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Legends of the Star: Mr. Cowboy, Bob Lilly

Many great players have worn the Dallas Cowboys uniform with pride and distinction during the teams glorious 50 year history. None however, can lay claim to the ultimate team nickname, “Mr. Cowboy” save one, the great Bob Lilly.

Though there are many current and former Cowboys who deserve their due recognition for helping the Dallas Cowboys become and maintain the title of “America’s Team”. However, a strong case can be made that if not for Bob Lilly, it may have never happened.

Many of the newer and younger Cowboy fans have all heard of the great  Bob Lilly at one time or another. They may have even heard that he is considered by most to be the best Defensive Tackle in Cowboy history. A fact that cannot be disputed.

That said, it’s only a small part of Lilly’s amazing legacy and the impact he made on a young franchise that would soon become one of the juggernauts of the NFL.

Bob Lilly was born in 1939 and went to Texas Christian University where he became a star defensive end and was named to the All-America team. As part of this honor he received a camera as one of his awards, a gift that would surely impact the rest of his life.

In 1961 Bob was drafted with first overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, thus becoming the first ever draft pick in franchise history. He would not disappoint.

Though he was originally drafted as a defensive end, in his third year with the Cowboys, coach Tom Landry switched his position to defensive tackle where he would become one of the best at his position in the NFL for many years to come.

Lilly was a punishing defender and his tough demeanor and sheer determination made him the undisputed leader of the Cowboys famous “Doomsday Defense’. Lilly was so unstoppable, that he was regularly double and triple teamed for the majority of his career.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl a then record 11 times between 1962 and 1973, and Lilly was also a seven time first team All Pro selection.

During his long 14 year Hall of Fame career he was as durable as they came missing only one game to a leg injury.

Lilly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and was the first player who spent his entire career with the Cowboys to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the All Century Team and in 1999 was ranked number 10 on the “100 Greatest Football Players” by the Sporting News. Sports Illustrated calls him the greatest Defensive Tackle in NFL history.

In addition to being the Cowboys’ first ever draft pick, when all was said and done, “Mr. Cowboy” would also become the first player ever to be inducted into the “Ring of Honor”. He is the only Dallas Cowboy to wear the #74, and is the only number unofficially retired by the team.

Aside from football, Bob Lilly went on to become a noted photographer, a career that stemmed back to the day he began using the camera he won as an All-American. His interests included photographs of magnificent sunsets, majestic mountain ranges and scenic landscapes that captured all the natural beauty of the Midwest. He has launched a successful business where people can buy some of his most famous photographs.

www.boblilly.com

A Dream Came True

I don’t know where to begin.  If you read my article My Birthday Wish you know how much going to Cowboy Stadium  was a dream of mine. My dream came true!   I just returned from Arlington.  Just seeing the size of the stadium is something to behold.

Once I entered the stadium I was shaking.  I told the Usher I couldn’t believe I was about not only see the field but stand on it.  We talked Thur a small corridor and behold before my eyes the largest building I had ever seen.  The colors of the field where so brilliant.   The layers of seats seemed to keep going and going. I don’t think there is a bad seat in the house.  Its definitely larger than Texas Stadium, but you still felt as though you where at the old stadium, the hole in the roof, the ring of honor, the white stars around the field.  The old and new combined together with class.

It took me a few minutes to step on the field.  Once I did wow how special it was.  I was standing in the end zone where  touchdowns are made.  I checked out every detail  thinking how hard  the players  work to get there every Sunday.

We  made our way to the Miller Lite Club from there.  I know I will never be in there unless I win the lottery.  The huge star that  hung over the tunnel was beautiful!  I stood at the beginning of the tunnel , seeing the field ahead and  wondered what the players felt with 100,000 people waiting to see them perform on their new home turf.  That gave me cold chills.  That was my special moment.

Photobucket On to  the Interview Room, which is larger than the White House’s.   We sat at the table where Romo and all the players handle the pressure of the press.   We walk through a set of double doors and there we are on Rookie Row in the locker room.   These lockers aren’t by the other lockers.  They have a small TV and not that much room.  I was thinking wow the locker room sure isn’t much’  then I saw all the other lockers and the big TV’s,  the showers and so on.  It then dawned on me those where the rookie lockers we had seen first.  So I am calling it Rookie Row.  I am not sure what the players call it.  DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo and Miles Austin’s gear was left out so fans could try them on or just touch them.  I liked watching this little four year old, Anson Marquez from New Mexico putting on Tony ‘s  uniform.

We saved that famous star for last.  The star on the 50 yard line that every football fan knows.  I felt as I was stepping on sacred ground.  I thought of what this star represents.  The Dallas Cowboys the team we love and are so loyal to now, and the team our children and grandchildren will love and cheer for every Sunday.

I will always cherish the tour and the time I spent there.  I wish every fan could take that tour.   I know most of you have, this article is for all of those who haven’t had the honor.   My daughter and I made a memory we will never forget!

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October 27th, 2002 – I had seen Emmitt and the Cowboys just a week earlier in Arizona.  When I purchased the tickets, I knew I would have a chance to see the all-time rushing record broken.  I fell just 93 yards short and Emmitt went on to break the record at Texas Stadium the following week.

As Emmitt heads for the hallowed halls of Canton it can be said, with confidence, that this record may never be broken again.  In this new era of the two and three-headed running backs by committee is it even conceivable?  There is only one active player even in the top 10 in regards to all-time leading rushers (LaDainian Tomlinson), and he is still almost 6,000 yards away.

As a stats guy, I recognize that it is possible for LT to surpass Emmitt.  In fact, LT’s career rushing stats through 9 seasons are actually better than Emmitt’s career stats by an average of 164 yards per year.  Although I said possible, I am not saying probable!  Now that LT has moved on to the Jets’ ground and pound offense, you have to wonder whether he will get the touches or even have the fortitude needed to surpass Emmitt.

Off in the distance, you will almost always hear the “but if Barry hadn’t retired”, or the “if Barry would’ve had a line like Emmitt’s” argument.  These arguments are most always from Dallas haters rather than from actual fans of Barry himself.  Again, statistically it was possible, admittedly even probable – but it didn’t happen that way!

What did happen was that the hole in the roof was used for someone else to watch the Cowboys play that day.  That day, a bit of “sweetness” was used to shine the star a bit brighter forever more on the helmet of the great number 22.

They “Talk At Night”

In just over a month, “The Triplets” will be reunited in Canton, OH.

John Madden is convinced that the busts “talk at night.”  What will this trio talk about?  This fan can imagine plenty of teasing and ribbing going on.  Will Irvin and Aikman forever tease Smith for not knowing what the 1-15 season felt like?  Maybe, Smith and Irvin will forever tease Aikman for his singing abilities?  What about that fur coat Irvin?

I can also imagine the great stories of superstardom. Emmitt’s separated shoulder against the Giants.  Aikman winning; however, not even remembering the NFC Championship game. The rubber-man catch and touchdown by Irvin in Pasadena.  The list could go on and on.

Then there are the “what if” questions that will be ever present; however, seldom a word spoken.  What if the ’94 Championship game had been at Texas Stadium?  What if Jimmy had never left?  What if Irvin had just landed a bit differently that day?  What if?  What if?  What if?  These too can go on and on.

No matter the conversation when the lights go down in the corridors of Canton, this trio will now forever add the “Hall of Famer” tag to their “Triplets” moniker.

Gone In Less Than 30 Seconds (UPDATED)

For those who may have missed the end of Texas Stadium this morning. It was an incredible site to see as I actually felt my eyes start to water as it came down. After 39 years it all came down in less than 30 seconds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5TbVjMx3mQ

Found this camera shot on DallasCowboys.com. You can turn the camera around as the stadium is coming down.

http://www.dallascowboys.com/farewell/Texas_Stadium_Implosion.cfm

Goodbye To An Old Friend

Next Sunday morning, April 11th our very own Texas Stadium will be imploded. The Cowboys played in Texas Stadium from 1971 to 2008. It opened on October 24, 1971 which was the sixth game of the season for the Cowboys. They beat New England in that first game 44-21 and would not lose one game in the new stadium in 1971 as they went on to win their first Super Bowl in team history.

What most people do not know is that the famous hole in the roof of Texas Stadium was never supposed to happen. The stadium was supposed to be a dome, but during construction it was realized that the stadium could not support the the weight of the entire roof. Public funding ran out before the support structure could be modified. This is why most of the stands ended up being covered, but not the playing field.

It was Dallas linebacker D D Lewis who was the first to make this comment about the hole in the roof.

“Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof so God can watch his favorite team play”

Texas Stadium has a lot of history in it. Great games, bad games, strange games. I remember back in the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a show on called “Dallas”. Every week I would make sure to be in front of the TV as the show came on because there would be an overhead shot of the stadium showing one of the end zones. I would smile, point and just node my head. Then I would walk away. I had no interest in the show, I just wanted to see my teams stadium.

Here are some of my greatest memories from games at Texas Stadium…

11/27/80…Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys beat Seattle 51-7. The Cowboys had a 51-0 lead before the Seahawks scored late in the fourth quarter.

12/28/80…Wildcard Game. The Cowboys beat the Rams 34-13. Both teams were tied at 13-13 at the half. Cowboys outscored the Rams 21-0 in the second half as Tony Dorsett rushed for 160 yards.

10/25/81…The Cowboys beat Miami 28-27. Down 27-14 late in the fourth quarter, Danny White threw two touchdown passes to win the game. White threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns. Tony Dorsett rushed for 122 yards.

11/26/81…Thanksgiving Day. Dallas beat Chicago 10-9. The Bears dominated for most of the game and Walter Payton rushed for 179 yards. Late in the fourth quarter with the Bears leading 9-3 Ron Springs scored the game winner for Dallas.

1/2/82…Divisional Playoff. The Cowboys beat Tampa Bay 38-0. Dominating defensive performance as the Cowboys collected four sacks plus many more hits on Tampa quarterback Doug Williams. They also intercepted Williams four times.

10/23/83…The Raiders beat the Cowboys 40-38. I understand this was a loss for the Cowboys, but it was such a great game. The Cowboys had a  7-0 record going into this game. Both teams battled to six lead changes. With the Cowboys leading 38-37 the Raiders kicked the game winning field goal as time expired.

9/9/85…Season Opener. The Cowboys beat Washington 44-14. The Cowboys defense collected seven turnovers including five interceptions from Joe Theismann. The Texas Stadium crowd ended the game by singing Happy Birthday to Theismann as he sat on the bench after being pulled from the game.

12/15/85…NFC East Champions. The Cowboys beat the Giants 28-21. The Cowboys go through  three quarterbacks in the game (Danny White, Steve Pelluer and Gary Hogeboom). The highlight of the game was when Ed Jones tipped a Phil Simms pass, Jim Jeffcoat catches the tip and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.

9/8/86…Season Opener. The Cowboys beat the Giants 31-28. Both teams battle back and forth all game. Newly signed Herschel Walker dives over for the winning touchdown late in the game.

11/22/90…Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys beat Washington 27-17. Emmitt Smith rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown coming from 48 yards out to seal the game.

9/29/91…The Cowboys beat the Giants 21-16. To me this seemed to be the turning point in the Jimmy Johnson era. The Cowboys were winning 14-3 and then gave the lead up. Then down 16-14 late in the game Troy Aikman connected with Michael Irvin to win the game.

9/7/92…Season Opener. The Cowboys beat Washington 23-10. The season started with a safety as Issiac Holt blocked a punt out of the end zone. Kelvin Martin added a 79 yard punt return and Emmitt Smith rushed for 140 yards.

11/1/92…The Cowboys beat Philadelphia 20-10. After being crushed earlier in the season 31-7, the Cowboys gave the Eagles a beating in the rematch. Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards.

11/26/92…Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys beat the Giants 30-3. Wasn’t much of a contest from the start as Emmitt Smith rushed for 120 yards including a 68 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

1/10/93…Divisional Playoff. The Cowboys beat Philadelphia 34-10. In the third meeting of the season once again the Cowboys beat up on the Eagles. The Dallas defense collected five sacks and held the Eagles to just 178 yards of offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 114 yards.

11/7/93…The Cowboys beat the Giants 31-9. Troy Aikman finished the game 11 of 13 for 162 yards and two touchdowns to Alvin Harper. Emmitt Smith rushed for 117 yards. The most important part of the game was that Tom Landry was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

1/23/94…Championship Game. The Cowboys beat San Francisco 38-21. Troy Aikman left the game with a head injury, but not before going 14 of 18 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Emmitt Smith rushed for 88 yards.

1/14/96…Championship Game. The Cowboys beat Green Bay 38-27. Classic battle between the Cowboys and Packers. Losing 27-24 going into the fourth quarter, Emmitt Smith scored two of his three touchdowns to win the game. He also rushed for 150 yards.

10/27/02…The Seahawks beat the Cowboys 17-14.  This had nothing to do with the game itself considering the Cowboys lost. But it was also the game that Emmitt Smith became the All-Time leading NFL rusher as he passed Walter Payton. Highlight of the game for me was the special moment Emmitt Smith and Darryl Johnston shared on the sideline.

11/23/06…Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys beat Tampa Bay 38-10. New quarterback Tony Romo hit on 22 of 29 passes for 306 yards and five touchdowns. Marion Barber rushed for 83 yards and had two receiving touchdowns.

12/14/08…The Cowboys beat the Giants 20-8. The Cowboys sacked Eli Manning eight times and intercepted him twice. Tony Romo went 20 of 30 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Tashard Choice rushed for 91 yards and scored from 38 yards out late in the game to seal it. This was also the very last victory in Texas Stadium.

Goodbye Texas Stadium

Thanks for all the memories

No Ring of Honor Ceremony For New Stadium

According to a report by Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News, there will be no new inductee into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in the upcoming season.

Some fans have openly wondered whether some of the traditions of our former stadium would continue in the new Cowboys Stadium and according to Jerry Jones, the Ring of Honor will continue on.

At a ceremony in which 12 oak trees were transplanted from Texas Stadium in Irving to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Jones said there will not be a Ring of Honor ceremony this year.

“But it will be every bit as emphasized in the new stadium as it was at Texas Stadium,” Jones said.

The Cowboys have not inducted any players into the Ring of Honor since the Triplets – Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith – were added on Sept. 19, 2005. Here are the current members…

No.NameDate of Induction
74Bob LillyNov. 23, 1975
17Don MeredithNov. 7,1976
43Don PerkinsNov. 7, 1976
54Chuck HowleyOct. 30, 1977
20Mel RenfroOct. 25, 1981
12Roger StaubachOct. 9, 1983
55Lee Roy JordanOct. 29, 1989
HCTom LandryNov. 7, 1993
33Tony DorsettOct. 9, 1994
54Randy WhiteOct. 9, 1994
22Bob HayesSept. 23, 2001
GMTex SchrammOct. 12, 2003
43Cliff HarrisOct. 10, 2004
70Rayfield WrightOct. 10, 2004
8Troy AikmanSept. 19, 2005
88Michael IrvinSept. 19, 2005
22Emmitt SmithSept. 19, 2005

I thought it would be a nice gesture to open the new stadium with a grand ceremony honoring the latest inductee and at the same time christening the stadium with some of our former glory. But I guess we will have to wait it out at least another year.

Too bad… There are so many former Cowboys who really deserve to be honored and I was hoping to see one of them get in this year.

ringhonor

In other stadium news, the Cowboys have yet to pick a place for the Tom Landry statue at the new stadium but it will be done before the season begins according to team officials.

Memo to Jerry Jones: GIT-R-DONE!

Cowboys To Forgo Corporate Naming Rights…..For Now.

The Dallas Cowboys have decided on a name for the team’s new stadium, but that’s being kept secret for now.

sta1According to dallasnews.com, the Cowboys will not have a corporate naming rights sponsor in time for the June 6 grand opening concert featuring George Strait. It’s likely that a non-sponsored name might be fairly similar to the current working name of Dallas Cowboys New Stadium.

Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones was interviewed for the story and said that “There will be a [sponsored] name on it at some point, we certainly want everyone to be aware of that. But not initially.”

I like the patience that the team is showing with this, it is better to wait then to just take the first thing that comes along, I think that one of the few things that could tarnish this beautiful stadium is if it goes through several name changes over the course of it’s early beginnings. I don’t want it to be Dr. Pepper stadium in season 1, then Chevrolet Field in season 2, and then Wal-Mart Stadium in seasons 3 thru 5.

On a personal rant, isn’t it sad that the main reason behind the deal, or lack thereof, is the struggling economy? I wish it was about discretion and class. I am not saying this just about Jerry or Stephen Jones, but just the entire sports world. It seems that every stadium, arena, scoreboard and segment has to be sponsored. I like Candlestick Park, Reunion Arena, Sky Dome, and Joe Robbie Stadium….not AT&T Park, American Airlines Center, Rogers Centre or Pro Player Stadium. And to me, there was no better stadium name in sports than Texas Stadium. I am sure for now we will be calling it Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, soon to be followed by “INSERT GENERIC COMPANY NAME HERE Stadium” and that’s just the way it, so no point in fighting it or having a heart attack about it, but just wish things were a little different.

Cowboys Fan For Life – TD

A Visit To Our New Home

Hey Cowboy Fans!

I had an opportunity to visit the new home of our Dallas Cowboys yesterday. We got up close, personal and INSIDE the current forbidden grounds! Yes! We went in and took a mini tour! I’m still very excited about it; not sure where to start!

First, they are not letting people near this very dangerous construction zone. We had to meet specific criteria. Security is tight and rules abound but it was worth the effort. The new stadium is spectacular, amazing, incredible, massive, beautiful, breath-taking… worthy of our Dallas Cowboys! I never thought I would say that because I was so in love with Texas Stadium but this one is… WOW! This new stadium is so big you can fit four (4) Texas Stadiums and my house inside AND STILL have room left over!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself here…

After making our way through the maze of contstruction zones nearby, passed through security, we found the location where we were instructed to wait in our car until our escort came to us. We didn’t wait long. A happy young man walked out with hard-hats, safety goggles and brightly colored vests. We discussed the rules once more then began to make our way across the parking lot to a door. When our guide opened it, my heart skipped a beat. I was THERE… three steps away! I watched as my husband and Roy stepped inside. The fact that we were in a service hallway at this point was irrelevant; we were finally in!

We made our way through hallways passing workers painting, putting down tiles and a variety of other tasks. Everyone was working hard to meet the deadlines. The sounds of hammers, saws and heavy machinery were a constant reminder of the dangers nearby. One more door opened for us. My eyes adjusted to the change in light to reveal a spectacular view of what will soon be the field, the massive screen hanging above, seats, stands and press boxes. WOW! It took my breath away.

Our guide instructed us to stay under the over-hang to avoid being hit by falling items. There are no words to describe what I could see from this view. For a person who is never at a loss for words, I find myself without the words to express how I felt to be there, what it looked like or even to describe my excitement… Nothing I can say will do it justice. I will let the video below speak for me. We made several stops along our journey inside to see the sights: club areas, a variety of views of the field from different levels. Every step, every view, every sound was amazing!

I hope you enjoy this video. You may want to turn your speakers down a notch. The song will be heavy to many. I can hardly wait to return to the new, unnamed stadium with you – my Cowboy lovin’ friends – to see the first games the Cowboys play!

By the way, if you are interested in season tickets you need to know there are not many left! You may want to make a move very soon! They are making every effort possible to help with the price of the PSL. Some seats do not require a PSL. If you are interested, I may be able to provide contact information and answer many questions.

I look forward to sharing the experience of this new stadium with you very soon! For me, it cannot come soon enough!

COWBOYS-4-LIFE,

Shelby

How Soon Before We Have A Name?

The idea of writing a blog with wild predictions and suggestions about the upcoming draft was shot down, by yours truly,  when I realized I could not have been more wrong about, well, pretty much everything so far this off-season.

What things you ask? Well let’s see. Ray Lewis will be a Cowboy. Um…no. Roy Williams(Safety) will not be cut. Um…no. T.O. is coming back. Um…you get the point. Should I go on? Um…no.

So instead I’ve decided to write about the new stadium in Arlington. Specifically what this stadium should be called. A lot can be said about a name. I’m definitely glad my name isn’t say…Sue for instance. No offense to any guys named Sue. But Cowboy Sue? I don’t think so. I think I should move along.

I’m going to throw a few suggestions out there as far as the name of this beautiful structure that will house America’s Team for the next several decades. Now if for some reason it already has a name and I missed that memo, please just smack me in the back of the head. It’s been a rough month.

Texas Stadium. Now that is pretty simple, right? But we all know there will only be one Texas Stadium. Would it be right to name the new girl the same as the old girl? Probably not.

North Texas Stadium. It’s almost redundant. I mean, I don’t hate it, but it lacks originality. But it is North Texas.

Jerry’s World. I mean after all, Ole JJ has poured a ton of dough into this gem. He has the right if he so chooses. Maybe Jerry Jones Stadium or Jones Field. The Jerry Dome. Um…maybe not?

Geico-Diet Pepsi-Texaco Stadium. We all know corporate sponsorship is a big deal nowadays. Jerry loves money and what better way to generate revenue than to have big wigs sponsoring the stadium. Maybe George Strait could do a duet with that lizard from the Geico commercials. Not sure they make cowboy hats that small.

The 1-B. Seeing as how every writer that even mentions the new stadium has to mention that it’s either The Cowboys $1 Billion Stadium or Jerry Jones’ $1 Billion Stadium, we’ll just call it the 1-B. Like, “I’m going to see Reba at the 1-B this weekend.” Has a ring to it doesn’t it?

So there are a few suggestions for you guys and gals to ponder over. If you have better ones(and I’m sure you do) by all means comment. I’m just throwing some out there for ya. I mean really… what the hell do I know?

But seriously, in my humble opinion, I know what it should be named.

Tom Landry Memorial Stadium. A fitting tribute to a man that was the face of the Dallas Cowboys for almost 40 years. A man that has earned the right to have something this grand named after him.

I may have been wrong about my off-season opinions. But in my heart, as a life-long Cowboys fan, I know I’m right about this one.

 

Texas Stadium Turf Plaque

Hey Cowboy nation!

I received an email from Steiner Sports today who is selling Texas Stadium turf plaques.

I know everyone could not get to the Fan Fest to get a piece of history. I was lucky enough to get a turnstile from the stadium. 

So below is the link to Steiner Sports so you can get your piece of Texas Stadium history!

http://www.steinersports.com/ssm/control/product/~pid=TEXAPLU000000?cc=cowboysturfplaque

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