The former quarterback on the Cowboys, his famed pass and his success in the real-estate game
Roger Staubach Justin Clemons for The Wall Street Journal; Grooming by Shelly Cervantes
From this weekend’s WSJ, a profile of one of my heroes:
“This year is our year,” says former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. The legendary football player turned real-estate mogul is sitting far from the field in a glass-enclosed conference room overlooking the Dallas skyline. He’s a few feet from his corner office at real-estate company Jones Lang LaSalle, where he is executive chairman of the Americas region. Although he’s hopeful about the Cowboys’ prospects, he adds, “I said that last year.”
“A reporter later asked what he was thinking, and he replied, ‘I just closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.’ The next day, headlines read, ‘Hail Mary Pass Wins Game’.”
Whether they win or lose, to Mr. Staubach, the Cowboys will always be “America’s Team.” And at age 72, he says he sometimes still gets called “America’s Quarterback.” The Cowboys earned their nickname in 1978, when the National Football League released a film of the same name about the team. The previous year, the Cowboys had earned the highest television ratings and sold the most merchandise of any team in the NFL. Mr. Staubach, who played from 1969 to 1979, still remembers a Philadelphia Eagles player knocking the wind out of him and saying, “Take that, America’s quarterback!”
More From the Interview
What happened after you threw your famous Hail Mary pass?
“One of the fans threw a whisky bottle on the field hit the ref in the head and knocked him out. He was bleeding. I got hit as soon as I threw the ball, so I didn’t really see…I’m laying there and the crowd is silent and I said, ‘Oh,’then I jumped up because I figure if they’re silent maybe he caught the ball. And sure enough there are already some oranges out on the field because the Super Bowl was going to be at the Orange Bowl and the Vikings fans were counting on being in the Super Bowl. They were shocked.”
Football: A Waste of Taxpayers’ Money
Nick Gillespie writes: As we enter the drama-filled final week of the regular college football season and the final month of the National Football League’s schedule, forget about GM and Chrysler, Solyndra, or even cowboy poetry readings. Fact is, nothing is more profitable, more popular, and more on the public teat than good old American football. That’s right. You, dear taxpayer, are footing the bill for football through an outrageous series of giveaways to billionaire team owners and public universities that put pigskin before sheepskin.
It’s just not right when governments shovel tax dollars at favored companies or special interests, even when those firms are called, say, the Minnesota Vikings or the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University. The NFL’s Vikings are lousy at scoring touchdowns – they have the worst record in the NFC North – but they’ve proven remarkably adept in shaking down Minnesotans for free money. Next year they’ll be playing ball in a brand-spanking new $975 million complex in downtown Minneapolis, more than half of whose cost is being picked up by state and local taxpayers. Over the 30-year life of the project, the public share of costs will come to $678 million. The team will pay about $13 million a year to use the stadium, but since it gets virtually all revenue from parking, food, luxury boxes, naming rights, and more, it should be able to cover that tab. Not that the Vikings were ever hard up for money: Forbes values the franchise at nearly $800 million and the team’s principal owner, Zygi Wilf, is worth a cool $310 million. When the Minnesota legislature signed off on its stadium deal for the Vikings, the state was facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit. Priorities, priorities.