The Dallas Cowboys closed out the 1982 regular season on the road against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. The Vikings had control of the game especially after a pick-six on the first play of the fourth quarter. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled out of bounds and put the Cowboys at their own one-yard-line.
Quarterback Danny White took the snap and handed off the football to Tony Dorsett who found a hole and was off to the races for the longest run from scrimmage in National Football League history. The play covered 99 yards and will forever remain the NFL record.
Coming to light after the touchdown was that Dorsett was not the intended ball carrier and that there were only 10 Cowboys players on the field during the play. The play was designed for the ball to go to running back Ron Springs. He, however, misunderstood the play call and ran off the field. Dorsett reacted in a moment of chaos and alertly took the handoff.
Without Dorsett’s record run, the Cowboys mustered only 98 yards rushing as the Vikings defense held Dallas in check for most of the night. The Vikings had more on the line and their 31-27 win earned them home field advantage in the upcoming playoff game.
“We really didn’t have any incentive except the prestige of winning,” commented Dallas head coach Tom Landry whose team already secured their postseason status.
And perhaps the prestige of having a record-setting moment was an added bonus.
Meanwhile from the other sideline, the Vikings coach Bud Grant enjoyed the victory but also admired the big play by his opponent.
“I was in awe of the play myself. There was nothing wrong about the play at all. He saw a crack and exploited it,” explained Grant.
The shoes Dorsett wore on the record scamper were sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Today, they are prominently displayed in the Moments, Memories & Mementos Gallery.
And now, here’s a bit of trivia to increase your football knowledge. Dorsett’s record for longest run from scrimmage that came on Jan. 3, 1983 broke the mark of 97 yards shared by Andy Uram of the Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Cardinals, Oct. 8, 1939) and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Bob Gage (vs. Chicago Bears, Dec. 4, 1949).