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Troy Aikman
John Ed Bradley
July 26, 2006
Nobody ever wanted to be a tabloid celebrity less than the Cowboys quarterback with the Hollywood good looks and the golden arm. But if fame was the price he had to pay for a Super Bowl ring, then the Oklahoma farm boy would grin and bear it
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July 26, 2006

Troy Aikman

Nobody ever wanted to be a tabloid celebrity less than the Cowboys quarterback with the Hollywood good looks and the golden arm. But if fame was the price he had to pay for a Super Bowl ring, then the Oklahoma farm boy would grin and bear it

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HE HAD MADE his mark, and now he wanted to build a house for himself. For months Troy Aikman scoured the countryside outside Dallas looking for the right piece of land, and when he found it, he knew. This was the spot: a 30-acre tract offered by Ross Perot Jr., a natty square of God's country next to where Terry Bradshaw lived. How serendipitous this seemed. Bradshaw had accumulated four Super Bowl rings, Aikman two. But this wasn't what sold Aikman on the place. Here the trees grew thick and tall, and the earth rolled, and on clear nights you could see the magisterial city skyline 30 miles away.

Aikman hired an architect. One day they met to make plans in a room at the modish Valley Ranch complex where the Dallas Cowboys train. Modish wasn't what Aikman wanted, though. "I wanted part California ranch and part country," he says, "but nothing too ranch or too country." It was perfect, what they finally came up with. It covered 12,500 square feet of living area--big enough for a man who throws one of the best passes in the game. But in the end, Aikman couldn't go through with it.

The biggest problem was cost. Bids had run close to $4 million. He had the money, but what if his career suddenly ended or if he decided to leave Dallas and make a home elsewhere? Who would buy the house? Who has money to spend on a house whose only statement is this: Troy Aikman Troy Aikman Troy Aikman...?

Then there was the second problem--more a consideration, actually, than a problem. Aikman wasn't married. He was 28 years old, and suppose he took on a wife and she didn't like the house? He refused to stick the woman he loved in a home that did not speak to her heart. "I have an idea of marriage as being a sharing type of deal," Aikman says. "If I build a house, I want her involved. I want her to have some say in the decision."

That Aikman would choose to conserve a few bucks is understandable, even commendable, but that he has been able to dodge marriage for this long is one of those mysteries that defy human comprehension. Aikman, who turned 29 in November 1995, might be the most eligible bachelor to play in the NFL since Joe Willie Namath hung up his white cleats, and while this is an image for which many single men would sell their mortal souls, it isn't one Aikman appreciates. He would rather have a wife and four kids.

"I really thought I'd be married by now," he says, "but that was because I dated the same girl for seven years. After we broke up, I dated somebody else for a year and a half, and that ran into my rookie season. If you had asked me then how old I'd be when I got married, I'd have said, 'Oh, 26, 27.' Well, here I am not even seriously involved with anybody."

It's his own fault, of course. "Troy," says guard-center Dale Hellestrae, his best friend on the team, "has more opportunities with women than any man on this earth. But he's got his particular tastes, and he's not going to settle for anything below his sight level. I've never tried to set him up, because I don't think I could find anyone who'd meet his qualifications."

Aikman has every right to hold out for just the right gal. To start, he's rich beyond practical measure. On Dec. 23, 1993, he signed an eight-year, $50 million contract that made him the highest-paid player in pro football history. He's also tall, blond and blue-eyed: the kind of dreamboat who used to star in horse and tank pictures. He is, moreover, the leader of the most valuable franchise in all of sports, placing it year after year in a position to compete for the Super Bowl.

Brett Favre's dream season in Green Bay gave him the highest rating among NFC quarterbacks in 1995, but Aikman wasn't far behind. And no player means more to his team than Aikman does. Dallas isn't Dallas when he isn't on the field, and nobody is more aware of this than the Cowboys' players themselves.

During a recent film session at Valley Ranch, receiver Michael Irvin watched in stunned silence as Aikman fired off one perfect pass after another, his delivery as quick and sharp as anybody's. Unable to contain himself any longer, Irvin beat his hands together and shouted in something of a singsong voice, "I love you, 'Roy." It was spontaneous and beautiful, and everyone in the room laughed, but Irvin meant it. "I attribute my success to him," Irvin says. "The greatest things, the greatest times--Troy is 100-percent responsible, and even then I'm understating it."

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