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Friday, November 16, 2007

Yes Virginia, The Dallas Cowboys Are Evil


The Cotton Bowl Not a Texans game (Note large crowd as proof.)

A good friend of mine asked me to relate how I came to my relationship with the NFC's Dallas Cowboys. I grew up in Dallas. The Cowboys were our home team. How could I come to loathe them?

Twas not always so. I was fourteen in the Fall of 1960, and Dallas had two new pro football teams. The National Football League's Cowboys and the American Football League's Dallas Texans. Dallas was an expansion city for the established NFL, but the Big D was a charter city for the AFL. A bunch of oil men wanted pro ball teams, couldn't buy the franchises they wanted, so they created the new league, the AFL That is so '50s-'60s Ahl Bidness-think. You have to admire them.

Lamar Hunt, one of billionaire H L Hunt's "legitimate" sons, and founder of the AFL had inked a deal with the ruler of Libya to develop their North African oil fields. A friend of mine, Bob, was his lawyer's son. Bob had spent the school year of 1958-1959 in Libya, and brought back some of the most fascinating souvenirs. Arab flintlocks, Bedouin camel saddles, Muzzle loading "pirate" pistols. All very cool. By his father's association with Lamar Hunt, Bob got lots of free tickets to all Texans home games, and we went. Like an infant imprints on their parent, I was in my football infancy, and imprinted on the Texans. It was casual at first, but neither team was very good. The AFL screwed up the salary regime that made the NFL a cash cow for franchise owners, and cities with both leagues began to polarize into camps. The Cowboys had a leg up because they were part of an established league, and drew bigger crowds. I had chosen a minority position without even knowing.

I went to generally wretched football games every other weekend. Both teams were sharing the Cotton Bowl stadium, and scheduling was a nightmare. There were some Saturday games, but almost every Sunday there was a pro game in Dallas. I was blissfully unawares of any of this. I just got to see free football games. Ah those halcyon days! The bliss that comes with ignorance. We were unaware that Cowboys owner Clint Murchason was in a pissing contest with Lamar Hunt. A true clash of oil titans played out on the gridiron of public relations. The two teams would never play each other as such. The Wikipedia article says the Cowboys chased the Texans out of town, and I guess the winner gets to write the history. I think it was just business on Hunt's part.

I was a fan of the Texans, and therefor a Cowboy skeptic. That was before regularly televised pro games. Franchise owners were convinced that anybody that watched the game on TV was a seat unfilled at the stadium. I saw Texans games, most of my friends saw Cowboys games. The radio broadcast the games, and that was OK. Football isn't like baseball. You miss too much without the visual aspect of the game. My Dad had attended the University of Texas, so followed the Longhorns, but never showed any interest in the pro game. I was on my own to develop my loyalties. Mom was a child of the depression, and never saw much cause to waste energy on sports.

Those warm Fall afternoons at the Cotton Bowl were a feast for a fourteen year old. If I had money, there was orange pop and hot dogs. If not, well, we were on the fifty some times and in the end zone when the game was hopelessly lost. I met Dizzy Dean while he was shooting a commercial, for what I don't know. I got his autograph on the back of a Texans ticket stub, now lost to time and space. The more I liked the Texans, the less I liked the Cowboys. The Cowboys were getting annoying. Cowboy fans were getting annoying.

I went to a some games in '61 and fewer in '62. By the time the Texans beat the Houston Oilers for the AFC Championship, I listened to games on the radio, but no longer went. The worst kept secret in Dallas was that Hunt was moving the team to Kansas City. I was being abandoned. To this day, I don't trust any pro ball team, but I hate the Cowboys.

The cowboys hired Tex Schram as their GM and Tom. iceman, Landry as coach. I went to North Texas State , and Viet Nam escalated. Without a conscious decision, once again I gravitated to the anti war camp. For a young man they were much more appealing. I had developed a sensitivity to injustice, having my nose rubbed into the Jim Crow racism, and Southern prejudice against Jews and Catholics. Redneckery was unappealing, at least to this Texan.

Viet Nam became the main thing on the minds of draft age men in 1969. Perhaps not the main thing, but it was pretty important. America was reacting to the anti-war and Hippie movements. There were all sort of public confirmations of traditional American values (read: non-hippie). The Dallas Cowboys took on their part as "America's Team". Billy Graham roamed their sidelines, and the soft core porn cheerleaders, as they are known now, were but a twinkle in Tex's eye. So clean cut you'd want to puke. Now that was a culture war. There were actually people getting shot and blown up. There was a stage show called "Up With People" that was sort of sticky sweet wholesome anti-rock that even the most glassy eyed fan of Christian rock would find amusing. Dallas Cowboys were the Anti-Counter-Culture. No sex, no drugs, no rock n' roll.

I took everything I could no longer tolerate about my country and laid it all at the feet of the Cowboys, and they gladly took up the mantle. Looking back, it was probably healthy to dump on the hated Cowboys.

Love comes and goes, hatred is forever.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bert your life has been full of bad choices. Perhaps when the Cowboys became the most watched and best loved team in America, you should have recognized this pesonality defect on your part and sought professional help. Now it doesn't matter, for you are too old to received any meaninful help. You are doomed to roam the rest of your days in that hell on earth: Cowboy Hateland.

Bert Chadick said...

Alas! All is lost! All that time I thought I was having fun, misspending my youth, running with loose women and interesting friends I could have been in church and rooting for Amerika's Team. Those years wasted raising of two heathen kids, teaching them the evil of the Dallas Cowboys were wasted! When I chose to be a volunteer fireman, serve on the library board or town council I failed Jeezus. Woe is me! I could have been a racist little Dallas real estate agent or self righteous Rethuglican.
I should have seen the virtue of rooting for the public virtue embodied in the Cowboys rather than the Redskins or Oakland Raiders of old. I should have been more understanding of the Cowboy fans when Greenbay beat them in the "Refrigerator Bowl" and the pure of Big D whined about the unfair playing conditions of cold and snow.

Alas alas, a wasted life, with little but friends, kids, a few bucks and fond memories. Nothing can be done at this late date, so I'll wait for the inevitable fall of the Cowboys and wallow in my crapulence. Loving it.