January 2, 2012 11 Comments
I don’t remember Eddie LeBaron, the Cowboys’ starting quarterback for whom Don Meredith was a backup. By the time I was able to form lasting memories, Don Meredith was quarterback. I’ve been a Cowboys fan since then.
Back up. I’ve never known much about sports. I peaked in 6th grade. The glorious touch, flag, and sandlot tackle football I knew as a late-blooming, short, skinny elementary school lad morphed into pads and helmets and tedious practice and bizarrely big guys in 7th grade. I chose the number 00 and figured I’d do it barefooted. I played four or five minutes as middle linebacker and my chosen number was prophetic (but always put me at the top of the roster). The game no longer made any sense to me. I sailed through the rest of my life, to this moment, pursuing matters other than sports (but always loving the Dallas Cowboys).
This background is important so that you understand why I say I don’t understand the fuss. My beloved Cowboys entered an appearance at the Meadowlands Sunday night, and they played exactly as I would have played.
First, let’s be clear, not everybody was happy when the league changed from 14 games to 16 games. I understand why the Cowboys would nurse this grievance. It’s cold in December. This whole playing-football thing, outside, in the cold, it’s not everybody’s thing.
Second, it would help if the season didn’t come down to the final game – and the stakes were whether we had to play more football in the cold, or not. What kind of incentive is that?
Third, and I truly do understand this, hurling a large determined man to the ground is overrated. There should be politer ways of signaling displeasure with forward progress.
Fourth, I get the Cowboys’ petulant preference for penalties. Who knows all this stuff? Better to play authentically and lose a turnover than play slavishly by the confounding rules.
Fifth, concerning turnovers, they’re really fundamentally unfair game-changers and shouldn’t be pursued lightly. And if there is an opportunity to toss a frikkin’ recovered fumble back to Eli Manning, who was smoking a cigarette in the backfield at the time, by all means…
Sixth, I personally live to see Tony Romo running for his life. I consider this the apex of the sport. I don’t believe the league adequately rewards this athletic part of the sport.
Seventh, look, it’s hard to get excited about playing the Atlanta Falcons next week. (Boring!) Especially if you don’t have to.
Eighth, 8-8… Call me a symmetry-freak. I just like it. You win some you lose some, carefully calibrating as you go. That’s a neat and tidy season.
Congratulations, I suppose, to all the disproportionately winning teams in the play-offs. Personally, I think you could do with a little Dallas Cowboys Zen, but I know lots of teams and fans are still stuck in the whole playing football well into deep winter thing.