Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, George Teague. What do these three names have in common? The first two are easy--they are two of the biggest legends and heroes in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. Roger the Dodger led the Cowboys to four Super Bowls as starting quarterback, winning two and losing two. He ascended to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, after having made it into Dallas’ Ring of Honor in 1983.
Emmitt Smith’s contributions to the legacy of the Star are just as impressive. A key component of three Super Bowl championship teams, Emmitt is the NFL’s leading all-time rusher, was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2005, and will absolutely be a lock-in first ballot hall of famer in 2010.
That leaves George Teague. His resume isn’t quite as impressive as the first two. He played for the Cowboys in 1996, then again from 1998 to 2001 as a safety. He isn’t remembered for great stats. He won’t make to Canton. Probably won’t even find his way into the Ring of Honor. To all true Cowboy fans, however, his name will forever live on in folklore for what occurred on September 24, 2000.
On September 24, 2000, the Cowboys were hosting then-bitter rival San Francisco. The rivalry dated all the way back to 1982, when Dwight Clark’s famous catch in the end zone in the NFC Championship game sent the 49ers to Super Bowl XVI, and the Cowboys packing for the season. On this date in 2000, Dwight Clark was gone, and the winner wasn’t going to the big game. Instead, an upstart receiver named Terrell Owens caught a Jeff Garcia pass for his second touchdown of the game.
As he had on his first touchdown catch, Owens made his way to mid-field, and began doing a celebratory dance on the vaunted Star. The first time this happened, it was brash. The second time, it was intolerable. George Teague, in perhaps his hardest, and maybe even most meaningful, hit of the season, crashed into Owens from behind. Owens tumbled to the delight of the Dallas faithful. Teague left the game at that point, at the insistence of the officials, but entered the hearts of the Cowboys’ fans forever. The great thing about the hit is that you can still see it over and over on YouTube.com.
George Teague's Biggest Hit
It is six years later, and one of the two parties involved in the Star incident still plays football, and even plays in Dallas. It is not George Teague, however. Owens, notoriously the most obnoxious player in the NFL right now, and maybe of all-time, desecrated the Star and is now, arguably, the ‘star’ of the team. Teague, for his efforts, was unceremoniously shown the door when he was cut by the Cowboys in early 2002. Things have worked out fine for Teague, however.
In his post-NFL days, Teague, a born-again Christian, is coaching a high school football squad at Harvest Christian Academy in Watauga, Texas, and he, along with several other Alabama alumnus football players, started the George Teague and Friends Foundation, a charity organization that helps underprivileged youth. Go to their web site, and you can even order an autographed print of the Defender of the Star, for prices ranging from sixty dollars, to four hundred dollars for a canvas copy.
As ESPN recently reported in a story on Teague, he hasn’t forgotten his most famous defense. Not only does Teague teach his players X’s and O’s, but he also strives to teach them honor, sportsmanship, and ethics, commonly using the Star Defense as a prime example of how not to react to a situation. He tells his players he regrets that fateful incident. He encourages them not to let anger govern their conduct. He hopes they can learn from his mistake.
He doesn’t completely rue that hit that made him famous in 2000, however. When questioned about Owens even today, Teague indicated he did actually try to talk to Owens after the incident. His intentions weren’t to apologize, but just to show no hard feelings by wishing him luck in a subsequent contest. According to Teague, Owen brushed him off, and the two have never spoken since. In regards to the incident itself? There may still be a touch of competitive spirit in Teague, as he stated if he had it to do all over again, he would square off and hit Owens from the front, so Owens could see it coming. As far as Owens now wearing the star, as opposed to dancing on it? It made him sick. One has to wonder how many fans that cheered Teague’s chivalry six years ago, share that sentiment deep inside today.