Before we begin, I’d like to put a disclaimer that I normally don’t write these types of despondent articles. I think blaming Jerry Jones or kvetching like an old spinster about America’s Team is a group effort of unimaginative, slothful journalism from the keyboard up to the very top. We know Jerry Jones runs things. What do you want me to do about it? Take up donations and buy a billboard over a sports team when the money would be better spent going to a children’s oncology ward?
We know the Dallas Cowboys “suck.” What am I supposed to do? Parade like an entitled brat and maybe John de Lancie’s stunt double will feature me in his tweets as confirmation bias that fans simply don’t care about America’s Team? Better time would be spent growing a beard like Jonathan Frakes’.
Still, when I thought about how the Dallas Cowboys haven’t been to an NFC Championship game since 1995, and that San Francisco has actually overtaken them with most appearances at 15, what came to mind was The Neverending Story.
Yes, I’m referring to the 1984 film, not the book. I doubt I’d have to make that clarification for The Landry Hat’s readership, but I figured I’d cover my bases. Heck, I’m not even aware some films were originally books until the Wikipedia search bar takes me to the book’s page first and not the film’s.
The story is about a land called Fantasia that is slowly evaporating thanks to an unstoppable impetus called “The Nothing.” Parts of Fantasia simply disappear; the vacuum obliterating everything. Fantasia’s story is a story within a story: the overall plot is a kid named Bastian who gets picked on a school and resorts to reading books. He swiped The Neverending Story from a dusty old bookstore and spent a day in his school’s attic reading the piece. He would dramatize each chapter. For example, he cried when the protagonist’s horse died. He ate an apple in celebration when the protagonist finally reached Fantasia.
Dallas Cowboys fans share similarities with Bastian. Giants, Steelers, and 49ers fans pick on them and dump them in garbage bins with their Super Bowl appearances and wins. Cowboys fans are forced to watch games in the attics of reality and miss out on life happening underneath them. And it’s entirely dramatic. Each game is filled with tears, laughter, and shouting into a stormy sky near the end.
Cowboys fans never get to meet the Childlike Empress like Bastian did, where she gave him a grain of sand that represented the last piece of Fantasia. However, they have wished for wins in one hand and spit in the other, having only a slobbery hand and a clean other hand to show after eighteen years.
The same thing that nearly destroyed Fantasia is plaguing the Dallas Cowboys: nothing.
After the 2007 season, the Dallas Cowboys were tied for Super Bowl wins (5) thanks to the referees jobbing the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Still, Dallas led in Super Bowl appearances (8), NFC Championship game appearances (14), postseason wins (33), and postseason appearances (30). Now, in 2014, the Dallas Cowboys are second in Super Bowl wins, tied for Super Bowl appearances (Steelers), second in NFC Championship game appearances (49ers), tied for most postseason wins (Steelers), and second in most postseason appearances (Giants).
This is what happens when you do nothing in the postseason for nearly twenty years.
The sad thing is Dallas looks to be headed for another “rebuild,” if you can settle on the fact the Dallas Cowboys rebuilt after the fall of the Triplets. While San Francisco was down and out for nine seasons, not even posting a winning campaign, Dallas couldn’t even make a championship game appearances. Nothing.
In The Neverending Story, Fantasia was rebuilt from a single grain of sand on the imagination of Bastian and wishful imaginations everywhere. Well, we know that isn’t the solution in Dallas, for there has been wishful thinking from the owner on down to the fans. Ironically, the one medium that kills the imagination — video games — is where the Dallas Cowboys probably have trillions of postseason wins since 1996.
Dallas has chosen to stay the course this off-season, retaining Garrett, retaining Callahan, retaining Kiffin, and promoting Will McClay to Tom Ciskowski’s role of assistant director of personnel. The final Dallas Desperadoes coach will run the 2014 draft this May. Will it finally culminate into Cowboys fans riding Falkor and scaring 49ers, Steelers, and Giants fans into dumpster bins?
That’s another story.