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Texas Stadium

A Spotlight on Irving 1971�2008


In 1967, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team approached Irving city leaders about building a stadium for the Cowboys in Irving. Construction on the $35 million project began in January 1969 and was completed in the fall of 1971. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the New England Patriots in the first professional football game played in the stadium on Oct. 24, 1971. Texas Stadium brought the city of Irving its first national recognition. After 37 seasons of football action, the 2008 season was the last one played at Texas Stadium. This exhibit takes a look back at the earliest days in the development and construction of the stadium.


Irving Mayor Robert Power presents a model and blueprints of the stadium, 1969.


Public Input Some residents voiced concern about the funding of the stadium through seat license bonds, so the City of Irving held two referendums on the matter. The second one took place on Jan. 16, 1969. The Chamber of Commerce and Jaycees conducted a large campaign encouraging voters to “Vote for Texas Stadium.� In the end, voters supported building the stadium under the bond funding system by a 2 to 1 margin.


Irving Mayor Robert Power and Cowboys’ General Manager Tex Schramm holding a game ticket.


City Councilman and later Mayor Dan Matkin (far left) and Mayor Robert Power (seated) at the document signing that finalized the Texas Stadium arrangement between the City of Irving and the Dallas Cowboys.


Dallas Cowboys owner Clint Murchison Jr. (left) and Irving Mayor Robert Power pose with the signed agreement.


Texas Stadium Groundbreaking Jan. 25, 1969


The stadium design with the hole in the roof stirred a lot of public comment. Sportswriters referred to the stadium design as a “half‐Astrodome.” In response, Cowboys owner Clint Murchison, Jr., came up with a “space age” solution — a transparent plastic sheet that could be automatically pulled over the opening. Due to engineering difficulties and expense, the idea never came to fruition.


Tex Schramm, Clint Murchison, and Cowboys’ quarterback Don Meredith at the groundbreaking for Texas Stadium, Jan. 25, 1969.


A Dallas newspaper was struck by the similarity in appearance between the Roman Coliseum and the design of Texas Stadium. Note how the newspaper placed a Cowboy emblem on the front of the picture of the Coliseum.


Don Meredith played quarterback for the Cowboys from 1960‐1968. He guided the team from its dismal early days as an expansion team to its first two National Football League championship games. Meredith attended the Texas Stadium groundbreaking in January 1969, but unexpectedly retired before the 1969 season. He went on to television fame as an announcer on the “Monday Night Football” program.


Texas Stadium Dedication Oct. 24, 1971 Work was completed in early fall 1971. The first event held in the stadium was a Billy Graham crusade.


Shown here are three views of the Texas Stadium building site from 1969, 1970, and 1971.


Texas Stadium was officially dedicated in a mid‐field ribbon‐cutting ceremony held before a Dallas Cowboys’ football game against the New England Patriots on Oct. 24, 1971. Mayor Dan Matkin led the ceremonies with the assistance of former mayor Robert Power.


Mayor Robert Power adds his name to a football autographed by players and other parties involved in signing the documents that created Texas Stadium. Pictured also is a close�up of the same football almost 40 years later.


The Final Event Texas Stadium hosted its final event on Dec. 20, 2008. At the game, some of the people who were involved in the stadium’s early development were recognized. From left: Dan Matkin, city councilman at the inception of the stadium and mayor when it opened; Warren Morey, the architect of the stadium; John Boyle, city attorney when the stadium was in the development phase; and Robert Power, councilman and mayor who guided the stadium project in its earliest days. The last two are Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones and Irving’s mayor at the time Herbert Gears.

Texas Stadium – A Spotlight on Irving 1971-2008  
Texas Stadium – A Spotlight on Irving 1971-2008  

After 37 seasons of football action, the 2008 season was the last one played at Texas Stadium. Read about the construction of this iconic st...