Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl XLV: Century in the Making

In Texas, the old saying goes, there exist only two sports: Football. And spring football.

God, after all, decreed Texas Stadium have a hole in its roof so he could look down upon his favorite team. Right?

From the old wooden Fair Park Bowl through the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium and now the $1 billion Cowboys Stadium, North Texas' culture is shaped in 100-yard memories. From high-school stars to Hall of Fame icons, our heroes have always been Cowboys ... and Mustangs ... and Horned Frogs ... and Scots ... and Longhorns ... and ...

With Super Bowl XLV's imminent arrival in North Texas, the Host Committee decided it was the perfect time to sift through our 100-plus years of football and identify the 100 greatest moments. Daunting, to say the least. The Super Bowl XLV Century Club Action Committee, chaired by long-time Dallas Cowboys' radio voice Brad Sham and consisting of esteemed North Texas media representatives, met in May and July and again in September and narrowed the search from 400 to 250 worthy candidate moments.

The program - Century in the Making - kicks off today at 2 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson High School with an event featuring Mean Joe Greene, Billy Sims, Tim Brown, Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and Michael Irvin.

Surmised Dallas Morning News pro football beat writer Rick Gosselin, "This project is bigger than the Super Bowl itself."

Now, via online voting, we need your help in selecting the best football memories from America's best football region. (I say "we", because I am honored to be the author of the vignettes of the 250 candidates.)

To me, it's Dec. 16, 1979. Down 34-21 with less than three minutes remaining, Roger Staubach throws two touchdown passes to rally the Dallas Cowboys to a 35-34 victory over the hated Washington Redskins at a frenetic Texas Stadium.

I was 15. I've never jumped higher in my life.

What is it for you? Your favorite all-time North Texas football memory, that is.

Some of my other favorites ...

43. Jan 1, 1957: In one of the most dominant performances in the history of the Cotton Bowl, Syracuse All-American Jim Brown rushes for 132 yards, scores three touchdowns and kicks three extra points. But, somehow, TCU withstands the one-man onslaught and hangs on to win, 28-27.

84. Dec. 20, 1970: Already the World's Fastest Man with two Olympic gold medals, Bob Hayes turns into one of the NFL's most productive receivers as he catches four touchdown passes in the Dallas Cowboys' 52-10 romp over the Houston Oilers. On his 28th birthday, Hayes grabs six passes for 187 yards to also become the franchise's all-time leading receiver.

101. Nov. 28, 1974: On one of the most memorable Thanksgiving Day games in franchise history, unknown rookie quarterback Clint Longley from Abilene Christian replaces a dazed Roger Staubach and leads the Dallas Cowboys to a 24-23 victory over the Washington Redskins by throwing two late touchdowns. After Longley's 50-yard touchdown to Drew Pearson with 35 seconds remaining, teammate Charlie Waters proclaims the performance as "a triumph of the uncluttered mind."

116. Dec. 17, 1977: In a game that becomes legendary for its attendance rather than its statistics, Plano High School beats Port Neches-Groves in the Class 4A State Championship Game at Texas Stadium. Plano wins, 13-10, and becomes the first Texas school to win titles at the 2A, 3A and 4A levels. But the crowd of 49,953 is the largest to ever witness a high-school game in the United States.

140. Oct. 13, 1984: No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Oklahoma battle to a controversial 15-15 tie during a driving rainstorm in the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners hold a 15-12 lead with seconds to play when an apparent interception in the end zone was waved off and Texas gets one final chance. On the last play, Jeff Ward's field goal ties the game at 15-15.

157. April 22, 1989: Less than two months after he was fired by new Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, "Hats Off to Tom Landry Day" draws 100,000 to a parade through downtown Dallas. It's an eerie, teary sight as Landry - in his trademark fedora - is the only one in Dallas wearing a hat.

172. Jan. 23, 1994: In a bold, unprecedented stroke of bravado, Dallas Cowboys' head coach Jimmy Johnson goes on a local radio show the Friday before the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers and proclaims "We will win this ball game. Put it in three-inch headlines!" Two days later the Cowboys beat the Niners, 38-21, and advance to Super Bowl XXVIII.

180. Nov. 26, 1994: In one of the wildest high school games ever played, John Tyler somehow survives Plano East, 48-44, in Regional Semifinal at Texas Stadium. Plano East trails 41-17 before taking a 44-41 lead in the final 30 seconds, only to have John Tyler return a kickoff for a touchdown as time expires. The teams combine for 51 points in the fourth quarter, including 28 in the final 1:58.

204. Sept. 24, 2000: Dallas Cowboys' journeyman safety George Teague instantly becomes a folk hero when he slams San Francisco 49ers' receiver Terrell Owens off Texas Stadium's mid-field star. Owens twice caught touchdowns in San Francisco's 41-24 victory and infamously went to celebrate on the most sacred star in sports.

232. May 22, 2007: Aided by Jerry Jones' $1.2 billion stadium and an impassioned sales pitch by Roger Staubach, NFL Owners in Nashville vote to play Super Bowl XLV in Arlington in 2011. The Metroplex's biggest joint venture since the building of D-FW Airport in the 1970s, the Super Bowl belongs to "North Texas."

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt