The Cotton Bowl is a stadium which opened in 1930 and became known as "The House That Doak Built" due to the immense crowds that former Southern Methodist University (SMU) running back Doak Walker drew to the stadium during his college career in the late 1940s. Originally known as Fair Park Stadium, it is located in Fair Park, site of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, Texas, United States. Concerts or other events using a stage allow the playing field to be used for additional spectators. The Cotton Bowl was the longtime home of the annual college football Post-season bowl game known as the Cotton Bowl Classic, for which the stadium is named. In January 2010, the game was moved to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Construction began on Fair Park Stadium in 1930 in Fair Park, Dallas on the same site as a wooden football stadium. Completed that year, the first game in the stadium was between Dallas-area high schools in October 1930. Built for a cost of $328,000, the stadium held 45,507 spectators. In 1936, the name officially changed to the Cotton Bowl.
In 1948, the stadium was decked on the west side, increasing capacity to 67,000. The east side was decked the following year, increasing capacity to 75,504. These decks were added to respond to the demand for fans to watch SMU halfback Doak Walker, leading the Cotton Bowl to be known as "the house that Doak built." The superstructure was also built at this time, creating the distinctive facade for the stadium. In 1968, chair-backs were installed, reducing capacity to 72,032. In 1970, the Cotton Bowl installed an AstroTurf surface, which remained until 1993.
The Cotton Bowl has been used by a number of teams in several sports throughout its history, and has hosted three collegiate bowl games. The Cotton Bowl has also hosted large music concerts, including the inaugural Texxas Jam and other similar events.
Cotton Bowl Classic
From 1937 to 2009, the Cotton Bowl hosted the Cotton Bowl Classic, an annual NCAA Division I bowl game. Beginning in 2010, the bowl game has been played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. From 1941 to 1994, the Southwest Conference champion would play in the bowl game; since 1997, the first postseason of the Big 12 Conference, its second-place team has competed against an SEC team in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
Soccer (Association Football)
Early in their existence, the Dallas Tornado played two seasons of professional soccer in the Cotton Bowl. They spent their inaugural year, 1967, as a franchise of the United Soccer Association and 1968 as members of the North American Soccer League, in the Cotton Bowl before moving first to P.C. Cobb Stadium, and then on to other venues. The Tornado played for 15 years and used a total of six different Dallas-area stadiums before finally folding after the 1981 season.
In popular culture
- The stadium was featured in a 1981 episode of Dallas where J. R. Ewing meets Dusty Farlow.
- The rock band Journey recorded two videos in the 1980s in the Cotton Bowl.
- The daytime scenes from the video "I Won't Forget You" by the rock band Poison were recorded during the 1987 Texxas Jam on June 20, 1987 in front of over 80,000 people.
- The rock band Rush played their first outdoor concert in the Cotton Bowl at the Texas Jam.
- The 2009 television reality series 4th and Long filmed the majority of its material at the Cotton Bowl.