How To Make It In America (Being A Dallas Cowboys Fan)

Look at this. Even the First Lady of the United States is disgusted with America's Team.

A week following the NFL's most controversial Monday Night Football finish ever, we knew something unique was bound to happen between the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. Either Chicago would use the platform to really stick it to Jay Cutler, allowing DeMarcus Ware to perform the first decapitation on live television. Or Dallas - much to the amusement of a great majority of the country - would lay an egg so collassoal the season as we know it would take on a different identity moving forward.

Well, the latter happened, and to refrain beating around the bush we got The Sports Fan Journal's resident Cowboys fans - Kenny Masenda and Justin Tinsley - to put the bottle down momentarily and speak for an entire fan base not knowing whether they're coming or going. Kenny offers insight on what the mood is in Dallas while Tinsley waxes poetics on how Cowboy Nation is taking the loss far beyond the not-so-friendly confines of Jerry World. From there, five simple yet powerful suggestions are offered for those following America's Team. Use them how you see fit. Just realize it's going to be a long two weeks for those pledging allegience to The Star.


The morning after a Dallas Cowboys game in the Metroplex can tell you many things. After a win, things are moderately peaceful around here. I say moderately, because the Cowboys beat Tampa Bay last weekend, but it was one of those sickening wins. Even though they won, it was so ugly, it was hard to fully digest the taste of victory. After a loss, though? Lord, after a loss, it is bad around here, and after a performance like the one the masses saw on Monday Night Football - a performance that summed up the first quarter of the Cowboys season so far - it was about as despicable a performance that mine eyes have seen in quite some time.

Tony Romo threw five picks. Granted, all of them weren’t his fault, but most of them were. Dez Bryant had his first 100-yard game of the season, but that was overshadowed by his porous miscues during his routes and some unforgivable drops. The defense finally folded and gave up the ghost, and the overall tenor in Cowboys Stadium had a funeralistic (I made that word up; sue me) feel to it, as Cow fans wallowed in pity and the Bears fans in attendance turned Jerry’s World into Soldier Field 2.0.

This is what I see being up close. It was disgusting. It was disgraceful. It was deplorable, demeaning, despondent and absolutely despicable. At the end of the first quarter of the Cowboys 2012 season, things are mixed - not entirely horrible, but far from a bastion of harmony either.


You know, in hindsight, we should have known this wasn't going to end well thanks to the whole male cheerleader piece NFL Countdown did prior to kickoff. Not that there's anything wrong with choosing to be one if that's your cup of tea, but it's almost comparable to wearing a Mitt Romney t-shirt in a black-owned barbershop these days. A loss on Monday night would have been fine. It's not like it's never happened before, and it's not like Dallas' new stadium is any sort of home-field advantage (while the building is huge, it may have the worst home crowd participation outside of first-half Miami Heat non-playoff games). Taking an L going down swinging is one thing. Taking a L with no sense of motivation, intensity or accountability is something totally different.

Cowboys fans can be annoying. I admit that. I'm one of them. But get any of us in a serious conversation, we'll tell you we have no clue what to expect from this team from week to week. It's cliche as all hell, but Dallas is as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as you'll see with any American-born business. That's where we're at right now as a fan base. We're embarrassed, frustrated, borderline depressed, but somehow still the most blindly optimistic fans in football. Maybe Tony needs to start drawing Dez's routes on his hands playground-style in the huddle. Maybe we could actually commit to running the ball instead of throwing it 50+ times a game. Maybe we could begin sending care packages to Bill Cowher now in hopes that'll change his mind when this season almost inevitably blows up in our face. Maybe this whole "Dallas-is-the-best-team-of-the-era" thing skips a generation and our kids will reap the benefits of our sorrow. Maybe we all look back on this thing in a few months from our local AA class and laugh when we mount a late-season run to the playoffs.

I don't know. Hell, I stopped trying to figure this thing out a long time ago. Life in Dallas hasn't been right since we iced our own kicker.

1. Take A Fan Vacation

Dallas is guaranteed not to take a loss next Sunday. It's the bye week.

That being said, Dallas fans, take the next two weeks off. Football season is stressful, likely only comparable to that of being in a relationship with your significant other. There are ups, downs and those weird moments where you have no clue what's about to happen. Enjoy next week's games knowing the only interest you'll have invested in them is fantasy football. Any time there's a mention of the Cowboys, turn the channel. Don't set yourself up for failure, and definitely fall back from watching any game broadcasting the Giants, Redskins or Eagles.

On second thought, following Guile from Street Fighter's advice may work here. Just go home and be a family man. Or maybe the lovely @LLCoolChels said it first, I don't know. Either way, taking a week off may not be a bad idea, especially considering we've got 12 games left with no break. Relax your mind; let your conscious be free. Taking a fan vacation doesn't mean you don't care about your team (in this case Dallas). It just means you care too much. And it's too late to even think about turning back now.  -- Tins

2. Watch The MLB Playoffs And Your Team's Impending Run
This is a reason why having a World Series-contending team helps to ease the stench of the Dallas Cowboys right now. Right down the road, the Texas Rangers will embark on their mission to make their third consecutive World Series. If it isn't possible to go to a game at the ballpark, then head over to a nearby sports bar, get with some friends and enjoy a terrific mix of food, drinks and baseball.
If all else fails, stay at home and tune in. Regardless, for fans in the Metroplex, a suitable substitute is certainly in place. This applies to other fans who have their teams in the running for the World Series as well. -- Kenny

3. Avoid Any And Every Debate

Listen. Believe in this one. Do not, under any circumstances, get in a debate involving the Dallas Cowboys. Following that Joe Jackson-esque ass whooping from Monday night, there's not really much we're going to be able to say to stop the bleeding at the moment. Just take this loss on the chin, stomach or nuts (to be honest, it felt like all three), and keep it moving. Chances are if people are around, they probably hate Dallas too, which is only going to make the situation worse. Follow this logic to the tee, especially when in the barbershop and/or bars. Twitter, too.

While it is true the Redskins have only won the NFC East twice since Home Alone and Goodfellas hit theaters (1990), the Eagles are still the most despicable team the NFL ever allowed clearance to and the Giants are, well, probably Knicks fans anyway - use that to your advantage - responding with our "five rings" rebuttal is best kept in the back pocket. We have the lowest scoring offense in the NFC (31st overall). Seriously, and that's another thing. The defense couldn't carve themselves out of a wet paper bag last year with the "O.J. Knife" while the offense does numbers last year. This year, the defense has played admirably (at times) while the offense couldn't find the end zone if we stole the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams playbook.

Hopefully things change in the coming weeks, but for now, let's keep these Cowboys discussions in-house. Unless of course an Eagles fan attempts to belittle you and claim the aforementioned "five rings" argument is irrelevant because it happened in the '90s. In which case you remind them their last championship of any ilk came in 1960. The same year:

-- average monthly rent was $98
-- a can of beef ravioli was 30 cents
-- aluminum cans were used for the first time
-- The Flintstones premiered
-- Cassisus Clay (he hadn't even changed his name yet!) won his first fight

Will this solve anything? No. Will it lead to an even bigger argument? Yes, possibly. Will it be in direct violation of rule #1? Indeed. But will it make you feel better? Absolutely. -- Tins

4. Go On A Date
Look, men and women alike love some football and Dallas Cowboys fans love our Cowboys. With that said, this is a dark, dark time to be a fan. I've never been more despondent over a 2-2 team like I am with these clowns right now. With that said, eliminate any aspects of impending Cowboys disappointment and go out on a date with somebody. It can be to a matinee during the day or an event at night.
Either way, it will get you away from a Hoshitoshi, away from a radio and away from any other type of potential media that will talk endlessly about the Cowboys and their unrivaled brand of failure at the moment. Get away from sports, altogether, and give your significant other, the person you're hanging out with or whomever you want to spend time with at that moment some shine and make it all about him or her. -- Kenny

5. Pray

At certain churches, there's a part in the service where you can express prayers aloud. Pending your place of worship - whether it be an actual facility or BET's Sunday Gospel, no judgment here - send up a few of these to make sure the Big Man up above checks his e-mail. Read these next 15 prayers/requests in your best Martin Luther King voice.

1. Pray for the well-being of our offensive line and that they learn how to pick up blitzes and what not.
2. Pray for our running game as it has been lost and we have no clue where thou may hath been placed.
3. Pray someone slides Dez Bryant at least a cliff notes version of the playbook.
4. Pray our defensive backs learn how to cover slot receivers and those pesky slant routes.
5. Pray Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer make speedy recoveries.
6. Pray the trio of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata show some sort of mercy on Tony Romo.
7. Pray for Dallas as the next five games look like this: @Baltimore, @Carolina, New York Giants, @Atlanta and @Philly.
8. Pray for the receiving unit as they have become a secondary's wet dream.
9. Pray this is some sort of reverse psychology ploy where we normally start off hot and finish cold, but in this case we start off cold and finish Atlanta health clinic after Freaknik-hot.
10. Pray Bill Cowher comes out of retirement.
11. Pray for #7 again.
12. Pray Jerry's World stops becoming an unofficial home game for the visiting team. The joke's over.
13. Pray Romo stops that Brett Favre-shovel pass. It's ok to take a sack sometimes.
14. Pray Dallas can score more than 24 points in a game.
15. Pray for #7 one more time. #10, too, for good measure. -- Tins

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