Coach Landry was famously stoic, taciturn and self-contained, the anti-Bradshaw, if you will.
There is a revealing black-and-white photograph of the great Dallas Cowboys coach in which he's sitting next to the finished Hall of Fame bronze bust, upon its completion. Which one is made of clay? Seriously, you have to look twice to make sure you've got it right.
He was cordial in his posing session, but he never came out of his buttoned-down character. To me, it felt like he was posing for a painting. I tried to loosen up the architect of 20 consecutive winning seasons, but after a series of yes and no answers, I stopped trying to make conversation. There was a wall there that wasn't coming down.
You're probably wondering about the hat. Why isn't that trademark fedora perched on Landry's head? Truth be told, it was an executive decision. The Hall of Fame wouldn't hear of it; if Paul Brown isn't wearing a hat, they said, no one wears a hat. I had been down this road before. When I was working on a sculpture of Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, the familiar hounds tooth hat was in absentia.
It's a good deal, though. Hats and their shadows can obscure the underlying reality. Without the fedora, Landry's forehead stretches smoothly, all the way to the back of his head. He's wearing a wry grin, or maybe it's a grimace after one of those three Super Bowl losses in a span of nine years. I have to agree with the critics; this was one of my better likenesses.
When people ask me which of my busts came closest to the subject, lately I've mentioned Barry Sanders, Class of 2004. Invariably, though, I'll cite Landry. Modesty aside, I think I really nailed the old coach.
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