My time with the Dallas Cowboys was eighteen months. This is about the same time necessary to earn an MBA at a business school. I believe I received my Executive MBA while a member of the World Champion Dallas Cowboys because of the lessons I learned, the best practices to follow and the development of people to the highest level. Tex Schram  was president of the America’s Team Franchise. Coach Tom Landry was the head of the football team. Gil Brandt was the Director of Scouting. Together, these three gentlemen worked, for twenty-nine years, building one of the greatest business machines the business and sports world has ever seen.

Tex Schram was the CEO of the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. He had no responsibility for the football team, that was left to Coach Landry. Mr. Schram led the Dallas Cowboys to be loved by many, hated by many and admired by many. How could one man accomplish that. He accomplished this by being passionate about his role in creating America’s Team, as the Cowboys became known back in the 1970’s. How did he accomplish this? It was not easy. There were plenty of NFL franchises that could have claimed that moniker. But they were not Mr. Tex Schram.

Coach Landry was the CEO of the Cowboys Football Team. He coached the coaches. He let the coaches coach the players. Many in the sports media saw coach Landry as “aloof”. Many thought he was not a players coach. What he was, was a combination of many things. He was a master at developing coaches and allowing the coaches to develop the players. He was a master at developing game plan strategies. He was a master at designing offensive and defensive schemes which always put the opposing teams at a disadvantage.

Mr. Gil Brandt was the Player Personnel Director for the Dallas Cowboys. His only responsibility was to draft, recruit and sign the best talent in the world as required by Coach Landry to complete the missing parts within his system, just like a business. If there are missing parts, these part have to be located and inserted into the proper area. Mr. Brandt did that for twenty nine seasons. The draft choices were almost perfect a fit over the course of those years. More importantly, the free agents were incredible finds, like Drew Pearson, Dan Reeves, Cornell Green and many other including me.

Together, these three gentlemen worked tirelessly together to form a triumvirate that the sports world had never seen, have not seen since and may never see again. There is no question that there are teams that come close, in football and basketball as well as baseball. But, the twenty nine year run did not win the NFL Championship every year. But want the did accomplish was becoming America’s Team and living up to a standard they set for themselves and the world to compare to.

During one of my first meetings in training camp, Coach Landry was talking about preparation. He ended the story by saying this. “I would rather be lucky than good. But isn’t it interesting that the better prepared team seems to have the ball bounce their way.”  Odd for an engineer by training to say that. But, I believe that was his master plan. To always be the better prepared team, to have each player playing at the peak of their game and to be physically in the best shape of their lives was Coach Landry’s recipe for success. For twenty-nine seasons, Coach Landry roamed the sidelines. I was fortunate to be on that sideline for just one of those seasons. It transformed my life.

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