It was the Summer of ‘69
It was the Summer of ?69
by Rafael Vela
The country was still embroiled in the Viet Nam war. A festival of peace and love in Woodstock, New York was taking place. The Manson Family was causing the country to lock their doors. And a 27 year old rookie quarterback was about to be discharged from the United States Navy.
The rookie quarterback stood 6’3” and weighed in at 200lbs. He was fresh off a four year tour with the United States Navy. Four years removed from the gridiron and five and half years since the Heisman Trophy Award of 1963 and a 9-1 record and overall national rank of #2 for the Navy Midshipmen. Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys drafted Roger Staubach in the 10th round in1964. Tex Schramm wrote the futures contract out by hand and agreed to pay Roger whenever he could show up for training camp if he had leave. He was not available for full time football until the summer of ’69. He graduated Annapolis in 1965 and owed the United States Navy a four year commitment that would also include a one year tour in Viet Nam aboard ship.
The Summer of ’69 Also saw the retirement of Cowboy great and future commentator Don Meredith. Craig Morton was the starting QB, a job he would keep in 1969 and most of 1970. Roger would see limited time behind Craig Morton the starting QB. Roger managed appearances in 6 games for 421 yards, on 23 completions, 1 TD, 2 INTs, on 47 attempts. 1970 brought appearances in 8 games, for 542 yards 2TDs, 8 Ints, on 44 completions on 82 attempts. Staubach’s 1970 passer rating was 42.9. Not exactly the stuff of legends. Landry must have seen something he liked. This was also the era before salary cap and ESPN highlights. Roger was not under the cap pressure to perform like Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, or JP Losman now face in only their second NFL season.
It would be 1971 where Roger became the official starter for 10 games of the 14 game season. The Cowboys were settling into the then modern Texas Stadium and expectations were high for Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys. The offense featured Bullet Bob Hayes, Calvin Hill, Duane Thomas, Billy Truax and Iron Mike Ditka. The Cowboys went on to Super Bowl VI and Roger Staubach threw 2 touchdowns and was named MVP.
While Free Love was being sold. The bra was being burned, and Jimi Hendrix would perform his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner the late sixties and early seventies were truly an interesting time. Broadway Joe Namath was making a reputation on and off the field. Roger Staubach would comment that he liked sex too. He even said he had plenty of it, only it was with his wife and his wife only. If America was looking for Everybody’s All American or a role model, Roger Staubach seemed to step right in. He was a clean cut All American and might well be the reason the Dallas Cowboys became America’s Team. 1969-1979 the Dallas Cowboys appeared in 5 Super Bowls, and won two. Even defeating former Cowboys QB Craig Morton with the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII. Before Elway or Marino, Captain Comeback was the come from behind quarterback. Roger Staubach managed 23 fourth quarter victories. Including a 50 yard “Hail Mary” to Drew Pearson to defeat the Vikings in a playoff victory. His ability to scramble out of trouble and gain 2,264 career rushing yards in the NFL also gave the qb another nickname “Rodger Dodger.” Following the 1979 season, and concerned with the after-effects of concussions(Aikman was not our first early retiree) Roger retired.
Patience is a virtue, and the Dallas Cowboys waited out the commitment to the Navy as well as the first few years where Roger looked anything but stellar. Perhaps before we rush to judgment on Drew Henson we should look at our History and the success of a 27 year old rookie. Bill Parcells has already shown respect for our tradition with the move back to Oxnard, California for Training Camp. Oxnard was a favorite of Landry, who found the climate perfect for getting his Dallas Cowboys ready for the regular season. Perhaps Bill has some Landry like plan for Drew Henson as well. Bill obviously knows quarterbacks. Phil Simms, Drew Hostetler, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe, and Chad Pennington just to name a few. He agreed to risk a 3rd round pick on Drew Henson and a cap friendly contract. Patience my friends, patience.
Consider the results of Patience with respect to Roger Staubach as we next look at Drew Henson.
• The Accomplishments of Roger Staubach
• 1985 Hall of Fame Inductee
• Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor 1983
• 1685 Completions on 2,958 attempts for 22,700 yards and 153 Touchdowns.
• Rushing 410 Attempts for 2,264 yards and 20 touchdowns.
• 4 Time NFC Passing Champion & retired with the Highest Passer Rating at that time
• Five NFC Titles and Five Super Bowl Appearances Starting in Four
• Two Super Bowl Victories VI, XII and an MVP
1. Redskins - Check
2. Dolphins - Check
3. Arizona -