Tom Landry no longer top of mind

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The ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame panelists discuss Tom Landry's legacy: WatchVideo

Tom Landry, the Man in the Funny Hat, won 270 games and two Super Bowls in 29 seasons as the Dallas Cowboys' head coach.

He's synonymous with Dallas.

Emmitt Smith Craig Jones/Getty Images
Emmitt Smith, the most popular Cowboy in the ESPN Dallas HOF vote, wore a patch to honor Tom Landry in 2000. The team should consider bringing the patch back.

He's the man who helped create the image of America's Team that Tex Schramm marketed to the public.

Landry is one of five people who will be enshrined into the ESPN Dallas Hall of Fame's inaugural class.

He should've been the leading vote-getter. Easily.

But he wasn't.

That honor belonged to Nolan Ryan, who received 61 percent of the 41,439 votes. Landry wasn't even the leading vote-getter among the Cowboys. Emmitt Smith edged him out with 60.9 percent of the votes.

Landry received 59.8 percent of the votes.

As an athlete, Ryan threw seven no-hitters. When he pitched, you never knew if something magical was going to take place, but he spent only five seasons with the Texas Rangers.

Perhaps Ryan collected so many votes because he put together the ownership group that purchased the Rangers, who made their first World Series appearance last season.

Smith is one of the great running backs in NFL history with a record 18,355 yards. He did it for the franchise that Landry nurtured from infancy to greatness.

No way should he have more votes than Landry.


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Those vote totals mean we're more of a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sports society than I imagined.

That's the only reasonable explanation for why Landry finished third in the voting. For some reason, the impact he made on the Cowboys and Dallas-Fort Worth seems lost on the laptop-and-iPod generation.

Perhaps it's the Cowboys' fault because they haven't been a dominant team since the early '90s. We're talking about a franchise that hasn't posted consecutive 10-win seasons since 1995 and 1996.

It's the responsibility of Jerry Jones and his family as keepers of the franchise to make sure Landry's memory never fades.

One of the reasons the Ring of Honor exists is to give the franchise's greatest players and contributors such as Landry and Schramm immortality. Jerry should take it one step further as it relates to Landry.

Jerry should bring back the fedora jersey patch.

The players wore the patch on their uniforms during the 2000 season to honor Landry, who had died earlier that year.

The patch will help keep Landry in the forefront of fans' minds, especially youngsters who have only heard stories about Landry's offensive and defensive innovations and his impact on the franchise.

It would also be a constant reminder to the players on this team about Landry's everlasting impact on the franchise and its history.