You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
Cowboyfan is a strange animal.
Not that your average NFL fanatic is completely rational and sane, mind you. Every fan’s football worldview is taken in through lenses tinted in his favorite team’s colors. But Cowboyfan takes it a couple of steps further. He sees things through what must be silver and blue corneal implants. The colors are so intense that they actually serve as bliders.
For example, according to Cowboyfan, 9-7 Dallas was “really” 13-3 last year. That’s because if their field goal kicker hadn’t missed a kick all year they would have turned some wins into losses. Most kickers miss kicks, of course, but when you’re playing the hypothetical game that Cowboyfan does, the Dallas kicker is supposed to nail every one of them. Usually when someone talks about “woulda, shoulda, coulda” in the Lone Star State, some Texan will sarcastically say that if a frog had wings he wouldn’t whomp his ass every time he jumped. This retort isn’t used, however, when it comes to the Cowboys’ kicker. “If’s” and “but’s” are candy and nuts in Cowboyfan’s merry little fantasyland.
I think that the inflated, conjured-up win total also includes the Thanksgiving Day game that Denver won on an overtime field goal set up by a long run by Ron Dayne. The fact that Dayne made the run, according to Cowboyfan, made the event such a fluke occurrence that it just shouldn’t have counted. Of course Cowboyfan ignores the fact that solid tackling appeared so infrequently in the Dallas secondary that it would be considered a fluke if they had managed to bring Dayne down.
And then there is this illusion that Cowboyfan has that his team has more NFL titles than the Redskins do. They both have five and, the last time I checked, five and five are equal numbers. One five is not more than the other five. But, to Cowboyfan, nothing that happened before they started calling the NFL championship game the Super Bowl counts. Such news would come as a surprise not only to Andy Farkas, Turk Edwards, and Sammy Baugh, who led the Redskins to NFL titles in 1937 and 1942, but to, say, the participants in the 1958 NFL championship game. In the view of Cowboyfan, the overtime tilt between the Giants and Colts was the Greatest Game Never Played because it took place a couple of years prior to the birth of America’s team.
Cowboyfan also like to poke fun at the string of coaches that the Redskins have brought in recently. He conveniently forgets the likes of Chan Gailey and Dave Campo. He laughs out loud at the perceived incompetence of Dan Snyder as an owner while being totally ignorant of the fact that the Redskins have won more games than Jerry Jones’ Cowboys have since Snyder bought the team. Cowboyfan talks as though his team is an NFL powerhouse. Apparently they have an odd definition of “powerhouse”, one that does not include qualifications such as, you know, actually winning a playoff game. This season will mark the 10-yard anniversary of Dallas’ last postseason victory. There’s no word on if Jones is going to commemorate the occasion with a special jersey or a Circle-of-Fame type of ceremony (yes I know that the thing at Texas Stadium isn’t called that, but I do it just because it annoys Cowboyfan so much).
Just when you think that Cowboyfan can’t come up with anything more inane and illogical than what he as concocted out of thin air in the past, he tops himself. Cowboyfan’s new curiosity is some sort of “quality of loss” thing. Basically, Cowboyfan asserts that the Cowboys are demonstrably superior to the Redskins because his team’s opening day loss was somehow “better” than Washington’s. In doing so Cowboyfan’s argument flies in the face of what his own team’s coach has said, that “you are what your record says you are.” But logic certainly never got in the way of Cowboyfan making his point loudly if not very clearly.
Cowboyfan says that since the Jaguars were a playoff team last year and the game was in Jacksonville the Cowboys loss was superior to Washington’s loss, which was to a non-playoff Vikings team at home. To listen to Cowboyfan you’d think this was college and his team was barely edged at Ohio State while the Redskins got blown out by Duke at home.
Never mind that the Jaguars laid a 24-0 run on the Cowboys. Never mind that their quarterback absolutely stunk up the entire state of Florida with his putrid play (3 INT, 45.8 QB rating). Never mind that their legendary coach Parcells cost his team a timeout with by throwing a late challenge flag on an unchallengable play. Never mind that one kicker on their roster, the one that was active, banged a 36-yard field goal attempt off of the upright while the other one, the one that was supposed to be keep the frog from whomping his ass, was back at home in Dallas.
None of that matters to Cowboyfan. In his view, all of this was an impressive show of strength by his team. The Redskins, who played inconsistently while slugging it out for 60 minutes with a Vikings team that did have a winning record despite incredible turmoil last year, demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are mere girly-men, another minor obstacle that Cowboyfan’s team will easily brush aside on their way to demonstrating their greatness.
Perhaps someone should explain to Cowboyfan that there are no BCS points being compiled here, no pollsters to impress. You can only lose to the team you’re playing. In the NFL a loss is a loss is a loss. One seven-point loss is not better than another three-point loss, especially not when all of the teams involved had winning records last year.
On second though, never mind. Those silver and blue eyeballs will never see the light.