|Thursday, September 14, 2000|
Where are they now: Danny White
By Dan O'Sullivan
Though he succeeded a legend, former quarterback/punter Danny White made a name for himself in the NFL.
When the Dallas Cowboys drafted White out of Arizona State in 1974, they had a fellow named Roger Staubach at quarterback. They also had a decent backup in Craig Morton. Rather than compete with the two veterans, White opted to spend two years in the World Football League. He finally joined the Cowboys for the 1976 season, serving as punter and backup quarterback until Staubach's retirement in 1979.
Over the next six years, White piloted the Cowboys to five playoff appearances and three NFC East titles. He retired in 1988 and still holds team records for career touchdown passes (155), touchdown passes in a season (29) and passing yards in a season (3,980).
One of White's finest moments came on Sept. 5, 1983, the first Monday Night Football game of the season. In a rematch of the 1982 NFC Championship Game, the Cowboys faced Super Bowl champs Washington at RFK Stadium. The Redskins sprinted to a 23-3 halftime lead and received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd en route to their locker room.
White had completed just one of nine passes in the first half, but rebounded in the second half. First he hit Tony Hill for a 75-yard touchdown. On their next drive, the White-Hill connection produced a 51-yard score to bring the Cowboys within six. White added a 1-yard touchdown run and a 1-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to ice the game. Final score: Dallas 31, Washington 30.
In 1992, White joined the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League as coach and general manager. He has since taken the team to two ArenaBowl championships and is the third-winningest coach in league history.
White and his wife, JoLynn, have three sons and a daughter.
ABC Sports Online: What are your memories from that Monday Night victory over the Redskins?
Danny White: I don't remember the game that well, except what a great feeling it was to hear the place go silent at the end of the game, when we took a lead for the last time. For a Dallas Cowboy, that was one of the highlights of your career: to go up to RFK Stadium and defeat not just the Redskins, but the Redskins fans. They were some of the most vocal and obnoxious fans in the league.
ABC Sports Online: What are your thoughts on playing for coach Tom Landry now that you've spent years as a head coach?
Danny White: I've gained more appreciation for what he did as a coach in terms of coaching both sides of the ball. He was a consummate coach. He designed the game plan offensively and defensively, and then turned it over to the assistant coaches. Today the assistant coaches do the breakdowns, do all the work, do all the game plans, and the head coach kind of oversees it all. He was the hands-on coach and the nuts-and-bolts of the Dallas Cowboys system. Not just the offense or the defense, but the entire system. To be able to do that on the NFL level is an incredible feat. I don't see anyone doing that at the NFL level [again].
ABC Sports Online: What did you do between retiring from the NFL and joining the Arizona Rattlers?
Danny White: I had several private businesses in Dallas. I was involved in the oil-and-gas business, insurance business, real estate business.
ABC Sports Online: What appealed to you about the Rattlers job?
Danny White: It was a chance to join a team as a head coach and general manager, which wasn't going to happen in the NFL. I guess in the back of my mind, I always felt I'd make a good coach because I'd always enjoyed studying defenses and breaking them down and the mental side of the game. And it was a chance to move back to Phoenix, where my family is and where I grew up.
ABC Sports Online: What do you like most about the Arena Football League?
Danny White: I like working with the players. They're not multimillion-dollar celebrities who happen to also play football on the side. They're football players. They love the game. They don't make so much money that they run the show. I really think the NFL has gotten to the point where the inmates are running the asylum. You don't have to deal with any of that in the Arena Football League, fortunately - at least not yet.
ABC Sports Online: Do you think you're having more fun coaching Arena football than you would coaching in the NFL?
Danny White: I know I'm having more fun. Whether I'm actually reaching my potential as a coach may be a question. But there are just other things in my life that are more important to me. My youngest son is a sophomore in high school and just starting out his football career. I want to be able to watch him and keep some stability in his life. Coaching in the NFL is a long-term goal of mine, but it's just not an immediate goal. But that's not to say that if the right offer came along, I wouldn't be interested.
ABC Sports Online: Do you still follow the NFL and will you watch the Cowboys on Monday night?
Danny White: If I don't have something else that I need to do, I'll be watching. I'm not a guy that plans his life around football games, other than my son's Friday night games.
|Cowboys quarterback Danny White is shown here against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.|
For more on Danny White, see www.dannywhite.com.