Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) and Gary Myers (author of "How 'Bout Them Cowboys?")


Welcome to the Peter King podcasts where I try to educate you about the National Football League and hopefully a few other things along the way. This week leading place kicker in NFL history, Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens. The only kicker ever to make ninety percent of his field goal attempts for career joins me and I'll have Gary Myers the long time and very well respected sports writer who's just written a book, how about them Cowboys, which has some really good stories about America's team. But I, I wanna talk about drew Brees I think everybody is well aware that drew Brees has just set on Monday night of this week the all time record for passing yards in a career in one game, he vaulted from third to first passing Brett farve, and Peyton Manning along the way and now holds the record for most passing yards ever. And what's interesting is that I think that there's a good chance that this record could stand for awhile. I don't know how long, but one of the issues about all these records that are being set now is that eventually they're all going to be broken because of the way the passing game is played. But I do think there's a good chance that drew Brees ends up having more passing yards in his career than Tom Brady, and if not Brady look at the landscape of current players, I don't think it's. Very likely that any veteran play right now, except maybe Matthew Stafford a will advocate chance to get that high into the realm over seventy thousand passing yards. And who knows the way Brees is going. He may end up with over eighty thousand passing yards, but I wanted to take a moment and just talk about a story that about Brees that I recall. And that is sort of seared in my mind when I was working for Sports Illustrated back in two thousand ten, I found out that breeze had this. He called it honestly, a secret society. He found ten businessmen in New Orleans. Now, remember in two thousand ten, they were still only five years clear. Actually, when I wrote this about four and a half years, clear of Hurricane Katrina, and there were still so many things. Wrong with this city. So many things in this city that needed to be fixed and breeze and in in his mind, he needed to do something about this as well as in whatever he might do. Personally, he knew he couldn't do everything personally. Even though he was involved in a lot of things. And so he founded this society of of ten businessmen who would give twenty five thousand dollars a year, and they would sit there and decide, okay, how are we gonna parcel out this money? It's just a little amount of money breeze also gave some money into the pot as well. And how're we going to what little projects are we going to do to try to get New Orleans back on its feet. So what I wanted to do is I just wanted to read you four or five paragraphs from the story I wrote from Sports Illustrated and it will tell you why. In my opinion, drew Brees. Has done so much as a football player, but I believe as much for New Orleans psyche and New Orleans as a city post Hurricane Katrina. So this story starts in a in an event. I went to with Brees in New Orleans and I'll just start it in, you'll you'll hear why. I'm pretty impressed with breezes a human being last Thursday night in a private upstairs room. It commander's palace, the landmark New Orleans restaurant drew Brees convene what he called his secret society in the dining room where seven of the city's richest men and biggest boosters, power players who've anonymously teamed with Brees for such post Katrina causes as the refurbishment of tad Gormley stadium in city park and the funding of the New Orleans ballet associations flagging after school program breeze calls this group, the quarterback club as a token of. Thanks for contributions past and future breeze, dispense black and gold cufflinks engraved with QB. I'd like to propose a toast. He said, lifting his champagne, flute, all of you care so deeply about the future of this city, not just from business perspective, but for my philanthropic perspective and it's so desperately needed right now a toast to you and to New Orleans here here to New Orleans. The group responded earlier in the saints by week their quarterback had spent two hours working on another of his pet projects. The lush charter school for which he'd helped raise the money to build a new football field. Weight room scoreboard in running track after the September two thousand five hurricane had devastated the facilities and the surrounding uptown neighborhood. Now, nine days before New Orleans, playoff opener against the cardinals in the Superdome breeze. Chatted up in rubbed elbows with the men he knew could help him do real good for this city. Some guys might be playing ten hours. Mad today, which is cool. Breeze said is he took his seat after his toast, but this is my outlet. This is what I love to do. So that's one of the reasons why, in my opinion, I'm really impressed with drew. Brees is a football player, but I'm a little bit more impressed with drew Brees the human being who's using his star power to do something that really, really matters. And now my conversation with Justin Tucker, the kicker, the Baltimore Ravens. Back in the Peter King podcast, happy to be joined. I'm in New York. He's in Baltimore with Justin Tucker, the kicker, the Baltimore Ravens, and Justin has had quite a young career to his name so far. He's the only kicker in NFL history to have made more than ninety percent of his field goals. He just recently played his one hundred NFL game. And I, I was struck recently by watching him. In Pittsburgh in week, four of this season was struck by what incredibly automatic kicker he is become and I don't want that to be taken for granted because I've gotten to know Adam Viteri pretty well over the years. And I always think that the unfortunate thing a lot of times when it comes to kickers punters is that people really just kind of take for granted what they do. And the only time you really notice them is when they shank one or when when they get one blocked or when they miss one, you're supposed to make him hit. I sound like Bill Parcells now, that's that's what he always used to say, what are you talking about? He supposed to make it and that it actually does take quite a bit of skill and mental preparation anyway, just in happy to have you on the podcast. Thanks for joining me. Thanks for having me. So I, I wanna start really with. Pittsburgh and I wanna ask you believe now you've made seventeen consecutive field goals in what I would call the Bermuda triangle for kickers Hines where people just don't seem to have much luck, especially at the longer kicks a. What is it about Heinz field? That's tough. Be. Has anybody informed you of this because you've made seventeen in a row there. So I say to answer part a, what makes Heinz field atop place kick at. It would be the same things that make Baltimore a kick. I've maintained over the last several years at, especially since we've gone to grass here in Baltimore. We have one of the stadiums to kick in as well, Cleveland Cincinnati. Everywhere that we play in our division. You know, we're playing outdoors, you're playing in some weather system, matter of, you know, compartmentalizing each and everyone of opportunities that we get and just taking each kick for what it's worth doing. Our best, you know put through, but what makes what makes Heinz field Cleveland, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. For that matter, the place kick top places to kick would be first of all the grass surface, you know that Heinz field and in Mt. Baker stadium have. Throughout the course of a game, the grass field can get up. It's never gonna, be the same in the fourth quarter as it wasn't the first quarter of pre-game. So getting your footing right, getting a firm plant. So your balance through the swing. That's that's definitely something we have to take into account, and then you know, we're, we're playing outside in our division and we're dealing with wind on a pretty regular basis. The other night we have as calm night as I can remember in Pittsburgh. So you know, it was just about hitting a straight ball and the footing, right? You know, swinging up through and you know that that certainly makes things a little bit simpler. But you know, all of those things do make it a little bit more interesting than you know, playing inside so to speak. Just an I. I have always thought that one of the interesting things about being a kicker in the NFL and you have elucidated this on several occasions that one of the things about being kicker in the NFL is that oftentimes you're not treated the way other players, you know who who play from scrimmage and who who get, you know, get knocked around maybe a little bit more than you do your oftentimes off by yourself, either you and the holder and the snapper you in the punter, whatever. But you're oftentimes off by yourself for large periods of practice. And so therefore there's a lot of times where year it's a team sport, a huge team sport, but you spend time by yourself or in a very small group away from the team, a lot during practice a what is that like. To then come into the larger group and be what does that? What does the preparation feel like when you're not oftentimes with the larger group? Yeah. So I would answer that by saying while seemingly I'm off by myself, it's more like we as specialists we are off by ourselves, so we're still with are kicking battery. So to speak, Morgan Cox are long snapper Sam Cooke, our punter and holder, and Randy Brown or kicking coach and Jerry roster. We all make it a point to follow our routine work through the same things. You know each and every opportunity we have on the practice field. I'm not just over there with a t in a in a ball, just kicking out a light pole by myself. I'm working with all of those guys, and I think that's part of the. Reason why we've been really good as we work on. You know, making ourselves just just a little bit better each and every day within our operation. You know, we're working on our timing together as unit. I think we're one of the longer tenured field goal operations in football right now, and that level of comfort that we have that level of toughness that we have going on the field is, you know, largely unmatched just because of the amount of time that we spend together and not just on our own doing our own thing. And then when we get into a team setting in practice, it's just like anybody else, you know, you're you're, you know, you're kind of, you know, getting a chance, put your talents on display for your teammates and a little bit more of a pressure situation just to build up, you know, toward what it's going to feel like on Sunday when you, you know, you're jogging out there in front of sixty thousand. Fans who are hoping that you do not do your job? Well. So you know, while while it could seem like I'm by myself just doing my own thing, we really are and I- infancy the we we really are working on making each other better. We might be separated in a sense, but I I would associate it to a lot of a lot of people make the comparison between kicking and putting and in Goff how it's a, you know, similar motion, static ball moment in time, but I think I would more closely associate what I do on the football field with what like a Mario Rivera does on, you know, on baseball in the baseball world where you know we are expected to come in and perform an exceedingly high level with limited opportunity or a limited number of reps rather. So yeah. Well, our offense might be out there for, I don't know, fifty sixty seventy eighty plays a game. I might be out there for. A cluding kickoffs, but you know those three or four or five opportunities that I get that you know our offense, our defense put us in position. They're expecting me to come back to the sideline with points. So in that way, you know, I think you were, you know, I'm probably a little bit more similar to closer in baseball in that, you know, just gotta make gotta make the most out of the limited number of reps and you know, hence the name specialists right. Justin, let's let's just go back in time to win the entered the league you or not. You weren't Abon his baby, you or not. He weren't even drafted. You came into the league in two thousand twelve basically on almost tryout basis with the Baltimore Ravens. And you came to camp that year and beat out of veteran, Billy Conn diff. But it's almost the same thing I've asked this question to Adam venit Terry because he had a very rocky path into the NFL totally no guarantee path where there was one team, one team that asked him to come in and kick for him, the New England Patriots and after three games of his NFL's NFL career in game three, he was one of four in field goals, and he entered his fourth game of his NFL career in nineteen ninety six thinking that if he missed a couple of kicks, he's going, he wasn't going to get on this kicker. Go round. Okay. Where where he was going to go try out for. Four teams, and he thought that quite literally, he was going to go back to South Dakota and go to med school. And if he was really fortunate and really lucky, he was going to study and one day he'd be cardiologists. That's really what he thought was going to happen in his life if he had a bad game in September twenty two years ago. So I wanna ask you about your path which was really, you're not an intimate guy coming out of the university of Texas into hiding down there. I do about me playing for the flagship school of the great state of Texas. So what were you feeling like in may two thousand twelve when when you were trying out and when you were kicking for the ravens that spring sure will twenty two year old me felt completely slighted just pissed off, disappointed. You know that whole chip on chip on your shoulder thing. I think I, I really applied that to, you know what I was trying to accomplish on the football field, but looking back looking back at the the whole draft process for me, how that or rather the, you know, going undrafted process for me. I look at the draft now just as a whole in. It's such an inexact science, you know you, you can have one guy who's you know, just a total baller comes in. He's a first rounder and he's everything you expect them to be. And then the next guy, you know a pick later pick before. He, you know, he the most he might do in his career is, you know he might amount to a role player, which is, you know, that's that's just the way it is sometimes, but I look back at my path into this league and you know, I think in kind of serendipitous way, everything worked out exactly how it was supposed to. You know, I landed. I landed in a place where I had an opportunity to compete and make a team, and you know, that's exactly that's exactly what happened. And then you know a whole perfect storm events lead us to win a Super Bowl, my rookie year. And you know, now I'm just itching to get back to another. But you know, in a in a long story, less long, I think I ended up exactly where I needed to be for for all the right reasons. One of my favorite Justin Tucker stories happen in two thousand thirteen Baltimore at Detroit. Tight game. You had kicked five field goals in the first fifty, eight minutes of the game twenty nine twenty four thirty to forty nine fifty three yards. But the lions went ahead. Late lions were ahead by a point sixteen to fifteen. Ravens are driving and they stall you stall and you go out there and you line up for a sixty one yard field goal, which not that this is the greatest thing ever, but there's never been a sixty one yard or longer field goal ever kicked in a dome stadium. But here you were Monday night football going out for that kick. Once you to tell me what you remember about that kick. What I remember about it is that I don't feel like I got all of it. I kind of I kind of came off my toe a little bit, and as soon as left my foot, I'm pretty sure Sam Cooke had the exact same feeling that I did, which was, oh, man left us when just little short and sure enough thing, kind of, you know, wild around a little bit and then snuck in through that, you know, right side of the uprights, but. I, if anything, you know that I could if I could point to any singular feeling that I had as soon as the ball cross cross across bar was relief because moments prior to kick, I just basically run out onto the field and it was being, you know, more or less call the back by the entire coaching staff, like what's he doing out there and. If I'm running out there like better make the kick. You mean you you, you went out there prematurely and you thought that they might want to run another play instead of trying to sixty one yard, like maybe a little bit of I. Yeah, I was you know, I was a, you know, kind of run out there. I turned a hard. I say, I got this and he's like, all right. Well, we're kicking it and then you know, I realize, okay, you know, this isn't fifty eight fifty nine. This is sixty one. I'm gonna really have to get hold of this ball and especially since I just told hard, I got this. Well, I better got this. So fortunately we were able to put that went through the uprights and then Mattiol and put the game away with the game sealing interception on the next drive. So I I would definitely say that's, that's one of the, you know, one of my favorite kicks at that I've been a part of and you get all of relief. Man just relief relief that it crossed crossed on the on the pro side of the upright. Harb's obviously being a Baltimore head coach, John Harbaugh who's been there since you've been there long before actually. But something happened after that game that I'd heard about I was I didn't cover that game, but I had heard about it that you are sort of reminded of your mortality after the game by by Ray Lewis. Tell tell everybody the story about what happened in the locker room after that game. I'm thinking here. Oh, okay. I think I know what you're talking about. You know what I'm talking about. So it was, it was says, yeah, it was says says, oh, you may Terrell suggs. Yep, made sure to remind me up there on the podium doing the post game, press conference, answering a few questions, and I, I hear the door kinda, you know, kinda come open and says poker ahead in, I don't even know if he came into the room. I think just heard him yell, hey, talk, don't let it get to your head. You're still just a kicker in what do you. What do you bring into the blank there. But he said, hey, listen, I just saved your bacon making. I scored every point that our team scored today buddy and I kicked a sixty one yard or win it. Maybe I'm a little bit more than just a bleep in kicker. His attempt that humbling me didn't really work. If you ask Machi mates. I'm to deal with sometimes, but, hey, man, that's, you know, when you make kicks, he can. You know, you have a little fun, and then you know, when you miss when you got to, you know, maintain that same level of competence and stuff to do. But Yep, suggs definitely gave me a a, not so friendly reminder. But you know, we, we know says, well, and we know at the end of day, it's coming from the very good place. It's coming from a place of love. Support for Peter King comes from our friends at rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans America's premier home purchase lender. Let's talk about buying a home. It can be one of the most important purchases you'll ever make, but today's fluctuating interest rates can leave you with unexpected higher payments, which can turn a great experience into an anxious one. That's why Quicken Loans created their exclusive power buying process, and here's how it works. They check your income assets and credit to give you a verified approval. This gives you the strength of a cash buyer making your offer more attractive to sellers. Once verified you qualify for their exclusive rate shield approval, they'll lock your interest rate for up to ninety days while you shop for your new home. Then once you found the one if rates have gone up, your rate stays the same. But if rates have gone. Down. You get to keep that new lower rate, either way you win. It's the kind of thinking you'd expect from America's largest mortgage lender to get started. Go to rocketmortgage dot com. Slash king that's rocket mortgage dot com. Slash k I n g Rachel approval only valid on certain thirty year purchase transactions. Additional conditions or exclusions may apply based on Quicken Loans, data in comparison to public data records equal housing lender licensed in all fifty states and m l s consumer access dot org. Number thirty thirty. Sara? Yes. Mr President. What is this? This gusting new podcast, the Oval Office tapes people actually listen to this survey. Say they have secretly recorded tapes from within the White House. They're fake fudged. I never called Omarosa Kim Kardashian, and I never said Paul Ryan was a funding little. We'd, sir. You just got off the phone with him. I was sitting right here. How are they getting these tapes? Probably Miller or the failing New York Times or Barack Obama. I didn't say that please don't tweet that too late. So is this bad for us or is this like a pro-trump? I guess it's all behind the scenes. Look at what life is really like in your White House crab the Oval Office tapes on apple podcasts or wherever you find your favorite shows. Just that I, I, I want to ask you a couple of things about your mental approach to kicking. I find it interesting that that over the years that there's a lot of kickers who for whatever reason I'm thinking of Roberto Aguayo who who, honestly, I feel sorry for more than anything else because obviously he's a tremendously talented guy, but he just wasn't accurate enough to keep his job after being a second round, pick with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and and I wonder when I look at you, I've always wondered this. What is it about the mental side of what it is you do in the pressure that you're under? That just simply doesn't seem to bother you at all? Yeah, I think you know, I, I've been asked a handful of times. Do you ever get nervous or you ever scared before you attempt to field goal? You know, do you have butterflies in your stomach? And the honest answer is like, hell? Yeah, like I'm nervous. I'm scared, but it doesn't signify a lack of confidence. Finding your confidence through feelings that are tough is a challenge, but I think that's what you know is I think that is the hallmark of great specialist is a guy who's able to harness the energy from, you know, you know, feeling nervous or being there, I say scared and turning that into laser like focus, you know, I don't think you have to look any farther than out of an interior the best ever to do it. And he'd probably say the same thing like you like, yeah, it's okay to be nervous. Okay. To be scared. But. You know, that doesn't mean you're not confident. And in that you, you know deep down inside, you're good enough to make this kick, you know. So that's something. I mean, that's that's what I tell myself more or less, probably less because there's a lot less time between the snap the hold and the kick. You know, then my explanation that I just gave, you know those one point, three seconds though you, you can think a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day, just being confident and trusting your technique enjoying the moment. Aknowledging that, yeah, I'm a little nervous, but I'm getting a play, you know, NFL football on Sunday night in Pittsburgh, or I'm getting a play on Monday night football. You know, you just got to embrace those opportunities and just enjoy 'em. And that's, you know, that's that's what I try to do. What do you think you've learned about the mental approach to kicking since you've been in the NFL? Give me your, give me the lessons that you. You think you have learned about it? Sure. If I had the point to one thing, I would say think of the action and not the consequence. It would be really easy to get ahead of yourself and you know, think about what's my post kick celebration going to be like or on the flip side of that, man. I hope I don't miss this kick I, it's, it's, it would be very easy for anybody. You know, from from the, you know, the top ranks of the NFL all the way down to, you know, middle school football, it'd be very easy for any kicker to think any of those thoughts, but you're saying don't well at the end of sure, of course. But at the end of the day, thinking of the action of kicking the ball, having you know a wide square plant and finishing up through mashing my foot up to the ball at contact, thinking of, you know, things in. Simple terms as possible, just breaking it down and kicking the ball, solve all those problems. My grandfather told me in high school when I, you know, had had a chance to play for my varsity football team. He said, jussie. I'm just going to tell you one thing. Kick the damn ball. I like that in in in in all sincerity. Those are, you know, some of the best words of advice at ever received, and you know, keeping it as simple as just kicking. The damn ball makes makes a lot of those problems just disappear. When you ever look if you do at your stat line and looked down in see that all the kickers in the ninety nine year history of this game, the greatest one other than you. The first two numbers on their percentage is eighty. Eight made eighty eight percent of their kicks in their career. The first two numbers on yours or nine zero ninety percent kicks in your career, your two percentage points. As we record this ahead of anybody who's ever kicked a ball in an NFL game that is kinda, gee whiz, I would think, but what do you think when I say that to you. I'm just trying to make the next one. I mean, I don't wanna sound like a broken record or that. I don't appreciate that. You know, that's tough to do. That's tough to that's tough to accomplish and to keep going. But I'm just thinking about making the next kick taken at one kick at a time in those. You know, thinking in that way, I believe serves us well as a football team as a field goal unit. Just thinking about, you know, like I said, a minute ago, the action and not the consequence just thinking about the next kit can make in that one. I think that leads to making more kicks than not, you know, and when it's all said and done, hopefully that number stays at least where it is. And you know, it gets, you know, gets higher, but you know, it's about taking it one kick at a time and might tell a really boring answer, but you know what, honestly, honestly, if you say if your grandfather said, hey, just make the damn kick. That's same thing is just make the next kick, you know? I mean, you're not. Complicating it. That's probably a part of it. I'm totally with you. I'm totally with you on that at the exact same time coming out here onto the practice field and grinding through the details of how we make a kick. I'll hit one right down the middle and on film. It might look, you know, like everything that you want it to be, but there's a, there's a feeling there that I could have. Got that one a little bit better, and Sam will know. Morgan will know Jerry and snapper Sam Morgan Cox, your snappers, Sam, cook your holder, right? Yep, Yep. Harry Rosberg. Your special teams coach? Yep. And rainy Brown, or can you coach who's who's who's with us on a regular basis? You know, we all know we know each other well enough to, you know, I I wouldn't say nitpick, but I mean, that's kind of what we do. Sometimes, you know, we just grind on the details of what makes a kick the best it can be. So you know, I might hit one that looks really good, but we, we all know coulda hit it just a little bit better. Our specially, no, I can get a hold of that ball better. So you know, we line it up again and we, you know, and that's, that's stuff that we're doing. Like you said, you mentioned earlier when you know I'm off on everybody else's on field one and I'm over on field three or you know, later in the year when you know we'll have a little bit of weather and the rest of the team needs practice inside. You know, Jerry and Randy Morgan salmon, I will go outside. And will you. We'll try to get as much experience outside grind through the details of what we do. All of those things lied to us make kicks when we need to make them for sure. You know, you always hear about offensive lines. They're better when they stay together. Never forget. One of the first teams I ever covered was in New York Giants in the eighties, and they had an offensive line where the some absolutely was better than the individual talents of the parts. If there was a pro football focus in those days, I think most of those guys would be in the in the bottom half of their individual jobs. But collectively they played forty eight games in a row together, and they were really good because they knew what everybody was doing. And I wonder, do you believe that in this is such a layup question, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on it that the fact that since the moment you walked in there or really for a long time you've had event John Harbaugh had Jerry Ross. Berg is your. Special teams coach, you know you've had you've had for so long. You've had the same holder in Sam, cook your punter. You've had the same snapper in Morgan Cox in you'd. Have you've had you what does that mean to that? That sort of togetherness that cohesiveness? What does that mean to your job and your success? Oh, it's paramount. Having that continuity between all of us having that open line of communication between each and every one of us. To where we can pull out the best from each other. That's it's huge. The way the way Morgan approaches throwing the ball back there. Sam works on his hands to the point where I I would. I would say SAM's hands, rival, you know, like Odell Beckham any day of the week. You know, you got a, you got guys that grind on these on these details together. You know the ball, the ball almost kicks it self. You gotta have the right guy to kick it, but the, you know, the way these guys serve it up for me. It's, you know, it's, it's the best possible situation that a kicker could cook, kicker, could could possibly want to be in. I'm gonna finish with this question. I wonder I I would consider in Bill Belichick just talked about it this week. I would consider the best kick for the circumstances that I've ever seen in my life at events. Harry's kick through the snow in the playoff game. The tuck rule game against Oakland in two thousand one that was the patriots first Super Bowl year. Do you have any recollection of watching that kick when you must have been whatever, like eleven years old or something? Do you have? Do you? Were you watching that game or d. remember seeing that kick at all? I do. I do. I remember seeing. I remember that whole Super Bowl run and Attari knocking down the winter. That was when they played the, they played the Rams of that year. That's right. Okay. Yeah. So I remember, do you remember the kick against the raiders that forty five yards in the snow? Did you watch that? I do far and I'm with you that's far away the most impressive kick that I've ever seen anybody make to to be able to come through in that moment as big a moment as that that is in tough conditions as you could possibly be facing. And that's why he's goat. That's why Adam is the the best to do it. But I remember seeing that and seeing the Super Bowl following and then seeing Adam kick not just one, but two winters and Super Bowls. That was what prompted me and my dad to reach out to the guy who had. Initially trained Adam when he was living in his basically living in his pickup truck. And this guy's driveway in Abingdon, Virginia kicking next to to a graveyard learning how to kick a ball, you know the right way in that that coaches, Doug Blevins, of course, but seeing those seeing Adam mango is the guy who taught who taught Viteri. Yep. And seeing seeing Adam make those kicks prompted, you know us to, you know, get my first formal introduction into or formal instruction as to how to properly kickable with a time to kick all properly. I don't wanna split infinitive there. You were. You were a kicker in Texas at the time as a kid or. No, I I wanna say I was what year was that game thousand one summer of winter of two thousand one. Yeah, that's right. So so I, yeah, I was. I was playing soccer. I. Hadn't started playing football yet, but I was playing soccer and it was, you know, it was those kicks that you know, the Super Bowl winner against the Panthers and then looking back even farther, you know, once I got a chance to kind of dive deep into Adams, resume of big kicks in. There are a lot of them seeing all of that together is what prompted me to really take kicking the ball seriously. Wow. I had no idea about that. That's really, really interesting. Well, listen, we could talk for three hours someday. Maybe we will, but I really, really appreciate you talking to me about kicking and your life and what got you into it and everything like that. Justin. Thanks a lot for joining me on the podcast of course next year, having me Peter. You know what's not smart job sites that overwhelm you with tons of the wrong resumes, but you know what is smart? ZipRecruiter dot com. Slash king. Unlike other job sites, ZipRecruiter doesn't wait for candidates to find you. ZipRecruiter finds them for you. It's powerful matching technology scans, thousands of resumes. It identifies people with the right skills and education and experience for your job and actively invites them to apply. So you get quality candidates fast. They're not just quality candidates, they're qualified candidates, no more sorting through the wrong resumes. No more waiting for the right candidates to apply. It's no wonder. ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US. This rating comes from hiring sites on trust. Islet with over one thousand reviews. And right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address, ZipRecruiter dot com. Slash king that's ZipRecruiter dot com. Slash king k. I n. g. once more ZipRecruiter dot com slash king ZipRecruiter, it's the smartest way to hire. And now my conversation with Gary Myers author of the new book, how about them Cowboys. Back on the Peter King podcast, happy to be joined today in studio by Gary Myers who has written a really, really interesting book. You're gonna hear a lot about this month. It's called how about them Cowboys. And of course it's a book about the Dallas Cowboys. Gary Myers covered in the eighties broke. A lot of stories on in the eighties was an absolute in the saddle for the old cowboy regime of Tex Schramm gillibrand, Tom Landry, but also very, very highly respected by them as well. But anyway, Gary happy to be joined by you and how are you doing? I'm doing great. I really appreciate you have me on. I'm looking forward to this. Yeah, we. I, this is the way I feel about books about the Dallas Cowboys. I mean, what else is there left to say, right? I mean, you know about this era of the last era, whatever era about anything about Jerry Jones. But this is the thing that I find interesting about this book. Okay, so and I'm be honest, we have not read it covered a cover, but I have spent two hours with the other night going through it searching out little snippets to ask you about, and there's a lot of interesting little points that you make in here, but I want to start by asking you a journalism question when something is such well, trod ground and everybody has written and talked about him. They got the biggest media contingent in the world and all that. What. Makes you so confident that you can come up with something that people don't know or that you can come up with a book full of stuff that people don't know. That's a great question. And I think I'll stop by saying that I feel I have a unique perspective on the Cowboys having been there for eight years and covered him on a day-to-day basis and been there for the end of the land you regime and the very beginning of the Jerry Jimmy regime. So I think I have that background in grain and may just by being there. Then I think there was a lot of territory that needed to be covered in this book. I know that Jeff promo came out with a book. I think I ten or twelve years ago maybe that just to a completely different approach that was more. I don't know if I want to use the word scandalous, but a lot of the stuff that happened behind the scenes. You know, off the field stuff that kind of played into the page six mentality that a lot of people have and it was. It was very interesting and interesting read the approach to originally the name of the book was gonna Cowboys Inc, and I was going to write just about the business aspect of the Cowboys and how a team that hasn't been in the Super Bowl in over twenty years is stole the most popular profitable and highly valued team in the world. And then you know, I saw talking to Jerry and Stephen Charlotte, and Jerry junior, and then Rome on Witton and. Then Everson walls and Tony Dorsett. I just found those a lot of stuff there that really interested me. So I convinced that Cowboys Inc idea into chapter two. And the rest of it I think is really fun behind the scene stuff about how this really what is a five billion dollar mom and pop operation how it really works on a day-to-day basis. I think there's some great anecdotal type stories in there that people really gonna enjoy reading. I want you to start at the beginning because to me the Jerry Jones, Tom Landry relationship for those for younger listeners who don't quite remember this. Jerry Jones bought this team in nineteen eighty nine. And when he bought the team, he had to make a gigantic change. He felt he got rid of the coach, Tom Landry. And he got rid of basically all the people who were closely identified with the Dallas Cowboys at the time. You know, you're getting rid of Tex Schramm and you're getting rid of Gil Brandt. And this at the time they had had a nearly thirty year run of greatness. Maybe twenty twenty three of great, but a thirty year memorable memorable run and he he got rid of all. And and the story for years was that Tom Landry went to his grave hating Jerry Jones and being bitter over being fired, and you contributed some reporting to this that I have to admit. I had no idea about. Yeah, I mean, and speaking to Gerry. I asked them. How many times did he run into Landry between the time he went down to Austin to fire him, and when Tom passed away and your early two, thousands, and he said he had seen them a year or two later at the giants. Ravens swear bowl in Tampa, kinda cross paths at a restaurant. And then after that, he kept asking Tom to let him be inducted into the ring of honor and Tom kept turning 'em down. And then Jerry told me the story and I didn't know this that there was signs on the highway in Dallas ridiculing Tom for not accepting Jerry's invitation to be in the ring of honor, calling him a chicken, and I would have liked to see some sides, but So Jerry was really bothered by that. And one of the reasons he bought the team was because of the success that a guy like land that Tom Landry had in developing the image and reputation and a brand of the Cowboys. It made it very attractive for joy to wanna buy the team, but he wanted Jimmy Johnson as coach. He wanted. He would want to Jimmy Johnson of his coach as coach, regardless of who was coaching the cowboy. So he felt really bad about relationship that he didn't have what Tom and they had a mutual friend named Bill park who was at the time to president of Kroger's really big supermarket chain throughout Dallas and other parts of the country, and Bill acted as intermediary and offered to set up a lunch between Jerry and Tom at bill's house in Dallas and Tom accepted the invitation and the sat around the living room for a little bit. And then Bill had a a lunch set up in the dining room, and he left the two of them alone and they spoke for hours and they came out of that lunch with Tom, having agreed to be inducted in the ring on or and a couple months later during the ninety, three season, Tom Landry stood at midfield at a Texas stadium and accepted being inducted. So really cool story. And then Jerry later got the statue of. Tom outside Texas stadium when that stadium was about to be imploded and they were opening the new one, Jerry put the stadium the statue in storage facilities keeping. And that was once the stadium was complete. They put it back up outside one of the gates at eighteen stadium. So I don't know how much contact necessarily had in the years after the ring of honor. And then Tom passing away like eight or ten years later, but I know that they were on good terms and that lunch is what set it all I was gonna ask you. So how do you think Tom Landry felt in his last years on earth of Jerry Jones? I think he was fine with them. He really did understand that when the team gets sold and it was the second time the team had been sold when Vom bright bought the team in eighty four. He was about his hands off and owners. You composites. Imagine he hated Landry but wouldn't fire him. He hate Lange because ignored him at a cocktail party once and he never forgave him. And wanted Schramm to fire them. But text wouldn't do it teeters Peter. The really interesting thing and this is the truth and I lived through this. So I know in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight, two Cowboys with three and thirteen eighty seven to fans love the strike team replacement t. more than they loved the regular team. They wanted to the players to stand on strike in eighty seven because the replacement team to them was fun. It was young team and the cared and they had grown tired of the Landry era. The cowboy fans used to call Brad Shams. Radio show in Dallas and plead with him Tex please fire Landry became past and by. We've had enough Lange. We need one of these young guys in here. So then in February of eighty nine, Jerry Jones comes in does exactly exactly what I want to interrupt. You ask you one quest that, but isn't it true that the Dallas Cowboys almost almost intact trims last year. You know before he ever almost hired mardi shot. Heimer. You know, I never heard the Schottenheimer part, but he tried to hire Jimmy Johnson that I know. Wow. So I- perhap- was shot in Highmore to be the head coach is okay. See, I noted Texan. Schottenheimer close because the competition committee. But the story that I heard was a text reached out to Jimmy because Jimmy was was rumored to be talking to the eagles and said, we don't want you to go to Philadelphia come here as defensive coordinator. It's only a matter of time before I convinced Tom to quit, and you'll be the head coach. He actually did that with Paul Hackett in eighty six hiring him from the forty Niners Tom hated Hackett. He was made the passing game coordinator at a time that everybody was just an offense. Of course, always pretty tough when you get told to hire a guy. Oh yeah. On your staff, you know, and Jimmy, Jimmy. I don't know if he's got revisionist history or what, but he claims that he doesn't recall that conversation with Tex offering to come in his to coordinate. But techs told me the story. So I know that it was true and Jimmy at that point had won a national championship in Miami and he wasn't going anywhere unless he was going to be a head coach. So anyhow, just finish this up in February. Eighty nine. Jerry comes in bum, bright, had offered to fire Landry for him to kind of limb stole with a clean slate. And Jerry says, no, you know, I want to be a man about this. This is my decision. I'll do it. So you get this guy from the wrong side of the Red River in Arkansas coming in and firing Saint Landry who all of a sudden became a mater Peter. They threw a parade in downtown Dallas with a hundred thousand people showing up every got fired the same fans once in a hanging effigy earlier. So is me of Eli manning now. So I always contained. They're getting fired was the best thing that happened to Landry post football years because instead of going out as a coach, who lot of people thought the game had passed him by he went out as mortar figure like poor time, you know, Joe, how dare Jerry Jones fire our Tom, when in reality they wanted him fired and Jerry did what they wanted. Gary Myers author of a new book on the Dallas Cowboys, which I really like, how about them Cowboys inside the huddle with the stars and legends of America's team, Gary, I think not many people know the next two things I'm gonna ask you about her things that I don't believe. Many people know. The first one is. When Jerry Jones bought this team in nineteen eighty nine, he was stretched so thin to buy this team to come up with the cash that there were times during the process where even he admitted to those closest to him. I don't think I have the money to do this. This is really going to be a stretch, how so a, how desperately did Jerry Jones wanna buy this team when it was really at its dear of of being any good, you know? And then do you think there is a chance that maybe he wasn't going to get approved while I think the only way he wouldn't have got approved if it didn't come out with his wonderful golden parachute fatigue Schramm because. Tex was very close with Roselle and all the owners and and Jerry was was running him off. So the point that a came for Jerry to get approved or not approved, I don't think it was an issue. The financial was an issue and besides the fact, and they changed roles after he had already fired Landry he got rid of shrimp and brand, and now they were going to say, no, we're not approving you. So they changed the rules. These guys will buying teams can no longer make these changes until they get approved, which makes a lot of sense, but the Cowboys losing a million dollars a month when Jerry took over right. And that was a terrible strain on him. And that's why he was concentrating almost entirely on the business side and lending Jimmy handle the football operation besides the fact that they took over team that had no talent, but did inherit the first pick in the draft and took Troy Aikman and had Herschel Walker. And we know that they made that great trade that set them up for the future. But financially the fans weren't coming out anymore. Team went one in fifteen thought to Jerry Jimmy. We're over their heads. I asked you like to story, I asked Jerry, what's the worst business deal he ever made? And he was, you know, Jerry talks and it's sometimes you know, you really got to cut through it, but he had bought an interest in a bunch of cellphone companies around eighty seven or eight. And he didn't pay tremendous amount of money for it a couple hundred thousand dollars. But when it came time to buy the team, he had a cell that interest because he needed the money to put towards the purchase of the team. We sold it for a million dollars and then the cell phone era exploded and eight years later, that portion that he Seoul was were seven hundred million dollars a home. I got. Was he sick about it? Well, he was except when I said, well, you pay one hundred and fifty four million for the Cowboys. So now worth five billion. And if you actually needed that million to buy them, then it was probably a good deal. He was just, you know, that just really shows that he really was scraping together every last bit as most people do when they're when they're buying their first house or something like that. This was a dream his, you know, he almost bought the chargers. Many years earlier in his father talked him out of it, and he told me a story about when his father Pat cold them after bought the team and basically says to son, I've been reading everything about you. You're getting killed in the papers, you better not strew this up and it goes, thanks that. So Gary for people who might have an impression of Jerry Jones, who might think that, for instance, he's a, he's just a loud mouth and and maybe as looked into some of this and all that. Tell people about the Jerry Jones who you know. Well, the Jerry Jones that I got to know when my three months in Dallas before I moved back to New York. So basically February through may of of nine hundred ninety. Nine was a guy who I almost felt sorry for in a way because of the way he was being treated in the media and by the fans, everybody thinking who, as bumpkin from Arkansas who had no clue what he was doing, you know, fired the whole organization. Then he started losing and people really data that he knew what he was doing. But the Jerry that I know that I know now he's got to be the smartest businessman I've ever come across. And there are a lot of good businessman. Robert Kraft obviously is tremendous, but what he's done with the stadium and the star to further the brand of the Cowboys. Is amazing. We know how he got into the whole fame basically because of the way he helped the NFL. Changes business operation, interred millionaires into billionaires, but the things that he's done with his team, for example. Joey junior had a lot to do with some of the things that go on the star and Jerry are for everybody who training complex is training complex, which is beyond state of the art, right? So Jerry junior, just coming up with these ideas to spend a million dollars on a on a meeting room or draft room, and just those things extravagantly and Jerry said we'd better not lose money on this. I don't have the stomach for this, and so the draft room they with one of their sponsors. I wrote a run contest towards the end of August. You win the contest. You get to hold your fantasy draft in the same room that Cowboys Cowboys war-room came. That's great. Bell check nets the team meeting room. They rent out to corporations for for retreats. And so he's found a way to squeeze every dollar out of that building and they were going to open a health club in conjunction with equinoxes. Yeah. And when they found out that the return on the dollar was so tremendous thirty five percent, right? You make you make thirty five cents on every dollar. That's right. I read that in the book and I said, Jerry is not going to let that stand. No. So Jerry junior has a meeting with the guy from equinoxes and comes back and says, dad, we don't want to be in business with somebody on a on a health club. We want to own. So they they have a magnificent magnificent health club at the star. And if you're looking, you get to be in the hot tub. Dak Prescott. Do you know that they had a Mariah machine at valley ranch, which was a role training complex as you know, and they just thought it would make it easier to have the machine there, but it wasn't really financially feasible. They weren't getting their money's worth out of it as many injuries as you have any NFL you're still not getting your money's worth out of a very expensive machine. So with the doctors in the area, they to conjunction with a lot of the doctors and their patients that you send your patients to valley ranch. You know, they charge them for the city Mariah, but you you can have your patients in the same MRI machine is Jason Witten. And they had them lining up. I mean, even people who weren't hurt when. You want to be in the same MRI machine as Tony Romo when it had his collarbone broken who wouldn't hit. So I wanna I want to end by talking a little bit about modern times and by asking about. Roger Goodell Jerry Jones. We all know that Jerry fought every step of the way and when Zeki Elliott got a six game suspension before the two thousand seventeen season. But I, I wanna know what you know that I don't know about this because there are some things in there that really a lot of people didn't know because it was a strange time to refresh everyone's memory. This suspension took place not long after Jerry gut into the pro football hall of fame was enshrine had is, you know, had his speech in canton and had a party where Roger Goodell attended it. And Roger Goodell had to know when he attended that already that he was going to be whacking Jerry Jones within a matter of days or maybe a couple of weeks. So what don't I know that you know about this Jerry to this day stone SIS, that Roger had told. Him that he was not suspending Elliott, and he told me that for the third time and as recently as the March league meetings in Orlando this year, and after he told me that I met with Roger after his final press conference the league meeting, and I said, I just need to ask you this again, Jerry insists that you told them Zeke was not being suspended. Would you have say to that? He goes to that happen. He goes, no, n period opioid, no. Is something about that you don't understand. Don't kill me. I'm only the messenger, but the thing that's interesting about Jerry's whole famed party. I can remember. No. Okay. So I was there and I saw Roger there and I did not see when they were talking and I have a great picture in the book of Jerry and Bon Jovi and Roger standing together all with a glass of whatever in their hands. And so the caption in the in the road in the book was Jerry Jones was living on a prayer if you thought that Roger, good anyhow, Rogers at that party. Now, five days later is when he call Jerry to save suspending Zeke. So you know that Roger had a note that warning. And so what he didn't wanna do was ruined Gerry's weekend, right? But what he did do was Rune Jerry season and five days later when he called him, Jerry says, don't do that. And Jerry says, while I will call you back when my official. Vision tomorrow, and he called him back and said, I'm suspending him six games and the relationship between Jerry and Roger right now is really interesting, but Jerry was very quick to point out that he goes, you know, I still send Roger a Christmas card and a Christmas ornament this year alone, every owner. And I do that every year. So I think Jerry's business acumen is crucial to the league, and I think it's important for Roger, not to not sure agreed with Elliott suspension, but at least a length of it. But I think it's really important important for Roger, not to play favorites, and he's probably alienated who's to closest allies in the last four or five years in Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones finishing up with Gary Myers, Gary. The last thing I would say about just the Cowboys kind of imprint on society. I guess I would ask you why after doing the research this book d, you believe that the Cowboys are such a gigantic part of Americana. It's a phenomenon and I really do believe they've completely surpassed the Yankees and Notre Dame, and even if the basketball team you want to mention, they just didn't unbelievable job in the late sixties when they lost this championship games too. The Packers of becoming a team that took to heart strings of football fans, because he always such an underdog, they were only you know, the only came into being in nineteen sixty and by the mid sixties. They were going against, you know, Lombardi Packers for championships and then being on on the late afternoon slot on thanksgiving every year, which Schramm volunteered forecast. Nobody ever wanted to play on thanksgiving. So for the lions and the Cowboys and getting that late afternoon slot more from not having a late afternoon doubleheader game on CBS or FOX or NBC being on Monday night football when it was a really, really big deal to be a Monday night football. More than anybody else. Now, you know with you there on Sunday night football more than any other team, they, they have just people. The love them is such a cliche, but it's really true people either love him or hate him, and nobody feels indifferent about him. And that was, that's what makes them really special. I'm doing a book signing in New York at a bar in Manhattan at bills itself is the official bar of the TAOs Cowboys. They have their watch parties there every Sunday. I had no idea Cowboys fan club in there in every city in the country. I know that with a moose calls at giant stadium in a big game of ninety three between the Cowboys and giants, and it was blown away by how many cowboy fans have gotten into into building. But to think does actually two bars. Manhattan I'm doing signings at that are calbos bars, and I'm doing this is really cool. I'm doing a signing at at star in October eighteenth and have Jason Witten, Daryl Johnston and Everson walls joining me. So that's going to be great. It's going to be a lot of funny. A lot of fun, Gary Myers author of how about them Cowboys inside the huddle with the stars and legends of America's team. Thanks so much for joining Gary Peter. I've known you forever, and this is the first time you've ever asked me questions and it was a lot of fun. I think you have me on. Thanks to my guess Justin, Tucker, and Gary mind. If you enjoy these conversations shirtless and subscribe to other great episodes. In my podcast series such as my conversations with through grease Larry FitzGerald in Chris Mortenson, you can find these on apple podcast. Google player, anywhere you get your podcasts and don't forget to leave a review while you're there. You can also hear the Peter King podcast on Sirius XM radio every Saturday morning at seven AM eastern on mad dog sports radio Sirius. XM channel eighty two. Thanks to the folks that cadence thirteen for their production. And thanks of course to my sponsors, ziprecrui and rocket loans by quicken. Please support them the way they support this podcast. And I'll see you next week.

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