By Greg Price
I’ll admit, I’m a sore winner at times.
But you can forgive me in this incidence, I’ve been waiting patiently for two decades for this after my favourite NFL team being the near laughingstock of the league.
One of the first art projects in Kindergarten was a cardboard offering of a Dallas Cowboys helmet. I remember Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard touchdown run. Then there was the stoic Tom Laundry with his fedora hat.
There is the long list of players that made watching the team so enjoyable in Everson Walls, Randy White, Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Danny White, Darren Woodson, that offensive line of the early 90s (Erik Williams, Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Mark Stepnoski), Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
I get this may be playing the world’s smallest violin compared to some other fanbases, in that I’ve already got to enjoy three Super Bowl victories in my lifetime that I can remember (1978’s was a tad hard to remember as a five-year-old), but yeah, I feel like a peacock strutting its feathers after 20 years of futility as the Cowboys are currently cruising to an 11-1 record and have been the first team this year to clinch a playoff spot.
Much like being mocked in high school for wearing my Dallas Cowboys cap after a 1-15 season, there has been plenty of ribbing for being a fan of a team that has found many different and creative ways to lose in the last 20 years, both on the field and off it.
Being one of the most perennially penalized teams in the league, more turnovers than a french bakery and questionable play calling from country-club coaches combined with years of inept drafting, a meddlesome general manager and players with numerous issues with the law tend to make for a lean 20 years for a franchise.
But now with a coach that looks like he has come into his own with more aggressive play calling, personnel decisions that are being left to the personnel people and an injection of Pro Bowl calibre youth, good times are here again for my Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
However the season pans out, I will be happy overall because it looks like a franchise that is going in the right direction and are winning and losing in all the right ways.
Plenty of skilled youngsters, a more disciplined style of football, fewer turnovers and a front office that actually looks like a front office make for a strong foundation.
But as I look to be following my Cowboys closer this year I am finding that many people take their sports as seriously as their politics — so blind in their following of their team that all resemblance of logic goes out the door.
I really did not participate in social media forums in many years past because I really did not have a defence to the ever popular ‘Cowgirls suck’ diatribe, because, well, we have sucked.
But hearing it now, I just shake my head.
Apparently winning a franchise 11-straight games for one of the most successful franchises in history really shows one franchise’s ineptitude. Strength of schedule is brought up many a time although the Cowboys have beaten many top-five ranked defences, have the best offensive line in football, and currently have four rookies serving as starters, including two performing at an MVP level.
The New York Giants, the only team the Cowboys have lost to this year have their fans musing that we have not played anyone of substance yet, having faced such powerhouses as Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Cleveland themselves, and having lost to teams we’ve beat in Washington, Minnesota, Green Bay and Pittsburgh.
The Cowboys’ defence will be their downfall scream many a fan and sportscaster on social media, not looking at the statistics where the Cowboys have performed on par defensively with other Super Bowl contenders statistically, in the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders and are far superior offensively compared to squads like Seattle and Denver.
This has all been done while half the secondary have been injured, along with suffering multiple-game injuries on the offensive line, quarterback, back-up running back, and wide receiver positions and league suspensions at the defensive line and linebacker positions.
So maybe I am not being a sore winner, maybe I’m simply using logic against all the naysayers.
Maybe as one fellow Taberite and Dallas Cowboys fans put it, ‘haters are gonna hate.’
Who knows, I am just going to keep loving this season as a football fan and cheer loud and proud for a franchise that has been awfully quiet for the last 20 years.