They blew up Texas Stadium on Sunday.
Good. It should have been dynamited about 20 years ago. It was one of the five most decrept stadiums in the National Football League. Fans of the Cowboys should thank Jerry Jones for building a far better place for his team to play their games than the clutter of concrete and steel that went up in 1971.
I remember the first time I saw Texas Stadium. It was sometime in 1978 or 1979 when the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to Dallas to play the Cowboys in a pre-season game. I was excited about seeing the place because after years of seeing the stadium on television with all those great Dallas teams, I had come to believe that the spot with a hole in the roof was a sacred place in the NFL. Thanksgiving Day games, Monday night games, post-season battles … it was a building of memories.
I was very disappointing after taking a tour and seeing the stadium that August. It was a dump even then, seemingly thrown together in pieces, none of which fit very well. I made many more trips to Irving and I can tell you that there was nothing special about Texas Stadium itself.
Over the years, Jones added suites and boxes that essentially looked like they were tacked onto the roof. I won’t even go into how bad the facilities were for visiting radio and coaches, because I know nobody cares about that. But I can assure you that few teams went into Texas Stadium and had any type of enjoyable experience.
The biggest reason for that were the players who wore the star on their helmets. The Cowboys were 213-100 in regular season and post-season games at Texas Stadium. Some remarkable names made their NFL bones playing under the unfinished roof, players like Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Ed “Too Tall’ Jones, Randy White, Drew Pearson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and a hundred more.
Texas Stadium was an unusual place for many reasons. The field had a crown on it, so when you stood between the hashmarks, you were looking downhill. That silly hole in the roof caused all sorts of problems over the years for returners and receivers, as sometimes the thrown or kicked ball would leave the shadows, pass through sunlight and then back to shadows. The artificial turf made games in August and September saunas as the heat would rise and hit the overhangs that covered the seats and bounce back down. Those weren’t wonderful quirks; they were self-inflicted pimples.
About the same time that I first saw Texas Stadium, I made my first visit to Arrowhead Stadium. Opened one year later, Arrowhead had it all over the Big Dallas Bagel. I remember getting a tour of Arrowhead with the Pittsburgh media and as a group, we were in awe of the stadium, its owner’s suite, furnishings, how close the seats were to the field. It was an impressive place.
But like any building heading towards 40 years of service, Arrowhead needed changes and those have been going on for the last two years. They should be completed by August, making the stadium up to par with the 21st Century.
There was no way to rehab Texas Stadium; that would have been like putting earrings on a pig. Thank goodness it’s now gone. It went down at 7:08 a.m. on Sunday, when a string of 55 explosions brought it down in a flood of dust that looked like an afternoon on the dusty west Texas plains. Last year, the Cowboys moved to Jerry World, the $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington. It has all the bells and whistles that were not part of Texas Stadium.
Once they get the mess cleaned up, the city of Irving will use the site for future development, but no decision has been made on what that development will be. Some 20,000 fans were in the parking lots to watch the place come down. Many of them shed tears.
I guess we can understand why; it was about the memories that went down inside the building.
THE CHIEFS AT TEXAS STADIUM
From the time it opened until the day it was blown up, the Chiefs played nine times at Texas Stadium.
Overall record: 1-8.
The first time they stepped on the field was in the pre-season of 1971, the first year the stadium was open. The Cowboys won 24-17.
The Chiefs only victory in Irving came in 1975, in a Monday night game in November. Paul Wiggin was in his first season, replacing Hank Stram as head coach. The Cowboys were in the midst of a season that would take them to Super Bowl X. The Chiefs won 34-31, scoring the only fourth quarter points on a 5-yard touchdown pass from QB Mike Livingston to RB Ed Podolak.
The Chiefs forced seven Dallas turnovers in the game, including one fumble that DT John Matuszak recovered in the end zone for a Kansas City touchdown.
Here’s the list of visits to Texas Stadium for the Chiefs:
- 1971 – (pre-season) Cowboys 24-17.
- 1973 – (pre-season) Cowboys 27-16.
- 1974 – (pre-season) Cowboys 25-16.
- 1975 – Chiefs 34-31 – KC defense forces seven turnovers and scored a TD.
- 1983 – Cowboys 41-21 – Chiefs throw for 432 yards but lose by 20 points.
- 1992 – Cowboys 17-10 – Cowboys shutout Chiefs in second half.
- 1995 – Cowboys 24-12 – Thanksgiving Day Game.
- 2004 – (pre-season) Cowboys 24-20.
- 2005 – Cowboys 31-28 – TV cameras catch Gunther Cunningham flipping off the zebras.
DEADLINE IS MONDAY FOR KROENKE AND FUTURE WITH THE RAMS
Word out of the Loo is that Monday is the deadline for Rams minority owner Stan Kroenke to decide what he wants to do with his 40 percent share of the team.
The children of the late Georgia Frontiere have agreed to sale their 60 percent of the club to Illinois business man Shahid Kahn. But Kroenke has two favorable options: he can keep his 40 percent, or sell his share to Kahn. He actually has a third option, where he could buy the other 60 percent for the price that Kahn is paying, but NFL rules are against him on that route because of his ownership of NBA and NHL teams in Denver.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bernie Mikalez has that town covered like a blanket and his sources say that Kroenke is expected to keep his 40 percent.
THE STEELERS CHAMPIONSHIP PASS COMBO IS NO MORE
Monday afternoon we will find out if the authorities in Georgia will file charges against Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in that bar room sexual assault allegation from early March.
Sunday evening, the Steelers took care of another boil on their football butt, by trading Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth-round selection in the coming NFL Draft. Holmes is facing an assault charge in Florida and over the weekend the website profootballtalk.com reported that Holmes is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL drug policy. Holmes was arrested for marijuana possession in the past and he obviously has been part of the league’s drug program.
The Rooney Family obviously had enough and now Holmes is the problem of Jets. Suddenly the Steelers are in the market for a wide receiver in the first-round of the ‘10 Draft.
Now back to Roethlisberger – Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fredric D. Bright announced he had finished his review of the investigation by local police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. An announcement comes at 1 p.m. CDT in the Baldwin County Courthouse in Georgia.
Also over the weekend, ESPN reported that Roethlisberger would not be charged. Bright was asked about the story and said: “I don’t know where they’re getting that information. I haven’t announced anything yet. I’ll make my announcement Monday.”