How 'bout them Cowboys? I've been a Cowboys fan since grade school and they have been equally thrilling and frustrating to follow. They are also one of those teams you either love or hate and there usually isn't a lot of middle ground, so I'm used to people groaning when I tell them that's the NFL squad I support.
How do you become a fan of the Dallas Cowboys when you grew up in Des Moines, Iowa? Well, my immediate family lives in Des Moines, but all of my extended family was in southwest Mississippi and northwest Louisiana. They were all either Saints or Cowboys fans. The Saints sucked long and hard during the seventies while the Cowboys were pretty good for most of that decade, so I gravitated towards the winner.
So, yes, I was kind of a bandwagon fan at first, but I stuck with them through the terribly mediocre Danny White eighties and that awful 1-15 season in 1989 when Troy Aikman first took over the quarterbacking duties. (The only win that season came against the Washington Redskins when Mr. Aikman was on the bench recovering from the first of his many concussions in the NFL.)
The nineties were awesome for Cowboys fans. Jimmy Johnson had the Boys riding high with a high-powered offense featuring an offensive line with a mean streak and an aggressive hard hitting defense. Jimmy led the team to two dominant Super Bowl wins over the Buffalo Bills in '93 and '94 and I firmly believe the dynasty would have continued if Jerry Jones' massive ego didn't get in the way. He couldn't just let Jimmy Johnson have the credit for the success and pushed him out the door. He hired his buddy Barry Switzer as his replacement, but Barry wasn't nearly as good of a coach when he couldn't bribe and cheat his way to championships like he did back at Oklahoma University.
Barry got a Super Bowl win in 1996 thanks to Jimmy's player evaluation skills and some terrible QB play by the Pittsburgh Steelers' Neil O'Donnell. I mean...he single-handedly made Larry Brown the MVP by passing the ball straight to him. Even Cowboys fans didn't think Larry Brown was that great. The Raiders, who greatly over paid for Larry Brown in the free agent market, certainly didn't think he was most valuable...or a player.
In the 2000's we've had a shred of hope, but the team is painfully and frustratingly inconsistent. Tony Romo vascillates between brilliant and recklessly idiotic. When the defense is good, the offensive line is weak. When the offense is efficient, the special teams give up big plays. The few times they put it all together they look like world beaters, but that only happens like 2 or 3 times a season and never in the playoffs.
I'll just say this for the record. The Cowboys will never again contend for a Super Bowl unless and until Jerry Jones gives up the player personnel duties to somebody with some actual football knowledge and experience. His ego is way too large to let that happen, so until Jerry joins his buddy Al Davis in the big owner's box in the sky I have little hope that my Cowboys will add to their five Lombardi trophies.
And so it was that I sprung to the defense of my beloved Cowboys when I felt they were slighted by my friend Very Josie. I've seen her posts about how she dominates football pools and pick 'em contests, but I ignored history. She said Dallas would lose to Seattle last week. I disagreed. I dared her to put her money where her full-lipped Sicilian mouth was. Well we never agreed on cash or other stakes, but a friendly wager was made.
She was right. I will never again doubt the prognostication prowess of Lady Josephine and shall pay my penance in Las Vegas in December if I'm able to attend the WPBT.