Ex-Cowboys kicker, Austrian soccer star dies

Discussion in 'History Zone' started by dguinta1, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. CosmicCowboy

    CosmicCowboy Active Member

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    God bless you Toni...and thanks for the memories...
  2. Mkyle

    Mkyle Benched

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    During his first training camp...they were teaching him how to kick off. He had a translator...BOOM...into the back of the end zone! Always...(most of the time)... :eek:: So, he learned it...next?

    Tony would show up drunk to practice, and everyone knew it, but, he was so good! "Keeker..." The now tried to show him how to do an onside kick. They line up, and BOOM...through the uprights! They tell him no...not that way...do this? "OK....", snap...BOOM through the uprights, again! :laugh2:

    They try it again, and....BOOM...through the uprights...100yrds away! :bang2:

    Coach Landry called off practice.... :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:


  3. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    I bag on kickers, but not on life.

    R.I.P Toni and thank you.
  4. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    Drive to Win, by Steve Perkins
    Really good book about the Boys and the 71 championship season, with a review of the few years previous to that. Several stories about Toni in it- he was quite a guy, quite a charactor. RIP Toni. Coach, you just got a new kicker.
  5. Glenn Carano

    Glenn Carano New Member

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    RIP Toni. :cry:
  6. The Curly One

    The Curly One New Member

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    Does anyone have that picture? I would like to see the picture of him on the sidelines smoking a cigarette. If you do have it please post it here. Thanks, Curly
  7. Cowboysguy

    Cowboysguy New Member

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    I can't find the picture of Smoking Toni anywhere on the web...however, I just found something I didn't know...Toni led the USFL in Scoring in 1984. Beat out Herschel Walker...


    he was quite a looker when he played for the Houston Gamblers too...


    Here is a cleaned up version of Toni's career that I found on the web...I can't take credit for this...

    Talk about a career change.

    Toni Fritsch was a star soccer player in Austria who signed his first pro contract at age 18 and played in a World Cup qualification game before his 21st birthday.

    Then Tom Landry came to Austria.

    Landry, who at the time was the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was searching Europe for a soccer-style kicker to join his team. Fritsch, then 26, was in the seventh year of his professional soccer career.

    “I was the only one who could do the job, and signed up,” said Fritsch, who is now 59. “I never saw a game before; I never saw a football. And I signed a contract with him a couple days later, a contract that I couldn’t read, but it was maybe the best contract I ever signed in my life and my career.”

    It was the best contract, he said, because it was the beginning of a new life for him.

    “Once in a while to be successful takes more guts than brains to succeed,” Fritsch said. “No risk, no rewards, and I took the chance to start a new career with the Dallas Cowboys.”

    Born in Vienna, Austria, on July 10, 1945, Fritsch started playing soccer around age 5 and started receiving professional coaching at age 11. After turning pro, he made All-Star for the Austrian national team 17 times.

    When Landry enticed him away from the soccer world, Fritsch played for Dallas from 1971 to 1975, and then changed to the San Diego Chargers for a season. He returned to Texas and in 1977 began a five-year career with the Houston Oilers, during which he was named to the 1980 Pro Bowl. Fritsch moved with Oilers coach Bum Phillips to the New Orleans Saints in 1982, and finished his career with the Houston Gamblers, in the United States Football League, in 1984 and 1985.

    Two weeks after arriving in the United States, Fritsch went to training camp virtually a blank slate on the subject of football. He knew nothing about the game, he said, except for what he gleaned from a video Landry had shown him in Austria.

    “I had a translator with me on the sidelines to learn the basics about football,” Fritsch said. “But that wasn’t important. Important with me is the soccer style, the kick. Important was … to put three points on the scoreboard. That was the most important thing, not the language, not the rules. And later I always said, if I have to learn it, I’m never going to have a career.”


    “Because I got it. You got it or you don’t.”

    That instinct, honed by practice, is what Fritsch believes made him so successful at starting to play, in his mid-twenties and with no experience, a foreign game in a foreign country.

    “You have to start real early and practice, practice,” Fritsch said. “There is no overnight success. I always make fun and say my overnight success cost me forty years of practice, practice, practice.”

    Fritsch said he still works out two hours a day to keep himself competitive and mentally sharp.

    “Working out is like a therapy for me,” he said.

    It also allows him to maintain concentration and discipline, faculties he acquired as a professional athletes that now help him off the field.

    “If you really want to be competitive in the professional world, whether it’s in private industry or in the sports world, you cannot spread yourself too thin,” Fritsch said. “It takes so much time and effort to go on top in your career, and then it takes a lot more effort and more practice to stay on top, so you don’t have time for everything else.”

    During his athletic career, he never accepted invitations to play tennis or golf in order to save his energy for what he saw as his top priority: football.

    “Football was a job for me. I took it very serious; I loved it; I know I was good,” Fritsch said. “It takes a lot of confidence to kick a football, especially when the pressure’s on. … The more pressure, the more I loved it.”

    Since retiring from football with two Super Bowl rings adorning his fingers, Fritsch has done some sports broadcasting in Europe, including as an NFL analyst for a television station that was the first to broadcast the Super Bowl in German. He also has dabbled in business and helped businesspeople from Austria get established in the United States

    Although leaving a successful soccer career and going to Texas was, Fritsch said, “against the odds,” he feels fighting the odds is in his nature and that he’s won.

    “I learned one thing in my life: The faster you adjust and adapt yourself, the faster you will have success,” he said.

    Fritsch is still recognized as a soccer star in Austria, where he lives for six months of every year. Even though he no longer has a football career to hold him here, he spends the other half of each year in Texas.

    “After all, I started really a new life,” Fritsch said, “and if I had a chance I would do it over again.”

  8. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    Recent pic:

  9. Cowboysguy

    Cowboysguy New Member

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    More Toni...from DMN 1971...

    By BOB ST. JOHN / The Dallas Morning News

    ST LOUIS — Late here Sunday afternoon temperatures had dipped to 30 degrees and shadows had crept across the playing surface of Busch Stadium. Shadows seemed to be creeping across the Dallas Cowboys chances of remaining in the NFC Eastern race. Once again, as in two previous losses, the Cowboys were faced with the Choke Factor.

    Toni Fritsch, the little soccer kicker from Vienna who was playing in his first regular season American football game, teed up a 26-yard field goal with the score tied, 13-13.

    "Hey!" yelled Cardinal linebacker Larry Stallings, "You're gonna choke, man! You're gonna choke!"

    "Shut up, said Cowboy linebacker Dave Edwards, "He can't understand you anyway!"

    "I no choka," said Toni. He didn't. Fritsch kicked true on the field goal with just 1:53 remaining to play and this furnished the margin in the Cowboys 16-13 victory over St. Louis, their old nemesis.

    Just after the ball left his foot, Toni raced toward Tom Landry on the sidelines, raising his arm in victory. "Oh yes," said Toni, "I know good. No have to wait for official signal. I know this good."

    "There will," said Cowboy owner Clint Murchison, "be dancing in the streets of Vienna tonight."
  10. da_boyz_mk

    da_boyz_mk How 'Bout Dem Cowboys

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    he was before my time, but he sounded like a character...

    i was just thinking, this thread just shows the true loyalty of all cowboys fans...we got a 2 page thread going about a kicker who played for us 30 years ago.and on redskins week at that....

    R.I.P Toni Fritsch
  11. poke

    poke the older I get the better I was

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    i knew somewhere in the back of my mind there was a wierd play with
    Toni involved.
    Tonight the Dallas CBS affiliate ran it and it was as cool as i semi-remembered it.

    so i fired up google and found the story about it. it was the 1972 NFC Division
    Playoff game against the 49'ers. The article is long so i wont post it all here
    but heres a link.


    this is what charlie waters had to say about it:

    "We had this foreign kicker from Australia, Toni Fritsch," said Waters. "He used to try all these tricky ways of kicking the ball. And he used to do this thing where he'd run up to the ball and run past it. And he'd kick it behind his back."
    Sure enough, Fritsch fooled the 49ers. He lined up to kick to the left, but Fritsch instead squibbed the ball to the right, bouncing it off the 49ers' Preston Riley. Mel Renfro recovered the ball for the Cowboys.

    Ive looked everywhere trying to find the video of it so you guys could see it
    to believe it.
    The article is primarily how Staubach led the Boys back from a 28-13 4th
    quarter deficit to win 30-28.

    Thank you Toni Fritsch....RIP

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