When I was sixteen years old, I hawked popcorn in Texas Stadium during Dallas Cowboy games. I spent the first half of each game climbing flights of stairs and using my big voice, "Popcorn, get your Hot, Buttered Popcorn!"
During the second half, I could either keep selling or find an open seat and watch the rest of the game. That was in 1973. The Cowboys were in one of their heydays, so I always cashed out and looked for the best seat I could find...
...And I got to see some pretty incredible games. Tom Landry was the thinking man's coach, and he always seemed to be one strategic step ahead of other coaches. Bob Lilly, Jethro Pugh, Too-Tall Jones, and Randy White were the "Doomsday Defense." Those big guys were exciting to watch as they regularly overwhelmed the opposing offensive lines during games. Most impressive of all was the Cowboy's quarterback, Roger "The Dodger" Staubach. He was always putting the stink on the other teams. An escape artist, he would end each wild backfield runabout with incredible throw after unbelievable throw.
If the Cowboys were behind, a fourth-quarter comeback was always anticipated with great relish by the fans. If Roger didn't make one happen, it was usually because he had started into that home stretch three touchdowns behind, and there were still a few points to go when he ran out of time.
Last night, I watched "A Football Life, Roger Staubach." I've always believed that winning football games is on the shoulders of the quarterback, and Roger Staubach was a shining blue and silver-clad superhero to me. He helped me fall in love with the game of football. That documentary did an excellent job of reflecting those magical times. It was almost like I was back in that stadium again, a youngster watching his hero save the day game after game. I remembered just how joyful it was to be in the audience and how sad I was when Roger retired.
Heroes are still around, Thank God, but there was and always will be only one real-life Captain America.