The Cowboys’ Indian

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from the International Business Times, link here:

Dallas Cowboys And The Indian: How A Computer Statistician From Uttar Pradesh Helped Create ‘America’s Team’
By Palash Ghosh
on October 25 2013 8:37 AM

The Dallas Cowboys are not only the most valuable franchise in the National Football League, they have also ascended to the status of genuine American icon. Either loved or hated by the public, the Cowboys are to pro football what the New York Yankees represent to major league baseball and the Boston Celtics to basketball — glamour, wealth, style and, above all, winning and success.

Indeed, according to Forbes Magazine’s latest evaluation of professional sports franchises, the Cowboys – worth a cool $2.1 billion – are the fifth most valuable athletic club in the world, just behind the Yankees. The next most valuable NFL team, the New England Patriots, clocks in at about $1.65 billion (or about $450 million behind the Cowboys).

While glitz and showbiz glamour don’t hurt, the foundation of the team’s enormous national (and even global) popularity lies with its winning tradition – the Cowboys have been to a record eight Super Bowls (tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers), winning five of them. Between 1966 and 1985 (a twenty-year period that witnessed dramatic changes in football as well as society), the Cowboys endured no losing seasons at all — an unprecedented reign of domination that not even the Yankees or Celtics can match.

Although the Cowboys have not appeared in the Super Bowl since 1996, flamboyant and controversial owner Jerry Jones has nonetheless enjoyed tremendous financial gains from the team – Dallas generates annual revenues of some $270 million, the highest in the league, boosted by lofty sponsorship deals and high revenues from premium seating. This prosperity allowed Jones to build the largest domed stadium in the world, the 100,000-seat behemoth AT&T Stadium, at a cost of some $1.3 billion (with significant financial assistance from the city of Arlington, Tex., of course).

However, the Cowboys’ climb to the top of the heap of Americana did not come easy. Founded in 1960 by Texas oil multi-millionaire Clint Murchison Jr., the Cowboys suffered five straight losing seasons (including a winless 0-11-1 maiden campaign), until they eked out a mediocre 7-7 record in the 1964-1965 season. The next year, the club sailed to a 10-3-1 record, before losing to the legendary Green Bay Packers dynasty of Vince Lombardi in the NFL Championship game.

That half-decade of painful evolution to success was primarily engineered by the team’s brain trust which comprised the disciplinarian, almost ascetic, head coach, Tom Landry; president and general manager Texas ‘Tex’ Schramm; and super-scout/ vice president of player personnel, Gil Brandt.

However, one figure from that long ago period has largely been forgotten – indeed, if he was ever known much to the public in the first place. One of the crucial ingredients in the Cowboys long-term success — a sophisticated player-draft system — was largely created by a man whose origins were very far away from North Texas and who initially did not even know anything about football.

In one of the unlikeliest sports “marriages” in U.S. history, the struggling Dallas Cowboys of the early 1960s – run by profane, hard-drinking, carousing foul-mouthed Texan men — reached out to a shy, studious, modest young fellow from rural India to help modernize, computerize and streamline their system of drafting eligible college players.

Prior to joining the Cowboys, Tex Schramm had worked a gig as a CBS Sports executive, helping to broadcast the Winter Olympics, where he became aware of and intrigued by the use of computers. He decided that computers could help the Cowboys choose players from the draft, including young athletes other clubs might miss.

“I decided… that I would have to find an objective method of deciding on the worth of a football player… I thought we had to find a way to judge players without emotion,” Schramm told Sports Illustrated in 1968. “We used computers to figure scores and standings when I was in charge of CBS coverage of the Winter Olympics… and I discussed using computers to evaluate football players with IBM experts then. But I didn’t get a chance to put the idea into operation until 1962, when I was with the Cowboys.”

That year, Schramm asked Service Bureau Corp., a subsidiary of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), to develop a method of computerizing the football draft.

Enter one A. Salam Qureishi, a brilliant young Indian computer programmer and statistician at SBC (formerly at Case Institute of Technology — now called Case Western Reserve University — in Cleveland and hired by IBM in July 1961), who was sent to Dallas to meet with Schramm.

Born in a village in Uttar Pradesh in northern India, Qureishi did not drink nor smoke nor fool around, nor did he understand anything about football (he favored cricket and soccer) – and he also spoke in a heavy accent. One can only imagine how his initial conversations with the big gregarious American Schramm must have gone.

“All he knew was soccer,” Schramm said of Qureishi. “We had trouble communicating in the English language. It took a lot of patience to teach him the game [of football].”

Nonetheless, after a rocky series of initial introductions, Schramm and Qureishi somehow learned to communicate with each other and got down to business.

“Until I was called to Dallas, I knew nothing about American football,” Qureishi told Sports Illustrated. “I had learned to enjoy baseball because of its similarity to cricket. Now I think American football is easily the most scientific game ever invented.”

Schramm explained to Sports Illustrated that, prior to Qureishi’s arrival, the Cowboys’ scouting system’s principal problem was that they had too much data on too many players.

“We would start with, say, 2,000 players in their freshman year in college and steadily accumulate information on them,” Schramm said. “By the time they were seniors the number was down to 500 or 600. That total was reduced to 300. Then each of the 300 was ranked from one to 300. Since it took a man at least an hour to read and evaluate the information on a player… I knew we had to find a quick, dispassionate judge. The computer was the answer.”

Joe Nick Patoski, a Texas-based author who wrote about the Cowboys in a book entitled “The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America,” told International Business Times that despite their many superficial differences, Schramm and Qureishi worked very well together for several years.

“Schramm was a boisterous, aggressive salesman-type of man, but he was also highly intelligent, innovative and creative,” Patoski said. “He perceived how bright Qureishi was and how important he could be to him. Moreover, Schramm’s decision to devote the Cowboys to computerized scouting was quite a radical departure in the environment of early 1960s football.”

Indeed, pro scouting in 1962 was a part-time, amateurish affair – Qureishi’s efforts would bring the Cowboys into the Space Age.

Patoski noted that Qureishi’s input also had to be approved by Landry and Brandt, or it would not have succeeded at all.

But given the diverse personalities and divergent backgrounds involved in this epic drama, Qureishi’s learning curve in the exotic and strange world of 1960s Dallas, Texas was quite long and meandering.

“We had an Indian [man] who knew absolutely nothing about football and coaches who knew nothing about computers and less about Indians,” Schramm said. “Salam didn’t know whether a football was full of air or full of feathers.”

A culture clash of enormous magnitude indeed.

“With my heavy Indian accent and his Texas accent, we understood each other poorly at first. Somehow, we hit it off after a few initial missteps,” Qureishi said.

Qureishi also explained to Sports Illustrated the massive task in front of him in choosing the best players for a sport he knew nothing about.

“At that time, the most sophisticated computer system could work with something like only 80 variables,” he said. “It was immediately evident that we would have to cut down. We reduced everything to five dimensions.”

Those five essential variables, Qureishi asserted, were character, quickness-and-body-control, competitiveness, mental alertness and strength-and- explosiveness. He also developed a questionnaire on players that was distributed to college coaches across the country.

But that was only the surface of a far more complex system that took three years to finish.

“To a statistician, the task was a selection-and-ranking problem; select the best set of players from a given universe of college players with known measured characteristics,” Qureishi stated.

In 1964, as a kind of ‘test run’ of their system, the Cowboys’ computer picked, among others, college players Joe Namath, Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, and Fred Biletnikoff as top future prospects (all four went on to have stellar NFL careers, although not for Dallas).

“Namath [rated] ahead of [the others] because he had qualities that were held in particularly high esteem by this [computer] model,” Qureishi commented to Sports Illustrated. “He [Namath] had individual qualities that outweighed certain aspects of the… scale.”

Between 1964 and 1970, when the Cowboys won consistently, but failed to bring home the championship, Qureishi’s computer model helped select such players as Mel Renfro, Bobby Hayes, Roger Staubach, Craig Morton, Jethro Pugh, Walt Garrison, Rayfield Wright, Larry Cole, Calvin Hill, and Duane Thomas, among others, all of whom went on to have significant careers in the NFL and help to maintain the club’s dominance and growing popularity.

For example, Patoski noted the highly unusual selection of Bobby Hayes, the wide receiver who also participated in track and field at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and was called “the fastest man in the world.”

“Other clubs thought the Cowboys were crazy to pick Hayes,” Patoski explained. “Even though he was a high profile track-and-field Olympic athlete, he had never really played football before and went to a small, obscure black college called Florida A&M University, which was better known for its marching band.”

But Hayes went on to have a spectacular, game-changing career that eventually landed him in the Hall of Fame.

In July 1967, Cowboys owner Murchison launched a new company called Optimum Systems Inc. which would hold rights to the player-selection computer program developed by Qureishi. The firm was equally owned by the Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Qureishi himself. Optimum would expand beyond football to help corporations, municipal governments and other entities with data selection problems.

Meanwhile, Qureishi’s refusal to join the Cowboys owner and senior management in their endless bacchanalia created some humorous moments. At Super Bowl V in 1971, played between the Cowboys and the Baltimore Colts in Miami, Murchison (low-key and mild-mannered on the surface, but really a wild-living, licentious playboy) invited Qureishi to stay in a luxurious suite.

“There was much drinking and lots of girls,” Qureishi told Patoski about Murchison’s lavish parties in exclusive hotels across the country. “People drank like fish, there were hookers everywhere.”

But Qureishi would not participate in such shenanigans.

“I think people like Murchison were put off by Qureishi’s attitude, but I don’t think they were necessarily shocked by it,” Patoski told IB Times.

There were other odd moments – Patoski told of a long flight on an airplane where Murchison and Qureishi sat next to each other for hours, without saying a word to each other.

Patoski said that Qureishi had no direct contact with the Cowboy players and it was unclear to him if he was even a fan of the game.

As such, perhaps this bizarre partnership between the shy, unassuming observant Muslim Indian and the big bad Cowboys was not meant to last. The end of Qureishi’s tenure with the club centered on his problems with Murchison over the running of Optimum Systems. Eventually, Murchison forced Qureishi into resigning.

In 1972, Qureishi formed Sysorex, an international computer company in Silicon Valley, which he still serves as chairman (the firm is now called Sysorex Global Holdings Corp.)

Qureishi would not return to the Cowboys until 1986 when the world had changed drastically for the NFL. The Cowboys were now the laughingstock of the league, having made one failed draft pick after another. Also, Staubach had retired, Landry was under pressure to quit, Murchison went bankrupt and was near death and the team was in the doldrums. Schramm was still with the club (now owned by businessman Bum Bright) and asked his old friend Qureishi for help — and he complied.

However, the magic was simply not there anymore. “By this time, all the NFL clubs had sophisticated computer draft systems in place, so it was really hard for the Cowboys to stand out from the pack,” Patoski told IB Times. “Qureishi’s time with the club at this juncture was very brief.”

What is intriguing, however, is that, soon after Qureishi’s departure, (and roughly coincident with the emergence of new owner Jerry Jones), the Cowboys started making very smart draft picks again – including wide receiver Michael Irvin (1988), quarterback Troy Aikman (1989), and running back Emmitt Smith (1990). Those three superstars would, of course, generated three memorable Super Bowl victories during the 1990s.

“Qureishi is virtually unknown to the average football fan,” Patoski said. “But he was instrumental in the Cowboys’ success. The team is now a hugely profitable international ‘brand’ and he helped lay the foundation for that.”

Qureishi, who reportedly suffered a stroke in recent years, could not be reached by IB Times.
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Dallas Cowboys book out now in paperback

cowboys2

Out now in paperback, $15.99 and hoping that this year’s team will live up to the dynasty I’ve written about.

“THE DALLAS COWBOYS stands as the definitive biography of a city and a football team.” — Dallas Morning News

From Dandy Don Meredith and Roger Staubach to the three mid-nineties Super Bowls won by the unbeatable trio of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith to TO, Tony Romo, and the glitzy soap opera team of today, the Dallas Cowboys have been the NFL’s star franchise for more than 50 years. Love them or hate them, the Cowboys are widely celebrated as “America’s Team.”

But the Cowboys have never been just about football. With their oil baron roots, overbearing, ego-driven owner, players who can’t stay out of the tabloids, a palatial new home that sets the standard for modern sports stadiums, fans as enthusiastic as cheerleaders, and cheerleaders who are as famous as the team itself, the Cowboys have become a touchstone of American popular culture.

Joe Nick Patoski plumbs all these stories in a book that is a rich, sometimes scandalous, always entertaining portrait of a time, a place, and an irreplaceable team.

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Not Just America’s Team on Yahoo! Sports The War Room

LINK TO STORY AND AUDIO IS HERE
www.yahoosportsradio.com/nft/joe-nick-patoski-not-just-americas-team944500/

Joe Nick Patoski, author of “The Dallas Cowboys”, explains the importance of the iconic franchise (and brand) to the city of Dallas and the history of the NFL.
tom

Getty Images
This entry was posted in John Harris, NFL, NFL Audio Archives and tagged dallas cowboys, joe nick patoski, john harris, NFL, the war room. Bookmark the permalink.

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Pro Football’s Biggest Star

from the February 26 edition of TMDailyPost.com
link here:

The passing of Jack Eskridge on Februrary 11 was noted by one of his former employers, the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, which cited Eskridge as the team’s first equipment manager and one of Tom Landry’s very first hires in 1960. But, arguably, Eskridge’s most important contribution to the Cowboys was choosing a blue star to be the team’s logo.

Eskridge’s life was defined by numerous achievements, including witnessing the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima during World War Two, playing professional basketball for the Chicago Stags and the Indianapolis Jets, and coaching basketball as an assistant at the University of Kansas, where he recruited future superstar Wilt Chamberlain. But his simple choice of that star has resonated farther and wider than anything else he did.

It began as a blue star on the side of a white helmet—no white border around the star and not a spec of silver anywhere in the team’s uniform. The Cowboys’s other logo, a cartoon helmeted football player riding what appears to be a freaked-out miniature Shetland pony, was used to promote the team in print ads.

alternate Cowboys helmet

Before the 1964 season, there was some tinkering with the helmet logo that was credited to Tex Schramm, the Cowboys’ first GM. The team experimented with a Cowboy boot with a star spur logo and considered a blue helmet with a white star, but neither gained traction. When the season started, though, players wore the now-familiar silver helmets with the blue star, which was now outlined in white.

Schramm continued experimenting trying to come up with the right shade of silver, according to Carol Hermanovski, who designed the football club’s new offices at Expressway Towers at 6116 North Central Expressway and redid their bumper sticker to highlight the star.

“I’d meet with him, and he would say, ‘Carol I want to show you something.’ He’d say, ‘What do you think about this color for the leggings for the pants?’ He was obsessing constantly about that silver-blue color. He was so concerned about how that color looked on TV, and of course that was something you couldn’t control because each person’s TV was set differently. He was always trying to get that perfect silver blue. At times he got it a little much like a pale turquoise and I would tell him, ‘No, Tex, it’s got too much green in it. It looks too turquoise.'”

(Here’s a year-by-year evolution of the Cowboys’ look.)

This much is true: Eskridge’s embrace of the star as helmet logo would have been called marketing brilliance, if such a term existed around pro football in the sixties. Of all the brands associated with the state of Texas, none is as well-known and instantly identifiable around the world as that blue star with the white border. No other sports franchise can claim a logo that’s as simple and as instantly recognizable.

Helping to promote the star was the television show Dallas, which by 1980 was the most popular television show in the world, dubbed into 67 languages in more than ninety countries. No matter if viewers understood American culture, much less had an inkling about the city of Dallas—they knew the star, since the opening credits of every episode featured an aerial shot of Texas Stadium, zooming down through the hole in the roof to focus on the end zone where the letters spelled out “COWBOYS,” accompanied by the five-pointed logo. The star said all that needed to be said.

Just think, it could have been that goofy cartoon player riding the midget pony, which is right up there with the oil derrick that ID’ed the Houston Oilers, or that silly patriot hiking the ball that Boston originally embraced.

Or it could have been just a big D, for the first letter of the city the team represented, which of could have been confused for Denver (although today, D might be more appropriate, since it could also be mistaken for Dysfunction, which pretty much sums up the current state of the franchise).

Whatever it represents, it goes back to Jack Eskridge. No matter what one thinks of the Dallas Cowboys, that iconic star represents the team, the city, the state, and NFL football better than any logo in sports.

(Stars from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.Net, Boot helmet from Helmethut.com.)

Joe Nick Patoski is the author of THE DALLAS COWBOYS: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America (Little, Brown). Read an excerpt from it here.

AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher

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Ten Best Football Books of 2012

according to Kirkus Reviews
link here: www.kirkusreviews.com/lists/10-best-football-books-2

10 Best Football Books

We know what you’re thinking—why are those book nerds over at Kirkus pontificating about the best football books? Do they even watch football at Kirkus? Ahem—we’ll bypass that question to remind you that if it’s a book, we know whether it’s any good. This week, we highlight 10 gripping, insightful stories about the big egos, big money and big bruises at the heart of America’s national sport. You won’t get all 10 read before Sunday’s epic battle, but any of these titles will provide some nice perspective on why that little oval of pigskin—and the guys fighting and fumbling over it—capture our attention (even our attention).
Cover art for MUCK CITY
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 23, 2012
MUCK CITY: WINNING AND LOSING IN FOOTBALL’S FORGOTTEN TOWN
by Bryan Mealer
“Mealer tries a little too hard to tug at the heartstrings; nonetheless, he offers a stirring tale of sports as a means of escape from dire circumstances.”
High school football players and other residents of hardscrabble Belle Glade, Fla., fight for their pride and their lives in this chronicle from veteran reporter Mealer (All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo, 2008, etc.). Read full review >
Cover art for THE DALLAS COWBOYS
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 9, 2012
THE DALLAS COWBOYS: THE OUTRAGEOUS HISTORY OF THE BIGGEST, LOUDEST, MOST HATED, BEST LOVED FOOTBALL TEAM IN AMERICA
by Joe Nick Patoski
“A fittingly exhaustive history of a larger-than-life franchise.”
Texas journalist and author Patoski (Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, 2008, etc.) delivers an oversized history of one of sport’s greatest franchises. Read full review >
Cover art for WAR ROOM
NONFICTION
Released: Nov. 8, 2011
Kirkus Star WAR ROOM: THE LEGACY OF BILL BELICHICK AND THE ART OF BUILDING THE PERFECT TEAM
by Michael Holley
“A deeply reported, thoroughly engaging look at what it takes to succeed in the NFL–and a perfect complement to the NFL Network’s compelling miniseries Bill Belichick: A Football Life.”
A longtime Patriots chronicler goes inside the brain trust of the NFL’s most successful team. Read full review >
Cover art for OUR BOYS
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 18, 2009
OUR BOYS: A PERFECT SEASON ON THE PLAINS WITH THE SMITH CENTER REDMEN
by Joe Drape
“A feel-good story of youthful drive, great coaching and the value of unflagging communal support.”
Turning his attention from horseracing (To the Swift: Classic Triple Crown Horses and Their Race for Glory, 2008, etc.), New York Times reporter Drape follows a high-school football dynasty. Read full review >
Cover art for THE GLORY GAME
NONFICTION
Released: Nov. 4, 2008
THE GLORY GAME: HOW THE 1958 NFL CHAMPANIONSHIP CHANGED FOOTBALL FOREVER
by Frank Gifford, Peter Richmond
“Touchdown, Gifford!”
NFL great Gifford (The Whole Ten Yards, with Harry Waters, 1993) reminisces about the legendary game between his New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts. Read full review >
Cover art for THE BEST GAME EVER
NONFICTION
Released: June 3, 2008
THE BEST GAME EVER: GIANTS VS. COLTS, 1958, AND THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN NFL
by Mark Bowden
“Not quite on par with Bringing the Heat (1994), among the best football books ever, but surely a delight for anyone interested in the history of the NFL.”
Bowden (Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam, 2006, etc.) takes a sharp look at the 1958 National Football League championship game, which featured “the greatest concentration of football talent ever assembled for a single game.” Read full review >

Cover art for CARLISLE VS. ARMY
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 4, 2007
CARLISLE VS. ARMY: JIM THORPE, DWIGHT EISENHOWER, POP WARNER, AND THE FORGOTTEN STORY OF FOOTBALL’S GREATEST BATTLE
by Lars Anderson
“Gripping, inspiring coverage of three powerful forces’ unforgettable convergence: the sports version of The Perfect Storm.”
Sports Illustrated staffer Anderson (The All Americans, 2004, etc.) chronicles a 1912 game that proved a turning point not just for college football, but for the sport as a whole. Read full review >
Cover art for NAMATH
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 23, 2004
NAMATH: A BIOGRAPHY
by Mark Kriegel
“Namath was no angel, thank goodness, but this evocative portrait shows him at play in the fields of magic. ”
Meaty biography of Broadway Joe from sports-columnist-turned-novelist Kriegel (Bless Me, Father, 1995). Read full review >
Cover art for BACKYARD BRAWL
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 3, 2002
BACKYARD BRAWL: INSIDE THE BLOOD FEUD BETWEEN TEXAS AND TEXAS A&M
by W.K. Stratton
“Good-natured, intelligent, funny, and less bombastic than the title suggests.”
A savvy sportswriter uses the football rivalry between the University of Texas and Texas A&M to paint a lively, partial portrait of the Lone Star State. Read full review >
Cover art for MY GREATEST DAY IN FOOTBALL
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 8, 2001
Kirkus Star MY GREATEST DAY IN FOOTBALL: THE LEGENDS OF FOOTBALL RECOUNT THEIR GREATEST MOMENTS
edited by Bob McCullough
“Simply not to be missed: Meat and potatoes for the football fan.”
Fun memories from football greats, and some fascinating insights into the politics of the Hall of Fame and football’s evolution over the past 50 years, as compiled by McCullough (My Greatest Day in Golf, not reviewed). Read full review >

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Cowboys first Bling Ring 4 Sale

Dallas Cowboys’ first team publicist is auctioning off a rare keepsake: his ring from team’s first Super Bowl win in ’72

The link is here direct from the Scoop blog at the Dallas Morning News.

And here’s the Scoop:

By Robert Wilonsky
rwilonsky@dallasnews.com
9:51 am on January 24, 2013 | Permalink

Curt Mosher’s held on to this Super Bowl ring for more than 40 years. Selling it now, he says, is “the thing to do.”(Courtesy Heritage Auctions)

Curt Mosher, a sportswriter who got comfortable in some front offices around the National Football League, officially became the Dallas Cowboys’ public relations director on April 1, 1967. He wasn’t the first to hold the position: “Tex Schramm’s official title was general manager and chief public relations executive,” says Joe Nick Patoski, author of The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America. “But Curt was the first I read about who was ID’d as team publicist.”

Mosher held that title till 1976, when he left to run the day-to-day operations of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers; a year later, he was assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons. But he left Dallas with one heck of a parting gift: a diamond-studded “World Champions” ring, the result of Dallas’ 24-3 whipping of the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium down in New Orleans.

And now it could be yours: Mosher and wife Mary are selling the ring in Heritage Auctions’ February 23-24 Platinum Night Sports Auction, which will take place in New York City. As far as Heritage can tell, this is the first 1971 season title ring to be offered at auction.

“It’s hard to part with it,” says the 80-year-old Mosher. “And it’s a gorgeous thing. Tex was the one who OK’d the design. Tex was appreciative of a lot of things, including jewelry. It’s gorgeous.”

But Curt hasn’t worn it “for quite a while,” says Mary. The reason: “He’s been ill, and it just fell off his fingers. It’s been laying around for years …”

“Not years,” interrupts Curt.

“Well, you haven’t worn it for years,” Mary says.

“I wore it when my fingers and hands worked,” Curt says. “I’m very arthritic. And I’ve had health issues. But you don’t want to hear all that.”

In an emailed statement Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, reminds this is far from the first Super Bowl ring Heritage has sold; it was news back in 2011 when long-ago Green Bay Packer Fuzzy Thurston sold his Super Bowl II jewelry to cover some back-tax issues, for instance.

“But we can’t find another instance of a single 1971 Cowboys Super Bowl ring ever coming up a public auction,” says Ivy. “For fans of America’s Team this may well be the ultimate artifact, and there’s certainly no telling when, or if, another one will surface.” He guesstimates the bidding will open around $10,000 and go up from there.

For Curt, parting with the ring won’t be easy. His connection to the Cowboys of old goes way back and runs deep. “I loved Tex Schramm,” Curt says. He and Mary were at his house just days before the team’s first president and general manager died on July 15, 2004.

And “he was the messenger who informed Roger Staubach that Don Meredith had retired, sealing the Dodger’s future with Dallas,” says Patoski. “Until that point, Staubach was thinking his future was probably with another team. And he was in the inner circle of the front office that got to party with Clint Murchison at Spanish Cay, back when owners were beloved rather than reviled.”

The Moshers say, yes, it’ll be nice to make some money off the ring. Of course. Absolutely. “That’d be great,” Mary says.

“But I’d like to see it in the hands of someone who loves it as much as I do,” says Curt. He says he used to wear the ring all the time — even in New York, when he worked for the National Football League’s Management Council, though he would wear it backwards as not to attract undue attention. But those days are long over. Time to pass it on to the highest bidder who’ll really appreciate such a rare keepsake from the team’s very first Super Bowl win.

“I always love to hear good things about the Cowboys,” says Mosher. “It’s just been very pleasant. Mary’s taken on the task of selling it, and that’s the deal. Yes, it’s hard to give it up, but that the thing to do.”

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Book of the Week on TheFinancialist.com

Very fine review from the Finalialist, link here http://www.thefinancialist.com/book-of-the-week-the-dallas-cowboys/

Book of the Week: The Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl in nearly two decades. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009. They finished this season with an 8-8 record and a gut-wrenching loss to the Washington Redskins that ended their hopes for a playoff berth.

Despite their lackluster performance in recent years, the Cowboys still have a swagger that delights their fans and enrages their many detractors. “America’s Team,” as the Cowboys have dubbed themselves, plays in a $1 billion stadium that includes displays of high-end art alongside the team’s five Lombardi trophies. The stadium and its gigantic high-definition screen (the fourth largest in the world) is a reminder that, win or lose, the Cowboys always seem to be in the spotlight.

In his 800-page book, “The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America,” former Texas Monthly journalist Joe Nick Patoski explains how the team cultivated its larger-than-life persona over the last four decades. He argues that the Cowboys’ brash attitude is part of the Lone Star State’s own unique football culture, where high school and college football often approach the status of religion. In fact, when Clint Murchison Jr., the son of an oil baron, invested $600,000 to launch the Cowboys in 1960, he had to rely on a healthy dose of spectacle to convince fans who passionately followed high school and college play on Friday and Saturday to also cheer for professional football on Sunday.

While Murchison used marketing to build a fan base, by the 1970s, the team was drawing crowds with its winning ways. Head coach Tom Landry, always wearing his trademark fedora, led Dallas to five Super Bowl appearances, winning in 1971 and again in 1977.

Much of Patoski’s best material comes from this era, including his descriptions of quarterback Roger Staubach, who asked for a station wagon instead of a sports car after being named M.V.P. of Super Bowl VI, and running back Duane Thomas, who refused to speak for an entire season as part of a contract dispute.

Patoski also dedicates a great deal of ink to the Cowboys’ current owner Jerry Jones, whose over-the-top sense of style personifies today’s team. The author portrays Jones as a passionate, hands-on owner who signed some of the league’s biggest contracts and built one of the its most ambitious stadiums.

In his own way, even though the Cowboys are no longer winning, Jones has helped solidify the brand established by Landry and Staubach back in the 1970s. Dallas remains big and bold, and whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are still America’s team.

Photo courtesy of Ken Durden / Shutterstock.com

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Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Sat Dec 15

Austin-area Cowboys fans, I’ll be selling and signing Dallas Cowboys books at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar at the Palmer Events Center on Saturday, from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Come and visit, and pick up a few gifts for your favorite Cowboys fans. I’ll be bringing some Texas High School Football and some Willie Nelson books too. Drop by and say Hidy.

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