The Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli, have a new television show. It is just the two of them watching the broadcast of Monday Night Football. They sit there and watch the game together and crack jokes and tell stories and give us a glimpse at how a former professional athlete watches a game.
It is a great alternative to the regular broadcast, and in week one, a game that featured a team from Baltimore and one from Las Vegas, Arlington, Texas, was a topic of discussion. Since the game was at the Raiders’ new home in Las Vegas, Eli was remembering stories from the first ever game in the stadium that he called, wait for it, “Jerry World.” I laughed when I realized that even opposing players know the nickname of our stadium. Sept. 20, 2009 was somewhat forgettable for Cowboys fans as the Giants came in and spoiled the stadium debut. Eli threw for 330 yard, and the Giants beat the Cowboys 33-31.
Eli recalled heading into the visitors locker room where an attendant had some ice cold adult beverages. As the Giants celebrated that night the attendant asked if Eli would sign the wall in his office. He was the first to sign it, and over the years many other players did the same. The punch line to the story was that years later Eli came back, and the signatures had all been painted over. He speculated on the show that Jerry probably heard about the “signature wall” and had it removed. Possibly, or maybe it was just time to remodel the visiting locker room. The stadium is a dozen years old, after all, and we like to keep things looking fresh around here.
Since that first game there have been more than 100 NFL games played at AT&T Stadium, counting Super Bowl XLV. The Cowboys have won some 53% of their home games in the regular season and are 3-1 in the playoffs. Those are respectable numbers, to be sure. But it is time to make this place a house of horrors for opposing teams.
The Cowboys appear poised and ready to do just that. They have the coach who won the only Super Bowl ever played in the stadium. Mike McCarthy led the Packers to a victory in that 50th Super Bowl ever. Of course, he had Aaron Rogers. Then again, the Cowboys have Dak Prescott. To see him back this season is to realize that the Cowboys are set at the most important position on the field.
So far this season he has gone head to head with one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, Justin Herbert, and the best old quarterback ever. Dak performed great against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers to start the season and reminded us that the position here is set for a long time. He is a great field general, a great locker room leader and another example of the Cowboys’ success with quarterbacks.
Troy Aikman is the only signal caller the Cowboys have ever taken with a first round pick. Let that sink in. The Cowboys have had Don Meredith, who signed a personal services contract with another company owned by then owner Clint Murchison. He became a three-time Pro Bowl player and was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Roger Staubach was a 10th-round pick because he had a Naval commitment. He won two Super Bowls, was the MVP of one of them. He joined Dandy Don in the Ring of Honor and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Then there was Troy, who won three Super Bowls and made the Hall of Fame. Tony Romo followed not too far behind Troy; he was an undrafted free agent. While he did not lead the team to a Super Bowl, he was a franchise quarterback that became the envy of other teams.
Now there is Dak, a fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. He is a born leader and has a chance to do the things that Tony didn’t but the others did. That is to take the Cowboys to the promised land. OK, maybe it is not promised, but we expect it around here.
It’s a quarterback league! The Cowboys have had some great quarterbacks and, for that matter, some great broadcasters. Dandy Don, Troy and Tony have all called games at the highest level.
It is just another example of how being involved with the Cowboys keeps Arlington in the national spotlight.