Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
It's 12/21/12 and that means only one thing for Cowboys fans - the end of the world. Well, at least according to the Mayan calendar.
We're still here even though December 21, 2012 was supposed to be the end of the world. Maybe we get until midnight tonight, then it's all over. Either way, we've had some great Cowboys games and moments in our lifetime. So now that the end is upon us (or not), let's reflect on some of our favorite Cowboys memories. I asked the BTB front-page writers for their moments that they have actually seen (live or TV), you can add your favorites in the comments section.
I have two - one from long ago, and one from longer ago. I'll go with the longer ago one first and prove just what an old codger I am. When I was just a wee lad, I first started rooting for the Cowboys. The rest of my family were Redskins fans (the family had lived in Washington, D.C.). So watching on TV the Cowboys and the Redskins meet on Thanksgiving Day in 1974, I was outnumbered. Luckily, I had the Mad Bomber on my side. Dallas was getting their clocks cleaned by the Redskins, it was getting late in the game, and Roger Staubach had been knocked out. Enter Clint Longley. After bringing the Cowboys back only to trail again in the last-minute, Longley hit Drew Pearson on a bomb and sent the Cowboys to victory. Turkey never tasted so sweet.
The other one is the day the Cowboys finally got back to where they are supposed to be. When Dallas humiliated Buffalo 52-17 in the Super Bowl of the '92 season, I could once again stand on the mountaintop of NFL fandom. The 'Boys were back and they would capture two more titles, putting themselves in the argument for the best NFL team ever assembled.
Back in 2009, when Philadelphia still had a relevant entity in the NFL, the Cowboys ran all over the Eagles in a 34-14 Wildcard romp. The Cowboys had not won a postseason game for 13 consecutive years before that victory, and finally getting that win against a division rival made it all the sweeter. But best of all is that this particular sports memory comes conveniently packaged as a three-in-one giftbox: En route to that wildcard game, the Cowboys shut out the Redskins and those very same Eagles in consecutive games to close out the regular season.
My favorite Cowboys memory comes from way back, literally. September 12, 1999. Me and my best friend Gary, a Redskins fan like most of my other friends, were roommates of a bachelor pad. The Redskin were newly owned by soon-to-be Jerry Jones imitator Dan Snyder. We had all our friends over for the season opener. Dallas jumped out to an early double-digit lead just to see Washington score 32 points in a row. To say I was getting clowned is an understatement. Then, Emmitt Smith touchdown, Michael Irvin touchdown, another Irvin touchdown to get to overtime. Aikman to Rocket for history and me screaming Hell to the Redskin from a balcony overlooking DC as my friends fumed out the building. Good times.
rabblerousr's addendum to KD's memory: I was at that game with a former friend who had Redskins season tickets. Notice I say former friend. That game effectively ended our friendship...but it was worth it. One of the most amazing games I've ever seen, and the sound that came out of me when I noticed how open Rocket was (before he even caught it) can only be described as bestial.
For reasons in addition to the Cowboys game, the single greatest day of my life has been January 17, 1993, the day the Cowboys beat the mighty 49ers in the 1992 NFC Championship Game. San Francisco has become the league's model team, and their roster was packed with veterans of deep playoff runs. In an era in which young players were thought to be a liability, it was hard to imagine that the Cowboys, the league's youngest team, were ready to go into Candlestick and beat the home team. But they did.
Since then, we have been treated to innumerable highlights from that victory--the most prevalent of which is Alvin Harper's huge fourth-quarter catch and run that quashed a 'Niners comeback and, when followed by a Kelvin Martin touchdown reception, sealed the victory. But to my mind, the play of the game was made by Emmitt Smith with about a minute left in the third quarter, with Dallas leading 17-13. After a foiled lead draw and an incompletion, the Cowboys faced a third and eleven at the San Francisco 47. With none of his wideouts open, Troy Aikman hit Smith at the 44; Emmitt was converged upon by two 49ers linebackers at the 39, but bounced off of them, spun away, and rumbled another eight yards for a crucial first down.
Soon thereafter, the Cowboys scored on another Aikman-to-Smith catch and run, and the Cowboys held a 24-13 lead early in the fourth quarter. To my mind, that play symbolizes the 90s Cowboys: a collection of tough-minded guys who willed themselves to make big plays when they were most needed.
There are two things that jump out. One was a single play, on Monday Night Football, back when it was the big game each week. It was the late season game against Minnesota when Tony Dorsett took the ball at the one yard line, broke right up the middle and sailed all the way to the end zone. Even though Dallas went on to lose that game, it stands out, and it is a record that can never be beaten, only tied. (Oh, and that was in 1983, and I had already been a Cowboys fan for about 16 years.)
The other actually was not related to a game. It goes back even further, to the days before cable, satellite, and the internet, when people like me who live in the country were limited to three TV channels for entertainment. One afternoon, I was killing time, and turned on a highlights show. It was the premiere of a little NFL Films piece called "America's Team". I remember thinking, "That is an idea that may stick around for a little bit."
The 2010 NFL Draft sticks out to me because the Dallas Cowboys drafted my favorite player. Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant was considered to be one of the best players in the draft. He was the player that I wanted the Cowboys to get and it was a great feeling watching your favorite team trade up and draft you're favorite player. I'll never forget watching Bryant overcome with emotion when he found out he was a Dallas Cowboy. It's been amazing watching him grow into an elite player, and it all started on that day.
This is really tough for me, since I've only been watching the Cowboys with intense interest since 2009. I saw Romo's first game; I watched some Bledsoe, and some Quincy Carter. My parents' wedding video has a clip spliced in announcing that the Cowboys had defeated the 49ers in the NFC Championship. I 'remember' those things, but in all honesty I didn't understand them the way I understand the game today.
For that reason, and also because I like to focus on the present, my favorite Cowboys moment was watching Tony Romo play through his broken rib and punctured lung in San Francisco, culminating on that beautiful deep ball to Jesse Holley and a redeeming chip shot from Dan Bailey (who, earlier in the game, had fans calling for his head after he missed a similar kick).
Okay, your turn. Get them in before the world ends!