Skip to comments.The lights will never go out on 'Dandy' Don
Posted on 12/10/2010 8:24:18 PM PST by JasperOC
A few years ago, the subject of Don Meredith came up on The Ticket - I dont remember why - and Mike Rhyner spent the better part of an hour, maybe more talking about Dandy Don, his tenure here with the Cowboys, and his eventual departure. Being a Cowboys fan since I was old enough to have a cheap plastic way too big Cowboys helmet bounce around on my head and rest on my shoulders, I was fascinated by what Rhynes had to say. I remember Mr. Meredith as an announcer, but not as a player. I kinda knew the stories from my Dad, but not really.
After listening to Mikes explanation of how Meredith really never got recognition for the things he did, I became interested even more. Its hard NOT to be interested in a character like Don Meredith, but when you add in the way he was treated on top of everything else, it kicks his story up another notch. I could list his list of accomplishments, and how he took an absolute beating every week, because the team around him was so bad, but suffice to say, he played for a bad team, made em respectable, even took em to the brink of being Americas Team. He was good. REALLY good. The League MVP in 66 in fact. But through all of his on field accomplishments, what made Don Meredith truly special was nothing he did on the field. It was the man he was. As cliché as that sounds, its completely true. He had a personality that drew people to him. He was funny. He was vibrant. He was reckless, wild, rude, crude, and absolutely everything in the world Tom Landry despised in the QB of his football team. And that, above all else, was why he left at the relatively young age of 31. Dont get me wrong, he had been beaten to holy hell in those few years, and his body may have aged a little prematurely, but he wasnt physically ready for retirement. It was the icy way in which Tom Landry treated him that drove him out of the game.
Tom ,Landry wanted a committed, professional, serious, workaholic gym rat as the leader of his team. Everything that the fun-loving Don Meredith was not and some kid named Roger Staubach was. Landrys feelings toward Meredith were never made public. Tom was too much of a gentleman and too professional to ever take something like that public. But he never rushed to Merediths defense when things went wrong, and his silence was deafening. The fans picked up on this, maybe subconsciously, maybe not, but the fans treated Don horribly too. All he did, and his coach and his fans, the very people you would expect to show the most warmth and gratitude turned on him, and drove him out of the game.
After listening to Mikes story, I truly felt bad as a fan in Dallas. As stupid as it sounds, I sincerely wanted to write a letter and apologize for how he was treated, and wish him well. Dont know if I could have found his address, and as silly as that sounds, I really wish I had now that the partys over.
When we lived in Tulsa one of my best friends had played for Texas A&M and the Houston Oilers. He knew Don from high school and told me he was pretty sorry.
Despite that, he was a great color announcer.
If Don had stayed around a few more years, the Cowboys definitely would have won SB’s V and VI.
As an avid Ticket and Hardline listener this was a nice article to read, it was different to hear Rhyner so passionate about something other than the Great Game for once.
He had his problems. He was married to a friend of mine whose father was one of my father’s friends. His son looks just like his grandfather.
I was too young to remember his playing days. I only knew him from the Lipton tea commercials. “It’s DANDY tasting”.
The Cowboys absolutely sucked back then. Landry wouldn’t have lasted a week under Jerry Jones...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.