By Stephen Young
By Stephen Young
By Stephen Young
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
When Lively accompanies Staubach and host executive committee member Troy Aikman to local XLV fund-raising events, he must harness and direct the influence of two very different passers, two diametrically opposed pitchmen.
"Troy is meticulous, organized, stays on point," Lively says. "Roger? Well..."
Admits Staubach, "I'm not exactly a stick-to-the-script guy."
When the two former Cowboys quarterbacks walk into a room full of potential sponsors, they brandish five of the Super Bowl's 44 championships. Then they head in opposite directions. As he was as a player, Aikman is calm, calculated, accurate and efficient. At the first hint of opportunity, Staubach scrambles.
At a FAM (familiarization) event at Cowboys Stadium in October, Staubach regaled NFL-partner VIPs from the likes of Motorola and DirecTV with stories of leading and winning and the value of donating money to the XLV cause and...oh, screw it. For Staubach, it's more comfortable to simply wow 'em rather than try and woo 'em.
Wearing a suit and tie, Staubach picked up a ball and motioned for a guy in the group to run a 10-yard down-and-out pattern. And for the next 45 minutes—at distances that eventually approached 40 yards—the audience was mesmerized, watching the old quarterback throw strikes to the lanky dude in jeans and a Stetson, better known as former Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek.
"When it's Roger and Troy, you can bet no one's walking out. You're assured of a captive audience," Lively says. "But while Troy gets right to the message, Roger sometimes wanders around and takes the scenic route."
Says Staubach of his sales pitch-and-catch with Novacek, "It was a lot of fun. But my shoulder was sore for four days."
For almost that long, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI pondered even being involved in XLV.
Jones has won three Super Bowls, but he's dreamed of hosting the NFL's ultimate game almost since the moment he bought the team in 1989. In 2004, the billion-dollar twinkle in his eye manifested in plans for Cowboys Stadium, built, yes, to cement his personal legacy, but also with the hope of hosting a Super Bowl.
In 2005, Jones broke ground on the stadium in Arlington, and by late 2006, he was formulating a formal bid. But he needed a face.
"We decided early in the process that our theme would be to focus on football because, when you strip everything else away, the Super Bowl is about football, and nobody does football better than Texas," says Tara Green, who left her job with the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau for six months to be the primary architect of the bid. "It's in the fabric of who we are. We've got an unmatched passion for high school, college and pro football. We had that going for us, but we all knew we needed that last little extra-special punch. We knew who we needed."
While Green and the committee constructed the 244-page, 13-chapter bid in 2007 that promised the NFL things like 24,000 secured hotel rooms, public safety assurances and core support from the area, Jones reached out to his first option. Jones called Staubach.
"I had no idea what he wanted," Staubach says. "I knew the team was a little unsettled at quarterback, but I was prepared to tell Jerry I was just too old."
Marianne called Staubach at his office and relayed Jones' invitation to stop by his Park Cities home. By 6 p.m. Staubach arrived.
"He asked me to be the face of the game, to help him make the formal bid," Staubach says. "But my company was in the middle of a merger. I needed a few days to think it over."
Staubach, who at the time was a co-owner of NASCAR's Hall of Fame Racing with Aikman, called and consulted good friend Roger Penske, a long-time NASCAR owner who had helped Detroit's successful bid to land and organize Super Bowl XL in 2006.
"It didn't take long for me to realize what a huge impact this game could have on our area," Staubach says. "Plus, football is my life here. In the end, it was an easy decision."
Staubach joined the committee in January 2007 and led the North Texas delegation to Nashville that spring, where he made an impassioned 45-minute speech to NFL officials.
"I'm pretty sure I went off-script a couple times," he jokes.
On May 23, 2007, North Texas was awarded Super Bowl XLV, beating out Indianapolis by a vote of 17-15.
"The other cities had new stadiums and nice plans," Green says. "But they didn't have a Roger Staubach selling their product. You hear a once-in-a-lifetime guy talk about a once-in-a-lifetime game, and it's pretty powerful stuff."
Staubach fought in Vietnam. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1963 at Navy and is a member of the Cowboys' Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He led the Cowboys to frantic rallies and landmark victories. He grew The Staubach Co. into one of the metroplex's most powerful and omnipresent real estate brands.
But, just like that, the shy man who sneaked off to watch Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry instead of hitting Bourbon Street on a night off in New Orleans before Super Bowl VI in 1971 was suddenly the grown-up CEO of a multimillion-dollar, abstract thing enveloping the world's most prominent football game.