News: CHRON: Solomon: Remembering the best Dallas-Houston game

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  1. WoodysGirl

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    '79 game had it all except Hollywood treatment

    Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle

    Sept. 23, 2010, 11:54PM

    In the often juvenile sports "rivalry" that is Houston-Dallas, the game of all games for Houston football fans is the 1979 Oiler-Cowboys Thanksgiving Day matchup.

    Sorry, Texans fans, but as sweet as that franchise-opening salvo in 2002 may have been to you, history tells us that it was a battle of two going-nowhere teams each led by an all-nothing quarterback whose goal that night was to be less pitiful than the other.

    With six Hall-of-Famers on the field at Texas Stadium, the '79 game was viewed as a possible Super Bowl preview.

    Of all the great players who played a role in the outcome — touchdowns were scored by players named Campbell, Dorsett, Newhouse, Pearson, Burrough and Renfro - one who wasn't on the field may have had the biggest impact.

    Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, the talented, but often petulant linebacker, was "fired" by Tom Landry the Monday before that game, just a day after his sideline antics in front of cameras during the Cowboys' loss at Washington.

    Earl Campbell rambled for 195 yards against the Henderson-less Cowboys to lead the Oilers to a 30-24 victory, while No. 56 was all smiles doing halftime shows for the national broadcasts.

    "Earl came up there and drug (backup linebacker) Mike Hegman and the rest of that defense all over Texas Stadium, and they got their (butt) kicked," Henderson said. "I'm not saying I would have made a difference, but it could have been different."

    Henderson has a unique take on the Houston-Dallas enmity. The Austin native played in both cities at a time when the Cowboys and Oilers were NFL heavyweights and there was a real battle for the hearts of Texas. Remember when Bum Phillips said that the Cowboys might be America's team, but the Oilers were Texas' team?

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