It is the Friday before the first Sunday of the NFL Season.
It's hands down one of the most exciting times of the year, and for the NFL fan the countdown to another 17-plus weeks of excitement now stands at a tantalizing two days.
Fantasy football teams are drafted.
Suicide/Survivor pools are finalized.
The Week One lines are set in Vegas.
Most importantly, the 'Boys in Dallas are getting set to strap on their star-studded headgear in yet another attempt to further the legacy and storied history of America's Team.
It's not hard to justify the use of such rosy and reverent vernacular when describing a franchise that has won more Super Bowls than any other not named the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But personally, I'm over it.
I am the biggest Cowboys fan you could ever imagine, and I am in no way ashamed to admit that. But no longer will I feel comfortable citing aggregate Super Bowl wins to quell the ever-present antagonizing Eagles fan.
No longer can I cite the glory days of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin when asked to justify why the Dallas Cowboys are, for lack of a better term, "the dopeness." To do so would be just as silly as pinning the 2009 season's hopes on the influences Tom Landry left behind.
No longer do I believe the Dallas Cowboys deserve the attention that has been alotted to them by both fans and media alike, since the Trinity walked the field in the '90s.
This realization came on the heels of me finally coming to grips with one of the most head-scratchingly embarrassing number I have ever had to endure as a sports fan: 13.
It has been 13 years since the Cowboys last won the Super Bowl. Thirteen years!
I had heard that number thrown at me in the past months and just shrugged it off, chalking it up to the same typical Cowboys-hate that comes with the territory of being a fan of the blue and silver.
However, last week I sat down and actually pondered just how long a time 13 years is, and the realizations were staggering.
To put this number in perspective, I compiled a list of the things I could have been doing (hypothetically) while waiting for the Cowboys to win a single playoff game:
Fight In The First Three Crusades
Say I was a super soldier with a time machine (I've already piqued Nicolas Cage's interest), and was hired mercenary-style to fight in the Battle for the Holy Land.
I would be able to participate in the first three medieval wars (1095-1099, 1147-1159, and 1187-1192) in the time that has elapsed since the Cowboys' last playoff victory.
The Europeans and Saracens were able to go to war three different times in 13 years (and keep in mind this is an era where you had to walk to get from London to Jerusalem), and Dallas can't even scrounge up a playoff win in the same time period.
I will now go fall on the nearest scimitar.
Write the Entire Four Book Lord Of The Rings Books From Scratch
By all accounts, it took Peter Jackson like 200 years to write the Lord of the Rings books.
All joking aside, anybody who has ever picked up one of these books (I mean that literally...you don't even have to read them, they are each like 500 pages and 20 lbs) can recognize what a hefty undertaking it was to craft the deep and beautifully thought out universe that is J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.
He invented his own races.
He invented his own geography.
He even invented his own language (Elvish), complete with its own unique alphabet and grammatical rules.
Glancing over such amazing accomplishments, one wonders if he ever had time to invent a girlfriend (heyo!).
Regardless, it took Tolkien 12 years (1937-1949) to write this wonderfully imaganitive series, one less year than it has taken the Cowboys to win a playoff game.
I will now walk up to the first Ent I see and ask him to body-slam me.
Live Through The Reign of Julius Caesar—Three Times
Julius Caesar remains as one of history's most compelling, interesting, and terrifying figures.
Through brilliant military strategy and general bad-assery, Julius Caesar transformed Rome from a Republic weighed down by more bureaucratic red tape than your local DMV to the Roman Empire, one of the most impressive and sprawling empires the world has ever known.
Through his rule, he created the title of "Roman Emperor," a position that lasted for, oh, the next 1,480 years. Suffice it to say, this was a pretty significant period in the history of the world.
However, as influential as Caesar's reign was, it only lasted four years (48-44 BCE).
I could hop in my time machine and go through that period three separate times in the same time frame that I have instead been using to watch every single Cowboys game since 1996 without a playoff win.
Fight In World War I And World War II
Say I was such an effective Timecop-style mercenary during the Crusades that word spread throughout time and my services were needed to defeat the Germans in either World War I or World War II.
Would I have to delay my services out of fear of missing a Cowboys playoff win?
What's worth noting is that they both changed the geo-political landscape of the entire world, and both of them took less than 13 years to complete (WWI:1914-1918, WWII: 1939-1945).
I could have literally attempted to take over the world in the time since I've last seen a victorious Dallas Cowboys playoff game.
Anybody got an extra tank of mustard gas?
Sail Around the World in a Wind-Powered Wooden Ship Using Only The Stars To Navigate....Twice
Ask any elementary school child or creepy-friend-who-is-way-too-good-at-Jeopardy! (we all have one) about the exploits of Ferdinand Magellan, and they will joyously recount his heroic exploits as the first sailor to circumnavigate the globe.
The fact that Magellan himself got butchered by natives in the Philippines halfway through the journey and still gets credit for it remains up there with the blown fumble call in the Broncos-Chargers game last year as one of history's biggest injustices.
However, despite the fact many people thought the world was flat, one could only navigate using a compass and the stars, and people were dying because they hadn't eaten fresh fruit in fave years, "Magellan" was able to complete this journey in 6 years (1519-1525).
I could have participated in that fiasco of a journey two times over in the same time period I have been waiting to see the Cowboys win a playoff game.
Unless the injury report reads "Jason Witten—Out—Scurvy," or Jason Garrett gets ambushed by a group of heathen tribesmen from the Philippines during his morning jog, I don't want to hear it.
Win a playoff game. Please.
Don't get me wrong, I will be a loyal and dedicated Cowboys fan if this playoff drought lasts for another 50 years.
But 13 years ago, I would have balked at the notion that it was more difficult to assemble a 53-man roster capable of winning a playoff game than it would be to, say, fight in the French Revolution (10 years long), but empirical evidence seems to point to the contrary.
The Dallas Cowboys need to win a playoff game in 2009 to preserve the legacy that is threatening to slip away forever after over a decade of ignominy.
Until they do, I guess I'll take up my time trying to conquer South America with an army of hamsters or something.