Back in 1964, the Kansas City Chiefs played a home pro football game here.
The site: Farrington Field.
Instead of 80,000, the crowd was 19,400.
Two years after they moved to Kansas City from Dallas and two seasons before they played in the first Super Bowl, the Chiefs came back to their former home state for a preseason game.
Coach Hank Stram’s Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 14-10 in a game that by newspaper descriptions was every bit as lazy as a 1960s summer night.
The Dallas Morning News’ Sam Blair wrote: “The game actually lasted two and a half hours. It seemed like two and a half days.”
You could stand in a Farrington Field end zone for $1.50.
With star quarterback Len Dawson and running back Curtis McClinton sidelined, fullback Mack Lee Hill’s rushing set up two Chiefs touchdowns by backup quarterback Eddie Wilson.
It was the last of three American Football League games — now the AFC — in Farrington Field.
In 1961 and 1962, when the Chiefs were still playing in the Cotton Bowl as the Dallas Texans, they played preseason games against the Broncos in Fort Worth.
In 1961, the Texans won 29-27 before a crowd of 21,700. In 1962, the Broncos won 27-24 before 18,000 fans in 1962.
(That’s not the stadium record: 26,000 fans saw Paschal and North Side high schools in 1946.)
The 1962 game in Fort Worth even has a little paragraph in pro football history.
The Broncos’ victory was the very first regularly scheduled game decided by sudden-death overtime. (The AFL was testing it that year after both leagues had used it for playoff games.)
The Broncos’ Gene Mingo, who never played college football, caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, kicked the tying extra point and then kicked the winning 17-yard field goal 6:23 into overtime, helping Denver overcome two touchdown passes by Texans quarterback Len Dawson.
In a 1998 interview, he remembered that night in Fort Worth.
”The overtime game?” he asked. “Sure I remember. None of us had ever played an overtime before. . . . It was in a big concrete stadium with wooden bleacher seats, right? Big place for high schools.”
Programs from Fort Worth’s pro games now sell on eBay for $395.
Civic leaders knew even then where the future lay. Star-Telegram Publisher Amon G. Carter Jr. and others were dealing to build a $9.5 million domed stadium in Arlington for football and baseball.
It only took 45 years.