Staubach, Roger

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Roger Staubach


American football player

A star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys for nearly a decade, Roger Staubach endeared himself to fans of "America's team" with his last-minute heroics that led Dallas to two Super Bowl victories and four National Football Conference (NFC) championships. As successful as he was on the gridiron, both in college and in the National Football League (NFL), Staubach realized early on that there was a life for him beyond football. During the off-season from 1970 to 1977, he worked as a salesman and assistant vice president for Henry S. Miller Realty in Dallas. In 1977, while still playing for the Cowboys, Staubach founded a Dallas-based commercial real estate firm that would form the basis for his successful post-football career. In addition to his responsibilities as chairman and chief executive officer of Staubach Company, he finds time to write occasionally and involve himself in community and charitable affairs.

Born in Cincinnati

He was born Roger Thomas Staubach in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 5, 1942. The only child of Robert Joseph and Elizabeth (Smyth) Staubach, he attended Purcell High School, a parochial school in Cincinnati where he played baseball, basketball, and football. He showed particular promise in baseball and football. Staubach set his sights on playing football for Notre Dame, but when they passed on him he decided to enroll at Purdue. A recruiter for the U.S. Naval Academy, sent to Purcell to sign up the team's center, became interested in Staubach after seeing the quarterback in action on some of the team's game films. At least initially, Staubach had no interest in attending a service academy, but he was persuaded by the recruiter, Rick Foranzo, to pay a visit to Annapolis. Staubach made the trip and liked what he saw of the school, being particularly impressed by the academy's strong moral environment. When scores on his initial college entrance exams revealed a weakness in English, Staubach decided to seek help to prepare him for the rigorous standards of the academy. He enrolled at New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) in Roswell, New Mexico, where he not only boned up on his English, but honed his passing skills. He led the institute's football team to a 9-1 record.

Staubach entered the Naval Academy in 1961, kicking off a year of unparalleled misery for the Ohioan. Plagued by homesickness, he found it difficult to fit into the rigid lifestyle of a plebe. Even more depressing was his seeming inability to do anything without running afoul of the academy's rules. In his first four months, he collected 150 demerits; he knew if he collected 150 more during the remainder of the school year, he'd be on his way home from Annapolis. After some serious soul-searching during the Christmas break, Staubach returned to the academy with a new outlook and attitude. He managed to get through the rest of the school year with only 20 additional demerits, escaping the embarrassment of expulsion.


1942Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 5
1962-65Attends U.S. Naval Academy, earning varsity letters in three sports
1965Marries Marianne Jeanne Hoobler on September 4
1965-69Serves in U.S. Navy, including one year in Vietnam
1969Begins play for Dallas Cowboys as second-string quarterback
1970-77Works for Henry S. Miller Realty as salesman and assistant vice president
1971-72Alternates with Craig Morton as quarterback until being made starting quarterback midseason
1977Co-founds Holloway-Staubach Co. and serves as its chairman and CEO
1980Retires from Dallas Cowboys
1980-82Serves as football commentator for CBS Sports
1981-presentServes as chairman and CEO of Staubach Company in Dallas

Shines in Game against Cornell

It was not until the fourth game of his sophomore year that Staubach truly came into his own as a quarterback. Although he'd previously seen little play and was ranked well down on Navy's quarterback ranks, the coach sent him into a scoreless game with Cornell. Staubach passed for one touchdown and ran for two others to lead Navy to a lopsided 41-0 victory. For the 1962 season, he led the NCAA in passing with a completion rate of 67.3 percent. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the 1962 season for Staubach was Navy's upset win over Army in the academies' traditional end-of-season game. Navy overpowered Army, 34-14, largely on the strength of four touchdowns credited to Staubach, two on the ground and two in the air.

Staubach led Navy to a 9-1 record in his junior year, compiling a total of fifteen touchdownsseven passing and eight runningfor the season. His impressive performance earned him the covers of Time and Sports Illustrated. In the post-season, Navy faced off against top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Although Texas won the game, 28-6, Staubach performed admirably, completing twenty-one of thirty-one pass attempts for a total of 228 yards. In late November 1963, Staubach learned that he had won the coveted Heisman Trophy. Because he'd earned a year of college credit by attending NMMI, a junior college, Staubach became eligible for the NFL draft in the spring of 1964. However, his commitments to the Navy hardly made him an eagerly sought-after property. He was eventually drafted by the Cowboys in the 10th round of the draft. An injury at the start of Staubach's senior year significantly compromised his value to the team, and Navy finished the 1964 season with a record of 3-6-1.

Begins Service in the Navy

Staubach graduated from the Naval Academy in 1965 with an engineering degree. A few months later, he married longtime girlfriend, Marianne Hoobler, and prepared to begin his naval service. Over the next four years, he satisfied his active duty requirements, serving one year in Vietnam as a supply officer. Although he had at one time considered a career in the military, he found the urge to play professional football too strong to resist and in 1969 reported to the Dallas Cowboys training camp. With Craig Morton firmly entrenched as the team's starting quarterback, Staubach saw limited action his first few seasons. After the Cowboys, quarterbacked by Morton, narrowly lost Super Bowl V to Baltimore in January 1971, Cowboys coach Tom Landry decided to give Staubach a chance to compete for the quarterback's job during the 1971-1972 season. By mid-season, Staubach had won the job, eventually leading the Cowboys to the NFC Championship and a chance to reverse its Super Bowl fortunes. At Super Bowl VI, Dallas blew away the Miami Dolphins, 24-3, earning Staubach the Super Bowl MVP Award.

For Staubach, much of the 1972-1973 season was marred by a shoulder injury he suffered in the pre-season. After surgery and a lengthy recuperation, he did return to the team late in the season. In a first-round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys were trailing when Staubach led the team to two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the game for a 30-28 victory over San Francisco. This come-from-behind victory earned Staubach the nickname "Captain Comeback." In the race for the NFC Championship, the Cowboys reached the finals but lost, 26-3, to the Washington Redskins. In the second half of the 1970s, Staubach led the Cowboys to the Super Bowl three times1976, 1978, and 1979. In two of those Super Bowl appearances, Dallas was overpowered by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but in 1978 Staubach led the Cowboys to a lopsided victory, 27-10, over the Denver Broncos.

Awards and Accomplishments

1962Led NCAA with pass completion rate of 67.3 percent
1962-64U.S. Naval Academy's Thompson Trophy Cup
1963Heisman Trophy
1971, 1973, 1978-79Leading NFL passer
1972Super Bowl VI victory; Super Bowl MVP
1972, 1977-80Selected to play in Pro Bowl
1978Super Bowl XII victory
1981Elected to National Football Hall of Fame
1985Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame
2000Receives NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award

Related Biography: Football Player Craig Morton

Craig Morton, the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback unseated by Roger Staubach, eventually faced off against Staubach in 1978's Super Bowl XII. Morton was raised in Campbell, California. A stand-out football star at Campbell High School, winning Central Coast MVP honors, Morton received a flood of scholarship offers. He decided to play for the University of California, where he received All-American honors during his third year as the Golden Bears' starting quarterback. At the 1965 NFL draft, Morton was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys as the fifth pick overall in the first round of the draft. For his first few years with the Cowboys, Morton was a backup for legendary quarterback Don Meredith. In 1969, the season after Meredith's retirement, Morton took over as starting quarterback. During the Cowboys' 1970-1971 season, Morton led the team to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Colts by a score of 16-13.

In the 1971-1972 season following the Cowboys' loss in Super Bowl V, coach Tom Landry decided to let Morton and Staubach duel it out for starting quarterback honors. By mid-season, Staubach had won the job, and although Morton stayed on in Dallas for a couple of years after losing to Staubach, he saw only limited action. He next played with the New York Giants before joining the Denver Broncos in 1977. Morton helped lead the Broncos to their first Super Bowl in January 1978, only to lose, 27-10, to the Cowboys, led by Staubach. Morton continued to play for the Broncos until 1982, when he retired from professional football. In 1988, he was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame, and in 1992 was similarly honored by the College Football Hall of Fame and the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame. In November 2002, the Santa Clara County native was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame. Morton currently is the proprietor of Mel Hollen's Restaurant in San Francisco.

Retires from Football

By the end of the 1970s, Staubach's enthusiasm for the game was beginning to wane noticeably, as he yearned to spend more time with his family. In 1980, Staubach announced his retirement from the NFL. Since about 1970 Staubach had been heavily involved in the commercial real estate business in and around Dallas, working first for Henry S. Miller Realty until 1977 when he co-founded Holloway-Staubach Corporation, which he served as chairman and CEO until 1981. By 1981, Holloway-Staubach had become Staubach Company, which Staubach continues to lead as chairman and CEO. The company, a full-service real estate strategy and services firm, works for clients around the world. Shortly after leaving pro football, Staubach worked briefly as a commentator for CBS Sports, but today he concentrates on running his real estate business. He and wife Marianne live in the Dallas area and have five children, Jennifer Anne, Michelle Elizabeth, Stephanie Marie, Jeffrey Roger, and Amy Lynn.

In the years since he left football, Staubach has been widely honored not only for his football prowess but for his accomplishments in business and civic affairs. He was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. In January 2002, Staubach received the NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award, which is presented annually to a former college student-athlete "who has exemplified the ideals and purposes of college athletics by demonstrating a continuing interest and concern for physical fitness and sport." Staubach's other awards include the 1988 Henry Cohn Humanitarian Award, 1990 Dallas/Fort Worth Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 1992-1993 Oak Cliff Lions Club Humanitarian Award, and 1998 Mission Award from St. Edward's University.

Staubach, a successful businessman today, will be long remembered as one of football's most outstanding quarterbacks as well as a consummate team leader. The late Sid Luckman, a Hall of Fame quarterback with the Chicago Bears, said of Staubach: "He had an air about him. You knew someone special was on the field." In a profile of Staubach in Time, reporter Peter Ainslie wrote: "Staubach's greatest asset [was] his fierce competitiveness, fierce even by the standards of a league filled with men who brood for days after a defeat."


Address: Roger Staubach, c/o Staubach Company, 15601 Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 400, Addison, TX 75001. Phone: (800) 944-0012. Online:


(With Sam Blair and Bob St. John) First Down, Lifetime to Go, Word, 1974.

(With Frank Luksa) Time Enough to Win, Word, 1980.

(With Jack Kinder Jr. and Garry D. Kinder) Winning Strategies in Selling, Prentice-Hall, 1981.

The Staubach Planner: A Tool for Success, Prentice-Hall, 1983.

(With Troy Aikman and Jeanne T. Warren) Reaching for the Stars, Taylor, 1993.

Career Statistics

DAL: Dallas Cowboys.

(With Richard Whittingham) Rites of Autumn: The Story of College Football, Simon & Schuster, 2001.



Burchard, Marshall. Sports Hero Roger Staubach. New York: Putnam, 1973.

"Roger Staubach." American Decades CD-ROM. Detroit: Gale Group, 1998.

"Roger Staubach." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, five volumes. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000.

"Roger (Thomas) Staubach." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002.

Sullivan, George. Roger Staubach: A Special Kind of Quarterback. New York: Putnam, 1974.

Towle, Mike (Editor). Roger Staubach, Captain America. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 2002.


"1963: Roger Staubach, Navy Back." (October 16, 2002).

"Craig Morton." (October 18, 2002).

"Craig Morton to Join San Jose Sports Hall of Fame." University of California. (October 18, 2002).

"Ring of Fame: Craig Morton." Denver Broncos. (October 18, 2002).

"Roger Staubach." Famous Texans. (October 16, 2002).

"Roger Staubach: Biography." Pro Football Hall of Fame. (October 16, 2002).

"Roger Staubach: Quarterback." (October 16, 2002).

"Roger Staubach, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer." Staubach Company. (October 18, 2002).

"Staubach Recognized with NCAA's Highest Honor." NCAA. (October 18, 2002).

Sketch by Don Amerman