I’m from San Antonio. I’ve left the city of San Antonio four separate time and my previous homes are scattered like ashes across the country, and yet, somehow, I found myself back in San Antonio. Growing up, I never liked the Cowboys. I hated them because Dave Campo’s FUPA was always on television and even when they were 5-9, I was stuck watching them instead of the St. Louis Rams. The team was ubiquitous despite being terrible, and they still are, except now they’re just a mediocre football team. So I wandered around, falling in love with different teams, until this stupid team from Houston came around, and now here I am, hanging out with friends that I met online and writing words I will one day turn into other words.
I don’t hate the Cowboys anymore. I don’t really hate much of anything, aside from the Golden State Warriors and Bill O’Brien’s playcalling. I find the city of Dallas to have putrescent, oozing sores like any major city in Texas. Dallas is superficial. The people are very rude. They tear everything down. The city has no feeling.
Houston is a humid swamp that has never made any sense to me. Austin is a bunch of people trying to out-cool one another while nobody really enjoys anything at all. San Antonio is fine but boring and can be like living in a mid-90s Green Day song. The best parts of Texas are outside these four major populated sprawls. Yet we have to eat, pay off our student debt, and we like our families, so we stay in these areas.
Now, I understand hating the Cowboys. They’re easy to hate. I spent my childhood and youth laughing at Tony Romo’s PAT attempt, Eli Manning pissing in Terrell Owens’s popcorn, and Roy Williams getting torched deep. But what I don’t understand is this cackling disdain between the cities of Houston and Dallas. Vitriol I read online and hear whenever I make that trip up I-35. For this week’s groupthink, I asked those who do hate Dallas why they hate the Cowboys and the city of Dallas so much.
FOH Rangers fan.
I grew up in Houston. I remember going to my uncle’s apartment to watch the 1976 Super Bowl to actively root for the hated Pittsburgh Steelers against the Cokeboys.
Then, thanks to the normally outstanding John Facenda, the Dallas Cokeboys somehow became America’s Team in 1978: “They appear on televisions so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars.”
Rafael Septien: indecency with a child.
Dwayne Goodrich: vehicular manslaughter.
Larry Bethea: stealing from his mother.
Bob Hayes: cocaine dealer.
Josh Brent: intoxication manslaughter.
Lance Rentzel: indecent exposure (and he was married to her!)
This team should be burned to the ground, and then where it stood should be salted. Kitten the lot of them.
Where do you start with this?
Well, since you asked, let’s start with Dallas. It’s a city with no soul, no heart, that views itself as some kind of worldly city yet is too in love with itself to realize that nobody really gives a kitten about it. It’s like that person that thinks everyone is laughing along with them because they’re funny or witty when in fact we’re all laughing at them because they’re an idiot. It’s a reality television personality who thinks they can act in spite of the fact that the one movie they were in bombed. You know the person. You went to school with them and probably work with them or have run into them somewhere. You secretly dream of finding a way to put them in their place, but the reality is, it’s impossible to do that with someone that self-delusional since they are generally not smart enough to realize when they’ve been owned. If you could turn the Dunning-Kruger Effect into a city, it would be Dallas.
A few weeks ago, there was a great article in GQ of all places about Houston. From it, I present this quote, which sums it up as well as anything: “Austin is like your young, hip millennial brother who always knows the latest cool thing. Dallas is the metrosexual middle brother that nobody really wants to spend time with. But Houston is the older, cooler sibling—he’s got some miles on him, he’s been through some stuff, but he totally knows what’s cool and what’s not.”
Now. Take that attitude, multiply it by a couple dozen, dress it up in fake swagger, throw in an inept owner who defines the term “born on third base but thinks he hit a triple,” and add a fanbase that thinks that “Dawson’s Creek” is a hip new television show, and you have the Cowboys.
Do you want to be a Cowboys fan? Here’s all you need to do:
1. Talk about how great your team is non-stop. Use the word’s “America’s Team” as much as possible;
2. Wait for someone to point out that your team hasn’t won anything in over 20 years;
3. Cover your ears and scream, “5 rings!!!!” over and over again until they walk away.
That’s it. That’s all you need to do.
Look, I get it. Our team hasn’t really done much of note in its miserable existence. Our owner is, to put it mildly, sub-optimal. And yet there is something Socratically wise about accepting this. It’s like when I realized I was going bald. I could either accept this and keep my hair close, or get a toupee, or hair plugs, or comb it over. Either way, I was still going to be bald.
If you can accept it, you can go the Bruce Willis route and be sexy as hell (to a very small population of people which really only includes my wife and even then only two days each month). If you don’t, people will either laugh at you or - even worse - feel sorry for you. The Cowboys are basically the NFL version of dude who lost his hair 20 years ago and now wears a bad toupee and thinks nobody notices.
But five rings, man.
Diehard “The Only Thing I Love About Texas Is Joey Gallo Bombs” Chris:
I was born in Corpus Christi, but grew up in Houston and have lived here most of my life with stints in Austin and Los Angeles sprinkled in. Some of my best memories are tied to my parents’ decision to buy season tickets during the Run ‘n Shoot era. I say that only to illustrate that I’m a longtime Houston football fan with loyalties that (obviously) will never be broken considering what the various Houston sports franchises have put us through.
I confess - I have no hate for the Dallas Cowboys. I just don’t care about them. To me they’re the Panthers, the Lions, the Falcons, etc. They’re an NFC team that we play once every four years and they have ZERO space in my head until the time comes along when they play the Texans. All of my hatred for other NFL teams is saved for the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans.
I’m excited about the game because it’s a bit of a “proximity battle” if that’s a real thing, but it most certainly is NOT a rivalry. When only one side gives a damn, that’s not a rivalry - that’s an inferiority complex, and Houston sports fans have always had an inferiority complex.
I did not grow up in Houston, and from my vantage point near the cool Pacific waters of Southern California, the mainstream media focused the view of most things from Texas through the lens of Dallas. From the famous namesake TV show to the nationally-resented and forced narrative of “America’s Team,” most people associated Dallas as the metropolitan heart of the state and figured that everyone who actually lived in Texas probably thought of that city as the shining example of success to properly represent them.
I have now been a resident of Houston for 24 years, and I consider myself a Texan. In that time I have witnessed a disturbing number of arrogant and aggressive Cowboys fans, and I have experienced many socialites and corporate folks from Dallas who turn their nose toward Houston and what they consider to be other “lesser” cities in the state. In that same time, I have discovered the fun and unbridled culture of Austin, the incredible and vast terrain to explore in Big Bend, and of course Houston with all it offers as a truly international melting pot with global energy and world-class healthcare at its core.
I guess the thing I realized after living here this long is that most of the external optics that annoy non-Texans tends to source FROM Dallas and not the rest of this great state. Most of all, the obnoxious and vulgar fans who speak of five rings from championships won more than two decades ago tend to be more annoying than nails on a chalkboard. The satisfaction of seeing those same fans melt down after the Cowboys get knocked off their pedestal is one of the most gratifying experiences in sports.