Bookfest Presents Michael Granberry & Burk Murchison
In 1966, when the still-young Dallas Cowboys franchise ended six years of agony with their first winning season, the team’s owner and founder, Clint Murchison Jr., son of a billionaire oilman, was feeling ambitious. He believed his team would be good, even special, for years to come. With such dreams dancing in his head, Murchison found that the aging Cotton Bowl in Dallas’s Fair Park was no longer a suitable home for what would soon be dubbed “America’s Team.”
Hole in the Roof: The Dallas Cowboys, Clint Murchison Jr., and the Stadium That Changed American Sports Forever tells the story of Texas Stadium, with its trademark hole in the roof, which served the Cowboys for 38 seasons without ever requiring a penny of public dollars. In 1966, though the Cotton Bowl was one of the newer stadiums in the National Football League, Murchison saw it as an outdated venue. What he envisioned was a shiny new stadium near downtown Dallas, but to realize his vision for what a professional sports venue could be—and the many benefits that the resulting revenue could generate—he needed buy-in from Dallas city leaders.
Hole in the Roof chronicles Murchison’s founding of an extraordinary sports franchise and the battles he fought to build the stadium he wanted. Along the way, this book provides not only a sweeping biography of Clint Jr., a history of the Cowboys from before their inception in 1960 until now (including Jerry Jones), and a history of Texas Stadium, but also a critical look at how Clint’s original concept of the stadium has been corrupted—by greed and avarice.
Opening with a foreword by Drew Pearson, all-time Cowboy great and NFL Hall-of-Famer, and based on extensive research in both public and media archives and Murchison family records, Hole in the Roof contains the inside story of the iconic venue where the Cowboys went on to play each of their five Super Bowl-winning seasons: where Murchison proved that stadiums could be a source of revenue surpassing even television.
About Michael Granberry:
Michael Granberry was born and grew up in Dallas. He graduated from Samuell High School in Pleasant Grove in 1970 and from Southern Methodist University in 1974. At SMU, he served as sports editor, associate editor and editor-in-chief of The Daily Campus. Before his senior year, he interned at the Washington Post, during “the Watergate summer” of 1973, when, yes, he got to work in the same newsroom with Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward and editor extraordinaire Ben Bradlee.
He returned to Dallas in 1976, when he joined The Dallas Morning News as a Sunday magazine feature writer, whose assignments included a 6-part series on Fidel Castro’s Cuba and the perils of a survival seminar in the Sea of Cortez that eventually led to fatalities.
In 1978, he joined the Los Angeles Times, where he worked for 19 years, as a sportswriter, lifestyles feature writer and Johnny Deadline bureau news writer.
Granberry rejoined the Morning News in late 1997 as a feature writer for the High Profile section. His subjects included CBS newsman Scott Pelley, hockey great Brett Hull, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley (she and Granberry are fellow graduates of the 1974 class at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts) and Hollywood personalities Renee Zellweger, Morgan Fairchild and Dallas’ “Wilson brothers,” Andrew, Owen and Luke.
In the newspaper’s recently revamped Sunday Arts & Life section, Michael has written cover stories on the strange relationship between a music critic and the opera world’s greatest diva, Maria Callas; the strange journey of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, Salvator Mundi, a story that involves the Dallas Museum of Art; a Russian billionaire linked to the White House; and the Saudi crown prince connected to the murder of a Washington Post journalist.
And in the last few months, he has profiled Holocaust survivor Max Glauben, actor Matthew McConaughey, actress Robin Wright, filmmaker Augustine Frizzell (the granddaughter of country music icon Lefty Frizzell), a hoarder who can’t let go of thousands of music and movie collectibles, a new exhibit on the Alamo in the Hall of State at Fair Park and all too many Texans who have lost loved ones to COVID.
Michael, who’s the father of four boys, lives in Plano with his wife, children’s book author Nancy Churnin — a 2022 winner of the National Jewish Book Award — and their family, which includes two cats who are nothing alike and a dog they adore named Dog.
Michael’s first book, co-written with Burk Murchison, will be released before the end of 2022. It is titled HOLE IN THE ROOF: The Dallas Cowboys, Clint Murchison Jr., and The Stadium that Changed American Sports Forever.