FRISCO, Texas – So time for a little history lesson with the Cowboys facing the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Patriots currently have a five-game winning streak over the Cowboys, with three of those five Cowboys losses taking place in Foxborough, Mass.
The last Cowboys victory over the Patriots occurred on Dec. 5, 1996, a 12-6 win at Texas Stadium. That's 23 years ago.
And while the Cowboys beat the Patriots the first seven times the teams played, that last of the seven also is the last time the
Cowboys have won a game up there at what then was called Sullivan Stadium.
Thirty-32 years ago.
And believe it or not, I was there to witness that win.
When researching the game in the Cowboys media files, came across my sidebar story printed Monday morning in the Dallas Times Herald:
Hold the phone on the 10 Greatest Moments in Cowboys History.
There is a late entry from the East Coast: Herschel Walker's 60-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of overtime to give the Cowboys a 23-17 victory over the New England Patriots on Nov. 15, 1987.
Before 60,567 on a wintry afternoon at Sullivan Stadium, Walker slapped an exclamation point on a game that had ground to a 17-17 halt after 60 minutes.
Now isn't that how the Cowboys used to win?
But to that river of Cowboys spilling into the corner of the south end zone after Walker's run, their interest was not any ancient and medieval Cowboys history. The Cowboys hitched a ride on the Walkermobile to a 5-4 record and a tie for second in the NFC playoff wild-card spot with Minnesota.
Ride Cowboys, ride.
"I just saw that blue flame and I knew he was smoking," Cowboys quarterback Danny White said.
Why, Walker's performance that game signaled a changing of the running back guard for the Cowboys, who had been splitting the responsibilities between Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner who left Georgia early in 1983 to play three seasons in the USFL for the New Jersey Generals, and 11th-year veteran Tony Dorsett, the Heisman Trophy winner from Pitt and the No. 2 pick in the 1977 draft.
In that game, with Dorsett leaving with a shoulder injury, Walker rushed for 173 yards and totaled 232 yards from scrimmage. Walker would lead the Cowboys in that strike-shortened season with 891 yards rushing for the 7-8 finishing Cowboys (three replacement games). And in the offseason of 1988, the Cowboys would trade an unhappy Dorsett to Denver.
After the game, Cowboys head coach Tom Landry said, "You never know when one will break. I wasn't expecting that. I was thinking of the next play. I wasn't even watching."
And this the Cowboys second-longest run from scrimmage since Tony Dorsett's 77-yarder in 1983, that only nine months after his NFL-record 99-yarder that year on the third day of January.
Said Walker of his game-winning run, "They have very fast linebackers and they pressure hard to the outside. That gives me an opportunity to cut back. But when I broke back and got one-on-one with the safety I knew I was gone."
Gone he was. But since that moment in Cowboys history, they haven't gone anywhere against the Patriots up there, losing 13-6, 12-0 and 20-16.