Dallas Cowboys choke again
Being a Dallas Cowboys fan this year is a little like vacationing in Matamoros. Even when things are going well, there's always the potential of being taken to a deeply dark and disturbing place.
For the fifth time this season, the 7-6 Cowboys lost a lead in the fourth quarter. This time it was the hated New York Giants and Eli-te Manning beating the ‘Boys 37-34 at Jerry Jones’ billion dollar monument to mediocrity.
You can’t make the playoffs with defensive backs who couldn't cover "Wild Thing" and a QB who begs for the creation of a closer in football.
The Cowboys, who stink on Sunday night like the garbage after a weekend crawfish boil, had a 12-point lead with just over five minutes to go and then the Big Letdownski’s defense unraveled as if on cue. Last week Dan Bailey’s 49-yard field goal would’ve won the game, but he missed it after coach Jason Garrett turned a Princeton education into a GED. Last night from 47 yards, Bailey would’ve tied it up, but the low kick was tipped and the Giants’ season was saved. New York’s now also 7-6, but they hold the tiebreaker after the win and are in first place. The Cowboys have never beaten the Giants in Arlington, losing their third straight.
Being a Dallas Cowboys fan is a fairly miserable existence except when they win the Super Bowl and they won’t even have a shot at that this year unless they beat New York on Jan. 1 and win the division. Next week, the Cowboys travel to Tampa Bay, which should be a W, then they host the Philadelphia Eagles, whose only goal left is keeping Dallas out of the playoffs. To make matters worst, the Cowboys will have to win out without standout rookie DeMarco Murray, who's out for the season with a broken ankle suffered early in the game last night.
Meanwhile, the 10-3 Houston Texans sealed their first-ever playoff appearance, which means as much to a Dallas Cowboys fan as Kris Humphreys dating again.
Like most of the country, I grew up hating the Dallas Cowboys, with their fascist O-line cock and set formation and the goody goody quarterback who served his country and the coach in the hat who served his God. Hated ‘em with a passion. My team? Whoever played the Cowboys.
And then in 1992 I moved to Dallas to work for the Dallas Morning News. I had the same dentist as Troy Aikman. I sat next to special teams coach Joe Avezzano at a Colin Raye concert I was reviewing and we talked about country music. I went to a friend’s house for a Cajun fried turkey feast and the game was on and I, mysteriously, found myself rooting for the Dallas Cowboys.
Living in Dallas and not being a Cowboys fan is like being a gay roadie for Motley Crue, I guess. (Or Foster the People if we want to be current.) You just miss out. There’s so little to cheer for in Dallas that you’re almost forced to follow the Cowboys. Either that or join the Jackopierce fan club.
My first NFL game, in-person, was the Super Bowl in January 1993, when the Cowboys trounced the Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl. The Morning News sent me there to cover the Michael Jackson halftime show and other peripheral activities, so I found myself at the bar in the team’s hotel in Santa Monica every day for a week, drinking greyhounds with Lee Roy Jordan and Bob Lilly — guys I used to hate. You've gotta get Lee Roy to do his impression of Chuck Howley snoring in a team meeting- tears of laughter!
Me and the Cowboys were like a couple madly in love who tell their friends about how they couldn’t stand each other at first.
I remember the heartbreak that 1993 season, when Leon Lett dove on a dying ball in the snow and made it live again. Miami beat Dallas that Thanksgiving Day and Lett was seen sobbing in the locker room, having let his brothers down.
“That’s the last game Dallas is going to lose this year,” I said, and I was right. No way those guys wanted to feel like that again. Lett was the hero in the Super Bowl, causing a Thurman Thomas fumble that turned the game around for Dallas.
I thought the same thing would happen this year, after coach Garrett gave that game away to the Arizona Cardinals last week, with the dumbest late-game management anyone’s ever seen.
After Coach Ginger apologized to the team, the plot would seem to go that a relieved Tony (“don’t blame me this time”) Romo would lead his team into a few rounds of forgiveness on the field and the Cowboys would march to their certain January defeat to the Packers with honor.
But these Cowboys just folded again. You can’t make the playoffs with defensive backs who couldn't cover "Wild Thing" and a QB who begs for the creation of a closer in football. (Wouldn’t it be great if Stephen McGee entered the game late in the fourth quarter to the sound of “Enter Sandman” and preserved the 12-point lead?)
The kick was no good and the Cowboys lost sole possession of first place to a hated rival. So what happened next? The teams were on the field, shaking hands and smiling, all buddy-buddy. “Great game, Eli,” says Romo. “Congrats on the baby coming, Tony.”
Yeah, just a game played by millionaires.
Meanwhile, in East Texas there was some beer-drunk trucker going all Rafael Septien on an innocent terrier.
It sucks to be a Cowboys fan more often than it doesn’t these past few years. Life would be so much better, it seems, if we could just instantly move on like the players.