Why I cried when the Cowboys lost on Thanksgiving on Pete Stoyanavich’s last second field goal

20 Mar
thanks for ruining my Thanksgiving Leon

thanks for ruining my Thanksgiving Leon

Why I cried Thanksgiving Day When Pete Stoyanavich Nailed a Game Winning Field Goal

*Taken from the march 20, 2009 entry of my blog “The Nuclear Polio Vaccination”

When I was four years old my parents bought me a Cowboys T-shirt. There were these cool little cartoon drawings pictures Ed “Too Tall Jones”, Randy and Danny White, and Coach Tom Landry. One time I accidentally got a smidgeon of poop on the tail of my shirt. I was too young to consider the ramifications of not washing the shirt immediately and the stain dried. When the smell became too much for me days later, I discarded my beloved T-shirt.


My allegiance to the Cowboys started then before I was old enough to realize what happened. I couldn’t tell you if they were even a good team back then (Danny White was the Tony Romo-esque whipping boy then so probably not).


In some ways the years 1991-93 were the best of my life. I knew practically nothing about girls during this three year span. It was a wonderfully latent period, where my adolescent development coincided with the Cowboys going from a NFC Wild Card team to back to back Super Bowl champions.


Those teams were incredible to watch. The offense was unstoppable. Michael “Playmaker” Irvin still to this day remains my favorite football player of all time. And I was treated every Sunday to greatness of Jay Novacek, Emmitt Smith, Henrietta’s own Troy Aikman, and Daryl “Moose” Johnston.


The defense consisted of the deepest defensive line to take the field. Tony Tolbert, Charles Haley, Tony Casillas and Chad Hennings were such a force that they made things very easy for the secondary of Kevin Smith, Thomas Everett, James Washington, and Larry Brown.


The Cowboys also had one of the greatest coaches in football history, Coach Jimmy Johnson. He was also the only coach to win both an NFL title and a National Championship. He orchestrated it all and I learned so much about football from watching those championship teams and reading the books that followed.


Nate Newton had his own show on 1310 (“The Ticket”) which often had Michael Irvin as a guest. The laughs would last forever and I’d get a little melancholy when the clock read 6:50 and the show started winding down. I was consumed by the Cowboys success because my life and its awkward hormonal adjustments didn’t seem so awkward on those lovely Sundays, when it was time for the Cowboys to exert their dominance.


This of course was before egos got involved, mainly Jerry Jones’ ego. Jimmy Johnson was getting too much credit (deservedly so in my opinion) and Jerry couldn’t handle someone stealing the spotlight from him. So he ran Jimmy out of town after back-to back Super Bowl titles. Well, we all know the rest of this story. Jones hires Switzer to show just how easily replaced Johnson could be and the team went from disciplined and prepared to getting untimely penalties and turnovers.


During the second title defense they’d go down in the NFC Championship game 21-0 with three consecutive turnovers to start the first quarter againstSan Francisco. They would battle back but would get ruined by a non- pass interference call on Deion Sanders, and an in-excusable personal foul against Barry Switzer that wrapped up the game for the 49ers. This caused me one of the worst nights of my entire teenaged life (well before I’d wreck my dad’s pickup truck while he was at work.


The next year Jerry Jones hastily signed Deion Sanders and pissed away cap space during the first off-season of the salary cap era- free agency. The depth of tremendous talent was dwindling as their unsung heroes went on to better paychecks with other teams. The Boy’s were suddenly vulnerable at every position…….

They won the Super Bowl that year but you could smell what was in the water. They started losing more winnable games every year, drafting poorly and going through a head coach every three years when they’d only had two in the team’s history up to 1994.


The legendary players retired year after year and soon the Cowboys were just mediocre….They had taken a public image hit so badly from off the field incidents that they compromised what was a sure fire hit (Randy Moss) to get someone with character (Greg Ellis?). This could be one of the biggest sport’s what-if’s in football history. It is arguable that the Cowboys would be a different franchise and Randy Moss might have been a different player under the tutelage of Michael “Playmaker” Irvin. This pick may have extended the careers of many of the Cowboys players (Who knows, maybe the hit that ended Irvin’s career never happens if Moss is on the field taken attention away from Irvin).

When the losses started piling up, and I found better ways to waste my time, I quit watching altogether. Perhaps I can thank that mid-nineties slump for me being a well rounded person. Yet there was that part of me that missed getting excited about every upcoming season. Instead my predictions were “they’ll still suck just you watch.” People thought I was ‘being a hater”, but I always wanted to be wrong. I was just protecting myself.

Then the Tony Romo era arrived. And though I never agreed with the signing of Terrell Owens, he definitely brought a presence to the offense that had to be accounted for. Once again I was paying attention as the ‘Boys were back in the spotlight.


I was sucked in again–just enough to get sick when Romo fumbled in the Seahawks playoff game (thank God I missed the Giants game last year when they spit the bit). This year when everyone was saying Super Bowl or bust, I wanted to just see if they could win a playoff game.  I wasn’t surprised at all when things went south this year.
I was at a party one time and I overheard someone say that Jones was a southern version of AL Davis. A woman of all people had said this (had I any sense at all, I would have started dating this insightful young lady—but that’s another story for another time).


A fish stinks from the head down as they say, and I for one blame Jerry Jones. Because of his tomfoolery the Cowboys have had nothing but cream puff coaches (except Bill Parcells), bad drafts, and even worst free agent signing.


No self respecting coach will work for him as long as he keeps meddling in the football operation. The man knows how to make money but he has no idea how to run a football team. He needs to hire a legit coach and get out the way. Until then I won’t watch another Cowboys game–no matter how well they are doing because I (we?) ultimately know how it’s going to end.

I can’t stomach losing. It’s a sickening feeling to see them when lose one stupid way after another during the biggest games. I care too much and have seen too much championship football. Anyone who watched those early ’90′s teams understands what winning means and 10-6 and a first round exit in the playoffs doesn’t cut it for most Cowboys fans. It doesn’t matter how much Jones spent building that state-of-the-art luxury stadium. What does matters is who plays in it.

Like a man who still in love with a gal because he remembers the good old days of how it used to be, I had to learn to accept the present circumstances. Sometimes people grow apart and go in different directions. Even though there may still be a hint of hope that she might stop going out to the bar, getting toasted and spending all my money frivolously; things can’t change for the better unless there is a fundamental change from within.

Those glory days are gone. They will probably be gone forever. It has become a very unhealthy relationship with my Dallas Cowboys. My expectations are just unfair and unrealistic. While I was once a recovering Cowboy fan, I now identify myself as simply a football fan.

“There you were. Everybody watched you play. I just turned and walked away. I had nothing left to say. Because you’re still the same.” ~Bob Seger~


One Response to “Why I cried when the Cowboys lost on Thanksgiving on Pete Stoyanavich’s last second field goal”

  1. matt March 21, 2009 at 3:45 am #

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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