Gil LeBreton

Jim Reeves empties his notebook on Cowboys’ dirt

In one of his first moves as Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, left, fired Tom Landry. However, Jones called a press conference in 1993 to announce he was inducting the coach into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.
In one of his first moves as Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, left, fired Tom Landry. However, Jones called a press conference in 1993 to announce he was inducting the coach into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. Star-Telegram archives

Few writers have graced the pages of our newspaper who could match Jim Reeves’ talent with the printed word.

But then again, I’m biased. I met Revo 36 years ago and have been a friend and a fan ever since. When he retired as a sports columnist in 2009, it left a void on the local sports scene that has yet to be adequately filled.

Dez Bryant skips an MRI and hides from the Cowboys? Revo would have had a field day with it.

The saga of the 2016 Rangers, masterfully built for October by Jon Daniels? It would have been right in Jim Reeves’ wheelhouse.

Lacking that, however, Reeves has given us an early Christmas present. In Dallas Cowboys: The Legends of America’s Team, published by Berkeley Place Books, Revo takes us back to the men who owned the Cowboys, the coaches, the players and the biggest games.

You probably have heard most of the stories. But Reeves empties his old notebooks to fill in the juicy blanks.

The Saturday Night Massacre, for example, when Jerry Jones shakily introduced himself as the new owner of the Cowboys. Tom Landry’s tearful firing. Emmitt Smith’s holdout. The Super Bowls.

It’s all in there, including the all-night postgame celebrations.

But the book also includes chapters on the men who built the franchise and formed its pre-Jones years.

That makes it perfectly easy to skip over the Barry Switzer chapter, for example, and let’s all thank Revo for that.

The first Hail Mary pass? As Revo recounts in Roger’s own words, it was Staubach throwing his prayer to Drew Pearson in Minnesota.

The chapter on Staubach, not surprisingly, is one of the book’s best.

At 187 pages, Dallas Cowboys: The Legends of America’s Team is an easy read. Reeves has divided the book into sections — The Architects, The Coaches, The Quarterbacks, etc. — and each section has chapters on individual owners, coaches, players and games.

That makes it perfectly easy to skip over the Barry Switzer chapter, for example, and let’s all thank Revo for that.

In truth, though his personal chapter only runs two pages, Switzer’s sloppy prints are all over the book. Switzer presided over the figurative loosening of the team’s curfew, the infamous “White House,” an assistant coach calling the star quarterback a racist and the “Load Left” debacle in Philadelphia.

Revo delightfully fills in the blanks on all of those memorable topics, including a reminder of the New York Post’s headline after that Eagles loss: Bozo the Coach.

Jones tries to explain some of his decisions of the past 27 years, but Revo wisely lets Jerry be Jerry.

The chapters on the Jones-era Cowboys’ three Super Bowl victories are probably the book’s best, mostly because Reeves was right there for all of them, from Troy Aikman’s postgame victory party after Super Bowl XXVIII to the what-ifs that followed Super Bowl XXX.

An apparently extensive interview with Owner Jones forms the grist of Reeves’ final chapter, titled Keeping Up with the Joneses. Jones tries to explain some of his decisions of the past 27 years, but Revo wisely lets Jerry be Jerry.

I miss my press box buddy, I have to confess. Sitting next to Revo for nearly 30 years, we “solved” a lot of the problems of our local sports teams, or so we thought.

The book, his first, is available now on Amazon and at major bookstores.

You can read it while you wait for Dez and Tony Romo to come back.

The Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill and Charean Williams offer postgame analysis after the Cowboys beat the Bears 31-17, led by stellar quarterback play by Dak Prescott and 140 yards rushing by Ezekiel Elliott.

Cowboys at 49ers

3:25 p.m. Sunday, KDFW/4

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments