Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Dallas Cowboys Are America's Insult

Tony Romo Is America's Gimp
I have friends -- I'm weak in that way -- that root for the Dallas Cowboys. I don't even try to fake sympathy for their current plight, because, well, vast portions of my life have been spent watching football through gritted teeth as these darling children told us how much better they were than the rest of us, because they rooted for America's Team. And America's Team won a lot, and had lovable scamps and colorful personalities, rather than, you know, the general scum that other teams employed in their third-rate wrestling heel attempts to subvert the greatness of the Cowboys. That story made so much money over the years that we will all get to spend way too much of the rest of our lives watching the principals of those teams tell us what to think about current football. (Surprise: It's not exactly cloaked in nuance.)

But here's the fun part. Dallas has become one of the most maddening, embarrassing, ridiculous and painstaking professional sports franchises on the planet to root for. Since beating the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX in 1995 (and yes, we're now in the realm of people who can vote, screw legally and drive who have not been alive for a Cowboy championship), their record in the playoffs is 2-7. In the regular season, it's 147-140, and in the last five years, it's 40-37. They have been a wildly overrated and consistent pretender, and only the existence of the equally terrible DC franchise has kept them from being the clear and obvious fraud that their record has shown them to be.

And yet, they remain on national television. And yet, they still draw ratings, get one of two standing games on Thanksgiving, are cited as innovators in stadium production and endorsement dollars, and, for all appearances, have suffered not a whit at the box office, franchise valuation or network level for this two-decade goat ride to Al Davis II, only with a dramatically smaller period of early glory.

They still call themselves, and have others do it as well, America's Team.

As someone with an education who lives on the East Coast, and who believes in things like science, tolerance and economic populism, I'm part of a group of people who are routinely told that they don't love their country enough. Well, um, whatever; I believe that unconditional love is a fairly dangerous and unreal concept, since it's such an invitation for unprincipled people to take advantage of. But there's one thing I have never, and would never, do... and that's saddle the country with a football franchise as so spectacularly screwed up and mediocre as this one, to represent the nation.

If Dallas is America's Team, empty hype, market bubbles and outright.theft is America's religion. If Dallas is America's Team, America's primary taste in sex would be BDSM without release. If Dallas is America's Team, America's meal has no protein or natural ingredients. And so on. (America's Music? Techno that never ends, inspires, or even offends. America's Show? A Warholian-survalliance loop recreation of "Gilligan's Island", in which Gilligan is played by Tony Romo, and there's post-episode analysis of whether this week's failure is fair to blame on Gilligan. And so on. Feel free to add your own in the comments.)

So, just as the DC NFL Franchise is increasingly not named (are you enjoying that trend? I know I am), I'd like to enroll you in the idea that the AT moniker is also truly ready for the dustbin of history. If there is such a thing as AT, it's Pittsburgh or Green Bay, teams and towns that have had pro football for nigh on half a century longer than the Texas sideshow, with fans that never required Xanadu-like pleasure palaces, larger than life owners, national telecasts when they stunk, or a post-career de facto welfare program for their telegenic players in the nation's roving gangs of giggling studio asshats.

Besides, um, people?

Football teams are regional.

That's why they have regional names.

And when you try to tell everyone that one is different because its national, you make everyone who hears your voice remember this line, and this line only...

1 comment:

John Bradley said...

Now now, the business of America is business, and as such the "America's" honorific *should* be bestowed upon the marketing geniuses of Dallas. As you note, they've been marginal for decades, and yet folks still eat it up. Odd that the media types of LA couldn't manage the same trick with *their* football teams, back when they had'em.

And it really all ties back to whatever clever person said, "screw the sweaty scary-men, you know what'd *really* sell? Cameltoe shots of our cheerleaders!"

Because that's something we can all get into.

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