Thomas Wade “Tom” Landry (September 11, 1924 - February 12, 2000) is the winningest coach in Dallas Cowboys history and stands third behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318) with 270 career NFL head coaching wins. World War II interrupted Landry’s college football career at the University of Texas, as he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. Tom returned from the war to graduate and finish out his college playing career as a fullback and defensive back with the 1947 Sugar Bowl and 1948 Orange Bowl champion Texas Longhorns. Landry was drafted both by the New York Giants of the National Football League and the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference, to which he joined the latter in 1949. After playing one year with the Yankees (1949), he joined the Giants in 1950 where he would finish out his seven-year career (1950-1955). Serving as the punter and defensive back for New York, Landry led the league three times in punting yards and once in total punts and touchdowns off interceptions. In total, Tom punted for 15,900 total yards on 389 punts, intercepted 32 passes for 404 return yards and three touchdowns and recovered ten fumbles scoring two touchdowns. He was named to the 1954 NFL All-Pro First Team and played in the 1954 Pro Bowl.
An excellent playing career notwithstanding, Landry made his mark on the NFL as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Tom spent 29 years at the helm of “America’s Team” leading them to five Super Bowl appearances as NFC Champions, and NFL titles in Super Bowls VI and XII. Landry’s innovations, strategies and techniques redefined both the offense and defense of NFL teams for years to come. He introduced the 4-3 defense, developed the Flex Defense and revised the shotgun offense formation. During the 1970s and 1980s, Tom Landry was one of the most successful and recognizable figures in the NFL with his signature fedora worn at every game. In 35 seasons as head coach with the New York Giants (1954-1959) and the Dallas Cowboys (1960-1988), Tom Landry compiled a 270-178-6 overall record. He was named the 1966 AP, Sporting News and UPI Coach of the Year, earning the latter award again in 1975. Tom Landry was inducted as a head coach into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.