Are You Ready For Some (Monday Night) Football?
I do. Especially when the Dallas Cowboys played on Monday Night Football. I know, it’s not the same these days on ESPN as it was in the glory days back on ABC, but it’s still more “event” than “game.”
And next week – when Dallas hosts the Philadelphia Eagles – will be the final MNF game ever at Texas Stadium.
Which got me to thinking. To remembering. Man, there’s been a lot of memorable MNF games involving the Cowboys in September. (Attention Norm Hitzges: The Cowboys are 18-8 in MNF games in September and 22-21 in MNF games in other months. Hmm. Do I smell a trend?)
A little research and – presto – my Top 10:
10. 9-4-78 at Cowboys 38, Colts 0 – Fresh off winning Super Bowl XII, Dallas opens the season by obliterating a Baltimore team missing stars Bert Jones and Lydell Mitchell with 583 yards of offense. Even a backup quarterback named Danny White throws a touchdown.
9. 9-19-05 Redskins 14, at Cowboys 13 – On an emotional night when Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin go into the Ring of Honor, Santana Moss ruins the party with two long touchdown catches in the final 3:46.
8. 9-21-81 Cowboys 35, at Patriots 21 – Tony Dorsett spins and sprints 75 yards for a score en route to a 162 yards rushing.
7. 9-7-92 at Cowboys 23, Redskins 10 – Isiaac Holt blocks a punt and the Cowboys whip Mark Rypien and the defending Super Bowl champs. It was the beginning of the beginning of the dynasty.
6. 9-2-96 at Bears 22, Cowboys 6 – With Michael Irvin suspended and Emmitt Smith injured, the Cowboys fail to score a touchdown for the first time in 70 games. It was the beginning of the beginning of the end of the dynasty.
5. 9-4-95 Cowboys 35, at Giants 0 – Emmitt Smith bolts 60 yards for a touchdown on the season’s first handoff and rushes for 163 yards in a stunned Meadowlands.
4. 9-8-86 at Cowboys 31, Giants 28 – Filling in for an injured Tony Dorsett, a heralded newcomer named Herschel Walker hurdles his way to the winning 10-yard touchdown with 1:16 remaining.
3. 9-15-97 at Cowboys 21, Eagles 20 – Dallas survives when holder Tom Hutton bobbles the snap on Chris Boniol’s 22-yard field-goal attempt with four seconds remaining. That, like, never happens. Right, Tony Romo?
2. 9-15-03 Cowboys 35, at Giants 32 – Head coach Bill Parcells gets his first win in Dallas after his team blows a 15-point fourth-quarter lead, only to be bailed out by Quincy Carter’s passing, Antonio Bryant’s clutch receiving and seven field goals by Billy Cundiff, including a 52-yarder to force overtime and the game-winner from 25.
1. 9-5-83 Cowboys 31, at Redskins 30 – Trailing 23-3 at halftime, Danny White rallies Dallas to an electrifying season-opening win behind three second-half touchdown passes, two to Tony Hill and the game-winner to Doug Cosbie with 1:49 remaining. -- Richie Whitt