Memory Lane

Tom Landry walks off the field after the 1983 playoff loss to the Rams.

midfield. And it had Danny White fumbling the ball away in the final minutes when it looked like the Cowboys might win the game over the Oilers. You can't tell a 10-year-old that preseason games don't matter.

Before I started working for the Cowboys in 1999, I went to several more games. I saw three games in 1989 alone, including the Bounty Bowl, although when you're about five rows from the top of the second deck, you don't catch everything that's going on - other than the fact your team has no points.

Went to two games in the 1992 season, including Michael Irvin's three-touchdown game against the Cardinals, and then later when the Cowboys were 8-1 and facing the lowly Rams. But Cleveland Gary just torched them that day and upset the Cowboys 27-23. You know, I never really liked the Rams.

When I went off to college, I didn't catch as many games, but I did make it back for Deion Sanders' first home game - a Monday Night showdown against the Eagles. I was a big Deion fan - always was - and so it was exciting to see him come to Dallas. A college buddy and I got seats on the first top row in the corner of the end zone. That's when I was convinced that there wasn't a bad seat at Texas Stadium.

Deion returned a punt about 50 yards on a reverse, and then picked off a pass to end the half. But with the Cowboys dominating the game and a two-hour drive awaiting us, we decided to leave a few minutes early. So walking out, we heard this huge roar from the crowd. Now there's only about three to four minutes to play. And in the concourse area, you can barely hear the radio feed and we faintly hear something about an "interception" and "the Deion Sanders dance."

Immediately, I thought I had just ruined the night. It was my suggestion that we beat the crowd and instead, I missed Deion Sanders picking off a pass for a touchdown. Well, fortunately, it was Larry Brown who picked off the pass and scored. He just did the dance and a gesture to his new teammate. I felt better about that.

About two years later, same buddy and I went back for a game against the Bears and Deion ran back a punt for a touchdown.

But not long after that is when I started "working" the games. I use the quotes because . . . let's face it, it's not really a lot of work to go to a football game as part of your job. Now, all of the stuff that happens during the week and the off-season and even the few hours we stay after the game actually is work. But going there to watch the game, that's really the best part of the gig.

For a long time, I had my own little ritual while walking up to the stadium with my computer over my shoulder. If I could remember, I would make sure and tell myself that people pay good money to be here. And I'm getting to do it for free. Actually, getting paid for it. I wouldn't always remember to say it, but I would bet it happened about 90 percent of the time.

I used to be those fans in jerseys and T-shirts. I used to be that little kid who thought he could go to the game and get Tony Dorsett's autograph.

Not only was I a huge fan of the Cowboys, but a huge fan of their home. Heck, I liked to watch the intro to the TV show "Dallas" just to see that one-second clip of Texas Stadium. I know my grandfather took me to Six Flags in Dallas when I was about eight years old one time. And although I'm sure I had a great time at the park, I remember seeing Texas Stadium way off in the distance from the highway. That's what I remember - nothing really about Six Flags.

And although it really started to look run down at the end, (and I'm sure we all pretty much know why) that place was and will always be special. Even though it looked bad on the outside and had stuff falling from the roof, it was still . . . Texas Stadium. The hole-in-the-roof place that was really like none other.

I know I've heard people say that they feel like they're "cheating on Texas Stadium" because they really like the new place. I don't feel that way at all. It's a new time and a new era. It was certainly time for a new place. I just think it's incredible that Cowboys Stadium can look so state-of-the-art, but yet still resemble Texas Stadium as well.

In 10 seasons of covering the Cowboys at Texas Stadium,

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