Cowboy Chicken Club (from Wikipedia)
In December 1961, an unknown number of Cowboys fans sneaked into D. C. Stadium, armed with bags of chicken feed. When Alaskan snow dogs were to drag Santa Claus onto the field during the halftime show, the pranksters would unleash dozens of hungry chickens onto the field – 75 white, one black.
The significance of the black chicken was to symbolize how Marshall was the only owner in the league who would not recruit an African-American football player; Marshall stating, “We’ll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.”
The chickens fit into two large crates, which were smuggled into the stadium the morning of the game. The chickens and the smugglers went unspotted until halftime, when a stadium usher noticed a man guarding the crates and heard the chickens. Though the guard tried to bribe the official with $100 dollars, he was quickly reported and arrested, and the chickens confiscated. As it turned out, the “official” was actually Redskins general manager Dick McCann.
The following year and the night before the third Redskins-Cowboys match-up in less than a year, pranksters sneaked into Marshall’s hotel suite and dropped off a large turkey in the bathroom. When Marshall went into the bathroom, the turkey puffed up and gobbled at him, causing Marshall to flee his room. “Chickens are nice”, Marshall said, “but a man shouldn’t fool with a mad turkey.”
Just minutes before kickoff, while “Hail to the Redskins” blared throughout the stadiums, four banners reading “CHICKENS” – one at each 50-yard line and one in each end zone center – were unfurled in the stadium’s upper decks. Two acrobats, hired by Cowboys fans and Chicken Club founders Bob Thompson and Irv Davidson (along with the University of Maryland students with the banners) rushed onto the field dressed in chicken costumes and began to throw colored eggs. One was apprehended by a guard, but the other proved to be too elusive. By this time, the band was playing the National Anthem, therefore unable to move. The lone chicken-acrobat reached into this bag and released a chicken, then returned to his egg-throwing. Running to a sideline, he then attempted to leave the stadium by jumping over a bench, but slipped.
A group of security guards then apprehended him, but he was able to break free. He made it back to the 50-yard line, turned a cartwheel, then ran and flopped onto the 30-yard line. By this time, only aware that the National Anthem was over, the two teams rushed onto the field in the middle of the chaos. In the midst of the ruckus, the man made it off the field and into the stands. Although the real chicken was caught, the acrobat-chicken was never apprehended.
The next day, while reporting the 38-10 Cowboys victory, the Dallas News scoring summary ended with, Attendance-49,888 (and one chicken).
Rivalry off the Field
- On December 19, 2005, Dallas Mavericks guard Darrell Armstrong was fined $1,000 for grabbing a microphone before a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the American Airlines Center and yelling “How ’bout those Redskins!” Only a few hours prior, the Cowboys had been routed by the Redskins 35-7, in the most lopsided loss of Bill Parcells coaching career. Armstrong was raised in North Carolina as a Redskins fan.
- Dallas coach Tom Landry starred in a 1980s American Express TV commercial in which he made the statement, “You never know when you’ll be surrounded by Redskins”. Several large men dressed in Washington uniforms encircled Landry, who addressed them with, “Howdy!” After the credit card sales pitch was read, the ad returned to that scene, and Landry quickly elbowed his way out of the circle.
- After Tom Landry was fired as Cowboys coach by new Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in 1989, Landry starred in another TV commercial for Choice Hotels, in which he states that he feels so great being out of football that he might take up a new career. Landry then pulls out a guitar and sings the Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson classic, “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be,” and after a pause, sings, “Redskins!” At the end of the commercial, Landry says, “You didn’t think I would say ‘Cowboys’, did ya?”