Collected Wisdom: Troy Aikman, Fox Sports analyst and former Dallas Cowboys/Oklahoma quarterback

Mike Baldwin catches up with the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, who is now an analyst for Fox Sports.
by Michael Baldwin Published: February 4, 2013

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman is now an analyst for Fox Sports. But before that, he was an All-Stater at Henryetta, signed with the University of Oklahoma and played two years at UCLA before being the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1989 NFL Draft.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Aikman led Dallas to three Super Bowl titles in four years. He was named MVP of Super Bowl XXVII.

The New York Mets offered Aikman a professional baseball contract out of high school, but he chose to play football at OU. After he suffered a season-ending broken ankle against Miami in 1985, the Sooners switched back to the wishbone offense, prompting his transfer to UCLA.

I love broadcasting. It's really a great job for where I'm at now in my life. It allows me to continue to be part of something that I'm very passionate about. I love game day. There's a lot of work during the week to get prepared. The tough part for me is being gone every weekend, having 10- and 11-year-old daughters, and missing some of their activities. But the positives are I get to take them to school every morning, pick them up and attend all their practices and stuff during the week.

Brevity is an important element (of being an analyst). I don't talk down to fans. I don't get into the X's and O's. Someone once told me, ‘Pretend you're watching the game with an 8-year-old boy.' But you also have to go beyond that because there's coaches and housewives in that room with that 8-year-old boy, too. Playing the game, constructive criticism was important.

With guys like Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick I think we're going to see a lot more of those type quarterbacks. We're seeing more and more of those players in college. There will always be a place in this league for the pocket passer but I think those guys are going to be harder to find.

My first love was baseball. From time to time my father would ask me, ‘Son what do you want to be when you grow up?' From as far back as I can remember, 7 or 8 years old, I had only one answer: ‘I want to be a professional athlete.' It wasn't be a doctor one week or be a firefighter the next. I wasn't sure what sport but I was pretty sure it would be baseball.

Growing up, from my backyard (in Cerrito, Calif.), you could see the parachute jump at Knotts Berry Farm. It's similar to Disneyland. I got a bicycle when I was very young. It might as well have been a car. It got me everywhere I wanted to go. I got to see buddies after school and do all kind of things quite honestly that my girls don't get to do in Dallas. But everything revolved around sports.

If my family hadn't moved to Henryetta I probably would have gone on and done something relatively well, but I don't know if my career path would have been what it ultimately was. Those five years in Henryetta helped me realize a dream to become a professional athlete.

I thoroughly enjoyed my years in Henryetta. When I graduated (high school) Darren Lesley and I were the only two at the commencement ceremony that cried. The girls were slinging their hats, like a party, a big thrill.

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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