IRVING, Texas — Texas Stadium is nothing but a memory — and a huge mess.
The longtime home of the Dallas Cowboys — known for the giant hole in its roof, “so God can watch his team,” according to local lore — came tumbling down early Sunday in a planned demolition.
Fireworks shot off above the building for several minutes, then hundreds of fans counted down as 11-year-old Casey Rogers of nearby Terrell, the winner of an essay contest, pushed a button triggering the implosion. More than a ton of dynamite dropped the west side of the building toward the north, the east die toward the south and the roof right on top.
After about six months of planning, it took less than a minute to turn the concrete and steel stadium into a twisted mess. Cleanup is expected to take until July.
Fans arrived as early as Saturday night for “final tailgate parties” in area parking lots. Others gathered at hotels and office buildings as far as 10 miles away in downtown Dallas, including many former Cowboys players. Local TV stations carried the implosion live. There was even a corporate sponsor.
The Cowboys won all five of their Super Bowl titles while they called Texas Stadium home.
“Even in the dawn, (driving in) we slowed down and took a real good look at it. You get a little lump in your throat,” said Jerry Jones, who bought the team and the stadium lease for $160 million in 1989. “It was beautiful.
” But many people seemed to be drawn Sunday by curiosity and spectacle more than an overriding sense of nostalgia. The consensus was that the old place was great in its day, but past its prime — especially since the Cowboys moved to the new $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium in nearby Arlington after the 2008 season.
After that, Irving city leaders decided they needed the land more than the building and planned the demolition. The state already has a 10-year lease to use the property as a staging area for a highway construction project.