Cowboys Kool-Aid, Bottoms Up?

by Kevin Burton

   Can’t believe I’m about to say this, put my name on it and send it out all over the world:

   It appears the Dallas Cowboys finally may have the right stuff.

   I got this idea after watching them win on Sunday Night Football, on the road at a good Minnesota team, without their star quarterback.

   Even though Dak Prescott looked fine in pre-game warmups, Dallas didn’t play him Sunday in an abundance of caution. He had suffered a calf strain on the final play of a win over New England in week six.  Even though Dallas had just had its bye week, they wanted to be safe and kept him on the sideline for the Minnesota game.

  Instead they sent out somebody named Cooper Rush to lead the team.  That sounds more like a soft drink than a quarterback, but Minnesota couldn’t beat him.

    Rush, who went to college at Central Michigan, is as nondescript as quarterbacks get. The fact that he won his first NFL start, speaks to how much talent the Cowboys have gathered, a year after not winning a very winnable NFC East division in 2020. 

   “The fact that Rush played as well as he did speaks positively of the entire Cowboys roster and how much growth it experienced from last year to this season,” wrote Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report, in a sentiment being echoed by many. “That growth now places them squarely in the Super Bowl conversation.”

   What he means is that the Cowboys are now in the legitimate Super Bowl conversation. They are always in the Super Bowl conversation, kept there by a delusional fan base clinging to the glory of past teams and a national media that drinks the Cowboys kool-aid annually.

   The Cowboys are one of the most storied sports franchises in the United States, across all sports not just in football.  

    There was a time when the huge hype they get had a good reason, they were a great team.  Both the Roger Staubach-era team and the Aikman-Ervin-Smith teams were championship quality.  Only the Steel Curtain Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s truly mastered those teams.

   They are a franchise like the Yankees in baseball. People tended to love them or hate them with no in between.

   I have tended to hate them. I still do but lately there hasn’t been much point to it. They haven’t been good. Or when they have been good, they have not been good enough to live up to the hype.

   Texas translation: “All hat, no cattle.”

    Now they’ve got the cattle, or so it seems. But we hear this every year. It has been 25 years since Dallas won a Super Bowl.  

   “The game-winning drive encapsulated how much talent is currently found on the Cowboys’ roster and why they continue to play well despite some adversity,” Sobleski wrote. 

   “After the Vikings kicked a go-ahead field goal, the Cowboys got the ball at their 35-yard line with 2:51 left to play. Rush threw the ball ten straight times. Amari Cooper took over from that point. The four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver had two spectacular snags during the game-winning drive,” Sobleski wrote. 

   My household is divided on the Cowboys. My wife Jeannette is a fan, but she downplays it because Cowboys-hate is one of my most visceral sports hates (see also, Duke college basketball, Michigan college football).

   I think when we’re talking Cowboys she just wants to shorten the conversation. She wants to avoid all that bile.

   The truth is I hate Dallas less than I used to, because Dallas has an Ohio State running back in Ezekiel Elliott and two players (for now) on our fantasy team, Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup.

   In fact there is one scenario, a potential Dallas playoff game vs. the Brady Bay Buccaneers, in which I would root for Dallas, being careful to mute my joy should Dallas win.

   I don’t know enough Xs and Os to know how dangerous Dallas truly is.  The defensive secondary appears to be a weak link.  And the Sunday night win was not a thing of beauty. 

  But even we Dallas haters are compelled to take note of what is taking place in north Texas.

   Now I will spell check this post, then make the tough decision on whether to publish it. Sports hate dies hard.

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