Texas Stadium

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Texas Stadium
Texas Stadium.jpeg
Location 2401 East Airport Freeway
Irving, Texas, U.S.
Owner City of Irving
Operator Texas Stadium Corp[1]
Capacity 65,675
Surface Texas Turf (1971-1995)
AstroTurf (1996-2002)
RealGrass by Sportfield (2002-08)
Broke ground January 26, 1969 (1969-01-26)[2]
Opened September 17, 1971 (1971-09-17)
Closed December 20, 2008
Demolished April 11, 2010 (2010-04-11)
Construction cost $35 million
($204 million in 2015 dollars[3])
Architect A. Warren Morey
General contractor JW Bateson Co., Inc.
Dallas Cowboys (NFL) (1971-2008)
Dallas Tornado (NASL) (1972-1975, 1980-1981)
SMU Mustangs (NCAA) (1979-1986)

Texas Stadium was an American football stadium located in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The stadium opened on September 17, 1971. It served as the home field of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys from 1971 to 2008 and had a seating capacity of 65,675. In 2009, the stadium was replaced as home of the Cowboys by the $1.15 billion AT&T Stadium which completed construction and officially opened on May 27, 2009, in Arlington, Texas.[4] The stadium was demolished by a controlled implosion on April 11, 2010.


The Cowboys had played at the Cotton Bowl since their inception in 1960. However, by the mid 1960s, founding owner Clint Murchison, Jr. realized that the Fair Park area had become unsafe and downtrodden, and it was not a location he wanted his season ticket holders to be forced to go through.[5] Murchison was denied a request by Dallas mayor Erik Jonsson to build a new stadium in downtown Dallas as part of a municipal bond package.[6]

Murchison envisioned a new stadium with sky boxes and one in which attendees would have to pay a personal seat license as a prerequisite to purchasing season tickets.[7] With two games left for the Cowboys to play in the 1967 NFL season, Murchison and Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm announced a plan to build a new stadium in Irving, Texas.[7]

Texas Stadium, along with the Pontiac Silverdome, Arrowhead Stadium, and Ralph Wilson Stadium were part of a new wave of football-only stadia built after the AFL-NFL merger. Moreso than its contemporaries, Texas Stadium featured a proliferation of luxury boxes, which provided the team with a large new income source exempt from league revenue sharing.[citation needed]

The stadium would become an icon of the Cowboys with their rise in national prominence. Its field was surrounded by a blue wall emblazoned with white stars, a design replicated in its successor, AT&T Stadium.


The most distinctive element of Texas Stadium was its partial roof, the only one in the NFL. The roof was originally supposed to be the first retractable roof in the NFL. However, it was discovered that the structure could not support the additional weight. This resulted in most of the stands being enclosed but not the playing field itself. This design prompted Cowboys linebacker D. D. Lewis to make his now-famous (and much paraphrased) quip "Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof so God can watch His favorite team play."[8][9]

This meant that weather could become a factor in games, perhaps most famously in the 1993 Thanksgiving Day game against the Miami Dolphins, which saw the field covered with snow. This unusual arrangement also made it difficult to televise games, a problem, generally speaking, foreseen by the original architect.[10]

The roof at Texas Stadium, whose worn paint had become unsightly in the early 2000s, was repainted in the summer of 2006 by the City of Irving, which owned the stadium. It was the first time the famed roof was repainted since Texas Stadium opened. The roof was structurally independent from the stadium it covered.[citation needed]

Non-Cowboys events[edit]

The stadium hosted neutral-site college football games and was the home field of the SMU Mustangs from 1979 to 1986. After the school returned from an NCAA-imposed suspension in 1988, school officials moved games back to the school's on-campus Ownby Stadium to signify a clean start for the football program (this venue has since been replaced by Gerald J. Ford Stadium).

The Dallas Tornado of the NASL used it as their home stadium from 1972 to 1975 and again from 1980 to 1981 when the team folded.

In November and December, Texas Stadium was a major venue for high school football. It was not uncommon for there to be high school football tripleheaders at the stadium. Texas Stadium served as a temporary home for two Dallas-area high schools, Plano Senior High School in 1979 after its home stadium was damaged by a prank gone awry, and Highland Park High School while a new stadium on campus was being built. The stadium has also played host to the two largest capacity crowds for Texas high school football playoff games. In 1977, Plano Senior High School defeats Port Neches-Groves High School 13-10 in front of a record crowd of 49,953.[11] In 2006, the long-awaited mythical matchup between Trinity High School (Euless, Texas) and Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, Texas) in the second round of the playoffs, ending in a scintillating 22-21 Southlake victory (on their way to a fourth 5A state championship in five years) before an announced crowd of 46,339 at Texas Stadium.[11] The attendance appears to approach 60,000 midway through the third quarter, which would have set an all-time playoff record. These games marked two of the top three all time attendance figures for a Texas high school football game and the stadium recorded three of the top twenty attendance records.[11] The 2001 Big 12 conference championship game was held at the site, as well as the 1973 Pro Bowl.

In addition to American football, the stadium hosted the North American Soccer League for four seasons, including the NASL Championship Match between the Dallas Tornado and Philadelphia and several World Class "friendly" Soccer Matches; concerts; pro wrestling events; and religious gatherings such as Promise Keepers and Billy Graham crusades (a Graham crusade was the first event held at Texas Stadium).

From 1984 to 1988, the stadium hosted the annual World Class Championship Wrestling David Von Erich "Memorial Parade of Champions" professional wrestling card every May. The initial 1984 card drew more than 40,000 fans, the highest attendance of any wrestling card in the state of Texas at that time.

The Jacksons performed three concerts at Texas Stadium on July 13, 14 and 15, 1984 during their Victory Tour.[12]

Madonna performed in the summer of 1987, during her Who's That Girl World Tour, one of her two shows in Texas during the tour.

George Michael performed a sold out show at Texas Stadium on October 14, 1988 during his Faith World Tour

On November 21, 1991, U.S. soccer team played a "friendly" against Costa Rica.

On March 14, 1992, the stadium played host to the sixth edition of Farm Aid.

Metallica and Guns N' Roses brought their co-headlining Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour to he stadium on September 5, 1992, with Faith No More as their opening act.

The stadium appeared in numerous episodes of the television series, Walker, Texas Ranger (1993–2001), which was filmed in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

In 1993, country singer Garth Brooks's second concert special This Is Garth Brooks II was recorded at the stadium.

In 1994, the stadium hosted the largest Christian concert in history with Christian recording artist Carman. More than 80,000 attended.

In 1994, the stadium hosted the John Tyler vs. Plano East high school football regional playoff, whose wild seesaw finish won it the 1995 Showstopper of the Year ESPY Award.

On November 14, 1999, the stadium was the site for country singer Shania Twain and a CBS television special.

On July 9, 2000, Texas Stadium hosted a sold-out concert for the Summer Sanitarium Tour that featured Metallica, Korn, Kid Rock, Powerman 5000, and System of the Down. Metallica lead singer James Hetfield was unable to attend the concert as he hurt his back during a jet skiing accident while in Georgia before the Atlanta show. Metallica bass guitarist Jason Newsted, along with other lead singers from the other bands on hand, sang most of the songs. Metallica did return in August to perform two make-up shows at the Starplex in Dallas a month later.

From October 17 to October 20, 2002, evangelist Billy Graham spoke for four consecutive evenings at the Metroplex Mission crusade in Texas Stadium. Several Christian musical groups also played during the event. Former president George H. W. Bush gave an introduction for Graham on the first night of the crusade.

On August 3, 2003, Texas Stadium also host the return of the Summer Sanitarium Tour featuring Metallica, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, and Mudvayne.

On May 25, 2008, Texas Stadium hosted the first ever professional lacrosse game in Texas when the two-time defending Major League Lacrosse champions Philadelphia Barrage played the Long Island Lizards. Both teams compete in the Eastern Conference of the Major League Lacrosse[13]

The Carthage Bulldogs faced the Celina Bobcats at Texas Stadium, becoming the last high school football game played there. The Carthage Bulldogs won, becoming state champions in 2008.[14][15]

Throughout the network run of the television series Dallas, a number of scenes were filmed on location at Texas Stadium. An overhead shot of the stadium (looking down at the field from the hole in the roof) was also featured prominently as part of the show's opening credits for each of its thirteen seasons on CBS. This trend has continued with the new series with AT&T Stadium taking its place.

Seating capacity[edit]

  • 65,000 (1971-1976)[16]
  • 65,101 (1977-1984)[17]
  • 63,855 (1985-1989)[18]
  • 63,749 (1990-1991)[19]
  • 65,024 (1992-1994)[20]
  • 65,812 (1995-1996)[21]
  • 65,675 (1997-2008)[22]

The Cowboys' departure[edit]

"Five-time World Champions Mural" in the Cowboys' tunnel

The Cowboys left Texas Stadium after the 2008 NFL season for the new Cowboys Stadium (opened for the 2009 NFL season) that was partially funded by taxpayers in Arlington, Texas. In November 2004, Arlington voters approved a half-cent (.005 per U.S. dollar) sales tax to fund $325 million of the then estimated $650 million stadium by a margin of 55%-45%. Jerry Jones, the Cowboys' owner, spent over $5 million backing the ballot measure, but also agreed to cover any cost overruns which as of 2006 had already raised the estimated cost of the project to $1 billion.

The new stadium, which has a retractable roof system, also includes a setting that mimics a hole in the roof as a tribute to Texas Stadium.[23][24]

The Cowboys lost their final game at Texas Stadium to the Baltimore Ravens, 33-24, on December 20, 2008.


The stadium was scheduled for demolition and implosion on April 11, 2010 as confirmed by the mayor of Irving on September 23, 2009.[citation needed]

Many of the items in the stadium were auctioned off by the city and the Dallas Cowboys including the stadium seats, scoreboard and other pieces of memorabilia.

The City of Irving announced that the Texas Department of Transportation would pay $15.4 million to lease the site for 10 years a staging location for the State Highway 114/Loop 12 diamond interchange. The city has the right to relocate the staging area if redevelopment becomes available.[25]


A post-demolition view of Texas Stadium as broadcast by area TV station, WFAA

On September 23, 2009, the City of Irving granted a demolition contract to Weir Brothers Inc., a local Dallas based company, for the demolition and implosion of the stadium.[26][27][28]

On December 31, 2009, The City of Irving and Kraft Foods announced details of their sponsorship deal for the stadium's implosion — including a national essay contest with the winner getting to pull the trigger that finishes off the stadium. Kraft paid the city $75,000 and donated $75,000 worth of food to local food banks to promote its "Cheddar Explosion" version of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.[29] The city council unanimously approved the sponsorship deal.

At 7:07 a.m. CDT on April 11, 2010, 11-year-old Casey Rogers turned the key to cause the demolition.[30] From the first explosion, it took approximately 25 seconds for the stadium to completely fall. Debris removal continued until July 2010. Texas' Department of Transportation is using the site as an equipment storage and staging area, after which Irving will decide long-term plans.[31]

In 2013-15, the area around the former stadium has been the epicenter for at least 46 small earthquakes, ranging in magnitude from 1.6 to 3.6.[32]


  1. ^ http://football.ballparks.com/NFL/DallasCowboys/index.htm
  2. ^ Texas Stadium - History, Photos & More of the former NFL stadium of the Dallas Cowboys
  3. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ Bell, Jarrett (September 18, 2009). "'This transcends football': 'Boys boast as new stadium shines". USA Today. 
  5. ^ Shropshire, 1997 pg. 138-139
  6. ^ Shropshire, 1997 pg. 139
  7. ^ a b Shropshire, 1997 pg. 139-140
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Shropshire, 1997 pg. 140
  11. ^ a b c Doelle, Chris. "Texas High School Football All-Time Highest Attendance". Lone Star Gridiron. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ Victory Tour (The Jacksons tour)
  13. ^ Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Makes Texas Debut
  14. ^ Doelle, Chris (December 19, 2008). "Carthage downs Celina 49-37 in last Texas Stadium high school game". Lone Star Gridiron. 
  15. ^ Doelle, Chris (December 23, 2008). "122008 – BONUS Celina vs Carthage". Lone Star Gridiron. 
  16. ^ "Cowboys, 49ers in Collision". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. January 1, 1972. 
  17. ^ "SMU-Arkansas Game a Sellout". Associated Press. November 15, 1982. 
  18. ^ "Cowboys Buying Ads to Sell More Tickets". The Victoria Advocate. June 27, 1988. 
  19. ^ "NFC Facts and Statistics". The Daily Sentinel. August 21, 1992. 
  20. ^ "Cowboys Are in Demand". Altus Times. September 20, 1992. 
  21. ^ "City Officials Vow to Bring Super Bowl to Irving, Texas". Kingman Daily Miner. February 8, 1996. 
  22. ^ "Sports Line". The Bonham Daily Favorite. June 23, 1999. 
  23. ^ sports.espn.go.com/nfl
  24. ^ Jerrydome or Jerry Dome (Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington)
  25. ^ "Texas Stadium Transition Under Way" (Press release). City of Irving, Texas. 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  26. ^ Plans for the Demolition of Texas Stadium Move Forward after City Council Approves Resolution
  27. ^ Texas Stadium Demolition Set
  28. ^ The Dallas Morning News - Irving officials consider Texas Stadium demolition contracts, events
  29. ^ Dallas Cowboys' Old Home Gets Dynamited in a Macaroni Big Bang
  30. ^ "Texas Stadium leveled in successful implosion". Associated Press. April 11, 2010.
  31. ^ Dallas Morning News: What's next after demolition?
  32. ^ [3]


  • Shropshire, Mike. (1997). The Ice Bowl. New York, NY: Donald I. Fine Books. ISBN 1-55611-532-6

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°50′23.17″N 96°54′39.28″W / 32.8397694°N 96.9109111°W / 32.8397694; -96.9109111

Preceded by
Cotton Bowl
Home of the
Dallas Cowboys

Succeeded by
AT&T Stadium
Preceded by
Franklin Field
Ownby Stadium
Home of the
Dallas Tornado

Succeeded by
Ownby Stadium
final venue
Preceded by
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Host of the NFL Pro Bowl
Succeeded by
Arrowhead Stadium
Preceded by
Kezar Stadium
RFK Stadium
Metropolitan Stadium
Candlestick Park
Candlestick Park
Host of NFC Championship Game
Succeeded by
RFK Stadium
Metropolitan Stadium
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Candlestick Park
Lambeau Field