To celebrate the return of NFL football this week, our friend Sally Mott Freeman has given us this gem of a photo showing none less that Roger Staubach, star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys during the 1970s, standing with J. Edgar Hoover, Director-for-Life of the FBI. The man wearing glasses on the left is Sally’s Dad, then-retired Navy Rear Admiral William C. Mott, who happened to be the one who brought them together.
How? Here’s what the official FBI photo caption said: “On December 15, 1965, Ensign Roger T. Staubach, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, was photographed with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover during his visit to FBI Headquarters. Ensign Staubach was accompanied by Rear Admiral William C. Mott, USN (Retired), Executive Vice President, United States Independent Telephone Association, Washington, D.C. Shown in Mr. Hoover’s Office, left to right, are: Admiral Mott, Ensign Staubach and Mr. Hoover.”
But, of course, there was more to the story….
Hoover was a huge sports fan — especially fond of horses at Pimlico and boxing at Madison Square Garden. And Roger Staubach in 1965 had just graduated Annapolis a huge star. He led Navy football to a 9-1 season in1963, back-to-back wins over Army, a 41-0 thrashing of Cornell, capped by winning the Heisman Trophy. He also took his military duties seriously. Drafted in the 10th round in 1964 by the Dallas Cowboys, Staubach insisted on first serving his promised three years in the Navy, including a one-year deployment in Viet Nam.
As for Admiral Mott, according to what he told his daughter Sally, he had been serving in the early 1960s in the Pentagon as the Navy JAG (Judge Advocate General) when Hoover sent agents over to alert him that the FBI had uncovered evidence that could potentially embarrass the Navy. Hoover had learned that the Philadelphia mafia had infiltrated the concession stands at the Annapolis football stadium, with possible attempted bribes to some people in the Naval Academy athletic department. (We don’t know if anyone ever actually accepted the bribes.) The FBI was preparing to announce prosecutions and wanted to avoid blind-siding Navy officials.
Hoover’s team apparently rooted out the bad guys quickly, and Mott got to know The Director. A few years later, when the Naval Academy Foundation, a non-profit athletic and scholarship endowment program, had a meeting in Washington, Mott was more than happy to repay the favor by bringing the Navy’s young football star for a visit.
Roger Staubach would play eleven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (1969 through 1979), lead them to nine winning seasons, four Super Bowls, and play in six Pro Bowls. Known for his calm in engineering breath-taking endings, he managed to lead the Cowboys during his years as quarterback to 23 game-winning drives (15 comebacks) in the fourth quarter, including 17 in the final two minutes or overtime.
I have not checked yet whether Hoover kept a file on Staubach once he started playing with the Cowboys (or for that matter one on Admiral Mott). Somehow, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Happy football watching. Go Skins !!! How about that RGIII !!!