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Texas Stadium
Texas Stadium
Location 2401 East Airport Freeway
Irving, Texas 75062
Opened October 24, 1971
Closed December 2008
Demolished Scheduled for April 11, 2010
Owner City of Irving
Operator Texas Stadium Corp
Surface Artificial Turf
Construction cost $35 million USD
Capacity 65,675
Dallas Cowboys (NFL) (1971–2008)
Dallas Tornado (NASL) (1972–1975, 1980–1981)
SMU Mustangs (NCAA) (1979–1986)

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

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]



Texas Stadium was to have originally been a domed stadium, but the stadium could not support the weight of the entire roof, and public funding ran out before the roof support structure could be modified. This resulted in most of the stands being enclosed but not the playing field itself. This unusual arrangement - 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." [2][3]

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 owns the stadium. It was the first time the famed roof was repainted since Texas Stadium opened. The roof is structurally independent from the stadium it covers.

Playing surface

The playing surface installed in 1971 officially was labeled Texas Turf, and was a form of AstroTurf. The original surface was replaced in 1981 and that generation of Texas Turf was replaced in 1996 with a much darker turf. The 1981-96 version was notable for having a large patch between the 35 and 40 yard line from the sideline to the middle of the field on one side of the field. The 1996 turf was replaced by a somewhat softer surface called RealGrass, similar to FieldTurf, in the middle of the 2002 season.

Non-Cowboys related events hosted

The stadium hosts 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 is a major venue for high school football. It is not uncommon for there to be high school football tripleheaders at the stadium. Texas Stadium has 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 conference championship game was held at the site, as well as the 1973 Pro Bowl.

In addition to football, the stadium has 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). The two "bridges" that are connected to one of the support arms were installed to support the stage effects (rain) of Garth Brooks tour. They are referred to as Garth Bars. The supports have remained ever since.

From 1984 until 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 over 40,000 fans; the highest attendance of any wrestling card in the state of Texas at that time.

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[4]

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.

The Cowboys' departure from Texas Stadium

"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 US 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.[5][6]

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

Texas Stadium Transition

The fate of Texas Stadium after the Cowboys' departure is clear and the stadium is scheduled for demolition and implosion in early 2010 as confirmed by the mayor of Irving on September 23, 2009.

"The Dallas Cowboys’ lease has terminated as of early 2009 and city staff has been meeting with the organization to prepare for all transition issues. The Cowboys have removed all of their property from the stadium and the City of Irving now has possession of the stadium.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will lease the Texas Stadium site for $15.4 million and will occupy it as a construction/staging location for up to 10 years. TxDOT will be working on the diamond interchange reconstruction project of State Highway 114 and Loop 12.

During the term of the lease, the city has the right to relocate the construction staging area to accommodate a redevelopment opportunity.


According to an article published in the Dallas Morning News 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. [7] [8][9]

The City of Irving and Kraft Foods provided details on December 31, 2009 of their sponsorship deal for the building’s implosion — including a national essay contest with the winner getting to pull the trigger that finishes off the iconic stadium. The city council unanimously approved the sponsorship deal . Details on the essay contest, part of Kraft’s “Cheddar Explosion” promotional campaign, will be announced at a later date. The implosion will take place April 11, 2010. [10]


External links

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

1971 – 2008
Succeeded by
Cowboys Stadium
Preceded by
Franklin Field
Ownby Stadium
Home of the
Dallas Tornado

1972 – 1975
1980 – 1981
Succeeded by
Ownby Stadium
final venue
Preceded by
Arrowhead Stadium
Host of the
Big 12 Championship Game

Succeeded by
Reliant Stadium
Preceded by
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Host of the NFL Pro Bowl
Succeeded by
Arrowhead Stadium


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