The Real Troy Aikman

The NFL’s most famous quarterback is not who you think he is. Just ask him.

IN HIS DREAM HE IS IN THE LOCKER ROOM, and he realizes he is all alone. From a distance he can hear the roar of the crowd filling Texas Stadium. The sound builds as it travels down the long tunnel and seeps in underneath the door. Sweat pours down his face. The game is about to begin.

He quickly laces up his pants, then struggles to pull his jersey over his shoulder pads. The crowd’s roar grows louder. Whistles are blowing. “Hurry,” he tells himself. “Hurry.” He finds his helmet. He pulls on his sweatbands around his wrists. All that’s left are his shoes.

But something is terribly wrong. He tries to put his right foot into his right shoe and his left foot into his left shoe, but they will not fit. He loosens his laces and jams his feet in again. Still, they will not fit.

His hands are trembling. A cry lodges in his throat. He cannot get his shoes on. The first quarter starts, then the second—and he remains hunched over on the locker room bench, trying to get his shoes on his feet. Tears sting his eyes. His breath comes in little gasps. The third quarter starts, then the fourth. Finally, the game ends.

And that is when Troy Aikman bolts upright in his bed.

THE MOST FAMOUS QUARTERBACK IN AMERICA FIXES HIS BLUE eyes directly on mine and says, “My life is not what you think it is.”

It’s not?”

A thin smile crosses his face, and for several seconds he says nothing. He is dressed in a dark tailored suit as he sits behind his gigantic desk at Aikman Enterprises, a suite of offices a couple of blocks from the Dallas Cowboys training center. Scattered around the room are the accoutrements of one of the most successful careers in pro sports. On a credenza is the bronzed Davey O’Brien award given to him for the 1988 season, when he was named the best quarterback in college football. On a conference table is the most valuable player award he received after the 1993 Super Bowl. In cabinets and on bookshelves are more trophies, game balls given to him by Cowboys coaches, and old helmets

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