The 2019 Dallas Cowboys burst into flames. Yes, technically at 7-8, it’s not over. But it truly feels like a black Christmas for Cowboys Nation.
I was traveling recently. I stumbled into a mall to do some Holiday shopping when something Dallas Cowboys related caught my eye. As I entered, the store that sold sports memorabilia was empty.
The first thing that jumped out was all the Dallas Cowboys merchandise located at the front of the store, just as you walked in. Jerseys. Hats. Barbecue utensils. You name it: This store had all the Dallas Cowboys gear one would need.
And then it dawned on me — I wasn’t visiting the state of Texas. I was in Savannah, Georgia, which should have placed me safely in the confines of Atlanta Falcons territory. In fact, I was well over a thousand miles from AT&T Stadium. Three states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama) sit between Texas and Georgia.
Still, here I was, celebrating Cowboys Nation with a state I had no attachment to. I quickly struck a conversation with the store clerk, who may or may not have been the owner. I assured him of my astonishment with all the Cowboys stuff on sale, and how much of it was pushed to the front of the lines.
Well, come to find out, the town loves the Dallas Cowboys. The clerk even told me there are two bars in the area that serve as Cowboys headquarters for fans seeking out games on Sundays. I couldn’t believe what I heard.
Surely, this turf belongs to Falcons country, right? I guess not. Even east Georgia, which runs along the Atlantic Ocean, is yet another home base for the Dallas Cowboys. I am truly surprised that I can still be surprised by Cowboys Nation. Cowboys fans don’t have roots: We are literally rooting from all over the world. Shame on me (again) for being surprised.
Since the Cowboys Nation membership extends beyond the borders of Texas, I feel the need to offer the fans some words. To accomplish this message, I will break down my thoughts into separately targeted segments. Here goes.
First off, we must address the final week of the 2019 NFL Season. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday against the Redskins and whether the Eagles weather another storm against New York, the season as we know it was over weeks ago.
Following the 17-9 loss to the Eagles last week, my Twitter feed was full of fan optimism. (Talk about surprised!) Fans were shouting back and forth, exclaiming that 2020 is still at bay, that there was still life in 2019 for the ‘Boys. I admire, and yet also cringe for this type of fan base.
I truly find this level optimism admirable, but also cannot compute the quantities of Kool-Aid one must drink to obtain this level of hope. I am not joking. These are the type of fans who were probably cheerful, hopeful during the 1994 NFC Championship game when Dallas went down 21-0 in the first period against the 49ers.
Secondly, I’d like to acknowledge the fans who breathed the fabric of the 1970s Dallas Cowboys (perhaps even the 60s), who stuck with the team through the 80s and 90s. America’s Team has not won a Super Bowl title in two decades now.
These long-time fans, these super Dallas Cowboys fans, are the original gangsters, the “OG” of our membership. We acknowledge and respect their years of service, rooting for Dallas on days where there wasn’t much to root for.
This is where I’d like to make a clear statement to all Dallas Cowboys fans. You know, since inking for this site since 2012, I’ve read a lot about fan retaliation. Some fans swear off the Dallas Cowboys for good. Some may burn their Dallas merchandise. I’ve seen a writer on this site conclude his duties because he couldn’t fathom another year with owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
With over seven years as a writer for the Landry Hat, let me prescribe a doctor’s note for you. Fans will kick and scream after another losing season. They will threaten to leave Cowboys Nation. Members will insist that they will cancel their membership as a Dallas Cowboy fan.
But the truth is nobody leaves. Fans always come back to the Star. You can hate me for writing that in, but it’s the truth. They always, always come back. And truly, this is where the problem fits in for fans.
Jerry Jones knows this. He knows the cash flow will continue to slide into his bank account, that fans will foot the bill to keep the electricity running at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys haven’t inched near a Lombardi Trophy since 1995, and yet fans from all over the world dress up in their beautiful navy and white jerseys every Sunday.
Cowboys Nation will never leave Cowboys Nation. Their DNA is made up of silver and blue. Their hearts are shaped like a star. The arteries pump Dallas Cowboys pride.
Again, Jones knows this. It’s the only way we can explain the 10-year accident, now dubbed the Jason Garrett experiment. Frankly, the best two words Jerry Jones can utter right now isn’t, “I apologize.” For me, it’s “Urban Meyer.”
Dallas Cowboys fans truly deserve better. One may argue, well so do Cleveland Browns fans. Well, to counter that, I’d say you have to win one to know one. Dallas fans breathed five titles, had sufficient samples of the championship appetite and thus, are now completely in starvation mode.
A true fanbase doesn’t blossom until the experience of a championship is brought home. Dallas earned five titles in eight overall Super Bowl appearances. You can’t acknowledge true defeat if you haven’t tasted true victory. Sorry, Cleveland.
So yeah, Cowboys Nation deserves better. Especially after a hyped-up, title talking type of year. Sadly, until the right personnel enters the top Dallas brass, the 2019 season narrative will be recycled and renewed for years to come.
Please forgive me if I come across as a dejected fan who seems indifferent. The truth is, following the 17-9 loss to Philly, I slept like a baby. I woke up the next day refreshed. My meals tasted wonderful.
Jerry Jones has assigned so much disappointment this time of year that my psyche has accepted that notion as the baseline. I’m used to mediocrity, the sameness feeling that can’t separate a 2019 NFL year from 1999 or 2009. Yeah, I’m still a fan, for whatever that’s worth. At least I know I’ll sleep just fine tonight.