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Memories Left Behind


much as it was remembering moments at Texas Stadium, like the first I can recall, back the night of Oct. 21, 1984, when the nationally-televised presidential debates delayed the start of a Sunday night Cowboys-Saints game by more than an hour, instantly putting all the writers on deadline before the game even began about 9 p.m. 

Yep, remember Randy Galloway, at the time, columnist for the Dallas Morning News, having written that morning how the Cowboys were "dead" this 1984 season, coming into the game with but a 4-3 record, seemingly certain the way they were playing to end their string of 18 consecutive winning seasons and having qualified for the playoffs in 17 of the last 18 years. 

Well, as predicted, the Cowboys were struggling, trailing the Saints by a couple of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter with midnight approaching, and everyone basically having written the 1984 season's epitaph. But by the grace of the Cowboys' defense and aging Saints QB Kenny Stabler, the Cowboys tied the game in the final minutes to force overtime. And with every writer pounding the table in the press box, knowing they would have to possibly rewrite their entire game accounts, former Cowboys president Tex Schramm, who sat in the press box religiously, could be heard cackling from his second-row aisle seat, "Galloway, you look dead," as if on cue breaking the building tension in the old press box. 

Or the time in 1989, the first year of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson, the Cowboys completing the second-worst season in club history, losing to the Packers and going a league-worst 1-15. It was so cold that day the pipes at Texas Stadium froze, rendering most of the bathrooms inoperative, and causing former Times Herald colleague Frank Luksa to write, "it was so cold the Cowboys couldn't even flush the season away." Well, Jimmy was in such a hurry to get out of town, he wasn't even going to stay for an end-of-the-year wrap-up meeting with us beat writers. He was leaving for Miami that night, so former PR director Greg Aiello got him to meet three of us in a cold, damp stairwell of Texas Stadium that night just before he left the building. Boy, was he ever impatient with us, his lip-smacking at an all-time high pace, itching to hit the road. 

Let's see, there was the Dec. 8, 1991, Sunday morning of the Saints game when, and I can still remember every bit to this day, the phone rang at the PR station and whoever answered the phone said, "Mickey, your sports editor wants to talk with you." Talk with me, at 10 in the morning? He wasn't even at work yet. Well, he was, informing me that I had to break the news to all the writers on our staff covering the Cowboys that the Times Herald was going out of business, that this would be our last day of work, and it was there at Texas Stadium. 

Remember Tex coming into the press box for the first time since he and Jerry parted in May of 1989 to offer his condolences. Remember being last to leave the locker room that day, and Jimmy coming out, looking at the solemn faces of our staff members and saying, "Well, whatever . . . now you know how football coaches feel." Jimmy, ever the emotional one. 

Always will remember some guy named Vince. He was the bartender in the press box back then when having a bartender in the press box was kosher. Remember those last preseason games when we'd all predict the final 53-man roster, or whatever the number was back then, and we'd pay our $10 to the pool's commissioner, Marty Schramm, Tex' wife. I can remember after games the cackling laugh of Verne Lundquist, who would trade stories with Tex in the press box lounge. The PA voice of Murphy Martin.  

For some reason, I remember the end of the 1990 preseason talking late one night on a pay phone outside Texas Stadium with former Jerry Jones associate Mike McCoy, getting updates on the contract negotiations with Emmitt Smith and Alexander Wright. Phillip, the security guard, always there late at night after games for at least the past decade wondering when we'd be through working so he could lock the gate. Weird what we choose to remember. 

Why, there were those 1987 replacement games, the fans singing Happy Birthday to Joe Theismann after the birthday boy departed a 44-14 shellacking

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