“Danny White passed for three second-half touchdowns and ran for another to rally Dallas from a 23-3 halftime deficit to beat the defending Super Bowl champions. The Cowboys compiled only 85 first-half yards, but exploded for 271 in the final two quarters. White completed bombs of 75 and 51 yards to Tony Hill to put the Cowboys within striking distance. His 1-yard TD run 2:35 into the final quarter put Dallas up 24-23. Joe Theismann tried to rally Washington, but Ron Fellows’ 33-yard interception return set up Doug Cosbie’s 1-yard scoring catch two plays later to clinch the game.”
If I’m a network TV sports executive and I got Monday Night Football on my network, I think this would be the dream matchup to have to open the new Monday Night Football season. Because the Cowboys-Redskins at this point in the NFL, you’re talking about the best current rivalry in the NFL. The two best teams in the National Football Conference, if not the NFL.
They hate each other and yet respect each other. NFC East, which can be said about each team in that division, but even more so with the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry. So back then you were always talking about great football games, because both teams were good every year, both teams were very physical on both sides of the ball and they literally hated, but respected each other.
Now how about this game: the two teams from the 1982 NFC Final. The Redskins not only won the NFC, but dominated the Miami Dolphins on both sides of the ball in Super Bowl 17 to win their first Super Bowl. Tom Landry, the first or second best head coach in the NFL at this point. Only Don Shula might have been better at this point.
Joe Gibbs, the best young head coach in the NFL at this point and already considered a genius at least on offense. Going into 83, the Redskins looked like the favorites to not only get back to the Super Bowl, but win their second straight. The Cowboys lost the last three NFC Finals with Danny White as their quarterback and looking to not only get back, but get back to the Super Bowl. And they still had a very good team.
So this was like a week one Super Bowl, in prime time, on ABC and ABC Sports had the best football show back then. The NFL and perhaps college football as well. Frank Gifford calling the game with Don Meredith as the lead analyst, which he was great at and had a great sense of humor as well. Howard Cosell, providing the comedic fans point of view for this game. And he was also pretty knowledgable about football and certainly knew what he was talking about.
The game played in the nation’s capital in Washington at RFK Stadium. The stadium rocking and crazy like it always was, especially in prime time and for rival games like against the Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles. This was the perfect way to kick off an NFL season.