Roger Staubach, NFL

by Mike Magers

A clipping from the October 11, 1960 Garden City Telegram of Garden City, Kansas was a writeup of a non-conference game between the Broncbusters of Garden City Junior College and  the Broncos of New Mexico Military Institute.  Garden City lost to the Institute 20-13 despite having outgained NMMI by a margin of 280 yards to 233.  All of Garden City’s yards were on the ground, and they did not complete any passes, except for a lone pass in the flat that was called back by a penalty.

The Broncos yardage was balanced, 120 yards on the ground against 113 in the air.  Their young quarterback went 8 for 12 and was a 6’2″ 185 athlete by the name of Roger Staubach.  Staubach was out of Purcell High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and had received an honorable mention in the high school All-America ranking.  Rumors had it that he was being groomed to succeed Rich Mayo as quarterback at the Air Force Academy and the Instutute had just been on the losing end of a 35-31 game with the Air Force Junior Varsity the week before.  The Institute went on to earn a 9-1 record in 1960.  Roger completed 60% of his passes and was named first string Junior College All-America quarterback.

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(Image credit: NMMI, yearbook photo)

Two years later, he would be leading the offense at the Naval Academy on the way to winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 1963.  Staubach had started the year as the Naval Academy’s third string quarterback behind senior Ron Klemick and junior Bruce Abel, but earned the starting role after Navy lost its first three games.  Staubach went on to make all-conference and all-region in basketball while being named third string All-America on the USNA baseball team, hitting .320 and playing center field.  An Associated Press article would quote NMMI coach Bob Shaw as claiming that Roger was a better all-around athlete than Johnny Unitas, whom he had seen while coaching for the Baltimore Colts.

Roger would go on to be drafted in the NFL by the Dallas Cowboys 1963, who had the full knowledge that he would first serve his military commitment to the United States Navy.   It proved to be a choice that was worth the wait.  He joined the club in 1969 after his service in the United States Navy and played 11 seasons with the team.  As a pro, Roger played in 131 games, starting 114 of them, as he accumulated 22,700 passing yards, just over 173 yards per game.  He completed 1685 of 2958 attempts while helping the Cowboys earn a record of 85-29.  Roger played from 1969 to 1979 and was named All-Pro 17 times.

Roger was known as a mature, no-nonsense type of person but one incident that may not be widely remembered stands out out to the contrary.  He had been wanting to get an audience with Cowboys GM Tex Schramm to discuss his player contract, but had been told that Schramm was on the phone and could not see him.  Staubach found a door to the outside of the building and climbed onto the outer ledge outside Schramm’s office on the 11th floor.  Needless to say, he got Schramm’s attention and the two negotiated the changes in his contract.

Staubach’s honors include being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Under him the Cowboys would win the NFC four times and go on to win the Super Bowl two times.  He was named MVP of Super Bowl VI.  He was named to the Pro Bowl six times and to the Cowboy’s Ring of Honor.  He is now active in the real estate business and living in Dallas, Texas.

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