Goodbye, Texas Stadium

On Sunday morning, Texas Stadium will be imploded. You can watch this live on NFL Network (8 a.m. ET). Personally, I will not be watching. I can’t bring myself to watch a place that was so special to me be destroyed.

There are many reasons why Texas Stadium was such a special place to me, and it dates back long before the stadium even opened in 1971.

Three years before that, then-owner Clint Murchison called me into his office one day and handed me a legal pad. There were only about six people who knew about his plans to build a new stadium, he explained, and he wanted it to remain that way. But he gave me a mission: Travel around the country to places where new stadiums had recently been built, and fill up that legal pad with all the good points and all the bad points about those stadiums.

I remember noting that the new stadium at the University of Oregon was situated so that the press box looked directly into the sun. No good. At the University of Indiana, every seat faced in toward the field (seems obvious these days, but back then there were often seats with poor sight lines). This stadium, in many ways, turned out to be a good model for the design of Texas Stadium.

As for my fondest memories at Texas Stadium, there were many. Perhaps the two games that jump out at me the most are these:

• There was a game against the Redskins in which the Cowboys trailed by nine late in the game. A touchdown brought Dallas to within two, but Washington got the ball back and had John Riggins – who never fumbles – running out the clock. Well, sure enough, Riggins fumbled and Larry Cole recovered. A few plays later, Tony Hill caught a game-winning TD pass.

• In Week 15 of the 1985 regular season, the Cowboys hosted the New York Giants needing a win to clinch the NFC East title. Danny White was injured and Steve Pelluer started at QB. With the game tied at 21, Jim Jeffcoat sacked Phil Simms, forcing a fumble that Jeffcoat then picked up and ran in for the winning score.

– Gil Brandt

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