Younger Eagles fans just don’t seem to hate the Dallas Cowboys these days, do they? Perhaps some do, but it’s not the utter disdain and abhorrence that used to be prevalent here.
Dallas week comes around every year, and you get the sense that Jerry Jones’ hideous franchise just does not garner the collective repulsion that used to waft over the Delaware Valley, like a stinky cloud of annoyance. Millennials seem to view the Cowboys as just another team instead of the loathsome evil empire that they once were.
The reason seems pretty obvious. Dallas has been shit for many years now. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1996 and they’ve compiled a 4-10 playoff record since, a time period that saw a feared former juggernaut become a perennial disappointment.
So if you’re like me, age 35 or older, you remember when the Cowboys were really damn good. You remember when Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin were chewing up the NFL and spitting it out. Dallas was “America’s Team,” picked up by people who lived in places like bumblefuck Idaho simply because they were good and they were on TV. Bandwagon jumpers chose the Cowboys as their team despite having no geographic or cultural connection to the franchise.
That carried into the 2000s, when people in this region would plaster a Cowboys bumper sticker on their car even though they grew up in Lindenwold and never left. They didn’t like the Eagles for some reason, or six degrees of separation linked them to Dallas via their girlfriend’s cousin’s mother, who lived on the same floor as Jay Novacek during freshman year at the University of Wyoming.
The proliferation of weasels continued into the internet age, when people began making avatars that looked like this, showing off their poser mindset for all of the world to see:
It was predictable and pervasive, but at some point in the past 10 years, the Cowboys stopped appearing in photos like this. They were replaced by the Golden State Warriors, Boston Red Sox, FC Barcelona, or other teams that were currently winning titles and/or frequently featured on the tube. Dallas stopped being a trendy frontrunner pick because they were kinda crappy.
As such, the younger generation of Philly sports fans grew up knowing a Dallas Cowboys franchise that was mediocre at best. Why waste energy hating a mediocre team? For somebody born in 1994, the Cowboys they know more closely resembled the Tennessee Titans in terms of on-field success.
Out of curiosity, I ran a Twitter poll to see if the distaste does indeed still exist for the Cowboys, and I don’t know what the margin of error looks like here, but check the early results anyway:
I’m surprised to see the number that high. Maybe it’s because the Cowboys are finally coming back around. Maybe it’s because a bunch of Gen X and Boomer fans infiltrated the poll. If you asked this question 15 years ago, I think close to 100% of respondents would have replied ‘yes.’
One thing that’s actually cemented my dislike of local Dallas fans was a trip I took to Austin last year to see WVU and Texas at the DKR. We sat in a predominantly Longhorn section and spent a lot of time talking to Cowboy fans, who were some of the nicest and smartest people I’ve ever met. They really knew their football, really understood the game, and explained that they didn’t view Eagles fans the same way we view them, simply because their state does not feature a large portion of Philly expats and/or Eagle bandwagon jumpers. Some even went as far to say that it was a “one-sided rivalry,” which was interesting to me.
But it was more confirmation, in my mind, that the problem with the Dallas Cowboys fan base is not people who actually live in Texas and grew up there, it’s the cucarachas who live on the coasts, infesting our streets and calling our radio stations and attempting to justify their fake fandom with cornball explanations. Turns out the people down there are loyal and intelligent and actually have a connection to the team, while the Cowboy fans we’re accustomed to are just trendy poseurs.
In my mind, that’s enough to keep the flame burning. Dallas week might not be what it used to be, especially when both squads are 3-3 and have thus far disappointed in 2019, but it will never be ‘just another game,’ at least not to anybody who remembers when the Cowboys were actually good.