National Football League Hall of Famer and star quarterback Roger Staubach, best known for his four Super Bowl appearances and two championships, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by an admiring President Donald Trump on Friday.
Staubach was known as “Captain Comeback” for his come-from-behind victories on the football field during his playing days with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s. Staubach also starred at the U.S. Naval Academy, where his football feats earned him the 1963 Heisman Trophy, awarded to the year’s top college football player.
In the East Room of the White House, Trump recalled witnessing Staubach’s last-second heroics in a different sport.
“I had a golf match where Roger was my partner, and we were in deep trouble ... And we desperately needed a par on the 18th hole to win,” Trump said. “And he came out and hit a shot — I don’t know how it happened. But he was this far from the hole. He got the par, we won. And I said: ‘That’s Roger Staubach.’”
Staubach, who joined the Cowboys in 1969, at age 27 after serving in the Navy, played for Dallas for all 11 of his years in the NFL. He played less than 20 miles from Fort Worth, at Texas Stadium in Irving, a Dallas suburb.
“I used to watch him when I was going to school, and I’d say, ‘They can’t catch him. He’s just better by far than everybody else. He is something.’” Trump said.
Staubach, 76, received his Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, as his wife Marianne and five children looked on.
“Roger, you inspire Americans across the country to work hard, dream big and always push on to victory,” Trump said.
Staubach also started and ran a successful real estate business called the Staubach Company, which he sold in 2008 for $640 million. Staubach has donated to numerous charitable organizations and Republican candidates for office over the years.
Other recipients present at the Medal of Freedom on Friday were: Miriam Adelson, a doctor and philanthropist married to Republican casino magnate and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, and Alan Page, a former NFL Hall of Famer and Minnesota Supreme Court justice.
Posthumous awards were given to music icon Elvis Presley, baseball legend Babe Ruth and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.