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Despite the Sunshine, It’s Gloomy Living in Big D

Hands up if you think these guys coming out of retirement would give the Cowboys a better shot this year.

Let’s take a moment to offer our condolences to the residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. After all, it’s tough being a sports fan in North Texas these days.

92,000-plus filled the Cotton Bowl to capacity for the Red River Rivalry this past Saturday. By halftime, about 46,000 of those seats were empty with Longhorn fans long gone in search of a commiseration beverages and corndogs. The final score of 63-21 (to Oklahoma) was a punch in the stomach to just about every college football fan in the Lone Star State. Red Raider fans probably weren’t too bothered as their team put a hurting on Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers.

While the Longhorns of Austin aren’t a Dallas team per se, there’s no doubting that the Cotton Bowl is Dallas through and through, and Saturday’s loss was just another in a long line of disappointing results for the 214.

With the Texas Rangers falling to Baltimore in the AL Wild Card game last week, the city’s best chance at a championship over the next 12 months fell with it. The Arlington ball club has been a bright spark for the region’s sports fans these past few years, heading to the World Series in 2010 and 2011. But with one fell swoop, hopes and dreams were extinguished – and a city full of fans turned to Oakland in distain.

In fairness, you don’t have to be a library archivist to remember the Mavericks’ unthinkable NBA championship win in June 2011. You do however have to be an eternal optimist to expect the ragtag bunch put together this season will find their way to a championship. Sorry, Mark Cuban. Your side just looks a little, well, lacking.

If you’re of the age where you’ve finished high school, you might remember Mike Modano, Brett Hull and Derian Hatcher leading the Dallas Stars to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup triumph in 1999. If you’ve watched the Stars since, we feel your pain. Of course, it doesn’t matter whether you consider Glen Gulutzan’s side a contender this year; the NHL has done a pretty good job of shooting itself in the foot with a second lockout (with missed games) in less than a decade. Anybody want to put money on the entire season being cancelled again? Last time we checked it was 2/1 on.

And that leaves dem Cowboys.

It’s been more than 16 years since the Triplets won Super Bowl XXX – the Cowboy’s third Vince Lombardi trophy in four years. That means it’s been more than 16 years of disappointment, frustration, anger, bewilderment, apathy…the list goes on.

To be fair, the 1996 Cowboys won the NFC East and beat Minnesota in the Wild Card round of the playoffs before the second year Carolina Panthers dropped them. So maybe it’s only been 15 years of disappointment, frustration, anger, bewilderment, apathy…the list goes on. Oh, and then there was that playoff game in Seattle.

This season, Tony Romo and Co. appears to be up to their old tricks. It’s win-a-game-lose-a-game in Dallas in 2012 and nobody in their right mind would pretend to know which Cowboys team they’ll see on the field on any given Sunday.

Fourth in the league in passing (296.3 YPG) but 30th in rushing (67.8 YPG), this is as lopsided a Dallas team as we’ve seen in recent years. Romo has thrown eight interceptions this season (to five touchdowns), a number that’s only better than Cleveland, Kansas City, and Buffalo. That is not the sort of company you want to be keeping.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have the number one pass defense and are in the top half of the league in rush defense. The defense has given up just seven touchdowns in four games. That should surely be good enough for a team with a 3-1 or 4-0 record. But there the Cowboys sit at 2-2, with a trip to Baltimore looming large, a trip by the way that the Ravens are favorites to win. Looks like we’ll be looking at a 2-3 record on Monday morning then.

Optimistic bettors might be tempted to take the Cowboys at 40/1 to win Super Bowl XLVII. After all, they are America’s team and will always contend, right? Consider this though; those odds are the same as Minnesota and New Orleans (yes, New Orleans) have of winning the big one. Would you bet on those two sides?

If we’re being positive, we like what we see from the Cowboys and recognize that this team again has potential. If we’re being honest, the Cowboys may only be relevant one night a year – Thanksgiving, when history demands that we watch dem ’boys.

So come January, the people of DFW may well do better to head for the Gulf Coast or book a trip to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza than get in line for playoff tickets at Jerry Jones’ awe-inspiring (sort of) Cowboys Stadium.

As we said at the beginning, let’s take a moment to offer our condolences to the sports fans of Dallas-Fort Worth.

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