Sports fans can rattle off Roger Staubach statistics like a lifelong phone number. Cowboys’ fans, like breathing. To Staubach, however, life is defined by more than total passing yards or trips to the Super Bowl. The same Hall-of-Fame arm that stretched upwards — beseeching the heavens — after releasing the infamous Hail Mary, now wraps around his wife of 46 years. There is another side to Roger the Dodger. It’s funny. It’s wise. It’s grounded and humble. And while it’s no less impressive, it does have to do the dishes after dinner. We sat down with the Preston Hollow resident to get to know this side a little better.
What is your least favorite household chore?
I do the dishes after dinner. I’m neat. I put things away. But I don’t like to cut the grass or work in the lawn. I told Marianne, ‘The food will go before the yard guy.’
What do your grandchildren call you?
Papa. I said, ‘No grandfather. Don’t call me granddad or grandfather.’ But Papa is fine.
What is the secret to a happy, lasting marriage?
You’ve got to stay faithful. If you get married, it’s a commitment. Don’t try and compromise your commitment to each other. Trust is really as important as anything else in a marriage.
When did you and Marianne meet?
We met in the fourth grade. Although, I didn’t like girls until the eighth grade. We dated off and on in high school. We got engaged right after we graduated [college], and were married two months later. I was in the Navy, and it was hard to plan a wedding.
The end result is all that matters, right?
[laughs] I mean, I think we’d both do it again.
Where do you get your news?
I read Fortune, Business Week and Forbes. Then Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News. I read all of that religiously.
Where do you keep your Heisman Trophy?
Right now, it’s in my home office. We moved into a new home, and my wife did a great job decorating my office. There’s a nice place in there for the Heisman trophy. We used to have it on our fireplace in the first house we were in. The kids used to get on like a hobbyhorse.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
We have a home down in Horseshoe Bay near Marble Falls. We have a place on the lake there. That’s our favorite.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
I’m not a New Year’s resolution person. I work out all the time anyway. I have a whole workout room at home now, but I used to go over to Dr. Cooper aerobics center all the time. In January, the place is packed. Then, all of a sudden, it gets back to normal.
What do you always make sure is on the grocery list?
I’m a big chocolate milk guy. It’s good to drink after you work out. Of course, ice cream is always on there.
How much fun did you have intimidating boys that were trying to date your daughters?
I’d have a good time with them. Most of them liked sports, so I’d take them out and play a little basketball in the side yard or something. We really didn’t have any bad boyfriend experiences. But you always worry about your daughters.
Did you always know you wanted a big family?
We didn’t really have a game plan. We had three children in four years, our first four years of marriage. I was in Vietnam or else we would’ve had four children in four years.
What is the best part about being a grandparent?
The best part is seeing another human being in your life that you love, and they love you. They are part of the family tree. They are a lot of fun. The best part is enjoying them and not having to raise them.
When you were 10, what was your dream job?
I wanted to be a major league baseball player.
What is a piece of parenting advice that you would give to Tony Romo?
Make sure you love your child’s mother. Also, try and spend as much time with your kids as you can. The number one thing, if you’re married, is the example you set with each other. That’s what they see.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood restaurant?
Marianne likes to cook, and she actually cooks quite a bit. But we go to Eatzi’s a lot. The salmon and mac and cheese there? I could eat that every night.
If you were going to give a high school player advice, what would it be?
There’s a saying, ‘It takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to get spectacular results.’ No matter what, you have to work at what you do, or someone’s going to outwork you.
What are your thoughts about this Cowboys season?
I’ve been pretty positive about the Cowboys. They’re not out of it by any means. I think they are going to be in the playoffs and, if you get in the playoffs, anything can happen. But it’s going to be hard to beat Green Bay …
How do you think your wife would describe you?
She would describe me as someone who would need to spend more time relaxing.
Who would be the guests at your dream dinner party?
From a military standpoint, I’ve always admired McArthur. And I guess I’d like to have Babe Ruth there. I’ve always admired Ronald Reagan. Of course, everyone wants to have Jesus at their party. (laughs) You’ve got to remember Jesus. And I threw the Hail Mary pass, so I’d want the Blessed Virgin there too. I think she really likes me because of that. Of course, I’d want my wife at the dinner. And all my kids. And grandkids.