Some of the younguns may not have heard this story.
The Dallas Morning News
Editor's note: This article originally ran in Sports Day on March 12, 1989, in a special section honoring Tom Landry.
1976-1988: DANNY WHITE
Tom Landry gave it to him during a nationally televised Monday night game with the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim in December 1987 after Cowboys security director Larry Wansley gave Landry an urgent message.
Tom Landry's composure impressed Cowboys quarterback Danny White (11).
"He handed me the game plan and said, 'Take over,'" White said. "Then he went in the locker room with Larry."
White had been standing beside Landry on the sideline relaying plays after yielding the starting quarterback's job to Steve Pelluer, caused partially by White's slow recovery from a broken right wrist suffered the previous season. Suddenly, he was in charge but didn't know why.
"When he came back, I handed him the game plan and said, 'Coach, what's going on?' He pulled me aside and said, 'The police have received a threat on my life. There's supposed to be a sniper in the stands. They wanted me to stay in the locker room, but I persuaded them to let me wear a bullet-proof vest and come back out.'"
White gulped. He saw that Landry was dead serious.
"'Don't stand too close to me,' he said. Then he turned back to the field and started watching the game. When he turned to give me the next play, I was about five yards down the sideline," White said. "I kind of waved to him and said, 'Coach, you're going to have to speak up.' Nobody else was near him either because the word travelled fast.
"He grinned, and I did, too. Then I walked back over to him. 'Coach,' I said, 'you don't have to tell me not to stand close to you. The way this season has gone for me, that sucker's drunk and he's gonna shoot and miss you and hit me.' He chuckled, and we got back to the game."
It worked out fine. No one fired at Landry, the Cowboys won, 29-21, and everyone flew home happy and relieved.
White said he will always marvel at Landry's calm that night.
"If it had been my life that was threatened and I was standing out there in front of 60,000 fruitcakes, knowing someone might have the crosshairs on me, I don't know what I would have done. But it didn't seem to faze him. He went right on calling plays and running the game like there was nothing to it."
Correction: Jimmy Johnson is the third coach the Dallas Cowboys have had. Danny White once had the job for 10 minutes.