This is a nicely comprehensive history of the Dallas Cowboys. The only caveat I have is much of the history is already known. But I enjoyed the book nonetheless.
The first section of the book up to the 1960’s is a bit of a bore and was more about the history of Dallas and building up to the creation of the Cowboys in 1960 and the cultural backdrop of “everything is bigger in Texas.” It does a decent job of that, and was thankfully short.
The next section covering the 1960’s was reasonably well done as well, but since much of that covers the showdown between Clint Murchison, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, and Lamar Hunt, the owner of the upstart AFL Dallas team, the Dallas Texans, is more thoroughly done elsewhere. Nonetheless this is a critical part of the team’s history and was well written. The best part of this section was on the field issues and the story behind Don Meredith, a very solid quarterback who just didn’t quite get Dallas over the hump. But it’s also the story of Bobby Hayes who had his best years in the mid-to-late 1960s but eventually declined due to cocaine abuse.
Had it not been for the dominant Pittsburgh Steelers, the 1970’s Dallas Cowboys might have had more than two Super Bowl wins. But this was a great decade for Dallas and well chronicled here. This was the also the decade of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach and it was refreshing to see a solid, grounded individual not prone to the decadence and excesses we see in players in future years. The book also does a good job of chronicling the story of Danny White who took over as quarterback when Staubach retired. He was also a good quarterback but the Cowboys were in decline and he never was able to bring them back to a path of glory. He simply took over the reins at the wrong time.
The 1980’s saw the Cowboys as a mediocre team at best slogging through the decade toward a rebuilding era in the 1990’s. This section starts to get into the impending sale of the Cowboys and the ultimate complete turnover we see under Jerry Jones in the 1990’s.
And of course the 1990’s was the decade of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, with a host of stars on the offensive line and in the defense as well. This decade is well chronicled as well, especially the furor over the firing of Tom Landry, and then the shenanigans and bad blood that developed between Jones and Johnson, leading to the firing (or mutual parting of the ways) of these two egomaniacs. This episode in Dallas’s history was soap opera material and has been very well told in the press, but here we get it in one big sour lump. Dallas won three Super Bowls in four years, but afterwards saw, again, a precipitous decline as Jerry Jones insisted on being the owner and general manager of the team.
The book goes through 2011 with the Cowboys still struggling to be a relevant team again.
Overall I thought the book was well done but so much of the history I already knew, I at times got a little bored with it. Nonetheless, this is a must read for Cowboys fans, and a book pro football fans will fine enjoyable.