DALLAS — The NFL announced that clubs will have to stay at their team facilities for 2020 training camp due to lingering concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
For teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, who annually have training camp at Paul Brown Stadium, their home venue, that isn't a big deal. For the Dallas Cowboys, who have never had training camp in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in their entire 60-year existence, the mandate is pretty momentous.
The Cowboys staying in Frisco at The Star won't be the first time America's Team will be holding camp in the Lone Star State. Here are three other Texas cities where Dallas have held training camp:
1. St. Edward's University, Austin — The first time the Cowboys trained inside the friendly borders of Texas was in the Jerry Jones era. Training camp had previously been held in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at California Lutheran College from 1963-89. The departure from tradition was just part of the "dismantling" of the Cowboys in the Jones era.
Dallas needed to endure the intense Texas humidity; it forged them into a ferocious, agile winning machine under coach Jimmy Johnson, who led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins in 1992-93.
Barry Switzer took over as coach and added another Super Bowl win at the end of the 1995 season. St. Edward's University was also the site of the awkward but memorable interview between WFAA's own Dale Hansen and rookie coach Switzer in 1994.
2. Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls — Dallas needed a change of scenery under new coach Chan Gailey. So, the Cowboys traveled to where I-44 ends just across the Red River. Looking to get out of the shadow of the "White House," the clean era got off to an inauspicious start when Michael Irvin stabbed teammate Everett McIver in the neck with a pair of scissors.
The Cowboys were challenged out of the gate in 1998 when Troy Aikman broke his collarbone in Week 2 at the Denver Broncos. Dallas rebounded and posted an 8-3 record, but there was never a '90s renaissance for Dallas as they lost two Wild Card games in '98 and '99.
Gailey was out at the end of the year, and defensive coordinator Dave Campo took over for the next three years of consecutive 5-11 finishes. In 2001, Dallas split camps between Wichita Falls and River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard, California.
3. Alamodome, San Antonio — The Cowboys went a little further down I-35 and met HBO in the 210 to film a season of "Hard Knocks." When Campo was out, Bill Parcells took over and held his first training camp in San Antonio before spending the next three in Oxnard.
Even though there were two previous training camps with two different coaches in the climate-controlled Alamodome, all it took was a little patented framing bias to brand Wade Phillips' inaugural camp at San Antonio "Camp Cupcake" in 2007.
Dallas returned to San Antonio in 2009, and even split camps between the Alamodome and Oxnard in 2010. The Cowboys haven't been back to San Antonio since 2011, Jason Garrett's first training camp as head coach.
How do you think the Cowboys will fare in the scorching Texas heat this summer? Share your thoughts on the training situation with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.
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