Cowboy’s Fan Etiquette 101


Oct 21, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; A Dallas Cowboys helmet lays on the field prior to the start of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Over the years there has been one common re-occurrence that has plagued every Cowboy’s season for me.  At least a couple of games a year are ruined for me by people that I just specifically asked not to.

I work in a hospital ER, so there are several Sundays that I have to DVR the game and just try to avoid hearing about it until I get home.  Last season, I had successfully managed to do this up to the end of my shift.  With literally 3 minutes left, I had to swing by one patient’s room before heading home.

As I walked in I quickly glanced at the TV, and noticed that both the game and postgame shows were over.  “Oh good”, I told the patient, “I have the Cowboy’s game recorded and have been trying to avoid hearing anything about it so I can watch it when I get home”.   “Oh”, the patient replied, “Well, they won.”

Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I stood there for a second, completely stunned, then looked at the clock.  Two minutes after my shift had officially ended, my entire night, no… entire week had been ruined.

I looked at the patient.  He looked like a very polite, nicely dressed, and quietly spoken older gentleman.  He honestly did not appear to have intentionally and maliciously ruined the game for me.  So why did he do it?

This is far from the first time this has happened.  I remember one game that I was having a few friends over for.  They were running late, so I was going to hold the game for 30-45 minutes until they got there and catch up by fast forwarding through commercials.  I had just explained that to my neighbor when we both had happened to walk out to our front yards at the same time.  He then proceeded to tell me exactly how many minutes were left in what quarter, and that the Cowboys were down by 3.

Again, I had just explained that I was waiting to watch the game!  Another time we were visiting my wife’s family for the holidays and for some reason the game wasn’t even televised there.  I should have been in the clear, right?  Wrong!  Someone was getting constant updates from a friend in another city over his cell.  We were on our way out the door when I heard my wife telling him I absolutely did not want to hear anything about the game.  As I shook his hand to say goodbye, he grabbed my arm and told me that it was a 3 point game, with only 2 minutes left.  He immediately followed with, “but I didn’t tell you who was winning”.

Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) on the sidelines during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As I walked to the car I wondered what part of “absolutely nothing” was unclear to him.  No, he hadn’t told me who was winning, but I then knew that no matter what happens in the first 3 quarters and 13 minutes of the game, it would come down to a 3 point game by the final 2 minutes.  That pretty much kills the excitement of every second until the last 120.

This is only 3 examples of near a dozen over the years since the invention of the DVR (or at least since I’ve owned one) and it still catches me by surprise every time.

What is it that makes someone completely incapable of holding their tongue when specifically asked to in the case of current sports scores?  Is it just that difficult to keep from blurting it out when you know that someone else doesn’t know something you do?  Maybe the feeling of being more informed or more knowledgeable than that person is just too much to pass up.

Either way, with the advent of the DVR and social media, what is the proper etiquette these days?  Anyone who posts the surprise ending of a movie currently in theaters would be considered a jerk, right?  So given the widespread use of the DVR, wouldn’t someone who commented on a game currently in play or immediately after completion be considered equally inconsiderate?  And wouldn’t directly texting someone or telling them to their face be even more inappropriate?

Surely I’m not the only person who has experienced this type of problem, but what exactly is the solution?

I personally do not discuss a Cowboys game with friends or family until the following day, unless I know that they have already watched it.  I don’t text, post to Facebook, call, or convey information in any other medium.

After spending all year looking forward to every season, and every week looking forward to every game, the absolute last thing I would want to do is ruin it for anyone else.  So 24 hours, that’s my rule.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the game by then, you need to get your priorities straight.