I’m not ready to talk about the off-season. I’m not there yet. My Dallas Cowboys ship takes a little time to sail.
I’ve never been the type to rub my hands together and throw up an invisible ball into the air saying: “Well, there’s always next year.” Especially when this year, might have been the year.
Crushing losses can mute the color out of a fan; it puts the mental system into a state of negative reaction that constantly wants the conscious to bridge action with logic.
If you’re like me, you’ve mentally staged wide receiver Dez Bryant‘s catch a million times. You say to yourself: Well, why wouldn’t Dez Bryant just fall without having to reach for the goal line or maybe something like, if only Bryant stayed on his feet long enough to score six none of this would have mattered.
But it did matter.
The mental replays is your way of trying to reset the video game; it’s your way of mastering the arcade and finding a way to pull the plug so there’s a do over. The constant cycle speeds brain activity into overdrive, leading one to finally conclude that no matter how many times you replay a different outcome in your head, the real result stays the same.
One way to rationalize the refs reversal is to give into the whispers of karma, or the poetic justice narrative. I’m not sure I believe that. American football is the best sport on the planet. I believe in the game. I believe in the league.
But when officiating crews are given face time, and their faces start to become familiar, that’s a major problem. When Fox announcer Joe Buck has to remind the viewers that the crew in white and black hasn’t had much experience together, that’s a problem.
Consistent discussions on how a game is called by the refs isn’t karma or coincidence, it’s a threatening disease that mocks passionate fans from their sport. Allowing the NFL to write football endings using foreign language from a rule book more confusing than nutrition labels reverses the romantic attachment the fan has to the sport.
Integrity and faith come into question. When the eyeball test is clearer than the constitution of football, I for one, am open and ready for change.
No amount of ammunition thrown at me will suggest that Dez Bryant’s miracle Lambeau catch was anything else than that: a catch. It’s unfortunate for him, and it’s unfortunate for quarterback Tony Romo. The catch that won’t materialize in the stat books now wounds an organization with unanswered questions.
Can all the superstars come back? And give it one more go?
Reality says no. No team stays exactly the same after a calendar year. It’s difficult to accept a bad ending for this Cowboys team — a team that fought against mediocrity and found a way to reverse the organization’s current to one of positivity and hope.
It’s hard to accept that the fight ended not because of poor effort or bad schemes or team mistakes, but by a rule statement known around football associates to have birth defects that needed repair. It’s hard to heal when you can’t blame a single player or opponent. The enemies in this episode are part-time employed men who are supposed to be neutral, and the cameras that recorded it all.
Can fans move on? Of course.
And I will too. Having witnessed my team visit four NFC Championship Games and win three Super Bowls, my only hardship with this outcome is hearing from fathers who wished to share a Super Bowl birth with their child, or readers who wished to taste a little Lombardi flavor for the first time in their lives.
Those January victories, those pictures of your favorite players holding the trophy, they are lasting impressions that stamp images in your brain forever.
If the NFL has the gumption to change the rule book a little, maybe one day your brain will be stamped with some new Super Bowl images.
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