50 Seasons Series: More on Landry’s Decision to Replace White

Tom Landry’s decision to replace Danny White with Gary Hogeboom wasn’t met with enthusiasm by all, though it was clearly motivated by the team’s support for Hogeboom. An article from August 29, 1984 quoted Ron Springs as follows:

The coach finally listened to us. Hogeboom was the most respected on the team. Danny had great stats but his confidence was lacking. Players don’t like ot hear things like that but it’s the truth. We expect great things from Hogeboom.

Landry was not reportedly not as enthusiastic about making the change.

The Cowboys coach was visibly upset at the prospect of supplanting his longtime No. 1 quarterback. Landry was so jittery at a news conference that at first he said the quarterback replacing White was “Pozderac,” an offensive lineman also known as Phil.

Landry corrected that to “Hogenbloom,” misprounouncing the name of his new field leader.

White had at least one supporter in his corner, and that was Roger Staubach. This is a piece written by Tim Cowlishaw shortly after Landry’s announcement.

Roger Staubach understands the pressure that goes with being the No. 1 quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He has heard the boos that come with anything less than a Super Bowl season.

But when it comes to Danny White, his 4-year reign as the Cowboys’ top man, and now his exile to the sidelines to make room for Gary Hogeboom, has Staubach shaking his head.

“I’ve had a hard time understanding why a quarterback that I feel is in the top two or three in the league has taken the abuse that he’s taken the last couple of years,’ Staubach said. “Of course, Gary Hogeboom has worked hard, but this has nothing to do with him. Danny has produced winning records.’

In the four years White has led the Cowboys since Staubach retired, Dallas has compiled three 12-4 records and a 6-3 mark in the strike-shortened 1982 season. In the NFL’s passing efficiency ratings, White ranks second only to San Francisco’s Joe Montana among all-time quarterbacks. In 1983, White broke or tied eight Cowboy passing marks.

But the numbers that fans care about are Super Bowl trips and, in four years with White at quarterback, Dallas has made none.

“Can’t win the big one? That’s baloney. This guy has been a winner all his life. They (the Cowboys) let a team go 90 yards in the last two minutes,’ Staubach said, referring to the 1981 NFC championship loss in San Francisco. “Who’s to blame for that, the quarterback?

“I just think the jury’s still out on this thing right now. Danny has taken a step backward, but that doesn’t mean he won’t step forward soon. Talk to Terry Bradshaw about what happened after he was replaced by (Joe) Gilliam in 1974. All Bradshaw did after that was win four Super Bowls.’

Staubach said he was not second-guessing Landry’s decision to start Hogeboom against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. ”

“I think his career over the last four years is a good one. I feel for him. There has been an undercurrent with the players, too, that I don’t understand. Who knows? It’s a tough racket,’ Staubach said.

“It’s tougher than real estate.’

  • Mike Little

    The start of the end.We just expected Dallas would contend forever.The club needed another dirty dozen draft to re-tool the team from top to bottom.Not to be.Even that draft was aging,and Gil Brandt didn’t have his midas touch anymore.Having a rocket arm didn’t mean anything unless you could throw with touch,or had some mobility.Gary had neither unfortunatly.Tom Landry also realized players were different.He simply caved to these guys thinking they would rally around Hogeboom.All the Montanas on planet earth are nothing without a real talented supporting cast.For so many years we took it for granted they would contend for Superbowls year after year.I miss “expecting” my Cowboys at that high level every year.Cowboy mystique was starting to fade just as fast as the talent.It really didn’t hit home for good until 1988.By the way,Danny White you were,and still are class.

  • Mr. Mulligan

    I remember hating on Danny White, for losing at the end all the time. A vivid memory is one of Harold Carmichael of the Eagles going for a long touchdown in the play offs. With the perspective of time, I see that he did the best with what was given. I also recall Gary Hogeboom throwing bullets on screen passes, never giving the receiver a chance to catch the ball. The guy was all arm, with no touch. Steve Pelluer was not much better.

  • Tim Truemper

    A lot of people were disappointed with DW every time (three in a row) they would lose in the NFC championship. Interesting that it was always another opponent so I guess it was lost on others how consistent Dallas was doing and contending. The Staubach article is a great addition to this discussion. I wonder back then how many “listened” to what his view was. When DW broke his wrist in that fateful 1986 game against the NYG, it really was the end for the Landry era.

  • I remember that Giants game from ’86 very well. There was talk that Landry had the team heading back up the mountain, but to use another mountain analogy, we walked right into an avalanche.