Mission is a solid eight hours from Dallas, but you won’t find a more dedicated bunch of Cowboys fans than the citizenry of this Rio Grande Valley town, where the local stadium is named after Mission High School’s most celebrated former player—some guy named Tom Landry. Having finally forgiven Jerry Jones for his handling of their native son (funny what a few Super Bowls will do), people here are Cowboys crazy again. When the ’Boys were on Monday Night Football this past September 15, all the employees in the school’s special education office came to work in their best silver and blue.
Except Betty Detmer. “Betty,” read an interoffice memo reminding people to trot out the colors, “has special permission to wear green.” That’s because she and her husband, Sonny, at the time Mission High School’s head football coach, have shifted their loyalties to Philadelphia, where their 30-year-old son, Ty, has endured an alternately brilliant and rocky two years as an Eagles quarterback. And just so the family doesn’t have to invest in more than one line of official NFL merchandise, Philly also employs Mission’s second most celebrated former player, son Koy. The most prolific quarterback in Texas high school history, Koy, 24, is spending his rookie season on injured reserve.
The Cowboys have always provided Ty with his most critical NFL games. He suffered a concussion against Dallas in his debut as an Eagles starter in September 1996; later that season, at Texas Stadium, he pulled out a big win that had the media comparing him with Joe Montana. The September Monday-night game continued the trend. In a nighttime swelter that reached 105 degrees on the field, Detmer’s Eagles led Dallas 20—9 at one point, only to see the Cowboys climb back to a late 21—20 advantage. With 47 seconds left, amid the blare of a cynical crowd ecstatic with surprise at the Cowboys comeback, Detmer blithely drove the Eagles 85 yards in 43 seconds, completing three big passes to