This Day in Sports History: Richard Nixon Becomes First President to Attend an NFL Game
The year was 1969, a United States President had never attended an NFL until today, 48 years ago when President Richard Nixon did it.
The game was of course in the Nations Capital as the Washington Redskins hosted the rival Dallas Cowboys.
The game featured two iconic coaches who were no stranger to one another in the 60's. Tom Landry was at the helm for the Dallas Cowboys and for the Washington Redskins, you may not remember this but it was actually, the great Vince Lombardi on the opposite sidelines.
You may only have heard of Vince Lombardi as the iconic Green Bay Packers coach who's name dons the most important trophy in sports. But there was one year in which he coached the Washington Redskins and was a pioneer for that year for that franchise before he passed away in 1970 due to cancer.
This was the forgotten year of Vince Lombardi and NFL Films came out with a terrific documentary on it in which they detailed his short time in Washington. They also show how much he meant to those players, even after just one year coaching the team.
President Nixon got to witness a game that included for the Cowboys the likes of, Craig Morton at quarterback, running back Calvin Hill, and tight end Mike Ditka. While Ditka and Morton had sub-par days, Hill and the defense shined. Hill rushed 27 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns, while the defense intercepted the Redskins four times, one which Larry Cole returned for a touchdown.
On the Redskins side you had, quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, running back Larry Brown, and wide receivers Charley Taylor and Jerry Smith. Despite the four interceptions Jurgensen threw, he did pass for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, Taylor put up 155 yards receiving and a score, while Smith hauled in 7 passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns.
The Dallas Cowboys would prevail in this one over the Redskins, 41-28 in the presence of President Richard Nixon, who, might I add sat among the crowd in the stands for that game. Could not image something like that ever happening now.