ROWDY Kind of Day..... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I remember attending a game (either 1960 or 1961) in the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys were playing the New York Giants. It was a deal that, when an adult bought a ticket, he could bring in TWO children free. As a result the stadium was filled almost to capacity that day. Since the Cotton Bowl seating consisted of old, wooden benches that drove splinters into your butt, the guys at the gate would "rent" you a square cushion for 10 cents. Believe me when I say they were a "necessity", so just about everybody had one. Well, it was in the last minute of the fourth quarter and the Giants were WAY ahead in what had been a particularly nasty game. There had been several player altercations, but few official restraints. The Giants had the ball at midfield and were content to run out the clock. The QB would take the snap in deep formation (much like the shotgun, which was to come along later), and take a knee. (You must remember that, it THOSE days, the referree DID NOT blow the whistle, signaling the end of the play in this situation, as they do now. It would have been perfectly legal, had the QB not been "downed" by an opposing player, to get up and run or pass.) Whe the Giant QB took a knee on first down, a Cowboy DE (I forget who) ran up to the QB and "shoved him" to the ground. The referee threw a flag and walked off 15 yards against the Cowboys, as the crowd roared it's disapproval. On second down, the EXACT same thing happened, and the crowd went WILD. The "boos" were almost deafening. On third down, when the QB took a knee, the defensive player walked over to the QB, stopped, held his arm high in the air with his first finger extended for all to see, and then slowly, gently, demonstrably, "touched" the QB on the shoulder. The flag came flying in, and ALL HELL broke loose! First, the Cowboy bench emptied onto the field, soon to be followed by the Giant bench. A full scale battle was underway. The seat cushions began raining down down on the field from the upper decks first, along with everything else that wasn't nailed down. The fans in the lower part of the stadium threw cups of ice, a few shoes and God knows what else. Then, 2 or 3 THOUSAND of the end zone fans, closest to the action, stormed onto the field and enjoined the fight. Within 20 seconds, the ENTIRE OTHER END ZONE was emptied and a full scale RIOT was underway! From goal-line to goal-line, sideline to side line, the entire field was covered with folks fighting, shoving and wrestling. There were players, coaches, referrees, cops, fans, peanut vendors and probably some local passer-bys as well. Ole ROWDY would have been proud that day!! The fighting continued for at LEAST 30 minutes as the 50 or so policemen were no match for the number in attendance. The players finally left the field but the "action" remained hot and heavy! Finally things died down to a dull roar as people became worn out, beaten to a pulp, and dragged off by either relatives or the police. An hour later, there were still people "milling around" and having words, and shoving each other back and forth. By now more police had arrived, and the situation was fairly under control, except for a few dogs (I have no idea where they came from) who were running around barking and occassionally biting the legs of people who returned to fighting. Whether they were police dogs or just some strays from the adjoining run-down neighborhood, I'll never know. I had attended the game with my friend and his father. We sat in the upper deck and, once the melee had begun, it was unsafe to leave. We sat there, with a birds-eye view, for over an hour. It was quite an impressive sight for a 12 yr old, I can tell you. Unlike today, there was practically no media coverage. A few remarks on the car radio as we drove back to Irving was about all I remember hearing about it. It might have been on the TV news, but then not everyone had TV back then. And, of course, a little of Clint Murchisons money might have crossed a few palms to keep things quiet, too.