And so this is what happens when you care, when you hope and, most importantly, when you have passion for your team: the emotional free fall caused by failure takes you to cavernous depths that leave you torn, tattered and wounded. And right now I want to take down everyone with me; it’s part of the coping process.
As a Dallas Cowboys fan, this is a cycle all too familiar to me: In the preseason hope reigns eternal with such a talented roster; lackadaisical performances riddled with inconsistency and “you’ve got to be shitting me” mistakes make the playoffs seem like a million miles away. This is where you start to see dissension amongst the troops, as fans fall into two main categories: the haters and the excuse makers.
“Our quarterback sucks!” This would be considered hate monger mantra whereas “Our quarterback isn’t the one running the wrong routes!” falls into the latter category. The discussions ensue, leaving one thing abundantly clear: many fans don’t know squat about football. One guy I spoke with swears to Christ that Jessica Simpson is still to blame.
And just when you start mentally writing of the season and paying closer attention to things like draft order and which college kid might we see in silver and blue next year, something magical happens: the Cowboys start making a run. All of a sudden they’re playing inspired football again, winning games they were destined to lose a month before. The focus is on the field and not the crusty owner in the luxury suite. I’ll get to Jerry in a minute; there’s a collapse about to happen.
Yes, the collapse. The fail. The heartbreak. The bobbled snap. The dropped pass. The wrong route. The interception. The fail.
The fall. Down.
And here now is where the discussion turns to the owner, Jerry Jones, he of the pulled back face and J.R. Ewing persona in which you can just picture the man lighting up a stogie with a fat c-note. As an NFL owner there’s not a lot I can personally complain about; I admire his passion, his willingness to provide his players and fans with the best money can buy. You don’t go to games at Jerry’s Palace, you experience them. He’s been a major influencer of change that has helped turn the NFL into the most talked about sport in America. These are facts that cannot be stricken from the record here.
But with good Jerry comes a crappy GM. The same passion that makes him a great owner is what blinds him as a purveyor of talent. He cares more for talented players that will fill seats rather than those players who fit into a scheme. While many GMs around the league pay attention to Wunderlick scores, player development and chemistry, Jerry’s chasing the next sure thing, that next Hall of Famer to build a team around rather than building a true team.
I buy the groceries I may as well cook the dinner, is what Jones said once. As the owner he can basically do whatever he wants. But shouldn’t dinner taste good? Cowboys fans have been eating some pretty crappy dinner on Sundays since one Jimmy Johnson left the team and now shills for junk-enhancing pills.
And so now this: A passionate fan base reeling from the works of an Owner/ GM blinded by passion. I’ve eaten Jerry’s dinner. It’s 4 in the morning and I sit alone, guts aching and I’m literally flushing the season away.