One of the things I am most grateful for growing up in the 70's here in Dallas was that most every weekend in the Fall I was at Texas Stadium watching the Dallas Cowboys play football. I remember the first time my father went to the old Dallas Cowboys' office on North Central Expressway to pick out two season tickets off a chart before Texas Stadium was even built. Yes, I was one of those lucky kids that grew up with the Cowboys at Texas Stadium.
At DallasCowboys.com we have been running a series on "The Ultimate 53" which yesterday brought us to 1971 and that first year at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys player that we featured was Roger Staubach, who happens to be my favorite player of all time.
I have so many wonderful memories of Staubach and what he was able to accomplish as the Cowboys' quarterback. With Staubach it wasn't as pretty as it was with Troy Aikman and he wasn't always accurate or showed great touch with his passes but he was able to find a way to win. I lived his 23 comeback victories and the 14 of them that was in the final two minutes or overtime.
I remember in 1972 with the Cowboys down to the 49ers on the road in the playoffs and Staubach throwing two touchdown passes with a 1:30 left, the last one going to Ron Sellers to win the game. In that game, it took a crazy Tony Fritsch onside kick to get the ball back on the last drive.
I remember in 1975 with once again their playoff lives in the balance on the road at the Met, Staubach manages to find Drew Pearson with the famous Hail Mary pass. I remember the 12-2 season of 1977 which started out with eight straight victories but then back to back loses to St. Louis and Pittsburgh followed up by seven straight wins and another Super Bowl against the Broncos and the old Cowboys' quarterback Craig Morton.
But maybe my favorite Staubach memory happened in his last season with the Cowboys in 1979 and a game against the hated Washington Redskins. In this game what was on the line for the Redskins was a trip to the playoffs if they were able to beat the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. After what I thought was a 66-yard back-breaking touchdown run by John Riggins, Staubach did what he did best for 11 seasons and that was to mount a comeback. The first order of business for Staubach was to get the ball in Ron Springs' hands who had been a star that day running and catching the ball. Staubach found Springs with the 26 yard touchdown pass to cut the Redskins lead to 34 to 28. On the final drive Staubach went to another player that like Springs had a huge day and that was Tony Hill. This game was maybe Tony Hill's finest hour. Hill got separation quickly and Staubach was able to lay the ball up for an easy throw and catch on the fade route. I bring this game up because of what I said earlier, I remember walking out of Texas Stadium very happy of the victory but also knowing that the Redskins would be watching the playoffs at home.
I am grateful that in my life that was able to be around some outstanding quarterbacks. To watch Roger Staubach play during his career in Dallas was a real pleasure to me. I was with teams that came to Texas Stadium to compete against Troy Aikman and there is a great deal of respect there as well. As I mentioned, Staubach wasn't the prettiest quarterback but he did the most important thing and that was win games and championships.
I mean this as no disrespect to any of the men that have lined up under center for the Cowboys but when you speak of the greatest quarterback in franchise history, Roger Staubach will always get my vote.