I hope you enjoyed a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends.
After enjoying a tasty meal of ham, green beans and mushroom casserole, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, hot rolls and an array of pies and snacks, I settled into the lazy chair in my sister-in-law’s mother’s home in Colfax.
It was late in the afternoon and the Dallas Cowboys were taking on the New York Giants in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. According to historical records, namely the internet, Dallas has played on Thanksgiving Day since 1966. Only two years did the Cowboys not play on turkey day. In 1975 and 1977, then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle swapped out Dallas for the St. Louis Cardinals in an attempt to boost that franchise’s national exposure.
I’ve been a Cowboy fan for many years and eagerly await the team’s return to the Super Bowl. When I was a youngster in middle school, or junior high as it was known back then, I was a Miami Dolphins fan. It might have been because my PE teacher was a Redskins fan.
In high school and for several years afterwords, I enjoyed following the Houston Oilers as I loved to watch Earl Campbell, a Texas Longhorn product, run the ball.
In the early 1980s, I switched my alliance to the Washington Redskins (now known as the Commanders). I always enjoyed watching John Riggins, a fullback with the Redskins. He was a bruiser.
In September 1985, I attended a Monday Night game at Texas Stadium when the Redskins took on and hammered the Cowboys. The next day, I had the opportunity to meet the Redskins mascot, who was staying in the same motel where I stayed. I was able to purchase some Redskins memorabilia, including a Hog T-shirt named after what was affectionally called the most notorious offensive line ever, a hat and ink pen and several other items.
A couple years later, I attended a Cowboy’s Monday Night game in the old Texas Stadium against the New York Giants. The Cowboys had signed Herschel Walker at the running back position. Walker was a former Georgia Bulldog who won the Heisman Trophy his junior year and went on to play three years in the USFL (United States Football League) with the New Jersey Generals before coming over to the NFL side.
Ironically, my hometown of Tulsa supported a USFL team, the Oklahoma Outlaws, in the 1980s. They played their home games at Skelly Stadium on the campus of Tulsa University, which was about one-half mile from my boyhood home.
I enjoyed watching Doug Williams play quarterback while he was in Tulsa. He went on to play for the Redskins and win the 1988 Super Bowl.
After watching Walker led the Cowboys to a win in that Monday Night game, I have been following the Cowboys ever since.
I’ve never been to the new AT&T Stadium in Dallas, but have attended seven games at the old Texas Stadium. Five of those games were on Thanksgiving Day. The other two on Monday Night.
My brother went with me all five years on Thanksgiving Day. We enjoyed games against the Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oilers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers. Dallas lost the first three and won the last two of the five games we attended.
The Cowboys have gone 31-22-1 on Thanksgiving Day since starting its holiday tradition nearly 60 years ago. Their best Thanksgiving stretch came in the early 1980s, as they set a franchise record by winning six straight Turkey Day games from 1980 to 1985.
I got to see games when Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson coached the Cowboys and watched players such as Danny White, Gary Hogeboom and Troy Aikman at the quarterback position, Emmitt Smith at running back and Michael Irvin at wide receiver. Aikman went on to led the Cowboys to three super bowls, the last for Dallas.
We drove from Tulsa to Dallas and always stayed at the Red Roof Inn near the DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) Airport, the same motel where I had earlier met the Redskins mascot. Our trips typical included a stop at Dave and Busters, an arcade delight and fun place to visit, and we ate at various hamburger joints and restaurants. At least once, we made the trip to Fort Worth to visit the Museum of Science and History and Omni Theater. If you are ever in Fort Worth, it’s worth visiting.
In addition to the Cowboys, I have attended three Kansas City Chiefs games. I saw the Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos take on the Chiefs. I don’t recall who won the games.
I haven’t attended an NFL game in the years since. I returned to college in August 1992 and the budget wouldn’t afford me the opportunity.
Some years ago, I toured the old Texas Stadium and visited Valley Ranch, the former home and training facility of the Cowboys back in the day. That facility is long gone and the team is now based in Frisco, Texas.
The Cowboys have a pretty good record this year. Maybe they will get it done and make it back to the big dance.
If not, I still have lots of good memories of watching football games in Texas Stadium with my brother on Thanksgiving Day.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.
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