Top 100 football moments in North Texas up to vote

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DALLAS (AP) — On Oct. 19, 1912, the Oklahoma Sooners beat the Texas Longhorns in the first game between the rivals held in Dallas.

On Feb. 6, 2011, the Super Bowl will be held in the area for the first time.

In between, a heck of a lot of great moments have occurred on and around high school, college and pro football teams in North Texas. The Super Bowl XLV host committee has narrowed them down to 250, and soon will be asking fans to pick the 100 best.

“The greatest natural resource in North Texas is football,” Steve Sabol of NFL Films said in a video played during a Tuesday ceremony to unveil the ballot.

The event was held at Dallas’ Woodrow Wilson High School, which as the alma mater of Tim Brown and Davey O’Brien is the only public school ever to produce multiple Heisman Trophy winners. Both their trophies were on display outside the auditorium, too, greeting the hundreds of attendees on the way in.

The ceremony culminated with Brown and David O’Brien Jr., son of the late quarterback, showing off a plaque commemorating the school’s unique claim to fame. It also features raised, bronzed images of both players, and will soon go on permanent display.

“There’s nothing like high school football in Texas,” Brown said. “You’re playing because you love the sport. When you go 4-25-1 (as Wilson did during his career), you better love the sport!”

Pro Football Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and “Mean” Joe Greene also were among those sharing the stage, telling stories about their spots on the ballot.

“Who invited Joe Greene?” Staubach said, laughing.

While Green is best remembered for his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers — and their two Super Bowl victories over Staubach’s Cowboys — he went to college at North Texas State (now just North Texas) in Denton.

That’s also where he got his intimidating nickname.

His sophomore year, the Eagles avenged a humiliating loss to Texas Western (now UTEP) with a punishing victory. Because the team wore green, fans chanted, “Go Mean Green! Go Mean Green!”

“It was the entire defense,” he explained Tuesday, “not Joe.”

While most speeches went for laughs, Abner Haynes brought a serious tone by talking about integrating college football in Texas in 1956, also with North Texas State.

“We suffered everywhere we played. We were shot at. Fifty years later, we’re all very proud of each other,” said Haynes, who went on to star for the Dallas Texans of the AFL from their inception in 1960 to their championship in 1962.

The Texans then moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs, leaving Dallas only one pro football team — the Cowboys.

The former Cowboys told stories of their various championship teams. Daryl Johnston was greeted with a prolonged “Moooose” call, and Michael Irvin punctuated his talk by getting folks excited about the 2011 Super Bowl.

He was supposed to talk about the third Super Bowl won by his era of Cowboys, but he shifted gears, saying, “Nothing is like the first. And we will have that first here next year. So let’s rear up and get ready for that. It will be fun. … I just can’t wait.”

A panel of current and retired sports journalists in the area put together the 250 items on the ballot, broken down by high school, college, pros and the catchall category of “great moments and unforgettable achievements,” which includes things like winning a Heisman Trophy and Hall of Fame inductions.

Votes can be cast online at starting in March.