One of the best days of the year for football fans is when the NFL schedule is released every spring. Since that is still a few weeks away we were given a little treat yesterday about the Cowboys opening game. The announcement was made that the Cowboys will be opening the 2012 season on September 5th against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
It got me thinking about other opening day games for the Cowboys. There have been many for the Cowboys of course since 1960, so I’m only going to list my top ten since I have become a fan.
1982 – Cowboys lose to the Steelers, 36-28
In the Monday Night Football opener the Steelers came to Texas Stadium looking to continue their dominance over the Cowboys. With the Steelers glory days coming to an end, they still showed they had a little left as Terry Bradshaw, John Stallworth, Franco Harris and Jack Lambert helped the Steelers to a 33-14 fourth quarter lead. The Cowboys were led by Danny White, Tony Hill, Tony Dorsett and Drew Pearson who put a good fight, but came up short in the end.
1983 – Cowboys beat the Redskins, 31-30
Monday Night Football opener as the Cowboys went to RFK Stadium to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Redskins. The Skins jumped out to a 23-3 halftime lead. Then Danny White led an incredible second half comeback as he connected with Tony Hill twice in the third quarter. White also threw another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter as well as running one in. Tony Dorsett added 151 yards rushing and the Cowboys completed a 31-30 comeback.
1984 – Cowboys beat the Rams, 20-13
In a not so popular move Tom Landry selected Gary Hogeboom as the starting QB over Danny White to start the 1984 season. Hogeboom on Monday Night Football threw for 343 yards to help the Cowboys win in LA. He also received help from the Cowboys defense that held the Rams offense to 204 yards and collected five interceptions.
1985 – Cowboys beat the Redskins, 44-14
It was another Monday Night Football opener in Texas Stadium. The Cowboys jumped out to a 17-7 halftime lead on the Redskins and never looked back. The Cowboys defense was dominate in the game as they collected seven turnovers, which included six interceptions and two were returned for touchdowns. Five of the interceptions came from Joe Theismann who was benched in the fourth quarter by Joe Gibbs. This game also happened to be Theismann’s birthday and as he sat on the bench towards the end of the game the Texas Stadium crowd began singing happy birthday to him.
1986 – Cowboys beat the Giants, 31-28
In their fifth straight Monday Night Football opener the Cowboys welcomed a new member to the team as they faced the Giants at Texas Stadium. Herschel Walker was signed in the off-season to join Tony Dorsett in the Cowboys backfield. He quickly went to work as he rushed for 64 yards and scored two touchdowns. The second touchdown won the game for the Cowboys late in the fourth quarter.
1989 – Cowboys lose to the Saints, 28-0
In Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman’s first game in the NFL things did not go well. Aikman was welcomed into the NFL and only managing 180 yards passing and two interceptions. The Cowboys rushing attack only managed 2o yards as the Saints put a beating on the Cowboys.
1992, Cowboys beat the Redskins, 23-10
In what would end up being a Super Bowl Championship season for the Cowboys, they opened their season on Monday Night Football against the defending Super Bowl Champion Redskins. In Texas Stadium Emmitt Smith rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown. Issiac Holt who was part of the blockbuster Herschel walker trade in 1989 blocked a Redskins punt out of the end zone early to get the Cowboys scoring going. Kelvin Martin added a punt return as the Cowboys dominated.
1995 – Cowboys beat the Giants, 35-0
Monday Night Football in Giants Stadium and it was Emmitt Smith who took his first carry of the season 60 yards for a touchdown and then added three more scores in the game. Smith would go on to a record breaking season of 25 rushing touchdowns and 1,773 rushing yards. The victory also started what would be the Cowboys journey to their third Super Bowl victory in four years.
1999 – Cowboys beat the Redskins, 41-35 in OT
The Redskins jumped out to a 35-14 third quarter lead at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium before Troy Aikman led an amazing comeback. Aikman threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Michael Irvin to go along with an Emmitt Smith touchdown run. Smith also rushed for 109 yards in the game. It was in overtime where the Cowboys newest member Rocket Ismail shinned. Not only did he catch eight passes for 149 yards in the game, but the last reception came in overtime as Aikman connected with Ismail who was wide open down the middle of the field and he scored easily from 76 yards.
2007 – Cowboys beat the Giants, 45-35
In Tony Romo’s first ever season opener as a starter he threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Cowboys to victory. Jason Witten added 116 yards receiving and a touchdown and Terrell Owens added 87 yards and two touchdowns. The Giants got close to the Cowboys at 38-35 in the fourth quarter, but when Romo connected with Sam Hurd for a 51 yard touchdown it sealed the game.