Alicia Landry was like E.F. Hutton: When she spoke, her husband listened.
Tom Landry's widow stole the show at the reunion of the 1971 Cowboys on Monday, which was 40 years to the day that the franchise won its first championship. Alicia Landry married Tom Landry Sr. in 1949. He became head coach of the Cowboys 10 years later, something for which Alicia takes credit.
She was asked Monday night whether she ever offered her husband any advice about the Cowboys. She said three times she had:
1. It was her idea that "Tommy," as she calls Landry, wear a fedora. For a cold-weather game in New York, someone had suggested he don a Stetson. "That's so trite," Alicia said. "But it does look good on Bum [Phillips]." So Alicia had Landry wear a fedora. It became Landry's trademark.
2. She was the one who chose coming to Dallas over staying in New York. Alicia said Landry could have stayed and coached the Giants, but she told Tommy they were moving back to Texas. "It's more like a club than a state," she said. Landry coached the Cowboys until 1989 when Jerry Jones bought the team. They won two Super Bowls under Landry. "That was my gift to you all," she said.
3. She was reluctant to admit it, but Roger Staubach and Craig Morton found out Monday that it was Alicia's idea that the Cowboys shuttle their quarterbacks for a 1971 game against the Bears. Staubach and Morton alternated each play, and the Cowboys gained almost 500 yards. But they turned it over seven times and lost 23-19 to fall to 4-3 on the season. Staubach was given the job for the rest of the season. "I hate to admit it, but shuttling the quarterbacks was my idea," Alicia said. Asked if Staubach and Morton knew that, she answered, "No one ever asked me."
Alicia also said it was her suggestion to put a star on the side of the helmet.
"With Tommy coaching them, they were going to be stars," she said, "and it's the Lone Star State."
The story of the '71 Cowboys has been preserved in a recently released book entitled: Breakthrough 'Boys. It was written by former Associated Press writer Jaime Aron.
-- Charean Williams