NFC East: Calvin Hill
No matter where you stand on the Dallas Cowboys, you have to admit that Texas Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in all of sports. From an aerial view, it's hard to distinguish the NFL's new state-of-the-art facilities, but the hole-in-the-roof has provided an enduring image for Cowboys fans and haters. On Wednesday, the NFC Beast stopped by Valley Ranch and talked to former and current players about what Texas Stadium has meant to them. Former running back Calvin Hill, who now works in player development for the Cowboys, was in his third year with the club when the new stadium opened in 1971. Wide receiver Roy Williams played at Odessa Permian (Texas) High School and remembers his first high school playoff game in the famous stadium.
Calvin Hill, RB, 1969-74
"I'd torn my knee up in the last game at the Cotton Bowl. I figured I'd be allowed to watch [the first game in Texas Stadium] from a box upstairs, but they didn't let me. They said I could sit in the stands with my wife. I spent the game driving around Denton, and I was pissed. The first time we practiced in there, I just remember it being so pristine. It was like an opera house. I remember Bob Lilly saying to one of the coaches, 'Can we spit in here?'" When it rained, we'd go over to Texas Stadium to practice because we didn't want to mess up the practice field. I remember looking up in the stands and seeing Tex [Schramm] and Gil [Brandt] sitting out of the rain. Lilly kept talking about how stupid we were to be out in the rain while those guys were sitting up there enjoying themselves. I put a lot of sweat equity in that building. I hurt my knee in my last game there and I remember dislocating my elbow. At the time, I think we wanted a building that rivaled the Astrodome, which was called "The Eighth Wonder of the World." There were rumors that [ownership] had run out of money, and that's why we had that hole in the roof. At one point, they were having a little trouble moving the [luxury] boxes and they gave me the chance to have one in lieu of the $50,000 signing bonus they owed me. I didn't take them up on that offer. I remember coming in after one game at Texas Stadium and LBJ was standing in the locker room. The one thing I recall is thinking, 'I had no clue his hair was so white.'" Like a lot of presidents, he'd aged a tremendous amount in a relatively short period of time."
Roy Williams, WR, 2008-present
"Playing there in high school meant a lot to me. Seeing those name tags above your locker made you feel like a Dallas Cowboy. I remember scoring a touchdown. I ran down the left sideline and then around the goal post to the other side of the field. I didn't want to stop running. I just wanted to stay out there forever. And I still have that name tag at home."