In June 2011, Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine decided to count down the best of the best, the top 25 plays in franchise history. Obviously, this wasn't the easiest of tasks, but some 30,000-plus words later, we feel pretty good about the results. Now here in a 25-part summer series, we share our list for one and all. Without further ado, we continue with No. 19, and a snippet from the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine story:
19) The First Win, Sept. 17, 1961:
The 1960 Dallas Cowboys were not good. In fact, they were brutal, with the majority of football historians ranking them among the 10 worst teams in the history of the game. Almost miraculously, the team salvaged a 31-31 tie at the New York Giants in its second-to-last game, meaning a 0-11-1 finish.
But the Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers were tied, 24-24, with 10 seconds remaining in the 1961 season opener. Having intercepted the ball on the previous play at its own 38-yard line, Dallas had time for one snap in hopes of setting up a potential game-winning field goal.
Quarterback Eddie "The Little General" LeBaron trotted onto the field and before having the chance to call a play, 31-year old wide receiver Billy Howton ran up beside him in the huddle and said, "I'll catch it."
And depending on the source, LeBaron said either, "I'll throw it," or "Just take off deep, everybody else block."
Howton left his feet to catch the somewhat wobbling pass, landed mere inches from the sideline, although both feet clearly in-bounds, and immediately stepped out to stop the clock. The play went for 41 yards, down to the Pittsburgh 21.
A single second remained, 0:01 ...
Kicker Allen Green's 27-yard field goal was pure, splitting the uprights with ease, the Cowboys capturing the victory, 27-24, for the first win in franchise history.