Over the years, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has seen its’ share of memorable sports moments. Like other sports-centric communities, DFW has a rich history of both the good and the bad. Some of these moments evoke proud, happy memories of local athletic dominance, but others may stir-up dark, lingering emotions that you thought your therapist and $1,287 had helped you overcome…
Before we jump right into it, I can already hear the cries from many of you: “What about the 1954 Cotton Bowl???”, or “There’s no mention of the Cowboys ’71 and ’77 Super Bowl Teams!”. As a loyal Cowboy fan myself, the early Super Bowl wins are certainly ammo that I reach for when comparing championship rings with Philadelphia Eagle fans (who have zero), but as far as memorable sports moments go: I wasn’t alive in 1977, so I can’t exactly remember the impact. If you were witness to any crucial or commical moment I fail to list, PLEASE feel free to roast me in the comments, as I am sure you will. Now to the list…
15. May 26, 1993: Now That’s Using Your Head
Jose Canseco’s stint with the Rangers was interesting to say the least. In a game against the Cleveland Indians, Canseco misjudged this fly-ball, leading to one of the greatest sports bloopers of all-time (and a homerun). Just three days later, Canseco convinced manager Kevin Kennedy to allow him to pitch the 8th inning of a blow-out loss against the Red Sox, resulting in a torn rotator-cuff, ending his season early.
Source: Tomas Ferraro via giphy.com
14. May 1, 1991: Nolan Ryan’s 7th No-Hitter
Ryan was already a living legend in the baseball world, but at 44 years of age, many were beginning to doubt his legend would continue much longer; even Ryan himself. Talking to Rangers pitching coach Tom House, Ryan said, “I don’t know how you feel at 44, but I feel old today. My back hurts. My ankle hurts. I’ve been pounding Advil all day, and it isn’t helping. You’d better watch me good out there tonight.” House and 33,439 cheering fans did watch Ryan close that night, but it was because he put on a pitching clinic against the Blue Jays and their All-Star lineup, ultimately leading to his 7th no-no; a number that most-likely will never be surpassed.
13. June, 2006: Dallas Mavericks Finals Collapse
The Mavs led the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, 2 games to none. The city of Dallas was already planning the parade route to celebrate the Mavericks’ first NBA title. Nearing the end of Game 3, the Mavs led by 13 with 6:34 remaining. Everything was falling into place for the Mavericks and DFW’s favorite German, Dirk Nowitski. Suddenly, it all collapsed. The Mavs made only 1 basket in the remaining 6 minutes, losing not only the game, but the series momentum as well. The Heat went on to win the next 3 games and the NBA Championship. But recent reports aren’t helping to heal the wounds of DFW sports fans. Articles from ESPN and the Florida Sun-Sentinel in June, 2016 re-hash old controversies and elude to the possibility that the NBA may have rigged the 2006 Finals via officiating! Really? No… There’s nothing fishy about Dwayne Wade getting 97 FREE-THROWS in a 6-game series! That happens all the time, right? [SARCASTIC EMPHASIS ADDED]
Source: NBA via http://blog.champssports.com/
12. April 12, 2015: Jordan Spieth Wins the Masters
If you aren’t a golf enthusiast, you may not feel like Spieth’s Masters win is all that compelling – at least until you hear the facts. At 21 years of age, Spieth, a Dallas, Texas native became the second-youngest Master Champion ever (the youngest being a man named Tiger). Spieth tied Woods’ total score record at 18 under 270, became the first wire to wire Masters winner since Raymond Floyd in 1976, and set the 18, 36 and 54-hole scoring records. It’s safe to say this wasn’t the last time we will see Jordan Spieth donning a green sports jacket.
Source: adamsarson.com via giphy.com
11. October 27, 2002: Smith Breaks All-Time Rushing Record
There were many who thought the smallish, 5’9”, 209 pound RB from the University of Florida wouldn’t amount to greatness in the NFL. 16 players were selected ahead of Emmitt Smith in the 1990 NFL draft before Dallas hit the jackpot with the 17th pick. His list of accomplishments is long and storied, including a record 11-straight 1000 yard seasons. Smith is also the only RB in history to win a Super Bowl, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl MVP award, all in the same season (1993). But with 9:27 left in a game against the Seattle Seahawks, Smith accomplished his greatest feat ever, surpassing Walter Payton as the All-time rushing leader on this 11 yard run up the middle.
10. July 28, 1994: Kenny Rogers is Perfect
He may share a name with a country music legend, but the Rangers’ Kenny Rogers made a legend of himself when he pitched only the 14th perfect game in MLB history. Hopefully Rogers picked up Rusty Greer’s dinner tab for the next 6 months after he made this spectacular 9th inning grab to keep Roger’s perfect game intact.
Source: MLB via m.mlb.com
9. August 4, 1993: The Ryan-Express Gains New Meaning
Pitching in his 27th and final major league season, Nolan Ryan and the Rangers were in a heated match-up against the Chicago White Sox; two teams with no love lost at the time. After Ryan threw a brush-back pitch that beaned Robin Ventura in the arm, Ventura started to first base, before making the ill-advised decision to charge the mound. The result was instant DFW sports legend, as the 46-year-old Ryan quickly taught Ventura to respect his elders. NOTE: 19 years passed before Ventura spoke to Ryan again! Bitter much?
Source: reddit.com via giphy.com
8. May 15, 2016: Odor’s Haymaker
To setup the story behind the story, we have to go back to game 5 of the 2015 ALDS between the Rangers and Blue Jays. Without going into great detail, let’s just say that the Blue Jay fans reacted very poorly to an uncommon call made by the umpires, which escalated tensions between the teams. Later in the 7th inning, after the Rangers made a series of terrible errors that loaded the bases, Jose Bautista smashed a game-tying grand slam and proceeded to act as if he was God’s gift to baseball, flipping his bat 15 feet into the air and watching his homer clear the fence before rounding the bases. This may not sound like much, but in old-world baseball, players never got away with attitude like this, as former Ranger Goose Gossage eludes to in this profanity-laced rant. Fast-forward almost 7 months to the day. The Rangers were facing their new arch-rival in the final game of the first 3-game series with the Blue Jays since the bat flip controversy. The first two games passed without incident, but the tension in the air could literally be cut with a knife. Then it happened: Ranger pitcher Matt Bush plunked Bautista with a 98 mph fastball. It wasn’t much, but at least Ranger fans were awarded some old-school vindication. On his walk to 1st base, you could see Bautista contemplating whether or not to charge the mound in retaliation, but as we would later learn, he obviously prefers dirty slides over hand to hand combat. The next batter, Justin Smoak, dribbled a ground ball to Beltre, who quickly flipped the ball to Rougned Odor to turn a double play. But Bautista had other plans, aiming his extremely late slide at the lower-half of Odor’s body, breaking up his throw to first base. Now, I’m not sure if Bautista has access to YouTube or if he even knows how to use a computer, but he may want to hire someone to do a little opposition research in the future, because Odor has a history of throwing punches around the top of the diamond. Rougie immediately confronted Bautista, shoving him backwards and then connecting on the sweetest haymaker ever landed in the history of haymakers. Bautista may finish his career with some pretty impressive stats, but thanks to Rougned Odor, the first 7 million hits on any google search for his name will reveal this epic moment in DFW sports.
Source: reddit.com via giphy.com
7. June, 1999: Stars Win Lord Stanley’s Cup
Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Joe Nieuwendyk, Derian Hatcher, Ed Belfour. These are just a few of the greats that made up the 1999 Stanley Cup team, the only Stars team to date that have hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup above their heads. They were able to knock off the Sabre’s 4 games to 2, but not without some controversy. Several Critics (probably Sabres fans) claim that since Hull’s foot was in the crease when he made this game winning overtime goal, the goal should have been disallowed. Yup, sounds like a bunch of sore losers to me.
6. January 6, 2007: Romo’s Bobbled Snap
With 1:19 remaining in the 4th quarter against the Seahawks, the Dallas Cowboys were on Seattle’s 9-yard-line and just a field goal away from their first playoff victory since 1996. In week 8, Tony Romo had taken over the starting quarterback duties after an aging Drew Bledsoe was plagued by sacks and interceptions. Romo quickly earned his new role, leading the team to their first playoff berth since 2003. But with 1:19 remaining, Romo bobbled this hold for the go-ahead field goal try, crushing hopes and dreams all across the metroplex, while adding a stigma to the Romo name that still lingers today.
Source: ABC / Analyzedsports.com via giphy.com
5. October 12, 1989: The “Great Heist” Trade
In 1989, shortly after Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys for $140 million and named college coaching prodigy Jimmy Johnson as Head Ball-Coach, fans and the media began to question their sanity after the announcement that Herschel Walker, the only pro-bowler on the team, would be traded to Minnesota for 5 players and a 1991 first-round draft pick. What the fans didn’t realize at the time was that these five players were tied to conditional draft picks if Dallas chose to cut the players from their roster, which they did for 4 of the 5. With the draft picks acquired through this clever trade maneuver, Johnson was able to draft (or trade for) several future Cowboy stars who would go on to help Dallas win 3 Super Bowls over the next 6 years, including Emmitt Smith, Charles Haley, Kevin Smith, Darren Woodson, Alvin Harper and Russel Maryland. By 1996, it was clear who actually got robbed in The Great Heist of 1989. HINT: It wasn’t the Cowboys!
Source: steveeager via gifsoup.com
4. Cowboys 90’s Super Bowls (’92, ’93 & ’95)
I understand this isn’t a singular moment in DFW sports history, but when the Cowboys formed the Triplets (Aikman, Irvin & Smith), they became a dynasty that ruled over the NFL for half a decade, amassing 3 of the Cowboys 5 Super Bowl wins. This stretch in the early ’90’s was an amazing time to be a DFW sports fan, but the Triplets weren’t the only stars in Dallas during this time: Charles Haley, Larry Allen, Deion Sanders, Nate Newton, Daryl Johnston, Jay Novacek, Darren Woodson, Erik Williams, Tony Tolbert and Mark Stepnoski (to name a few) were also critical to the ‘Cowboys championship campaigns.
Source: Triadd9980 via MakeAGIF.com
3. January 11, 2015: Dez Bryant’s “Catch”
A few of these moments need little introduction, such as #3. Everyone remembers the Catch that wasn’t (but it was). The Cowboys, playing against the Packers in the divisional round of the 2014 playoffs, were making a game-winning drive with 4 minutes left on the clock. On a risky 4th and 2 play, Romo aired it out for Dez, who made this spectacular catch just shy of the goal line. The only problem was that after the genius officiating crew gathered to review the play, they somehow were able to come up with sufficient ruling that nullified the catch. Extremely unfortunate for the Cowboys, who were having a spectacular year and very well could have gone all the way if it weren’t for this one bad call. IT WAS A CATCH!
Source: NFL/FOX via al.com
2. June, 2011: Mavericks NBA Championship
Oh, the SWEET taste of revenge! Facing the Miami Heat for the 2nd time in the finals (see #13 above), the Mavs made sure not to repeat their 2006 blunder. On the backs of Dirk Nowitski and Jason Terry, the Mavs defeated the Heat, 4 games to 2. Prior to the start of the season, in a series of earth-shaking NBA deals, the Heat constructed “the Big Three” with Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Many thought the newly constructed trio would go on to win every championship thereafter… They obviously didn’t account for the Dunking Deutschman as seen in the memorable gif below.
1. October 27, 2011: Just 1-Strike Away
Never in the history of DFW sports has any one team come this close to championship glory, only to crash and burn in horrific fashion. It’s every kids’ dream… The World Series, bottom of the 9th, two-outs and just 1 measly strike away from the first MLB championship in Rangers team history. Here’s the pitch! Smack!!! David Freese drills one to deep right field. Fortunately Nelson Cruz was playing deeper than normal and was in position to make the game winning snag… Unfortunately, Nelson Cruz choked harder than a pre-schooler eating a Texas rib-eye (as seen below). It was embarrassing, and the image of Cruz doing a Plié in mid air while falling backwards still haunts me today. Even 5 years later, anytime I’m at Globe Life Park and see someone wearing a Nelson Cruz jersey, I get the sudden urge to give them a nice open-palmed smack… Yup, still bitter.
Source: m.mlb.com via giphy.com
So there you have it, these are the top moments in DFW sports. Some good, some bad. Overall, the DFW metroplex is a sports-mecca with some rather interesting teams and quirky personalities. So, what did I miss? Now it’s your turn to let me know where I went wrong! What’s out of place? What did I forget?
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