This morning I had the privilege to connect with Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys running-back Tony Dorsett. Here is what Tony is up to and some of his thoughts on the 2010 Dallas Cowboys:
Cowboysgab: Can you describe the Proctor & Gamble “Take It To The House” program and your involvement with it?
Tony Dorsett: The Proctor & Gamble “Take It To The House Program” is a program I got involved with and it is a photo contest where fans can send in a photo of what the NFL is like at their house on Sundays. There are eight winners throughout the season. The winners of this campaign will get a visit by a “legendary” NFL player, they will get a $10,000.00 donation made to an organization in their community to support the NFL Play 60 program, which encourages kids to get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. The winner will also have a chance to win a trip to Hawaii and a chance to be at the Pro Bowl and will also get a few Proctor & Gamble products.
CG: You have done a fair amount of things in the community. How important is it for you to be out in the community working with programs that benefit others, especially kids?
TD: I love to give back to the community when it involves kids. Our youth of today are growing up in a different world. It seems like there are more things out there then when I was growing up. Those things can get kids going down the wrong track, so, anytime I can encourage a kid to do something positive I’m more than willing to loan my time, my name, and in some cases, my money to the effort.
CG: Coming into this season, the Cowboys were favorites to play in the Super Bowl they are hosting, what did you think of this team before the season started and what do you think went wrong?
TD: I was like most of the “experts” out there. I thought the Cowboys were going to be in the mix this year. I’m not sure that I thought they would be the first team to host a Super Bowl, but I did think they would be contending for it. I don’t know what went wrong or how this thing got derailed. I’m not sure if they started believing the hype or what, but these guys just weren’t playing up to their potential, they weren’t being held accountable, and this thing started slipping and then starting going down a slippery slope and they needed some stability.
Now Jason Garrett is there and he is doing one heck of a job. The players are being held accountable to the little things and they are playing with pride. It seems that some of the leaders are stepping up and bringing the leadership and it is clicking right now. It just goes to show you that you can have all the talent in the world but if you are not playing with the right effort, the right chemistry, it doesn’t mean anything.
Now, they have kind of got it back on track, but, unfortunately it is too late.
CG: You mentioned it a little already but, now that Wade Phillips is out and Jason Garrett has taken over on an interim basis, have you seen something in particular that has been impressive about Jason Garrett’s ability to come in and do the job?
TD: I’m a real stickler about the little things. The little things make big things happen, wether it is in relationships, business, and sports. You’ve got to do the little things, you’ve got to do the little things at practice. They’re practicing now. They’re putting pads on. You’ve got to practice how you play. There are some things that will never change in sports and you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. Regardless of what level it is. Regardless of who you are. If you’re not gonna use it you’ll lose it. Now they are practicing and being held accountable. They are having some pride and it all comes into play.
Before when Wade was there, he would get on and make excuses for why these guys aren’t doing their job. You need to tell them if you don’t do this I’m going to find someone who will. Guys have to have a little bit of fear in this scenario too. You can’t be running around giving excuses for why they aren’t doing their job, it doesn’t make sense to me. They get paid too much money not to do their job and they need to understand that if they don’t do their job, the coach will find someone who will.
It seems like, under Garrett, guys are being held accountable and it is running like a proffesional organization should run.
CG: With all the talk about next year’s head coach there are a lot of opinions as to who should be the next head coach of the Cowboys. Who would you like to see on the sidelines next year?
TD: You got Bill Cowher, you got “Chucky” (Jon Gruden), but right now, I think it is Jason’s job. I mean, you have to go through the process of interviewing that the NFL has laid out for hiring someone. But, these guys are responding to Jason, and he has done a great job. Jason has been there and done it. He was here with Jimmy Johnson. He’s a champion, a winner and a smart guy, he’s putting the time in and these guys are responding to him. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be Jason Garrett as the head coach. From my vantage point, I would be surprised if it is not.
CG: You played running back with the Cowboys for 11 seasons. There has been a lot said about the Cowboys situation at running back this season, particularly in the last few weeks, what do you think about the running backs the Cowboys have and how they are being utilized?
TD: I don’t like it. Never have, and never will. Because I’ve played that position, and myself personally, I want to be in the whole game. I want to see how defenses are responding to different formations. I want to get into a groove. It is hard to get into a rhythm when you’re coming in and out of the game.
The Cowboys seem to be having somewhat of a success doing it. But, I bet if you asked these guys, and they were honest, they would say that they would rather be in the game getting 20-25 touches a game, getting a good feel for the game instead of standing on the sidelines and watching the game. It is a whole different deal watching from the sidelines.
CG: What do you think about the situation with Tashard Choice getting Michael Vick’s autograph after the game against the Eagles? Do you think it is a big deal?
TD: No, I really don’t. It is after the game and he wanted to get it for a relative. There was an opportunity, the timing probably could have been a little different, but I don’t have a problem with it.
CG: The Cowboys host their hated-rival Redskins this Sunday. You are no stranger to this rivalry, do you have a most memorable moment that you experienced against Washington in your career?
TD: I tell you we played those guys quite a bit. When I came into the league everything changed during Redskins week. The concentration effort, the seriousness of the front office, coaches, and players were more intense. There was a lot of dislike for those guys. Preparation was at it’s best and everyone was on top of everything because we couldn’t wait to get to game day and beat up on them a little bit. It was really intense.
I remember one Thanksgiving against those guys and a situation with Harvey Martin. After the game, someone had sent him a funeral wreath. He took that wreath and walked down the the Redskins locker room, opened the door and just threw that wreath in and left. I can never forget the response of coach Landry. Coach Landry was so upset. It just goes to show you the intensity of the rivalry and that we just didn’t like each other.
Back then the opponents stayed the same. We didn’t have free agency and so you played together against the same guys for years and years. It made for good drama and good confrontations and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it.
CG: You played in the NFL for 12 season from 1977-1989, in your opinion what has changed about the NFL from then until now?
TD: I think attitudes have changed. I kind of experienced the evolution of football from the size standpoint. When I came into the league a big linebacker was 220-235 lbs., now they’re 250. Same with lineman, when I came in they were 275 lbs., and when I left they were over 300 lbs. The game has gotten bigger, obviously the collisions are a little more physical.
But, I really think attitudes are different. It is a privilege to play in the NFL. I think these guys take it a little differently, not everyone. But some don’t respect the game as much as we did back then. You’ve got guys now that won’t play hurt. I’m not saying that you put your career or life in jeopardy, but if I could walk, I was playing, that’s just the way it was. I’ve heard guys with my own ears say, “if I could make it another few years I’ll be set for life,” granted they could be with the money their making. They get a hangnail and they don’t want to go out there and jeopardize their situation from a financial standpoint.
But, I love the game. The game is still a great game, a wonderful game. I love watching it.
CG: Finally, do you have a prediction for who meets in the Super Bowl this year, and who comes out on top?
TD: Oh man, I don’t know who it is gonna be. I think in the AFC, probably New England. But I don’t know who will represent the NFC.
To find out more about the Proctor & Gamble “Take It To The House” Program visit their facebook website here.
Cowboysgab.com would like to thank Tony Dorsett for the opportunity to speak with him and wishes him and the “Take It To The House” Program much success.