The Ralph Neely Bowl and the Governor's Cup

Cowboys fans no need to worry or go find the highest building with a very small ledge. A 0-2 start in pre-season, as long as it’s not accompanied by crippling injuries, means absolutely nothing. I think all coach Phillips really wants is to get to the Sept. 7 opener in Cleveland with all hands on deck.

I think the coaching staff has been very encouraged with camp and the pre-season so far. The Cowboys have definitely upgraded their personnel over the one that posted a 13-3 season in 2007 and at this point good health is all that counts.

So this brings us to Friday night when the state’s two NFL teams collide on national TV  at Texas Stadium. As preseason football goes, this will be as good as it gets. I have heard that both teams plan to play their starters into the third quarter. There may even be more than the usual intensity.

After all, the Governor’s Cup is on the line!!

As far as bad blood, however, none really exists between the two teams. The Texans, though they are responsible for the single most embarrassing moment in (what a lot of football purist say) Dallas’ history they will never be a rival to “America’s team”. Still Jerry will not ever forget what happened in 2002 when the Texans became the first NFL team in 41 years to win an expansion season opener at the expense of our beloved Cowboys.

Jerry Jones has never been one to take anything lying down. The Cowboys have since rebounded to become one of the top three or four teams in the NFL and they are playing their final season in Texas Stadium. Next year they move into the spectacular “JerryWorld”, which by most accounts is the be all and end all of modern stadiums. So Reliant stadium get ready to take a back seat again!

Now lastly let me close with some history that most Cowboy fans may or may not know. Back in the mid 1960’s when the Houston Oilers (now Texans) were part of an upstart American Football League. I have to tell you it was all out war between the AFL and the NFL. The two operations held separate drafts and were hot on the heels of college stars like Billy Cannon and Joe Namath.

But it was an offensive lineman from Oklahoma named Ralph Neely who turned the Oilers into longtime Cowboy’s owner Tex Schramm’s mortal enemy. Both Houston and Dallas signed Neely. At that time Oiler’s owner Bud Adams promptly filed suit against the Cowboys.
In a Houston courtroom, Dallas seemingly won the battle and lost the war. Neely was awarded to the Cowboys, but at a steep price. The judge ruled that Houston would get Dallas’ No. 1, No. 2 and its two No. 5 picks in the 1967 common draft between the newly merged NFL and AFL.

As if the draft choices weren’t a bitter enough pill for Schramm and the Cowboys to swallow, the judge decreed that Dallas must play five preseason games against the Oilers, with three of them in Houston. Nevertheless, the Cowboys dutifully came to Houston to play the Oilers at Rice Stadium in 1967 for the first of a series of exhibitions that came to be known as the Ralph Neely Bowl. Neely, by the way, quickly became an All-Pro tackle and started 12 years for Tom Landry.

They have played over 30 more times in pre-season since that 5 year shotgun wedding we had to go through.

The Governor’s Cup still means a lot to some, but will never mean what it meant to Tex Schramm and Bud Adams.

Comments
  1. Joe D.

    Great blog! This was such a cool story and I had never heard of this before. Thanks for the fun Dallas Cowboys history lesson. I hope to see more of your posts in the future and if they are anything like this one, you will most definitely become my favorite blogger.

  2. Tiffany a/k/a Stargazzing

    Nice piece!
    I remember many Governer’s Cup games when I was young being that I had half a family in Houston that were big Oilers fans. The rivalry was fun then.
    I have never been able to take The Texans very seriously, but my Houston family has embraced them.
    I love that you mentioned our new stadium! Houston’s new stadium is all my cousins have been able to brag about over the past few years (since the team is nothing to brag about). I am so thrilled ours will be bigger and better. Now I can throw it back in their faces!
    Really enjoyed this writing. Brought back some good memories.
    In case anyone has forgotten, When The Governer’s Cup was a really big deal and the trophy was awarded to the respective Mayor on television by The Governer, our current coach’s dad, Bum Phillips, was coaching The Houston Oilers. Bum was a great coach and a good fella!