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This Day In History: Oct. 24 Marks 50th Anniversary Of Opening Of Iconic Texas Stadium In Irving

This day in history, October 24, 1971, Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, hosts first football game with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the New England Patriots, 44-21

Long after its implosion in 2010, Texas Stadium is still remembered and recognized throughout Texas, the U.S. and the world. Built in 1971 at a cost of $35 million dollars, it set the standard for future stadiums as the first where fans paid for its construction by purchasing bonds (today’s equivalent of personal seat licenses).

The Cowboys played at Texas Stadium for 37 years, amassing a 219 – 99 record, including 16 post-season games. Of course, it was also the setting for major motion pictures, iconic TV commercials, college and high school football games, concerts and many other special events.

Irving, home to this iconic showplace for running backs and rock stars is celebrating with “50 for 50” – a list of memorable moments at the stadium.

And the Irving Archives and Museum (open Wednesday – Saturday 10 -4) features a special Texas Stadium exhibit, complete with a multi-media stadium history featuring NFL game footage, archival photos, memorabilia, and even original lockers and stadium seats. (Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 4 – 17.)

50 Memorable Moments in Texas Stadium History

  • Oct 24, 1971
    Texas Stadium hosts first football game as the Dallas Cowboys move from the Cotton Bowl to the new stadium and defeat the New England Patriots, 44-21
  • Jan 2, 1972
    The Cowboys win the first postseason game ever played at Texas Stadium, a 14-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Dallas would go on to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.
  • 1972-75, 80-81
    Home of the Dallas Tornado (North American Soccer League)
  • Jan. 21, 1973
    Hosts the NFL Pro Bowl (O.J. Simpson named game MVP)
  • June 28, 1974
    Brothers and Sisters Tour
    (The Allman Brothers Band/Joe Walsh and Barnstorm/Marshall Tucker Band/Molly Hatchet)
  • July 31, 1974
    Crosby Stills Nash and Young/The Beach Boys Concert
  • Nov 28, 1974
    With quarterback Roger Staubach knocked out of the game with a concussion, rookie Clint Longley takes the Cowboys to a 24-23 Thanksgiving Day victory over rival Washington with a 50-yard game winning TD pass to Drew Pearson with 35 seconds to play.
  • 1975-77, 1983-2008
    AMA Supercross
  • Nov 23, 1975
    Created by Cowboys president/general manager Tex Schramm, the Cowboys Ring of Honor is unveiled at Texas Stadium with Hall of Fame defensive tackle Bob Lilly the first person inducted.
  • 1979
    “Hey Kid, Catch!” This Coca-Cola commercial, starring NFL Hall of Famer Joe Greene, and filmed at Texas Stadium, is considered one of the greatest TV commercials of all time. The former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle tosses his jersey to a kid, drinks a Coke, and the rest is history.
  • Dec 16, 1979
    In arguably the most exciting game ever played at Texas Stadium, Quarterback Roger Staubach rallies the Cowboys from a 13-point deficit in the final two minutes of the game. In the final minute of the game, Staubach finds wide receiver Tony Hill in the endzone for a game winning touchdown to clinch the NFC East title against rival Washington with a 35-34 win.
  • 1979-1986
    Home of the SMU Mustangs (NCAA)
  • March 31, 1980
    Roger Staubach, “Captain America,” announces his retirement at an emotional Texas Stadium press conference.
  • 1984-1988
    World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW)
  • July 13-15, 1984
    Michael Jackson/The Jacksons Victory Tour Concert
  • July 26, 1987
    Madonna/Who’s That Girl Tour Concert
  • April 28, 1988
    Pink Floyd/A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour Concert
  • Sept 17, 1988
    INXS/Guns N’Roses/The Smithereens/Iggy Pop/Ziggy Marley Concert
  • Oct 14, 1988
    George Michael/The Bangles Rock the House Concert
  • April 22, 1989
    Tom Landry Appreciation Day/Kenny Loggins Performs
  • April 7, 1990
    Paul McCartney Concert
  • August 19, 1990
    New Kids On The Block/Perfect Gentleman/Rick Wes/Chris Pittman Concert
  • Nov 21, 1991
    Hosts U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Costa Rica (soccer)
  • March 14, 1992
    Farm Aid VI – Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and more
  • May 7-8, 1992
    Genesis Concert
  • Sept 5, 1992
    Metallica/ Guns N’Roses Concert
  • Oct 11, 1992
    The Cowboys defense, nicknamed Doomsday II, held the Seattle Seahawks to 62 total yards. Dallas would go on to have the #1 ranked defense in the NFL on the way to winning the Super Bowl.
  • Oct 16, 1992
    U2/The Sugarcubes/Public Enemy Concert
  • Sept 24-25, 1993
    While filming a concert at Texas Stadium for an NBC special that would air the following year, Garth Brooks unleashed rings of fire, simulated lightning and rain and most unbelievably – flew by wires from the 200 foot high ceiling reinforced by the now famous “Garth Bars.” In all, 26 cameras recorded the spectacle during three evening shows attended by more than 200,000 screaming fans. This event still holds the record for attendance of a country music event by a single artist.
  • 1994-1995
    Professional Bull Riders (PBR) – Battle of the Bulls
  • Jan 14, 1994
    The Cowboys defeat the San Francisco 49ers 38-21, in route to repeating as Super Bowl champs. Dallas sends an NFL record 11 players to the Pro Bowl.
  • April 28-29, 1994
    Pink Floyd Concert
  • July 3, 1994
    Eagles/Melissa Ethridge Concert
  • April 2, 1995
    Billy Joel/Elton John Concert
  • Jan 4, 1996
    The Cowboys claim their 8th NFC Championship with a 38-27 win over the Green Bay Packers. Dallas would go on to win the franchise’s fifth and last Super Bowl title to date.
  • Nov 27, 1997
    Reba McEntire electrified the Thanksgiving Day crowd as the inaugural halftime performer for the first Red Kettle kickoff for The Salvation Army.
  • June 6, 1998
    George Strait/Tim McGraw/Faith Hill/Lee Ann Womack/John Michael Montgomery/Asleep At The Wheel/Lila McCann Concert
  • 1999
    The hit movie Any Given Sunday was filmed at Texas Stadium. Directed by Oliver Stone, the film’s ensemble cast featured Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, James Woods, LL Cool J and Ann-Margaret, and tells the story of the fictional professional football team the Miami Sharks. The Sharks’ team logo featured on the wall in the visitor’s locker room was signed by the director and cast and was moved to the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium in nearby Arlington.
  • Nov 14, 1999
    Shania Twain Concert
  • July 9, 2000
    Korn/System of a Down/Metallica/Kid Rock/Powerman 5000 Concert
  • April 9, 2001
    An emotional Troy Aikman announces his retirement at a packed Texas Stadium press conference
  • July 8, 2001
    NSYNC/Meredith Edwards/Eden’s Crush/Dante Thomas/Samantha Mumba
  • July 15, 2001
    Dave Matthews Band/Angelique Kidjo/Wyclef Jean Concert
  • Dec. 1, 2001
    Hosts NCAA Big XII Championship Game (Colorado defeats Texas, 39-37)
  • Oct 27, 2002
    Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith breaks Walter Payton’s NFL career rushing record with an 11-yard run late in the game against the Seattle Seahawks. Smith remains the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with a total of 18,355 yards and was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • August 3, 2003
    Metallica/Deftones/Limp Bizkit/Linkin Park/Mudvayne Concert
  • May 29, 2004
    Jimmy Buffett/George Strait/Alan Jackson Concert
  • May 25, 2008
    Hosts the First Ever Professional Lacrosse Game in Texas - Philadelphia Barrage vs. Long Island Lizards (MLL)
  • Dec. 20, 2008
    Final Cowboys game at Texas Stadium (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
  • April 11, 2010
    Texas Stadium - Last Tailgate Party: The early Sunday morning implosion of Texas Stadium was witnessed by more than 20,000 fans, and watched live by audiences around the world.

Did you know?

  • All five of the Cowboys Super Bowl Championships were won while the Cowboys played at Texas Stadium: 1971 (VI), 1977 (XII), 1992 (XXVII), 1993 (XXVIII), 1995 (XXX).
  • Before Texas Stadium officially opened in October 1971, it was the site of “The Greater Southwest Billy Graham Crusade.” The 10-day event began on September 17 and included performances by Johnny and June Cash and the Statler Brothers, and on-stage appearances by former President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird.
  • D.D. Lewis, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys from 1968 – 1981, may have been voted the “Most Popular Player” by the Dallas Cowboys fans the year he retired, but he will always be remembered for something he said in 1982 – “Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof so God can watch his favorite team play.”
  • From 1978 – 1991, Texas Stadium flashed on television screens around the world during the opening credits of the famous TV series Dallas, which chronicled the lives of the fictional Ewing clan. As a result, Texas Stadium is arguably one of the most recognized structures in Texas, the United States – and because of the global popularity of the show – even the world.
  • Over 700 high school football games were played at the stadium.




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