Landry, Tom (Thomas Wade Landry), 1924–2000, American football coach, b. Mission, Tex., B.S., Univ. of Texas, 1949, M.S. Univ. of Houston, 1952. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps (1942–45), and after completing his studies, played for the New York Yankees (1949) of the All-America Football Conference and the New York Giants (1950–55) of the National Football League. He also was defensive coordinator for the Giants (1954–59), who won the NFL championship in 1956. Landry then coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 seasons (1960–88), winning Super Bowls in 1971 and 1977. He is best known for developing the 4-3 defense (four linemen and three linebackers) and refining it into the flex defense, which altered its alignment to counter the offense. Offensively, he is perhaps most noted for regularly shifting his players before the snap in an effort to outwit the defense.
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Landry, (Thomas Wade) Tom(1924– ) football player, coach; born in Mission, Texas. An outstanding defensive back with the National Football League's New York Giants, he became head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in their first year (1960) and remained through 1988. His teams featured a tricky, multiple offense and his creation, the flex defense. During his 29 seasons, the Cowboys won 18 division championships and appeared in five Super Bowls, winning two.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.