Some people are fans of the Dallas Cowboys. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Dallas Cowboys. This 2012 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read the other Why Your Team Sucks 2012 previews here.
1. YEEEEEEEEHAWWWW I AM FUCKING CRAZY! I covered the Cowboys for NBC for three years, and I think it's clear to anyone following the team that Jerry Jones is growing more and more out of it by the second. And I mean this in relative terms. The Double J has always been a raging, megalomaniacal nutcase. But now, as he edges closer to his 70th birthday, it appears as if he's completely coming off the hinges. There's the rapping. There's the "glory hole days" comment. Cowboys fans have loathed Jones's meddling for over two decades, but the scary thing is that all of that now feels like a prelude to the REAL madness.
By now, we're all used to Jones looking for any open microphone and then using it immediately to undermine his own coaching staff. We're used to him hand-selecting players like Dez Bryant—a player so rotten he needs 24-hour babysitting to keep from curb-stomping his own mom—and then demanding that those players be showcased, often to the detriment of winning football games. We're used to him bringing in turd after turd after turd because he fancies the Cowboys as America's greatest ongoing reality show. Early in his ownership, Jones loved winning because it brought him attention. But now that the Cowboys suck and can't win, he's more than happy to get ANY attention, good or bad. Any time a Cowboys player shows up in the pages of US Weekly, the Double J orgasms out of his face. And as he grows older and closer and closer to death, he's become dangerously addicted to that attention. He's a meth head for publicity. It's enveloped him so much that winning games has become incidental.
Which is a good thing because this team is awful. The Cowboys consist of a rapidly aging core of players—Tony Romo, Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, and Jason Witten—who were all brought in by Bill Parcells. For the past several years, Jones has desperately tried to assemble a decent roster around this core, and he has failed horribly. The line is awful. The secondary, despite adding rookie Morris Claiborne, is puke. And the linebackers can't cover anyone. The old core is getting closer and closer to eroding and all that will be left are the dogshit scraps that the Double J brought in. It's a roster that's coming apart as quickly as Jones's psyche, and as they sink deeper into a cycle of consistent losing, the antics will grow more and more reckless and insane. I'm telling you, we haven't seen anything yet. Jones will burn this franchise to the ground and salt the earth behind him on his way to the casket.
2. Tony Romo AND A HERP AND A DERP. Tony Romo's chokery is so reliable that you can now schedule it. Want proof? Seven straight Sunday Night Football losses. Each one more pathetic than the last. It has become a fall tradition for people to gather around the TV on a Sunday night four times a year to watch this team gag like a rookie pornstar. And the best part is that I get to watch it happen again TOMORROW! That's right! This team lost its last two SNF games to the Giants, and loogit who they get to play in the opener. In primetime. On SNF (albeit on a Wednesday night). These same Giants. They have no prayer of winning. None. If you have a deed to your house, go ahead and bet it on New York and enjoy having two houses next week. Five of this team's eight losses last season (Jets, Lions, Pats, Cardinals, Giants) were epic choke jobs; other franchises don't have five losses like that in their entire HISTORY. The Cowboys don't simply lose games. They vomit them up and then slip in that vomit and then fall face-down in that vomit and then choke to death on that vomit. Why would anything be any different this season? They still have Romo, and they still have ...
3. "Hmm. Yes. Indeed." "Few coaches would have the Princetonian gumption to ice their own kicker, but I, Jason Garrett, know that it's a strategy far ahead of its time. Pity my own players weren't able to execute such a masterfully counterintuitive act of daring. I am convinced now, more than ever, that if we simply repeat the strategy five or six more times, we shall be proven prescient. TALLY HO, NOBEL COMMITTEE. I expect fine eatings when I arrive in Stockholm the year after next!"
4. You are NOT long-suffering. I barely need to tell you how horrible Cowboys fans are. They're nothing but a bunch of front-running, carpetbagging dipshits, most of whom have NO ties to Dallas or Texas whatsoever. They spend more time perusing the Cowboys NFL Shop catalog than watching live gameplay. Virtually every Cowboys fan introduces himself as a "longtime Cowboys fan" in the hopes of sustaining the illusion that he was a fan long before 1992. Everyone knows it's bullshit. These are awful, horrible fans, the kind that buy tickets to JerryWorld and spend half the game drinking with their fellow flight attendants in the Bud Lime-a-Rita Zone and barely paying attention to the game itself.
But do you know what the worst part is? Now that the Cowboys are undeniably fucked for the next decade, these people are begging you for PITY. All through the '90s, you couldn't find a more arrogant, obnoxious group of fans. But now that the Cowboys have become the premier choke artists in all of sports, they have come looking for sympathy. "I'm a long-suffering Cowboys fan." FUCK YOU. YOU DO NOT KNOW SUFFERING. Don't you dare try to lump yourselves in with Lions and Browns and Vikings and Bills and Bengals fans. There is nothing pitiable about a Cowboys fan. This team is exactly what you pieces of shit deserve after casually attaching yourself to a dynasty all those years ago. You deserve a senile Double J. You deserve Wolfman Rob blitzing 10 men on every snap and giving up 20-yard gains on every play. You deserve Cousin Sal. You deserve Romo somehow fumbling and throwing a pick simultaneously with 57 seconds left on the clock. This is your time of reckoning. You earned every horrible second of it.
5. Hear it from Cowboys fans!
Did you know we were only one game away from the Super Bowl last year? No? We'll that's because you're not a complete sociopath like our owner. Ol'Jer is so insane and in love with himself that he thinks that he is the team and therefore refuses to listen to anyone who knows what they're doing. And, if that's not enough, we have his terrifying death mask of a face that causes local children to eat all their vegetables less the Jerry Monster gets them in their sleep.
We can't just be a football team, we have to be America's Team! Which means we bring in hotshot coaches who insist on running the shotgun despite being on the opposing team's goal line. We have to bring in every reclamation project that's out there, we go through running backs like our Governor goes through hairspray, and our fans are so completely deluded that even when we're obviously headed for a 8-8, or below, season we manage to talk ourselves into the Super Bowl.
Some combination of Botox and bathing in liquefied hundreds has apparently rendered Jerry Jones immortal.
The only two things people associate with Dallas are 1) the assassination of JFK 2) the shitstorm that is Jerry Jones' ego.
The Cowboys were the first team in the NFL to really start to over-celebrate the mundane. Signaling first downs, shouting to the air after sacks, taking off helmets... it may have started with U of Miami, but we dragged it into the NFL. The worst offender? Kenny "the Shark" Gant. We cheered wildly while he did his shark dance before punt/kickoff returns. That's right, BEFORE an actual play was made.
The Cowboys fanbase has a thing for scapegoats. Every offseason it's the same refrain: "We FINALLY got rid of [Insert overpaid, overrated, underperforming ex Pro-Bowler]. WHAT A DICKHOLE! Now that they are off the team we can finally WIN US-SELVES A SUPERBOWL!"
In the past few years alone, this has happened with Marion Barber, Andre Gurode, Terrance Newman, Leonard Davis, Keith Brooking, Ken Hamlin, and TWO people named Roy Williams.
The biggest problem? We always replace trash with more trash. Wanna cut our Pro-Bowl center because he secretly sucks? Perfect! Let's replace him with an undrafted white guy (Phil Costa) who consistently snaps the ball as if Tony Romo were Manute Bol's height. We waste so much time celebrating the departure of over-rated players that we often forget that the street-free-agent replacements are even worse.
We are the Notre Dame of the NFL: brilliant marketing, a distant history winning that inspires nostalgia, a legacy of creepy conflation between God and football, and a gift for Bogarting the media's joint. As a result, Cowboys fans live in a funhouse of mirrors that make every player look larger than they really are, right up until the moment a real playoff contender comes in and trashes the place.
We all know how this story will go: some bizarre early season loss marred by curious Jason Garrett play calls, the emergence of some previously unheralded player around week 5, some decisive looking midseason wins against overhyped "contenders" (Atlanta, I'm looking at you in week 9), a warning sign defeat to a three-win team on the road where our offense looked like it was stuck in the mud, and a final implosion against some team weathered and hardened by early season adversity. A profile of some player on the team that ends our season will always follow a certain narrative, contrasting their preparation and discipline with some self-serving Cowboy idiocy. I can already see Peter King writing paragraphs about Pierre Garcon reflecting on all those extra practice throws he and RGIII did after practice, while Anthony Spencer appears in his "Ten Things I Didn't Like" for that late hit on third down that He. Just. Cannot. Make. In. That. Situation.
Ugh. I want it to end already, and the season hasn't even started.
It's not often that you can find the reason why any given NFL sucks in one photo, unless it's a photo of Alex Smith's tiny hands or Kevin Kolb trying to stand upright or Norv Turner's brain. But this one comes closer than all of them:
When I turn on the TV for a Cowboys midseason game and watch them play down to a 1-6 team, it's like I laid down in the fairway of a Pro-Am and let Romo step on my junk with his golf spikes while he yuks it up with Sam Jackson.
If I started typing now and typed until my fingers bled, until I cramped up from carpal tunnel, until I went blind from staring at my computer screen, until I dropped 150 pounds from lack of nourishment, until my skin dried up and turned to dust from dehydration and ultimately until I simply keeled over and died (and this would all take quite a while because I'm not small), I wouldn't even be able to scratch the surface covering the surface of how much I hate Jerry Jones.
He has destroyed the Dallas Cowboys. Destroyed them. He has done NOTHING to contribute to the success of the franchise. NOTHING. His teams won three Super Bowls only because he happened to be a roommate at Arkansas of Jimmy Johnson, who never especially liked him. Jimmy won those Super Bowls, all three of them, even the one he didn't coach. And what did Jerry do after Jimmy won two straight championships and looked poised to win four or five in a row? FIRED HIM. Fired him! Barry Switzer's second team had enough runoff talent from Jimmy's squads to win one more Super Bowl, and then that was it. Jerry was on the path to destruction.
The Dallas Cowboys have existed since 1960. They played in their first Super Bowl in the 1970 season and won the Super Bowl for the first time in 1971. Even with the down years of the ‘80s (and there were really only a few…), Dallas has never gone as long without playing in or winning a Super Bowl as it has in the current championship drought. The former record for futility was 1977-1992 (1978 if you're counting Super Bowl appearances and not just wins). Now, though, the Cowboys have failed to play in a Super Bowl since 1995. We're going on 17 years here, and they're no closer to winning one than they were when Dave Campo was coach. They have a huge, obnoxious, outrageously expensive stadium and an owner (and general manager! WTF?) with a nearly incomprehensible ego. They have a puppet coach and a bunch of scrubs on defense. They're an empty vessel, all hat and no cattle.
Oh, I know. Browns fans and Lions fans don't want to hear it. Fair enough. But most people don't realize what the Cowboys meant to those of us who grew up in Dallas in the ‘70s and ‘80s. They were ALL WE HAD. The Rangers perennially sucked. The Mavericks were a flash in the pan for a season or two in the late ‘80s. The Stars were in Minnesota, where they belonged. The SWC imploded. The Cowboys were the pride ofDallas, an elite franchise with only a minor cocaine problem (and, at least, with a coach who genuinely had character). NOTHING mattered more than Cowboys football.
Jerry has taken all of that away. He has destroyed the dignity of the franchise, along with destroying the competitiveness of the franchise. (Seriously, Quincy Carter. Really. They're still trying to recover from that pick.) The Cowboys are a brand now, not a football team. Rex's fat brother has created a defense about as impenetrable as a sidewalk drain. Yet he still brags about it. It's easy to see why Rex is a head coach and Rob is a DC. Rob is a pretty good description of what the man does to the Cowboys when he collects a paycheck.
The worst part, though, is that Cowboy "fans," the worst in the NFL, still lap this shit up. They manage to live on the success of nearly two decades ago, even though a lot of them don't remember it. They're incredibly obnoxious with nothing to back it up. And the worst part is that they seem to be perennially happy. "Hey, look at our stadium! Whoo, our uniforms look awesome! Remember Emmitt Smith?" Hey, Cowboy fans, YOUR TEAM FUCKING BLOWS. Quit with the living in the past, with the worshiping the star, with treating Jerry as if he's anything but Satan incarnate hell bent on wrecking what was once the best thing North Texas had going for it. Seriously, SHUT THE FUCK UP. You look like a bunch of redneck assholes, which, of course, you are. You and Jerry deserve each other.
We have the kind of fans who will call up Mike and Mike the day after a win and demand that Jason Garrett trade Romo for Tom Brady because they think Gisele is prettier than Jessica Simpson. I've legitimately had other "fans" ask me why they don't just start Troy Aikman because "he was real good". When I bring up Randy White in conversation they typically think I'm confusedly talking about American Idol.
When the redneck Al Davis finally dies, his son Stephen will take over the team. Only, he has already been here with the team for years making bad decisions. He is listed as the Director of Player Personnel on the team's website. He is already involved with all the terrible drafts and awful contracts for mediocre players. It is as much his team as it is Jerry's. We can only hope they both die in a plane crash. I personally hope they are doing something terrible at the time like uploading a video to YouTube of them masturbating onto a pile of conflict diamonds. That way nobody will try to guilt trip me about celebrating the death of other human beings.
Our center doesn't know how or when to snap the ball and our guards are less effective than a revolving door.
DeMarco Murray will probably be hurt during the press conference after the first game.
The primary role of our safeties as far as I can tell is to throw rose petals in the end zone for the wide receivers to celebrate the upcoming touchdown.
Our 4th string cornerback makes over $5 million per year.
The only way the Cowboys can keep Dez Bryant from ruining his life (and all those around him I'm sure) is to practically have him on house arrest. This can only end badly. Hopefully Craig James will be able to cover up all the dead hookers.
If you are a fan of the Cowboys who was born in the 80's this pretty much sums up the coaching situation and general relationship with the team. Your Mother (Jerry Jones) and Father (Jimmy Johnson) faked love for a few years together and everything was glorious for you as a child. Your Dad was smart, had a good job, great hair, and always gave you the most kick ass birthday and Christmas gifts (great draft picks, Super Bowl rings). This was life, it was the picket fence, the puppy, the whole nine yards! Your life was a fucking postcard. All the other kids were jealous of you.
Mom smiled on the outside, but secretly bitched to her friends about being underappreciated and was constantly a giant controlling twat to your Dad. Eventually, your Dad got tired of your Mom's constant fuckery and decided to go through the REAL Big D. They smiled, tried to break the news softly to you, Dad said he'd pick you up on the weekends and you guys would play catch. Two weeks later, he met a Cuban woman and moved to Miami to never be heard from again.
Mom told you everything would be fine. You guys got to keep the house and Dad's convertible (the team he built) and things weren't that bad the first couple of years. Mom met a new guy, Barry. Barry seemed cool, he showed you his college championship ring, let you see his gun before he packed it up for business trips, and Mom let Barry take you joy riding in Dad's old convertible. You really didn't miss Dad that much for the first couple of years. Then Barry took a lot of pain killers one night and crashed Dad's convertible into a telephone pole at 120 mph.
Mom dumped Barry's no-good ass and cock bounced around from loser to loser for a few years. You guys fell on financial hard times (Salary Capped) because your Mother burned through any money left from your Dad like an NBA lottery pick and you started to have to buy cereal with no box (Eddie George), eat beenie weenies for supper (Vinny Testaverde), and kids made fun of you at school for wearing fake misspelled JORDEN shoes (This pretty much sums up any roster Jerry assembled from 1999 to 2004.) Life was shit. You sometimes wished you'd never had things so great with your Dad, it was just a cruel reminder of how great some people (Pat's Fans) lives are. Mom made your life so miserable you wished Jerry Sandusky would adopt you.
Then Mom hooked up with grumpy old War Vet named Bill. Bill was somehow able to get your Mother to get her shit together. He got you moved out of the ghetto and into a semi-new apartment that at least had a pool. Bill could be a raging Viagra-fueled dick, but at least he was making things better. Unfortunately, he watched Tony Romo stumblefuck the Cowboys out of their best shot to win a Super Bowl in a decade, and had a coronary and died. She tried to see if another senior citizen named Wade was worth a shag. He was a nice guy but he turned out to be a huge pussy and let your Mom walk all over him and eventually she lost interest.
Now Mom is blowing a red headed douche who used to work for your Dad as a Temp, and is a constant reminder of how awesome life was at one time, and how it will never be the same again. Basically, your Mom (Jerry Jones) is a huge cunt.
I am a Cowboys fan, and Cowboys fans are the worst. Just go look at a dallascowboys.com comment thread…we're a bunch of fucking mouthbreathers. People there are thoroughly convinced that Romo is not the guy and should be traded for Tim Tebow.
Our Pro Bowl QB is Favre minus the cock shots plus a backwards cap with all of the back-breaking interceptions you'd wish for in a season. He sits behind an offensive line made up of a guy who couldn't shotgun snap to Shaquille O'Neal and a bunch of low round picks and guys off the street, because shit, the last thing we need is the guy the entire season is riding on to remain healthy. Our most talented offensive weapon is currently housed in an underground bunker somewhere in Valley Ranch, lest he go out and beat 17 hookers to death. The defense is Demarcus Ware and Sean Lee. God forbid if one of them gets injured.
Being a Cowboys fan is like dating the best girl in the world, but then after getting married, she becomes a complete bitch. You can remember when things were awesome and while she still may be hot, she beats you in your sleep.
Jason Garrett loves swing passes as much as Jerry likes being Papa John's bitch.
The new stadium provides zero home field advantage. The team has lost of 11 of 24 regular season home games so far since it opened. Everyone treats the place like a cool space age movie theater that sometimes shows stuff in 3-D! If you dare stand up to cheer for the defense on a crucial 3rd down, be prepared to hear some bullshit HEY BUDDY, YOU'RE BLOCKING OUR VIEW OF THE SCREEN! tantrum. And that's usually the most noise anyone in your section will make for an entire game.
Julius Jones was our last 1000-yard rusher. Every other running back since then has the durability and carrying skills of wet paper bags.
Super Bowl XXX. Winning that Super Bowl was the worst thing ever. It confirmed in Jerry's addled mind that he was the football genius he had already proclaimed himself. He told Jimmy he could win a Super Bowl with Barry Switzer and by God, he did it. He did it with the team of the 90s before they ran out of gas and he did it because of Neil "interception" O'Donnell. The Boys mailed it in and still won with the worst excuse of an MVP in SB history. Jerry beamed and crowned himself GM and we've had mediocrity ever since.
Jerry Jones is a literal asshole. The only thing that comes out of that giant orifice is BULLSHIT.
Typical Cowboys offensive play last year:
Situation- 3rd and 12 after two failed running plays where Felix Jones just sort of ran directly into the left tackle's ass and flopped to the ground. Team breaks the huddle.
Wide receivers (at least one of which is just some parking valet they grabbed and threw a helmet on right before the game because both of Austin's hamstrings spontaneously exploded AGAIN while getting out of bed this morning) wander around the field aimlessly until Romo runs over and literally tells them where they are supposed to stand (No joke, this is an actual thing that happened in an NFL game. For reals.)
Before he even gets back behind the center, the ball is snapped.
He chases the ball 15 yards back and has to dodge and break tackles from no less than three completely unblocked defenders, because our O-line consists of Tyron Smith and four of those inflatable clown punching bags.
Romo throws a perfect, laser-accurate pass while having his chest caved in between two linebackers.
Dez makes an astonishing circus catch and goes 40 yards before being shoved out of bounds. He then promptly vanishes in a puff of smoke like ninja, and is not seen again for the rest of the game.
Play is called back due to holding.
Typical Cowboys fan reaction to the above play: ROMO IS THE WORST WE NEED A REAL QB LET'S TRADE FOR TEBOW HE JUST WINS GAMES
Because rooting for the Cowboys means rooting for a towering, ridiculous monument to capitalism and branding that is so all-encompassing it borders on self-parody.
I, to this day, still cannot believe when Parcells said "T.O goes or I go," Jerry said "T.O. is staying."
Our fans are the Lakers or Yankees fans of the NFL: We're in every city and shitty little town in the entire country, and we're awful, loud, fat, horrible people in all those places. But the glaring difference between us and those two fanbases is that the obnoxious arrogance of Yankee and Laker fans is somewhat justified by multiple championships in the 21st century.
December. Fuck December.
If your only connection to the city of Dallas is that your uncle's ex-wife's second cousin twice removed spent his middle school years in a Dallas suburb, there is no godforsaken reason you should be a Cowboys fan.
Actual conversation I had with a Cowboys fan I met in DC (shocking, I know):
Me: You're a Cowboys fan? Nice! I grew up in Dallas. You been to the new stadium? It's an awesome building.
Him: No, never been to Texas. I'm a DIE HARD fan though. I just bought my THIRD Romo Jersey! Now I have 2 blue ones!
Me: You're pretty dedicated. Why aren't we winning more games?
Him: (dead serious) Cause Romo sucks!
We're just terrible, terrible human beings. If there was a nerdy Football Outsider advanced statistic for Ratio of IQ To Paraphernalia Of Your Favorite Team Owned, then Cowboys fans would be at the top of the list. No team has a higher number of fans who spend more money per month on Dez Bryant jereseys than they spend on food for their children. If I had a $1 for every 28-year-old with a "No Fear" tattoo, a shaved head, a goatee and a Dez Bryant jersey, I'd have about 2.3 trillion dollars, and I live in Redskin country for eff's sake.
Even though Dallas probably has the highest number of fans, you will probably receive the least number of submissions for your "Why Your Team Sucks" column for Dallas, because 99.9% of Cowboys fans have zero sense of humor and would sooner threateningly let you know about their conceal-carry permit than would dare to honestly criticize their favorite team. I would go on, but like a true Dallas fan, I have to go out back and empty the septic tank of my double-wide while cradling a Pabst in my short, stubby, engine-grease-stained fingers.
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We're like the Yankees— except without the wins.
Even when I tell people who my favorite team is, I do so with a slight bit of hesitation, and a pinch of embarrassment. I always feel like I'm about to start knocking on doors and having to tell people exactly what I was convicted for and gain their blessing to move into the house across the street....
Jerry Jones is Al Davis minus about 20 years.
Do you know what the best part about having your owner also being your General Manager is? Nothing. It's horrifying.
All you really need to know about Jerry Jones is he built one of the greatest sporting venues ever built, but has refused to let anyone with a real football mind run the team. This is like buying your grandma a massive big screen HDTV with a 6.1 surround sound system, and then giving her all the remotes and no directions. Every freaking year.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Final team up: THE GIANTS.