Eighteen years ago, the Miami Dolphins visited the Dallas Cowboys for a Thanksgiving day football game. That game also marked the first ever snow game in Texas Stadium, and looked like a sure loss for the Dolphins as they took on the eventual Super Bowl Champions.
Then, Leon Lett happened.
The Dolphins lined up for a game winning field goal. Dolphins kicker Pete Stoyanovich slipped as he attempted the kick, line driving it straight into the defensive line. The ball popped up and past the line of scrimmage, where it should have died. The only way Miami had any chance in the game was if a Cowboys played, inexplicably touched the ball, now that it was beyond the line of scrimmage. As Dolphins players (including ESPN's Mike Golic) circled around the ball, knowing the game was over, Leon Lett handed the game to Miami.
Lett came sliding in trying to recover the ball, but booted in and the Dolphins fell on it (in the endzone, but hey, the field goal won it as well.) So, Stoyanovich lined up again, and kicked it again, this time putting the points on the board and winning it for Miami.
This game is one of my most first vivid Dolphins memory. We were at Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt and Uncle's house. The whole family are huge Cowboys fans, and all we heard the entire game was how the Cowboys were killing the Dolphins. How it wasn't a contest. And then, Leon Lett happened.
Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun Sentinel had a good article about the Leon Lett Bowl earlier this week, taking a look at what exactly happened on that play. According to Hyde, Lett had never been on field goal defense before that moment, and was only put out there because the team's special team's coach had told Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson that he thought Lett would get a good punch up the middle in the snow, and possibly block the kick.
Well, the kick did get blocked - and then Lett tried to make a play. A play that he didn't have to make. And one of the two biggest blunders in Cowboys history (the other also being Lett, when he let Don Beebee chase him down and strip him of the ball just before the goal line in the endzone).
I actually asked Dave Halprin of Blogging The Boys if there was any chance the Cowboys could re-sign Lett just for today's match up between the two teams.
"Good ol' Leon Lett. Forever remembered for two huge blunders, but really should be remembered for being a heck of a player. But hey, at least he'll always be remembered. Some players fade into obscurity, but Lett will always be around with his two highlight (lowlight?) plays."
That's very true. Lett was actually a really good player. But forever, this will be one my favorite moments in Dolphins history - especially when they play the Cowboys.