ARLINGTON -- The NFL season is officially underway in DFW as the Dallas Cowboys opened their regular season with a 36-31 victory over the New York Giants. In the process, they put on a great show for the crowd of 85,348 that packed AT&T Stadium that included luminaries from the world of sports, politics and entertainment.
The action began out in the stadium's East Plaza as the FOX Sports Southwest Girls Kaime and Liddy emceed the live entertainment that included performances from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers. Since the east side of the stadium was in the shade, the crowds grew exponentially as fans waited for the stadium doors to open at 5:30 p.m.
Country music legend George Strait was the Cowboys' honorary captain for the coin toss at midfield prior to the game. Strait, who opened AT&T Stadium on June 6, 2009, announced Monday that he will wrap up the final leg of his farewell tour with a show at Jerry Jones' palace. For the record, the Giants did win the toss, but that would end up being one of their only highlights of the night.
Leading up to the game, there was a lot of talk about how the Giants were undefeated at AT&T Stadium, including Sept. 20, 2009 when New York beat Dallas 33-31 in front of an NFL regular season record 105,121 fans for the first regular season game played in the new stadium. Others, like my pal Brittney Schram, took the opposite approach. She casually pointed out to her near 14,000 Twitter followers, "Keep in mind they've also never beat us in a season opener."
While the game consisted of multiple Giants turnovers and what felt like even more Cowboys field goals, the 60 feet wide and 72 feet high video board flashed the celebrities on hand for the event including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie -- a self-professed Cowboys fan -- and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose daughter Brooke Hogan is engaged to Cowboys offensive lineman Phil Costa, appeared on the big screen clad in a Giants tee shirt and amidst boos, ripped it off to unveil a Cowboys tee shirt and plenty of cheers. Brooke Hogan was also on hand but did not appear on the big screen.
Perhaps the biggest reaction of the night came for the biggest celebrity in the building, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James. James, a well-known Cowboys fan was roundly booed when he was shown on the video board. In spite of him holding up his Cowboys baseball hat to show he was rooting for the good guys, there was apparently enough Dallas Mavericks fans in the building who recall his mocking of Dirk Nowitzki's illness during the 2011 NBA Finals.
People-watching aside, the game did actually go down to the wire with a 49-yard interception return by cornerback Brandon Carr needed to put the game on ice with 1:50 left in the contest. Up next for America's Team is a road contest against the much-improved Kansas City Chiefs led by former Eagles coach Andy Reid and newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith.
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