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Anniversary of Texas Stadium’s demise nears

If you have a moment or two this Tuesday, around 7:07 a.m. (CDT), you might want to pause for a second. Lift your mug of coffee — or Dr. Pepper if you're so inclined — in tribute to .

The former home of the was imploded at 7:07 a.m. on April 11, 2010.

It had taken years to construct the stadium. But from the moment the switch was thrown, triggering the first explosion, to the structure lying flat on the ground took all of 25 seconds.

By that July, nothing of the stadium remained on the site.

In the 13 years since, the Texas Department of Transportation has used the site as a staging area.

The Cowboys iconic second home

The Cowboys had played their home games from 1960 through their first two home games of the 1971 season at the Cotton Bowl. But then-owner . wanted to build a new stadium.

Almost from the beginning, Texas Stadium was an iconic stadium. Especially with the hole in the roof.

Cowboys D. D. Lewis is credited with saying that “Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof, so God can watch His favorite team play.”

The real reason, of course, was an abandoned plan for a retractable roof. Still, the stadium was like nothing ever seen before.

Texas Stadium, hours before a Nov. 20, 1983 game between the and the Dallas Cowboys. Photo by Richard Paolinelli.

It officially opened on Sunday, October 24, 1971 with a 44-21 victory by the Cowboys over the . Dallas began that season as the defending Champions and ended it as champions.

“Everyone was geared up for that first season at Texas Stadium,” recalled in an with me back in 2007. “There was a lot of excitement and we started our turnaround after moving there. We didn't lose a game in Texas Stadium that first season.”

Staubach threw the first touchdown pass in Texas Stadium, the first of two scoring strikes to .

' 56-yard, first-quarter rush was the first touchdown ever scored in the Cowboys' new home.

That first year set the tone.

Over the following 37 seasons there would be six more NFC and four more Super Bowls won. America's Team was born.

Out with the old

The 2008 season was the last for the Cowboys at Texas Stadium.

Unfortunately, their last game was a 33-24 loss to the . 's 21-yard pass to was the final touchdown pass ever thrown in the stadium.

Just 18 seconds later, Le'Ron McClain's 82-yard run and Matt Stover's extra point proved to be the final points scored at Texas Stadium.

The team moved to the new in Arlington for the 2009 season.

Cowboys' owner was excited about the move at the time.

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02 April 2014: First night of roof lighting of in Arlington, Texas. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

“What a great sense of pride that all should feel when they have the opportunity to share in the of calling the very biggest and the very best sports venue in the country their home,” Jones said in an email interview in 2007.

Unlike their previous change of venue, the championships did not follow.

There was a Super Bowl played in the new stadium of course, but the Cowboys are still waiting to hang a new banner in their new home.

Waxing nostalgic

While Staubach appreciated Texas Stadium and all he achieved while playing there, he wasn't that nostalgic about it being demolished.

He has something more to remember the old stadium by than driving by and seeing it.

“I'm into memories, not places and things. You can always take memories with you,” Staubach said in 2007. “I'm not that nostalgic about it, but I think the fans are more so. But the fans are probably looking forward to the new stadium too.”

Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach

For myself, Texas Stadium had an aura about it, even toward the end, that the new stadium is lacking. The first time I walked into Texas Stadium in 1983 — a game against Miami and a rookie quarterback named Dan Marino — I felt it.

I felt it the next three times I walked into the place for a Cowboys game — Kansas City (1983), Green Bay (1984 pre-season), and Indianapolis (2007 pre-season). The place oozed NFL and Cowboys' lore.

I've been to the new stadium for a game, Atlanta (2009), and a couple of times for other events and that aura just isn't there.

Given a few more years, and a Super Bowl victory or two, maybe that aura will be there.

But for now, on this day, I'll lift my mug of Dr. Pepper in the direction of the old Texas Stadium. Gone, but never forgotten.

By the numbers

  • Cotton Bowl (1960-1971): 80-71-6 .519
  • Texas Stadium (1971-2008): 343-238-0 .590
  • AT&T Stadium (2009-Current): 127-99-0 .562

  • Cotton Bowl: 3-5 .375, 1
  • Texas Stadium: 29-19 .604, 7 NFC championships, 5 Super Bowls
  • AT&T Stadium: 4-6 .400
Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

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