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Cowboys @ Chiefs: A Tale Of Two Football Teams

In the early days of Dallas' professional football journey there were two franchises that called the city home: our beloved Cowboys and a team named the Dallas Texans, who went on to become the Kansas City Chiefs.

An old rivalry will be renewed at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday
An old rivalry will be renewed at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday
G. Newman Lowrance

In the late 1950's two gentlemen, Clint Murchison, Jr. and Lamar Hunt, were looking to bring professional football to north Texas. Both had expressed interest in buying an NFL franchise, and Murchison had actually reached a deal to purchase the Washington Redskins and bring them to Dallas. That deal ultimately fell through. Murchison then turned his efforts into obtaining an expansion team in the National Football League, while Hunt joined with other businessmen around the country to explore the possibility of creating a second association, the American Football League. By 1960, both gentlemen found themselves owning professional franchises in the same city.

As the "unofficial historian" of Blogging The Boys, I started doing some research on the three-year period when the Cowboys and the Dallas Texans shared the Cotton Bowl as their home field. For starters I reached out to BTB member and resident scout Long Ball to tap into his memory of those early years.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . wait, that’s already been used, LOL! My memories of the 3 years that the Cowboys shared the Cotton Bowl with the Texans (1960-1962) was I had seen larger crowds at high school (and certainly college) football games. The Cowboys were a rag-tag bunch of cast-offs in 1960 and the Texans, quite frankly, did a better job of recruiting local college talent to their team. - Long Ball

It was an era where many fans viewed the upstart AFL as being an inferior product, and even a struggling expansion team like the Cowboys were, in the eyes of many, a more legitimate professional team than were the ones in the new league. The fact that coaches, like Hank Stram of the Texans, were introducing new concepts like the moving pocket and triple stack defense to professional football served to reinforce the fact in the minds of football "purists.". Again from Long Ball:

The scuttlebutt around Dallas was the Cowboys were losers but played in the more established NFL and the Texans were exciting, but the AFL was an inferior league.

The Texans won the 1962 AFL Championship over Houston (who had won the first 2 AFL Championships over the Chargers) in double-overtime and the vibe around Dallas was the wrong team left town.

Over the three seasons that both franchises represented Dallas, there is a stark contrast in the teams' records. While the Texans went 25-17 and gave the city its first professional sports championship, the Cowboys floundered. Over the same period, the Boys were 9-28-3. It is easy to understand why many felt that the wrong team had left town. In fact, there were suggestions that the two teams meet at the Cotton Bowl and settle the matter once and for all, with the loser leaving town. Since the teams competed in different organizations, they never actually squared off on the gridiron. After three seasons, it was clear that Dallas could not support two teams, and for the 1963 AFL season the Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs. As Hank Stram detailed in his autobiography, They're Playing My Game, Lamar Hunt had decided that his franchise should be the one to move because "no city would be willing to accept a loser."

Even after the move, and the eventual merger of the two leagues, the Cowboys and the Chiefs would not meet until October 25, 1970. That day the Cowboys defeated the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs by a score of 27-16. All told, the former "roommates" at the Cotton Bowl have met nine times, with the Cowboys holding a 6-3 series advantage. When the teams renew their infrequent rivalry this Sunday, they will do battle for what Hunt's son Clark refers to as "the smallest and ugliest trophy in sports." It is a trophy that both the Jones and Hunt families prize highly since its official name, "The Preston Road Trophy" refers to the street where the families once lived, just 300 yards apart from each other.

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