Used to be the biggest Cowboy fan, now not so much
When I was a transplanted Texas kid growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana. Where there was no pro football to speak of.
Okay, they had the Saints, but hey, they weren’t really a professional team.
I was the biggest Dallas Cowboy fan—dare I say—in the world.
I knew the roster frontwards and backwards. My friends used to quiz me on the players’ numbers. I could sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper and list the players by number, name and college.
I cried when Dandy Don Meredith retired. I fumed when teammates called me Bill “Morton” after Cowboys’ quarterback Craig Morton who took Dandy’s place. I couldn’t stand him. I was a quarterback too and was stick wearing No. 14.
I was in tears when Bart Starr snuck over the goal line behind Jerry Kramer to win the Ice Bowl for the Packers in 1967 at LambeauField.
I had a Dallas Cowboy football helmet and subscribed to the Cowboys weekly magazine.
I knew the “Doomsday Defense.” Larry Cole and George Andre at ends. Bob Lilly and Jethro Pugh at tackles.
Chuck Howley, Lee Roy Jordan and Dave Edwards were the linebackers. Mel Renfro, Cornell Green, Herb Adderly and Charlie Waters were the defensive backs.
They were far superior than the “Purple People Eaters” of Minnesota and Los Angeles’ “Fearsome Foursome.”
I’ll never forget my first live Cowboys game in 1971. They were playing in New Orleans and the Saints had a rookie quarterback from Mississippi they were pretty high on by the name of Archie Manning.
I could have run the entire 120 miles from Lafayette to New Orleans ahead of fellow attendees, my father, my brother and my fathers’s friend Pepe LeBlanc. I was pumped to say the least.
Despite the fact that Dallas far outplayed New Orleans, the Saints won 24-14 thanks to six Cowboys turnovers as I sat crestfallen in the stands.
Archie Manning was now a folk hero in Louisiana (and still is despite his pathetic career record).
It was the Saints’ first victory over the Cowboys. It was all downhill from there.
And I was there to witness it all. My first Cowboy game and they lost to the Saints. The Saints?
Again, heartbreak. I sat numb on the ride home.
Still, I remained loyal to the Cowboys until I started college, I guess, and my interest began to wane.
I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere along the line, I just lost interest.
Watching games today, I barely knew three players on the field, but that goes for all professional sports.
Part of my lack of interest in the Cowboys comes from my general disdain for professional sports and professional athletes on the whole.
So while Tony Romo was throwing yet another interception, I was thinking of the Cowboys first quarterback Eddie LeBaron—the little general— who stood 5-foot-7 and was a four-time pro bowler.
Then there was Duane Thomas, who was Terrel Owens before T.O. He scored the first touchdown in Texas Stadium
Thomas was a gifted runner but his quirky personality (He turned his back when the National Anthem was being played and refused to talk to teammates and coaches for an entire season) made him a liability.
That just proves that all things are cyclical.
But hey, don’t get me started on Jackie Smith...