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Uncle Barky's Countdown to Christmas -- Episode 5

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Christmas night, 1995. Last regular season game of the year. Dallas Cowboys vs. the Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium.

ABC’s Monday Night Football dressed it all up with a wobbly holiday poem recited by the late Frank Gifford. Accompanying images of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin were unwrapped by happy kids under a Christmas tree. The Cardinals were less than an afterthought. Frank capped it with “The Cowboys continue their Super Bowl mission. It’s Monday Night Football, a Christmas edition.” Then came Hank Wiliams, Jr.

The Cowboys went on to rout Arizona 37-13 before eventually beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. It’s their last world championship to date. Aikman, Smith and Irvin now all reside in the NFL’s Hall of Fame while this season’s Cowboys are one punch away from an official knockout blow if they lose Saturday night to the Jets while either the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles or Washington Redskins win on Sunday.

But that’s now. This was then.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net