Ex-Cowboys Owner Bright Almost Fired Landry in ‘87

From Associated Press

Former Dallas Cowboys owner H. R. (Bum) Bright says he wanted to sack Tom Landry in 1987 but couldn’t talk Tex Schramm into doing it.

A year after selling the Cowboys to Jerry Jones, Bright said his one regret is that he didn’t fire Landry himself. He didn’t because Schramm, the team’s general manager at the time, told him he didn’t have a replacement ready.

Jones continues to take criticism for firing Landry and installing Jimmy Johnson, his longtime friend and former Arkansas Razorbacks teammate, as head coach.


“If I had known there would have been this much heat over Tom, I’d have taken it myself,” Bright said Sunday in the Dallas Morning News.

“I know that Jerry doesn’t deserve all this stuff. It wouldn’t have been as hard for me as it has been for Jerry, because he was the one continuing. I just didn’t realize,” Bright said.

Bright praised Schramm as a “born promoter” and said he was responsible for bringing success to the Cowboys. But Bright said Schramm also realized the Cowboys were skidding downhill fast.

“Something needed to be done,” Bright said. “A new direction was needed on the coaching staff from Tom on down. But despite the fact he appears gruff at times, Tex is a sentimentalist. He didn’t have the stomach to do what needed to be done.”

Bright said Jones may be getting a bad rap about having handled Landry’s firing in a cold-hearted fashion. He said Jones had insisted two days before a news conference to announce the team’s sale and coaching changes that there would be no deal until he personally talked to Landry.

On Friday, the day before the deal was finalized, Schramm joined Bright and Jones at Bright’s offices, and Schramm called Landry to inform him that Jones was bringing in his own coach, Bright said.

Jones wanted to meet with Landry personally that afternoon, but the meetings broke up late and Landry had already left the Cowboys’ practice facility.