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Tex Schramm

Tex Schramm
Date of birth (1920-06-02)June 2, 1920
Place of birth San Gabriel, California, United States
Date of death July 15, 2003(2003-07-15) (aged 83)
Career information
Position(s) General Manager
College Texas
High school Alhambra (CA)
Career history
As executive
1947-1956 Los Angeles Rams
1960-1989 Dallas Cowboys
Career highlights and awards
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1991
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army Air Forces seal U.S. Army Air Forces
Battles/wars World War II

Texas Earnest "Tex" Schramm, Jr. (June 2, 1920 – July 15, 2003) was the original president and general manager of the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys franchise. Schramm became the head of the Cowboys when the former expansion team started operations in 1960.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Dallas Cowboys 2
  • Innovations 3
  • After the Cowboys 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and career

Despite his name, Schramm was not born in Texas, but in San Gabriel, California. Texas was his father's name and where his parents met. Schramm attended Alhambra High School and went to the University of Texas, graduating in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. At UT he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, as was his father. Schramm interrupted his education to serve as an officer in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

Before joining the Cowboys, Schramm was part of the Los Angeles Rams from 1947 to 1956. During his tenure, he hired Pete Rozelle as the Rams' public relations director; Rozelle later became one of the most important commissioners in the history of the NFL. They remained close friends after Rozelle became NFL commissioner and Schramm became general manager of the Cowboys (each holding his position for 29 years).

Dallas Cowboys

In late 1959, when it became apparent that the NFL was intent on expanding to Dallas, Schramm told his friends in football that he was interested in running the team. Clint Murchison, Jr., who had tried to bring the NFL to Dallas several times in the past. Murchison hired Schramm as the general manager for a potential Dallas team, which became a reality when the league awarded a franchise to the city on January 28, 1960.[1]

In 1960, Schramm hired head coach Tom Landry and chief scout Gil Brandt. By the mid-1960s, the three men had built the Cowboys into an elite team. The Cowboys, despite two consecutive losses to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship in 1966 and '67, had 20 consecutive winning seasons, and won the most games of any NFL team of the 1970s. They appeared in five Super Bowls that decade, winning Super Bowls VI and XII, and losing Super Bowls V, X, and XIII by a combined 11 points. The Cowboys became a marquee NFL franchise, their popularity inspiring the nickname "America's Team".

Schramm was known as the most powerful general manager in the NFL. The Cowboys' owners during his tenure, Murchison (1960–84) and H.R. "Bum" Bright (1984–1988), largely left day-to-day operations in his hands. Schramm held the Cowboys' voting right at league meetings, a right normally reserved for team owners.

In 1966, Schramm met secretly with American Football League (AFL) founder Lamar Hunt to begin the negotiations that led to the 1970 merger of the NFL and AFL, as well as the first Super Bowl in 1967.


Schramm was also known for innovations that helped redefine the modern NFL. These include instant replay, using computer technology in scouting, multi-color striping of the 20- and 50-yard lines, 30-second clock between plays, extra-wide sideline borders, wind-direction stripes on the goal post uprights, the referee's microphone, and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. While leading the league's Competition Committee, he oversaw rule changes such as using overtime in the regular season, putting the official time on the scoreboard, moving goalposts from the front of the end zone to the back, and protecting quarterbacks through the in-the-grasp rule. Schramm's desire for a more comprehensive scouting combine led to the annual offseason NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. [3] [4]

Don Shula said of Schramm, "I truly believe he had as much, or more, to do with the success of professional football as anyone who has ever been connected with the league."

After the Cowboys

Schramm stayed on only briefly with the Cowboys after Jerry Jones purchased the team and fired Tom Landry. He left to become the president of the World League of American Football. Schramm was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. Schramm's entry into the Cowboys Ring of Honor took much longer due to strained relations with Jones. Schramm had created the Ring of Honor, and had been a "one-man committee" on inductions. Jones became that "committee" when he took over. Finally in 2003, Jones announced that Schramm would be inducted into the ring during the next football season. Schramm attended the announcement press conference and spoke, but died a few months later and was inducted posthumously.

Schramm married his high school sweetheart, Martha Anne Snowden, in 1941. Mrs. Schramm died on December 8, 2002. They had three daughters.


  1. ^ "Tex Schramm - Looks to Return to Pro Football". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 

External links

Preceded by
first President
World League of American Football President
Succeeded by
Mike Lynn
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