By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Captain America is up to no good.
"Hey, you look soooo familiar," the woman working the counter says.
"Well, yeah actually, I... " the man starts before being interrupted.
"You're from Tyler!" she exclaims, growing giddier by the syllable. "Tyler High School! You taught...oh, what was it... ?"
"Chemistry," the man deadpans, suddenly channeling a person he's making up right on the spot. "Mr. Carney."
"Of course!" she chirps. "Mr. Carney. Wow. How are you?!"
"One of my students?" the man inquires with a question he fully realizes has no correct answer. "Were you there when we had the, um, big fire in the lab?"
"Yes!" says the woman. "Oh, my God!"
Before the man dares to spin out his impromptu fish tale—perhaps asking to compare invisible scars from a blaze that never occurred in a phantom teacher's classroom that doesn't exist—he grabs his coffee, is recognized again and high-tails it for the exit.
"Bye, Mr. Carney," she says.
"You do know who you were talking to, right?" the next customer says to the stunned woman.
Roger Staubach never looked back.
"We had this whole back-and-forth thing going pretty good," Staubach says, leaning back and chuckling at the recollection recently in his Dallas real estate office. "I'm sure she was plenty embarrassed...I know, I know. I'm bad about that."
Bad about "that" and, turns out, nothing else.
Staubach, who for decades in Dallas has alternated among Captain America and God's Quarterback and The Dodger and devout family man and successful businessman and pristine role model, is about to atone for a lifetime of sins that—who are we kidding?—would fit comfortably in your great-granny's sewing thimble.
As if bringing two Super Bowl championships and priceless dignity to Dallas wasn't enough, Staubach will host America's biggest and most popular sporting event, one that will attract 93,000-plus fans to Cowboys Stadium, lure 200,000 visitors to the area, generate an economic impact of $500 million and produce TV viewership of 100 million in the United States and approximately 1 billion worldwide. Super Bowl XLV comes to North Texas in general and Arlington in specific in 415 days (February 6, 2011), and the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback just happens to be the chairman of the host committee, the familiar, flawless face of our monumental moment.
"There was really only one person whose presence, aura or mystique best represents football in North Texas. It's Roger," says Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who built the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium and recruited Staubach to quarterback the Super push. "He was the obvious choice to be the leader in this pursuit, because his entire career has been about leadership and getting the job done."
Adds Super Bowl XLV host committee President/CEO Bill Lively: "Roger's the real deal, as close to a perfect human being as you can imagine. You can't spend any amount of time with him without coming away in awe."
Especially, that is, if you work the cash register at Starbucks.
"He made mistakes on the field, sure. Errant throws. Calling a different play than what Coach Landry wanted. Taking off scrambling too soon. But in his personal life, no. He's never made one that I know of. He's classy, upstanding, moralistic, even funny. He's the perfect role model."
—former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson
Golfer and global athletic icon Tiger Woods, in the midst of his recent extramarital "transgressions," released a statement saying, in part, "I'm human and I'm not perfect." To which Staubach could—but never would—counter, "Dude, that must suck."
"I don't want to get into Tiger's personal life," Staubach says. "I'll just say I've been fortunate to be married 44 years [to high-school sweetheart Marianne], knock on wood. Geez, let's don't jinx it."
He orchestrated 23 fourth-quarter comebacks, started four of the Cowboys' eight Super Bowls and, despite a military commitment that forced him to begin his NFL career as a 27-year-old rookie, is among the franchise's top three all-time quarterbacks in rating, attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards and touchdowns. But on this early December afternoon, Staubach is immersed in his new favorite element, the financial services and commercial real estate offices of Jones Lang LaSalle at the Tollway and Northwest Highway. Heading toward a glass-walled conference room on the seventh floor, Staubach emerges from his office—7R22—and immediately unveils a blemish.
"Please bring me a..." he politely asks his assistant. "Can't even remember what I like. A diet something."
Of course Staubach isn't perfect. He has the dry, borderline warped sense of humor. And if TMZ would stop digging up dirt on Woods and Josh Hamilton and Michael Phelps and Dave Letterman long enough, the gossip gurus might just uncover that Staubach has left a couple wet towels on a couple floors, was rumored to have ripped those warning tags off his pillows and once—just once—forgot to floss.
"I'm just not real comfortable tooting my own horn," he says with a shrug. "You're not going to play up the squeaky clean stuff too much, are you?"