American Football Wiki
Texas Stadium
Texas Stadium
Ariel view of the stadium in 2004.
Former Address 2401 East Airport Freeway
Irving, Texas
Owner City of Irving
Operator Texas Stadium Corp
Capacity 65,675 (football)
Roof type Open
Turf Artificial turf
Broke ground January 2, 1969
Opened October 24, 1971
Closed December 25, 2008
Demolished April 11, 2010
Construction cost US $35 million
Architect A. Warren Morey
Dallas Cowboys (NFL) (1971-2008)
SMU Mustangs (NCAA) (1979-1986)

Texas Stadium was a football stadium in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The stadium opened on October 24, 1971.

Built to replace the aging Cotton Bowl, it was the home field of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, and had a seating capacity of 65,675. Ironically the Cotton Bowl still stands as of November 2010 and Texas Stadium is now demolished.

In 2009, it was replaced as home of the Cowboys by the $1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium, which completed construction and officially opened on May 27, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.[1]

The stadium was demolished, by a controlled implosion, on April 11, 2010.


In the mid-1960s, the Dallas Cowboy owner, Clint Murchison, Jr., realized that the area surrounding the Cotton Bowl had become unsafe and downtrodden, and it was not a location he wanted his big dollar season ticket holders to be forced to go through.[2] Murchison was denied a request by Dallas mayor Erik Jonsonn to build a new stadium in downtown Dallas as part of a civic-bond package.[3] Murchison envisioned a new stadium with sky-boxes and one in which attendees would have to pay a personal seating license as a prerequisite to purchasing season tickets.[4] With two games left for the Cowboys to play in the 1967 NFL season, Murchison and Cowboy general manager Tex Schramm announced a plan to build a new stadium in Irving, Texas.[5]


Texas Stadium was to have originally been a stadium with a retractable roof, but it could not support the weight of the entire roof. This resulted in most of the stands being enclosed but not the playing field itself. This unusual arrangement made it difficult to televise the games, a problem, generally speaking, foreseen by the original architect.[6] This design — more commonly seen in European soccer stadiums — prompted Cowboys linebacker D. D. Lewis to make his now-famous quip "Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof so God can watch His favorite team play", often paraphrased as the "hole" in the stadium's roof was there "so that God can watch His team."[7][8]

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.

Non-Cowboys related events hosted[]

The stadium hosted neutral-site college football games and was formerly 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 in order to signify a clean start for the football program (it has since been replaced by Gerald J. Ford Stadium).

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 2001 Big 12 Championship Game was held at the site, as well as the 1973 Pro Bowl.

In addition to football, the stadium hosted 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 1984-1988, the stadium hosted the annual World Class Championship Wrestling's David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions 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.

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

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 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 May 25, 2008, Texas Stadium hosted the first ever professional lacrosse game in Texas when the two time defending champions Philadelphia Barrage played the Long Island Lizards. Both teams compete in the Eastern Conference of the Major League Lacrosse[9]

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.

Throughout the network run of "Dallas", a number of scenes were filmed on location at Texas Stadium. The stadium was also featured prominently in the show's opening credits for each of its thirteen seasons on CBS.

The Cowboys' departure[]

File:Texas Stadium - Dallas Cowboys World Champions Mural.JPG

"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.[10][11]

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

Texas Stadium closure[]

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

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.[12]



Aerial view of Texas Stadium post-demolition as broadcast by 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.[13][14][15]

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" macaroni product.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]



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

External links[]