Late into the evening on Sept. 13, 2020, the Dallas Cowboys were driving for the winning touchdown. Or, at the very least, a game-tying field goal.
Until, that is, an official's flag intervened.
Trailing the Los Angeles Rams 20-17 in their season opener on Sunday Night Football, Dak Prescott drove Dallas from its 9-yard line to its 40 with 30 seconds remaining. Then a beautiful pass to a streaking Michael Gallup for a 47-yard catch and ... a flag?
Surely Rams' cornerback Jalen Ramsey would be called for interference.
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Instead - inexplicably - Gallup was flagged for a phantom push-off and offensive pass interference. Instead of first down at the Rams' 19, the Cowboys were pushed back 10 yards and into a crushing 0-1 start.
Wholly forgettable. But also, yeah, nauseatingly memorable. But even that dramatic finish isn't enough to crack the franchise's Top 10 most compelling openers.
Something tell us, however, that considering Prescott's long-awaited return against Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs on a much-hyped Thursday night, we might soon be making some edits to this list.
No. 10: 9.24.60 Steelers 35, at Cowboys 28 – Cowboys late rally falls short in franchise debut game before a half-empty Cotton Bowl.
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No. 9: 9.15.68 at Cowboys 59, Lions 13 – Don Meredith throws four TDs as Dallas establishes a still-standing record for most points in a game.
No. 8: 9.18.77 Cowboys 16, at Vikings 10 – Roger Staubach scrambles in from four yards in OT to launch a Super Bowl season.
No. 7: 7.10.89 at Saints 28, Cowboys 0 – A sobering debut en route to 1-15 disaster for rookies Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman.
No. 6: 6 13.15 at Cowboys 27, Giants 26 – Tony Romo finds Jason Witten for an 11-yard touchdown with :07 remaining, the latest game-winning touchdown pass in franchise history.
No. 5: 9.7.92 at Cowboys 23, Redskins 10 – Isaac Holt blocks a punt and Dallas launches its dynasty by upsetting the Super Bowl champs on Monday Night Football.
No. 4: 9.12.99 Cowboys 41, at Redskins 35 – Aikman 76 yards to Rocket Ismail in OT caps a frantic, fantastic rally from 21 points down.
No. 3: 9.8.86 at Cowboys 31, Giants 28 – The “Dynamic Duo” works for at least one night as Herschel Walker scores a leaping touchdown late in his much-hyped debut with Tony Dorsett.
No. 2: 9.8.02 at Texans 19, Cowboys 10 – Jones still calls the hapless loss to expansion Houston his most humbling defeat.
No. 1: 9.5.83 Cowboys 31, at Redskins 30 – Danny White’s TD pass to Tony Hill with two minutes remaining helps erase 20-point halftime deficit at a stunned RFK Stadium on MNF.