As approximately 750 people gathered for the 86th Texas Rose Festival Distinguished Men’s Luncheon on Friday at The Cascades, the guest speaker told a story of his relationship with the one and only “Tyler Rose.”
Former Dallas Cowboys and University of Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer spoke about how he thought former John Tyler Lion Earl Campbell was going to commit to play for him at Oklahoma.
“He’s the one that got away,” Switzer said. “I saw him play high school football games. When Earl played, the first time I saw him, I said this guy needs to be arrested for assault and battery.
“He’s the greatest high school football player I’ve seen. Sorry, Billy.”
Switzer’s apology was to former Oklahoma standout Billy Sims — the 1978 Heisman Trophy winner and first overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1980 NFL Draft. Sims, from Hooks, was in attendance Friday along with other former Sooner standouts George Cumby (Bishop Gorman) and Joe Wylie (Henderson).
“I found out about this yesterday, so I decided to come down and maybe get a chance to see my grandkids,” Sims said. “I’m good friends with Earl, and it’s always a pleasure to get to this part of the country.”
Switzer said he disagrees when people say that players like Campbell and Sims couldn’t play in today’s game.
“Talent can play any day,” Switzer said.
Switzer said he enjoys watching today’s brand of football, but also liked the way his teams used to play.
“I like today’s game,” Switzer said. “It’s exciting. I like the fact that my teams used to take the ball and dominate, control the ball and the clock. We would make first downs, move the chains, get in the four-down zone and go score. We were good enough on defense to stop the other teams and then repeat on offense.”
One of today’s current stars that Switzer was asked about was Whitehouse’s Patrick Mahomes, who suffered an injury in Kansas City’s win over Denver on Thursday.
“Patrick is an outstanding football player,” Switzer said. “I am a big fan of his. I wanted him to win the Super Bowl last year. He’s got a great career in front of him.”
Switzer knows all about succeeding in both college and the NFL. He’s one of only three coaches to win an NCAA football national championship and a Super Bowl in the NFL.
Switzer posted a record of 157-29-4 at Oklahoma from 1973-88 with national titles in 1974, 1975 and 1985.
Switzer returned to coaching in 1994 when he became the head coach of the Cowboys. Switzer was 40-24 in four seasons at the helm and led Dallas to a victory in Super Bowl XXX.
Switzer said the difference in coaching in college and the NFL is the fact that the professional players have such large contracts. He said the goal in the NFL is to win the Super Bowl, whereas in college, winning is important but so is developing the players into successful young men.
“It’s still the same game, 11 on offense, 11 on defense,” Switzer said. “But in college football, you spend more time with them off the field than you ever do on the field. You get to know their families, and they become family. In pro football, it’s not that way.”
Switzer ended his speech almost the same way he began it, with one simple phrase — “I love Texas.”