In 1964, the Dallas Cowboys signed a free agent named Pete Gent, a basketball player from Michigan State. This is what Peter Golenbeck wrote about Gent in Landry’s Boys: An Oral History of a Team and an Era:
When Gent arrived at camp, Tom Landry had little use for him. However, the Cowboys offensive coordinator, Red Hickey, saw in Gent the making of a fine receiver. Hickey liked his soft hands and his aggressiveness, and he kept Landry from cutting the effervescent, free-spirited free agent. Thanks to Red Hickey, Gent became a Cowboy in 1964, and he remained on the team through the 1968 season, long enough to see the highs and lows of the great years of the Don Meredith Cowboys.
Gent caught his first pass in 1965, finishing with 16 receptions for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns. His best season was 1966, when he caught 27 passes for 474 yards, a 17.6-yard-per-catch, but he only caught 25 more passes in his last two years with the team.
So why “honor” him with the first retrospective Most Obscure Player Award since September? Well, Grizz at Blogging the Boys mentioned the book North Dallas Forty in a post the other day, and so I might as well do something with this blog now that I am becoming my only reader!
And who is Pete Gent, you ask? He wrote North Dallas Forty
After Gent retired from football, he wrote a controversial, hard-edged novel, North Dallas Forty, a book about how a football team takes advantage of its players and treats them like faceless cattle. In the book, Gent used all he saw and heard, adding embellishments for dramatic effect. Cowboys owner Clint Murchison, himself a rebel, loved North Dallas Forty. Tex Schramm and Tom Landry, who were protective of their image and were portrayed as manipulative, uncaring men, passionately hated it.
The 1965 season itself started promising, with the Cowboys winning over the Giants and Redskins to begin with a 2-0 record. But a five-game losing streak caused the Cowboys to fall into the cellar, and though Dallas won five of their final seven games, the 7-7 record has been viewed in history as a disappointing one. On the other hand, the Cowboys would not suffer another losing season for 20 years.
[tags] Dallas Cowboys, North Dallas Forty, Peter Gent, Tom Landry [/tags]