Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Title: TEN-GALLON WAR by John Eisenberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

Here's some ideal reading for the "slow" week before the Super Bowl, when a football fan's thoughts turn to the Muse of History... a fast-paced look at the battle for pro football's future in Dallas in the early 1960s.  Lamar Hunt's Dallas Texans were part of the fledgling American Football League, while Clint Murchison's Dallas Cowboys were the NFL's strong-armed response.  In the tradition of two ornery gunslingers in a Western movie, the town wasn't big enough to handle both entities.  John Eisenberg, of the BALTIMORE SUN, explains in detail why the Cowboys ultimately won out.

Ironically, the Texans moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs immediately after winning the 1962 AFL championship in a double-overtime struggle with the Houston Oilers.  The Cowboys, meanwhile, despite the best efforts of a full-of-beans young Tom Landry, were still struggling to put together a decent campaign.  Hunt, however, realized the built-in advantage that the Cowboys possessed in terms of league affiliation; the AFL was growing quickly, but still not considered to be on a par with the NFL.  Hunt certainly had the money to compete -- his family and the Murchisons were among the cadre of Texas oil baronets who gained national notoriety in the 1950s and kicked off the whole "everything's bigger & better in Texas" mythology -- but the Cowboys were built for the long haul, and would indeed enjoy a long period of dominance once they found their cowhide boot-clad feet.

No comments: