I was six years old when my uncle Daryle began drilling me on Dallas Cowboys' names and numbers. Whenever our families would get together, usually on holidays or random summer trips to visit them in San Antonio, the Dallas Cowboys would ultimately become a topic of discussion. The tales of gridiron heroics had me dreaming of one day wearing a star on my helmet and playing the world's greatest game for the world's greatest team.
If it wasn't Uncle Daryle, it was Uncle Gary, both of them uncles by marriage, and neither of them around anymore. They were better Cowboys fans than they were husbands, so they got themselves kicked to the curb. But before they did, they helped burn the storied Dallas Cowboys' star into my medulla.
I have rarely missed a game since. From the Hail Mary heroics of Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson to the unbelievable Thanksgiving Day play of the one-hit wonder, the Mad Bomber, Clint Longley, to the Tony Dorsett Monday night 99-yard dash into the history books to the three Super Bowl wins of the Triplets and their compadres, I have been there, cheering my lungs out, sweating bullets, bleeding silver and blue.
I have been there through the bad times, too.
I remember those heart-wrenching Super Bowl losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the '70s. I remember the circus-catching, high-flying Lynn Swann and the frying pans-for-hands Jackie Smith and the roles they each played in determining "the team of the '70s." I remember 1-15 in 1989. I was in shock with the rest of Cowboys Nation when Jerry Jones failed to check his ego and fired Jimmy Johnson after he had won a second consecutive Super Bowl!
Through thick and thin, come hell or high water, up or down, I have cheered for my team. I have never wavered even once in my loyalty. Nor will I now.
Yet, I wonder if it isn't time that a true-blue Dallas Cowboys fan cheered for his team's failure.
Hear me out before you write me off or chunk me under the nearest bus. Roughly 99.9 percent of us can agree on this fact: Jerry Jones and his massive ego have played a massive role in this team's 15-year failure to return to glory.
He thinks he is a better football mind than he is. He cannot allow a strong leader in the locker room, sucking up the air and the glory he desires for himself. Witness the Jimmy Johnson firing, the Bill Parcells exit, and the hiring of puppet coaches like Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, and now the finest puppet of them all, Wade Phillips.
The only thing that has ever forced Jones' hand, the only thing that has ever made him bite the bullet and seek out a real head football coach, is desperation. Even now, when his team, a preseason Super Bowl favorite, sits at 1-5, he remains unmoved. He stubbornly insists that Wade Phillips is exactly the man he wants on that sideline.
So what will move Jones to consider making the wholesale changes necessary to mold this collection of undisciplined, underachieving, over-hyped prima donnas into a real football team? Abject failure. Total implosion. A half-empty billion-dollar football palace. That and nothing else.
Jones has been too successful in his lifetime. The mold is cast. He believes in his own invincibility. He actually swallows those heaping spoonfuls of bull hockey he tries to feed the fans and media. He is in grave danger of becoming Al Davis, whose past glories have helped to rot his brain, ruin his perspective, and mire his club in perpetual disarray.
If the Cowboys are to ever rise to glory again, it will be under the leadership of a new head coach. Therefore, they must fail enough to force the stubborn owner into making that change.
It is a quandary, is it not? While you watch the Cowboys line up against a very beatable Jacksonville Jaguars team, your natural instinct will be to cheer your 'Boys on to victory. But should you? Should I?
Or is it time for real Dallas Cowboys fans to lower the team flag, raise the white flag, and cheer for failure until it forces the hand of the man who has the gun to his own franchise's head?