DALLAS -- It wasn't as though the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Texans were enemies by choice. They were born into it, embarking on a brave new world together, united only by their home.
Spurned in his attempts to buy an NFL team, Dallas businessman Lamar Hunt sketched plans for a rival league on a napkin while flying home. That little diagram eventually changed the face of pro football.
Hunt's Texans were the flagship franchise of the renegade American Football League. The Cowboys came into existence a short time later as an NFL expansion team.
For three years, the Cowboys and Texans fought for fans, dueled for recruits like gunslingers, and made up the rules as they went along. About the only place they did not fight was on the field, despite Hunt's constant challenges for a season-ending contest.
Once the Texans relocated to Kansas City and became the Chiefs, a Cowboys-Texans matchup would live on only as the greatest game never played.
Fifty years after making their debuts in the Cotton Bowl, the storied franchises met Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. As a tribute to Hunt, the teams wore throwback uniforms.
"I'm very sorry my dad's not here to see it because he challenged the Cowboys many times," Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. "He always had a special place in his heart for the Cowboys because they were put in business specifically to put his team out of business."
After winning the AFL title in 1962, the Texans waved goodbye to their birthplace. Lamar Hunt decided to move for the good of his team and the league. Kansas City offered Hunt something Dallas never could -- a guaranteed base of season tickets.
"I had a great deal of respect for Lamar," said former vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt, the Cowboys' first employee. "He had a passion for football. I think Lamar's big thing was he wanted pro football to be something special. He was very league oriented."
In Dallas back then, football fans flocked to high school games, and SMU played at the Cotton Bowl.
A town of big money, big cars and big hair, Dallas seemed like a perfect market when Hunt founded the AFL in 1959. But two franchises?
One month before the Cowboys and Texans would play their inaugural games, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and AFL commissioner Joe Foss shared the podium at the Football Writers Association of America meeting in Chicago. They were asked if Dallas could support two teams.
"There is no evidence that any city can support two teams," Rozelle said. Foss gave an emphatic, "No." He did not say, however, which team he thought would fail.
Both teams struggled with advance ticket sales. Hunt was aggressive and creative in his marketing, and wasted no opportunity to have fun at his rival's expense.
Hunt unleashed a bevy of young women in a fleet of Renaults on the town to sell season tickets door-to-door. Not only did they make sales, but they managed to convert, or at least confuse, potential Cowboys fans.
Irate fans called the Cowboys' office complaining that they had not received their season tickets, although they gave "that nice young lady" a check. Hunt had found a Jayne Murchison in the phone book and hired her to make sales calls. Her name, of course, was the same as Cowboys president Clint Murchison's wife.
Cowboys co-owners Murchison and Bedford Wynne considered payback, searching for Rosemary Hunts. They wanted to get her on the radio talking about how her husband had gotten her interested in football, so she had decided to attend all the Cowboys games.
Hunt also realized that putting young people in seats was more important than selling tickets. Before the Cowboys played a game on Friday night, the Texans offered high school students free entry to their Sunday game. All they needed was a ticket stub from a Friday night high school game.
The AFL, nicknamed "Always Fun League" was all about color. The Cowboys, secure in an established league, took a more conservative approach.
"About the only thing left for them to do is open the gates and forget about tickets," Cowboys GM Tex Schramm said then. "We think that when the product is worth having, it should be paid for."
On Sept. 24, 1960, an announced crowd of 30,000 attended the Cowboys' opener, a 35-28 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Texans defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, 17-0, before 42,000.
The Texans won the attendance battle that first season, averaging 24,500 to the Cowboys' 17,000.
"It was a rivalry because the press was bad-mouthing us," Texans running back Abner Haynes recalled. "We kept thinking we were somebody. The fans must have believed that, too, because we outdrew them. We would love to have played the Cowboys, and they would have loved to play us."
The Texans left Dallas after winning the 1962 AFL championship game. Sunday marked the first time since that game that the Chiefs played a game as the Texans.
Sunday's winner was to take possession of the Preston Road Trophy, a traveling trophy created by Lamar Hunt.
"That 1962 season changed my life," said Len Dawson, who quarterbacked the Texans and then enjoyed a long career with the Chiefs. "All I wanted was an opportunity. I got that with Lamar Hunt and (coach) Hank Stram."