In 76 starring roles, only the Miami Dolphins have appeared on Monday Night Football more than your Dallas Cowboys.
And with quantity, yes, has come quality.
The Cowboys are 43-29 all-time entering tonight’s home game against the Chicago Bears. Amazingly, Dallas is 21-8 in MNF games played in September; 22-21 in other months.
Um, welcome to October. A perfect time to cringe.
And to reflect back on the most memorable MNF games involving America’s Team:
10. 10.25.10 Giants 41, at Cowboys 35 – Cowboys take a 20-7 lead thanks to a 93-yard punt return by rookie Dez Bryant. But in the 2nd quarter Giants’ linebacker Michael Boley sacks Tony Romo, the quarterback breaks his collar bone, and Dallas’ season spirals to 1-5 on its way to 1-7 and the firing of head coach Wade Phillips.
9. 9.19.05 Redskins 14, at Cowboys 13 – On an emotional night when Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin are inducted into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium, Santana Moss ruins the party with two long touchdown catches in the final 3:46.
8. 9.2.96 at Bears 22, Cowboys 6 – With Michael Irvin suspended and Emmitt Smith carted off on a stretcher, the Cowboys fail to score a touchdown for the first time in 70 games. It was the beginning of the beginning of the end of the dynasty.
7. 9.4.95 Cowboys 35, at Giants 0 – Emmitt Smith bolts 60 yards for a touchdown on the season’s first handoff and rushes for 163 yards in a stunned Meadowlands.
6. 9.7.92 at Cowboys 23, Redskins 10 – Isiaac Holt blocks a punt on the game’s 1st possession and the Cowboys whip Mark Rypien and the defending Super Bowl champs. It was the beginning of the beginning of the dynasty.
5. 9.8.86 at Cowboys 31, Giants 28 –Teaming in Dallas’ Dream Team Backfield with Tony Dorsett, a heralded newcomer named Herschel Walker hurdles his way to the winning 10-yard touchdown with 1:16 remaining
4. 9.15.97 at Cowboys 21, Eagles 20 – Dallas survives when Philly holder Tom Hutton bobbles the snap on Chris Boniol’s 22-yard field-goal attempt with: 04 remaining. That, like, never happens. Right, Tony Romo?
3. 9.15.03 Cowboys 35, at Giants 32 – Head coach Bill Parcells gets his first win in Dallas after his team blows a 15-point 4th-quarter lead, only to be bailed out by Quincy Carter’s passing, Antonio Bryant’s clutch receiving and 7 field goals by Billy Cundiff, including a 52-yarder to force overtime and the game-winner from 25.
2. 9.5.83 Cowboys 31, at Redskins 30 – Trailing 23-3 at halftime, Danny White rallies Dallas to an electrifying season-opening win at old RFK Stadium behind 3 2nd-half touchdown passes, two to Tony Hill and the game-winner to Doug Cosbie with 1:49 remaining.
1. 10.8.07 Cowboys 25, Bills 24 – It’s the 1st MNF game in Buffalo in 13 years and one of the wildest finishes in the Cowboys’ 52-year history. The Cowboys trail 24-13 entering the 4th quarter because of 6 Tony Romo turnovers (1 fumble and 5 interceptions, 2 returned for touchdowns). Romo hits Patrick Crayton for a short touchdown, but Terrell Owens is stripped of a 2-point conversion pass to leave Dallas trailing 24-22 with :20 remaining. After a carom off of Sam Hurd, Cowboys’ tight end Tony Curtis then recovers an onside kick. Rookie Nick Folk boots a 53-yard field goal at the gun for a dramatic win, only to have Buffalo call the last-millisecond timeout. But on the 2nd go, Folk is good again.