express-News

Whether sharing stories about a lost cat in King William, the forgotten Armenian genocide, the outrageous history of the Dallas Cowboys, the science of cooking, Ulysses Grant or reintroducing a domesticated owl to the wild, the common goal was cancer research awareness.

Authors Sandra Cisneros, Chris Bohjalian, Joe Nick Patoski, Jack Bishop, H.W. Brands and Gijsbert “Nick” van Frankenhuyzen were the star attractions at the 21st annual San Antonio Express-News Book & Author Luncheon on Monday.

The long-running literary event benefits the Phase I Clinical Research Program of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

About 1,000 attended Monday’s sold-out luncheon at the Marriott Riverwalk. To date, the event has raised more than $2.8 million.

Trinity University professor Coleen Grissom reprised her role as the sardonic “Ms. Of Ceremonies,” as she has done since the program’s inception.

“If every day was like this for authors, everyone would want to be writing,” said Patoski, praising the “well-oiled event” that offers book fans face-to-face time with guest authors.

Rowena Lopez waited in line for Cisneros’ signature and inscription.

“I’ve read all of her books. It hits home for me,” Lopez said. “And this is such a wonderful way to donate to charity.”

Cisneros, whose animated readings fall into the category of performance art, was happy to oblige. Offstage, the author lovingly called “La Sandra” revealed a vulnerable side.

“You get an affirmation,” she said about meeting readers.

“Writers are basically introverts. Most of us are very shy. This is our performance.”

Brands agreed.

“Writing is purely a solitary undertaking,” Brands said. “You get no feedback. So (meeting readers), it’s very helpful. It gives you the encouragement to write again.”

Kristina Hanley weighed her purchase options, glancing at a table of books.

“The appeal is seeing the author in person,” she said. “It makes it much more personal than ordering it from Amazon.”

“It’s a big thing to see the author in person,” added Anoop Warrier, “especially when you’re gifting.”

As in years past, the audience was overwhelmingly women. Tom Payton, associate director/director of marketing and sales at Trinity University Press, says there’s a simple reason.

“Guys read books,” Payton said. “But from a publisher’s point of view, women are the absolute Energizer Bunny consumers of books.”

This year’s lineup was among the most memorable and engaging. The eight-minute time limit per author often passed too quickly and presented one of the funnier moments of the day as Nick van Frankenhuyzen watched the seconds count down as he wrapped up.

“Thirteen seconds! This is like Cape Canaveral,” he said.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/From-a-grown-up-fairy-tale-to-outrageous-Cowboys-3929729.php#ixzz28uag5gOJ

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The Wall Street Journal reviews The Book

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When the Cowboys Battled for Dallas
Early on, “America’s Team” weren’t even the best squad in their home town.

By CHARLES DAMERON

For years now “America’s Team” has been stuck in an unholy funk. The Dallas Cowboys’ record since its last Super Bowl victory in January 1996 has been barely better than .500: 132 wins and 128 losses. In the past 15 years, the team has won just a single playoff game. Neither the top payroll in the National Football League nor the construction of the billion-dollar pleasure palace known as Cowboys Stadium has helped produce a rebound. Yet it would be difficult to claim that owner Jerry Jones isn’t at the top of his game.

Since he bought the team in 1989, Mr. Jones has built the franchise into a cash machine: The Cowboys’ $227 million in operating income last year was almost twice as much as any other NFL franchise and more than all the combined teams of either the NBA or NHL. He has done it, as Joe Patoski notes in his exhaustive history, “The Dallas Cowboys,” by ruthlessly, shamelessly and brilliantly exploiting the possibilities of merchandise (Dallas distributes its own) and sponsorship. Mr. Jones’s nose for such opportunities reached sublime heights when he persuaded Kraft Foods to sponsor the demolition of old Texas Stadium as part of a “Kraft Cheddar Explosion.”
The Dallas Cowboys

By Joe Nick Patoski
Little, Brown, 805 pages, $29.99

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Sports Illustrated Classic

Don Meredith quarterbacking the Cowboys in 1962, when the team went 5-8-1. Founded in 1960, the team did not enjoy a winning season until 1966.

Think you’re a football superfan? Test your mettle against some of the biggest football superfans we found from college football and the NFL. We dig those Cleveland Browns dance moves here on WSJ Off Duty.

Making one stadium home for both the New York Giants and the New York Jets requires an intricate changeover – from endzone logos, lighting, tee-shirts, banners, artwork – sometimes in just 12 hours. See the tricks used, including how the crew shuffles those 2,000-pound endzone trays. With ‘Off Duty’ Host Wendy Bounds.
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For all Mr. Jones’s notoriety, he is just the latest in a line of hardheaded businessmen who shaped Dallas football. John Eisenberg’s “Ten-Gallon War” tells the rough-and-tumble tale of how the Cowboys got their start and their short, heated rivalry with the AFL’s crosstown Texans (today’s Kansas City Chiefs), which lasted from 1960 to 1963. Neither franchise might have existed without the efforts of a young Texas oil heir whose self-effacing modesty masked a determination to bring pro football to his hometown: Lamar Hunt.

Hunt’s problem was that, in the 1950s, no one in the NFL shared his interest. His push to found a Dallas expansion team was thwarted by Chicago Bears owner George “Papa Bear” Halas, who spoke for an NFL ownership corps that had little interest in pushing pro ball beyond its roots in the Northeast and Midwest. Unable to sway Halas, Hunt struck out on his own, gathering seven other would-be franchise owners to form the American Football League. At the age of 28, Hunt was its guiding intelligence and its chief spokesman, proclaiming that “the American Football League stands as a group, not wanted by anyone except the American public, ready to play in 1960, and interested only in furthering the game of football.”

Papa Bear’s retaliation was swift: The NFL announced that it would bring an expansion team to Dallas in 1960, under the ownership of another oil heir, Clint Murchison Jr. Where Hunt “almost seemed embarrassed by his money,” Mr. Eisenberg writes, Murchison was “a whip-smart risk-taker who, though shy, relished the excessive life of a Texas oil millionaire.” The battle for Dallas (along with the ploy to strangle the AFL in its crib) was on.
Ten-Gallon War

By John Eisenberg
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 308 pages, $27

From the beginning, most of Dallas’s business establishment rallied around the Cowboys and the imprimatur of legitimacy bestowed by the NFL. Both teams played in the Cotton Bowl, but the scrappier Texans offered up a better show. “When it came to football and sports in general,” Mr. Patoski writes in his epic history of the Cowboys, “Lamar out-innovated Clint.” Hunt devised outlandish marketing schemes to draw crowds to Texans games, stuffing free tickets into bags of Fritos and in balloons lofted over the city. But he also orchestrated a foresighted league-wide television contract with ABC, splitting revenues among the teams—an arrangement later mimicked by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.

On the field, Hunt put together a franchise that could keep up with its AFL competitors: Texans running back Abner Haynes wowed crowds and led the fledgling league in rushing yardage and touchdowns while the Cowboys plodded far behind storied NFL squads, going 0-11-1 their first season. In the 1962 season, the Texans broke through and captured the AFL championship with a 20-17 double-overtime win against the Houston Oilers. But Murchison had already made clear that he was prepared to suffer as much red ink as was needed to see the team to success and run the Texans out of town. Hunt announced less than two months after winning the AFL title that his team was leaving Dallas: Eager to turn a profit and frustrated with lagging community support, he had been tempted by a sweetheart deal from Kansas City mayor Harold “Chief” Bartle.

Years of low turnout and bumpy performances had not broken the resolve of the Cowboys’ leading troika, which consisted of Murchison, general manager Tex Schramm and coach Tom Landry. Landry had been anointed one of the nation’s best coaches during his years as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, where he pioneered the 4-3 defense. When Murchison invited the Dallas sports-writing corps out to his private Bahamian island, Spanish Cay, in the spring of 1962 for a weekend of hedonistic fun, his guests looked on in awe as Landry detached himself from the party to sit and work on his playbook under the shade of a palm tree.

Though not a few players and fans in Dallas snickered at Landry’s evangelical piety, they couldn’t help admiring his mastery of the sport. Murchison extended an unprecedented 10-year contract to Landry in 1964, at a time when many Dallas sports writers were calling for his head. The owner’s faith was rewarded in 1966 season when quarterback Don Meredith led the team to the NFL championship game opposite Green Bay. Though the Cowboys lost by a touchdown, Landry took home the league’s “coach of the year” award, and Dallas established itself as a force within the NFL. The Cowboys would win their first Super Bowl in 1972, two years after the Kansas City Chiefs trounced the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

Mr. Eisenberg tackles the early histories of the two teams with enthusiasm, but it’s hard to match the thoroughness of the account presented by Mr. Patoski, a Texas institution in his own right whose previous works include biographies of Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. “The Dallas Cowboys” adroitly traces the ascendancy of the team while shedding light on its unique position today as an athletic, commercial and cultural powerhouse.

Most of the credit for the Cowboys’ renown, Mr. Patoski shows, belongs to the irrepressible Tex Schramm, a PR genius who conceived of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and was painstaking in his management of the Cowboys’ image in the press. Behind the scenes—when he wasn’t negotiating the NFL-AFL merger with Hunt—Schramm was a hard-nosed executive who kept a tight lid on players’ salaries. Decades before Oakland’s Billy Beane imposed the rigors of statistical analysis on player selection in baseball, the Cowboys ventured out to San Jose in 1962 to recruit an IBM statistician who knew nothing about American football—Uttar Pradesh native Salam Qureishi—to discover a reliable quantitative tool to assist head scout Gil Brandt in drafting and keeping the best players. Qureishi’s computer stole undervalued late-round picks—among them, Roger Staubach and “Bullet Bob” Hayes —who would go on to lead the team to its five Super Bowl appearances over the course of the 1970s.

Mr. Patoski takes as much care to recount those halcyon days as he does to narrate the downfall: Murchison’s sale of the ‘Boys to H.R. “Bum” Bright in 1984; off-field problems with the law among headline players such as Harvey Martin and Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson; and a string of bad seasons that led to the collapse of what Mr. Patoski calls the “First Regime.” When Jerry Jones swooped into Dallas to oust the poorly performing Schramm, Landry & Co., the sense of violation for some Texans was on a par with the Fourth Crusade’s sacking of Constantinople.

Foes of the NFL’s most polarizing owner will find much to cheer in Mr. Patoski’s account. The author, who gives Mr. Jones due credit for the team’s three Super Bowl wins in the early 1990s, nevertheless lets you know exactly where he stands: “Murchison was the one who created the mystique and prestige out of nothing. Jones just bought it.”

Be that as it may, the mystique has never been more valuable. Mr. Jones, like his predecessors, knew a good investment when he saw one.
—Mr. Dameron is a student at Yale Law School.

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The FW Star-Telegram Outs The Author

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Here’s a revelation that we found surprising: Joe Nick Patoski — author of The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America — does not bleed blue and silver.

He grew up in Fort Worth and has a lifelong love of Texas football. But when it comes to the Cowboys, whose history he explores in a book that’s more than 800 pages, Patoski is no Crazy Ray.

In fact, his first favorite team as a kid in the early 1960s was the Dallas Texans. “I was an Abner Haynes fan,” Patoski says.

Today, he sees himself as just an “interested bystander” when it comes to Cowboys football.

That said, Patoski has always found the “America’s Team” mystique and the story behind it to be thoroughly fascinating. That’s the real reason he wrote the book, which arrives in stores Tuesday.

He’ll be at Barnes & Noble at the Hulen Shopping Center (4801 Overton Ridge Blvd., Fort Worth) at 7 p.m. Wednesday to talk football and to sign copies.

— David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/10/03/4309139/joe-nick-patoskis-history-of-the.html#storylink=cpy

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Hector Saldana’s profile in the San Antonio-Express News

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by Hector Saldana

Author Joe Nick Patoski was looking for a Texas story bigger than Willie Nelson, the subject of his last book.

He found it in the Dallas Cowboys, a team whose history and mystique not only transcends the game but reflects the elevation and coming-of-age in pop culture status of professional sports. The team’s star logo is second only in recognizability to that of Coca-Cola.

“The light bulb went off,” said Patoski. “The only thing bigger in Texas than Willie Nelson is the Dallas Cowboys.”

Patoski’s latest book is titled “The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America.”

Best known for his musical biographies “Willie Nelson: An Epic Life,” “Selena: Como La Flor” and “Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire,” his love of secret swimming holes and for his many years at Texas Monthly, Patoski says his outsider status uniquely qualifies him to write the Cowboys story.

“I really am a music guy,” said Patoski. “My history has been using music as a way to understand culture. It’s an easy way to understand and identify culture.”

Patoski admits he longed for something different.

His books on Nelson, Selena and Vaughan are definitive and covered areas that he loved — country, blues and Mexican music.

“I really felt I’d completed this triumvirate of what Texas is all about, African American, Mexican American and Anglo American. That’s our ethnic foundation,” Patoski said.

Patoski, who grew up in Fort Worth, says the task of telling the Cowboys history in a state known for football was daunting, but piqued his curiosity.

“We didn’t invent the game, but we own it,” he said. “This is all larger-than-life (stuff). The Cowboys are the story of Dallas. The story of the NFL since 1960 is best told through the Dallas Cowboys, the premier franchise. It’s why we even care.”

hsaldana@express-news.net

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/books/article/Tall-Cowboy-tales-3899864.php#ixzz27yoiqitf

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Bobby Hawthorne’s book review in Texas School Business

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TSB Oct 2012 GameOn
GAME ON!
by  Bobby  Hawthorne
When  we  used  to  Cowboy  up
Do  I  look  like  the  jealous  type?  Well,  I’m  not.   Sure,  I’d  love  to  have  a  sliver  of  Paul  McCart-­ ney’s   talent,   charm   and   boyish   good   looks.   I’d  like  to  have  his  bank  account  too.  But  am   I  jealous  of  Paul  McCartney?  
Not   really.   If   I’m   jealous   of   anyone,   it’s   Maria   Sharapova’s   lingerie   consultant.   At  least  that  was  the  case  until  I  received  an   advance  copy  of  Joe  Nick  Patoski’s  fantastic   book,  “The  Dallas  Cowboys:  The  outrageous   history   of   the   biggest,   loudest,   most   hated,   best   loved   football   team   in   America”   (Little   Brown  &  Co.,  2012).
The   more   I’ve   read,   the   more   envious   I’ve   become.   Envious   and   bitter   and   angry   —  angry  because  it  apparently  wasn’t  enough   for  Joe  Nick  that  I  merely  enjoy  his  book.  No,   I  had  to  love  it.  I  had  to  wish  I’d  written  it.  I   had  to  wish  I  know  what  he  knows,  go  where   he  goes.  And  I  do.
Joe   Nick   has   turned   me   into   a   wet   wad   of  resentment  because  the  book  is  that  good.   Here’s   his   description   of   the   Cowboys’   lat-­ est   digs   in   Arlington:   “The   giant   dome   sat,   bloated   and   squat   like   a   giant   Transformer   bulldog,   in   the   middle   of   a   140-­acre   asphalt parking lot, a long spit from the part of Interstate 30 that’s identified by green signs bearing the profile of a fedora as the Tom Landry  Highway.”
Snarky  and  spot-­on.  Joe  Nick’s  achievement  is  particularly  humbling  because  I  grew   up   in   Longview   while   the   Cowboys   were   morphing  from  doormat  to  doomsday.  I  rode   the  roller  coaster  up  and  down,  up  and  down,   so  I  know  the  story.  I’ve  pretty  much  lived  it.
“The   Cowboys’   problem   is   that   they   can’t  stand  prosperity,”  my  dad  once  told  me,   in  one  of  his  rare  philosophical  moments.  He   was  as  big  a  fan  as  I  was,  maybe  bigger.  After   a   Dallas   loss,   he’d   tromp   out   to   the   garage,   pop  a  Schlitz  and  the  hood  of  the  car  and  pre-­ tend   to   tinker   with   the   engine   until   he   sim-­ mered  down  in  an  hour  or  so.
How  my  mom  put  up  with  this,  I’ll  never   know.   She   tried   her   best   to   maintain   a   strict   Catholic   household,   so   cursing   was,   natural-­ ly,   forbidden.   But   on   Sundays,   all   bets   were   off.  If  Staubach  tossed  an  interception  or  Bob   Hayes   bobbled   a   sure   touchdown   pass,   then   we   could   blurt   “damn,”   and   that   was   OK.   Mom   didn’t   like   it,   but   she   understood.   Ap-­ parently,  God  did  too.
A   loss   ruined   my   day   and   generally   the   day   after   that.   I   watched   the   1966   and   1967   losses  to  Green  Bay,  the  Ice  Bowl  and  Duane   Thomas’   fumble   on   Baltimore’s   goal   line   in   the   Blunder   Bowl.   I   watched   Bradshaw   to   Swann  and  Aikman  to  Irvin.  
I   stopped   watching   —   and   caring   —   when   Jerry   handed   the   car   keys   to   Barry   Switzer,  or  at  least  I  thought  I  had.  Joe  Nick’s   book   has   rekindled   feelings   I   thought   were   long  dead.  Fact  is,  I  miss  the  Cowboys.  I  miss   what   we   had:   heart-­stopping   ecstasy,   gut-­ churning  grief.  It  was  real,  visceral,  atavistic.   I  miss  caring.  When  Dallas  creamed  the  Dol-­ phins   in   Super   Bowl   IV,   I   couldn’t   contain   myself.  I  sprinted  up  and  down  Whatley  Road   until  I  was  exhausted.
Today,  I’m  no  Pollyanna  or  purist  about   professional   sports.   It’s   a   messy   business   comprised   of   some   guys   I   wouldn’t   want   standing  on  my  front  lawn.  If  I  root  for  any-­
one,  it’s  likely  to  be  the  New  York  Giants,  an   organization  that  reminds  me  of  the  old  Cow-­ boys.  The  coach  resembles  a  stern  Irish  priest,   and   the   owner   doesn’t   cast   himself   in   pizza   ads,   shucking   and   jiving   like   he’s   just   rolled   out  of  the  hood  in  a  bulletproof  Benz.
Not   sure   if   you   saw   it,   but   it   makes   me   miss  Tex  Schramm  and  Clint  Murchison  and   Lee  Roy  Jordan.  And  it  makes  me  appreciate   guys  like  Paul  McCartney  even  more.  He  has   talent,   charm,   boyish   good   looks   and   a   bil-­ lion  or  two  in  the  bank,  but  most  of  all,  he  has   class.  I  guess  if  I’m  jealous  of  anything,  that’s   it.   Well,   that   and   Maria   Sharapova’s   lingerie   consultant  and,  of  course,  Joe  Nick  too.

BOBBY   HAWTHORNE   is   the   author   of   “Longhorn  Football”  and  “Home  Field,”  both   published   by   The   University   of   Texas   Press.   In   2005,   he   retired   as   director   of   academics   for  the  University  Interscholastic  League.

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The Dallas Morning News Likes The Book

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from the Dallas Morning News, Sunday, September 30, 2012
by Allen Barra

….One wonders that if Hunt had driven Murchison’s Cowboys out of Dallas, would the AFL team had merited a book as massive as Joe Nick Patoski’s The Dallas Cowboys? That the book is a feast for Cowboys fans should come as no surprise — every big game from the famous “Ice Bowl” with the Green Bay Packers in 1967 to the Super Bowl triumphs of the 1990s are recounted in loving detail.

The surprise, perhaps, is how invigorating a read it is for those — such as myself — who usually root for the team not wearing a blue star on their silver helmets. (Disclosure: In the early 1980s, I lived in Houston and met Patoski while I wrote for various rock magazines and he was manager of one of my favorite bands, Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns.)

Even we skeptics have to admit that, if not for the Cowboys, the NFL might still be in the Stone Age in terms of scouting players, game preparation and offensive sophistication. And fans who get tired of reading about the Cowboys’ successes can revel in the team’s history of excesses, particularly a cocaine scandal when, Patoski says, “America’s Team had become South America’s team.”

There are other, more detailed accounts of the careers of Cowboys luminaries such as Tom Landry, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, but none that places their accomplishments so firmly within the framework of America’s Team.

And that’s what the Cowboys ultimately are, whether people like it or not. (After all, as Patoski points out, early in the Staubach era “more bootleg, knockoff merchandise was manufactured for the Cowboys than for any other club.”)

“What began as an idea,” writes Patoski, “and is now the premier franchise in American sports could have flourished only in the fertile blackland prairie of North Central Texas. … The city made the team possible. In exchange, the team gave the city its identity and a sense of pride and glory.”

For better or worse, Patoski is right, and The Dallas Cowboys stands as the definitive biography of a city and a football team.

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Joe Nick Patoski Slam-Dunks Dallas Cowboys Tome (Houston Press)

William Michael Smith, Houston Press writer and Odessa Permian grad, weighs in on the book here:

Football
Joe Nick Patoski Slam-Dunks Dallas Cowboys Tome
By William Michael Smith Fri., Sep. 21 2012 at 12:30 PM
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Categories: Football

cowboys2.jpg
The dust jacket from Joe Nick Patoski’s new tome on America’s Team
If there is one reason Joe Nick Patoski’s books — biographies of Selena, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Willie Nelson — are so good, it is his ability as a storyteller. Any decent reporter can sift news clippings and videos or interview the participants, but Patoski’s style and organization turn what could have been dry, pedantic history into a page-turner. You can actually picture him whittling on a piece of pecan while, with a knowing huckster twinkle in his eye, he wheedles you into something you didn’t bargain for. It’s the Texas way.

It doesn’t hurt that his subject matter in the thorough-to-a-fault 816 page tome Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America is the self-proclaimed America’s Team, that garish, gauche agglomeration of rich nut jobs, rigid Christian automatons, true-believer underpaid players like Lee Roy Jordan, Bob Lilly, Dave Manders, and Don Perkins, and too-highly-paid thugs like Pac-Man Jones and Michael Irvin known as the Dallas Cowboys.

Ever since the ultra-kooky Dallas zillionaire Clint Murchison founded the franchise with his twisted brain trust of carnival barker Tex Schramm and rigid Jesus-nut coach Tom Landry, the Cowboys have been a three-ring larger-than-life circus.

Federico Fellini couldn’t make this shit up.

For people of a certain age — those of us who still remember the team in its infancy, when Sunday NFL football was changing Sunday viewing habits forever and who have been sucked in by the Cowboys media juggernaut for the past fifty years — the book is the key to forgotten personalities and events, a history closely paralleling our own lives.

“If there is a goal to this book, it’s to trigger memories in readers,” Patoski told me recently. We were discussing short term head coach Chan Gailey, whom I had completely forgotten. “Chan the Man was not that bad a coach, he just had a very tough act to follow, the Cowboys still being in thrall of Jimmy Johnson’s aura.”

While Patoski has gathered a smattering of information firsthand via interviews — mostly from innocent bystanders like center Dave Manders’ wife Betty who add color and validity — he did not interview any of the major principals in the story, although he did request an interview with current owner Jerry Jones three times.

According to Patoski, seeking an interview with Jones was something any good journalist would do, but Jones ignoring his requests didn’t really alter the book in any way.

“The security guy told me he wouldn’t respond, there wasn’t anything he’d gain from that,” says Patoski. “Listen, the written record on this subject is so huge, I didn’t need to talk to him or anyone, really. My goal was figuring out the bigger story.”

And figure out the bigger story he did. Not only does Patoski leave no stone unturned in relation to the Cowboys on- and off-the-field actions, he also masterfully ties in the history, politics, business environment, and culture of Dallas and the DFW area. He even draws a subtle comparison with Houston, using Molly Ivins’ insightful line, “Houston is degenerate, Dallas is perverse.”

The overarching highlight is Patoski’s cinematic Technicolor evocation of the circus the Cowboys are and have always been. Sex, drugs, rock and roll have never looked so salacious, except in Pete Gent’s great fictionalization of the Cowboys, North Dallas Forty.

“That’s the outrageous part,” Patoski explains. “It wasn’t anything I said, it’s what the written record said.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the book is how well the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders come off. In spite of their hyper sexed-up public image, up beside all the macho crazoid stuff going down with the team and its management the cheerleaders come off as one of the few true positives, mainly due to the careful management and civic foresight of the various managers of the organization over its history. Few realize the economic impact the cheerleaders have made; they frequently add more than a $1,000,000 in profits to the Cowboys’ bottom line annually.

Patoski paints dynamic, carefully researched portraits of all the main players in the drama, neither diminishing the accomplishments nor exaggerating the freak-show events. But it is his timely, unblinking portrait of current owner Jerry Jones that stands out.

A megalomaniac of epic proportions, Jones is rightfully portrayed as a marketing genius who took both the Cowboys and the NFL to almost unimaginable financial heights, yet for all his financial success and a brief return to glory during the Jimmy Johnson regime, Jones’s football club has been barely above mediocre on the field over the long haul. Patoski lays the blame for Dallas’s .500 record over the past decade squarely at Jones’s feet.

Patoski makes the case — as have others — that the problem is Jones’ insistence on functioning not only as owner but as general manager, the only owner in the league to do so. For every stroke of genius comes another incident where Jones comes off like a spoiled, redneck brat who puts his celebrity above winning by continually meddling with coaches and football decisions.

Patoski labels the fact that Jones and the Cowboys continue to be thought of by the public — and by ticket buyers — as a great football team in spite of their lackluster record over the past decade as “Jerry’s con.” Never in the history of the NFL has such a mediocre team demanded so much rabid loyalty or had such astronomical television ratings.

The author also makes plain that in spite of all the smoke and mirrors, Jones and his revolving cast of head coaches haven’t come close to matching the success of the original owner and coach. Patoski does offer hope to the faithful that the Cowboys may right themselves when Jones steps down in favor of his son Steve Jones, who has been in the family business since day one and is apparently less of an egomaniac than his flamboyant father.

Don’t be intimidated by this five-pound monster. Because of Patoski’s feel for Texanspeak and Texanthink plus his highly trained reporter’s instincts, the book can be cruised through in a week. Well written, informative, and entertaining, it stands every chance of being a true blockbuster, just like its subject.

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