Dallas Football Through the Decades

football_tom-landry_cowboys_texas-stadium-under-construction_UTA_051671Tom Landry, Texas Stadium, 1971… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here are a few football-centric Dallas images to enjoy on this football-centric day.

Above, Dallas Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry in 1971, surveying with wonderment the then-under-construction Texas Stadium (via UTA Special Collections).

1905: Early days of local football. In 1905 there were hopes of getting up a “heavyweight team.” Prospects were iffy. (All images are larger when clicked.)

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Dallas Morning News, Sept. 3, 1905

This was at a time when football injuries — and DEATH — were not uncommon.

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DMN, Oct. 13, 1905

1911: The Dallas High School team at Gaston Park (a popular sporting field which is now the site of the Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park). This photo was taken on December 16, 1911 — that day they defeated Fort Worth High, 15-5.

football_dallas-high-school_gaston-park_1911_cook-collection_degolyer-library_SMUGeorge W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

1918: The Love Field eleven was made up of military personnel based at the airfield during World War I. They played other military teams in the area, venturing as far as at least Waco.

football_love-field_camp-team_wwi_cook-collection_degolyer_SMU_1918
George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

1920s: The “State Fair of Texas” stadium predated the Cotton Bowl. This aerial photo shows what was probably the University of Texas vs. Vanderbilt game, which took place on Oct. 13, 1928 during the State Fair of Texas. (Vanderbilt won, 13-12.)

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From “Dallas As a City In Which To Live” booklet, SMU

1920s: The SMU Mustangs took on the University of Missouri Tigers at Ownby Stadium.

football_ownby-oval-smu_SMU-vs-missouri-university_1920s
From “Dallas As a City In Which To Live” booklet, SMU

1932: Speaking of the SMU Mustangs, then-local sports superstar (and Olympics medalist) Babe Didrikson — who was proficient in every single sport she tried — was given the opportunity by SMU coach Ray Morrison to give football the old college try: he coached her in passing and receiving and even allowed her to suit up in an official uniform. She tried out her football moves for the pubic during a scrimmage in Ownby Stadium on September 18, 1932.

One of the most interesting features of the program from a football fan’s standpoint was demonstration of several of the Ponies’ famous scoring plays, in fast and slow motion. Babe Didrikson, Dallas’ famous feminine athlete, took part in the slow motion exercises and proved herself somewhat of a polished gridder — adding more fame to her long list of athletic achievements. (DMN, Sept. 18, 1932)

didrikson-babe_football-SMU_boston-globe_092332        didrikson-babe_football-SMU_pottsville-PA-republican-and-herald_092832
Boston Globe, 9/23/32; Pottsville [PA] Republican, 9/28/32

1933: The stadium which would eventually be named the Cotton Bowl looks a little otherworldly in this Lloyd M. Long aerial photo.

cotton-bowl_fair-park-stadium_lloyd-long_foscue-library_SMU_1933
Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, SMU

1940s: Dal-Hi Stadium (later P. C. Cobb Stadium) was the home field for six Dallas high schools.

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In December, 1949, Dal-Hi served as the practice field for the University of North Carolina team while in Dallas for the January 2, 1950 Cotton Bowl match against Rice University (which Rice won, 27-13). I like this snapshot — downtown looms like a ghost in the background.

dal-hi-stadium_cobb-stadium_uc-practice-for-cotton-bowl_dec-1949via “Dismal Day in Dallas”

1950s: Dallas had a pro team before the Cowboys — the Dallas Texans. Here’s their ticket office, at 1721 McKinney Avenue. (From the article “Gone and Forgotten, The Dallas Texans of 1952” by Thomas H. Smith, from the Spring, 2005 issue of Legacies.)

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via Legacies

1950s/1960s: Dallas high school football coaches who were all connected at one point (either as players or coaches) with Booker T. Washington High School: the legendary Raymond Hollie (head coach at both Booker T. and Roosevelt), Marion “Jap” Jones, and Sam Briscoe.

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John Leslie Patton Papers, Dallas Historical Society

1960s: A quaint Dallas Cowboys locker room.

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via Pinterest

1981: In the tradition of other comic-book heroes appearing in Dallas to save whatever needed saving (here and here), Spider-Man and the Hulk stopped by to help with some football-related issue. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders appear to have been involved.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.