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In the Dallas Cowboys Huddle

The Game Before the Money Podcast spoke with Walt Garrison about what it was like in the Dallas Cowboys huddle with Don Meredith and Roger Staubach— in Episode 30 of the football history podcast. 

In the Huddle with Don Meredith and Roger Staubach

Like many of you, I grew up during the Roger Staubach era and watched several of his great comebacks. When I sat down with Walt Garrison, I wondered what it was like to be in the huddle with Roger Staubach, thinking there might be some sort of Hollywood script of Staubach dropping inspirational speeches in the middle of games. But Walt says things are usually pretty straightforward in a pro football huddle. He also talked about sharing the huddle with Don Meredith as well.

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What is it like in an NFL Huddle?

“Well, Meredith would talk more in the huddle. Roger didn’t talk. I mean, they call plays. You don’t have that long to call a play, and the plays are long in pro ball. They have a lot of different things they have to say because they have to call the line blocking – the original line blocking. It changes as the defense changes (at the line of scrimmage),” Garrison said.

“There’s a lot of stuff you (quarterbacks) have to say in a huddle. So, quarterbacks, the ones I played with, didn’t say, ‘Hey, how have you been? How’s your wife? Your kids?’ It was strictly football out there.”

Although it was strictly football, there were a few things the quarterbacks would discuss in the huddle. “The only thing Meredith or Staubach would say: Meredith, would say ‘OK, Frank,’ Frank Clarke was the tight end, ‘what do you got.’ And he wouldn’t say that until like the third quarter after you’d been playing half. A guy’s been covering Frank Clarke all day, so, he (Clarke) knows what routes he can beat him on. He would say the same thing to Bob Hayes, Lance Rentzel, or any other receivers, you know, Pete Gent. He’d say, ‘What do you got? What’ll work?’

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“So, there’s not a lot of conversation that goes on in the huddle except by the quarterback. Nobody talks in the huddle, ever. Or, (at least) when Meredith was there, or Staubach was there, no.”

Walt Garrison on Clutch NFL Players

I also got a chance to ask Walt a little bit about clutch players and making big plays.

“You take guys like Bob Lilly or Lee Roy Jordan, or Dan Reeves. There’s something about good players. They make good plays. Most of the good players are clutch players. I mean, quarterbacks, they don’t throw to a guy that might catch it or might not catch it. They throw it to somebody that can catch the ball and will catch the ball. I mean, Staubach he’d throw to Lance in tough situations or Billy Truax, another tight end who could catch anything. Quarterbacks go to certain players in certain situations because they trust them.”

Dallas Cowboys Go To Super Bowl V & Super Bowl VI

Walt and The Cowboys made it to both Super Bowl V and Super Bowl VI. They won Super Bowl VI over the Miami Dolphins. Of course, you can read about both of those games in the book, The Game Before the Money. But you can also hear Bob Lilly share a lot about Super Bowl Six in the Bob Lilly episode of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Podcast, which I also host.

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Looking for a great NFL history book? Check out The Game Before the Money: Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL available at — Amazon.com – Barnes and Noble – University of Nebraska Press

Like sports history? Listen to The Game Before the Money Podcast! Most episodes include stories from legendary football stars.

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