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Landry, Tom

Landry, Tom (Thomas Wade Landry), 1924–2000, b. Mission, Tex., B.S., Univ. of Texas, 1949, M.S. Univ. of Houston, 1952. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps (1942–45), and after completing his studies, played for the New York Yankees (1949) of the All-America Football Conference and the New York Giants (1950–55) of the National Football League. He also was defensive coordinator for the Giants (1954–59), who won the NFL championship in 1956. Landry then coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 seasons (1960–88), winning Super Bowls in 1971 and 1977. He is best known for developing the 4-3 defense (four linemen and three linebackers) and refining it into the flex defense, which altered its alignment to counter the offense. Offensively, he is perhaps most noted for regularly shifting his players before the snap to outwit the defense.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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