As you probably know, the Dallas Cowboys pissed away a victory last night, giving up 14 points in the last four minutes. Thanks to the benevolence of my friend Trey, I was there. It was quite the spectacle.
First of all, do you have any idea just how many people 65,000 people are? Crowds were everywhere, especially on the long, long walk from the Red Parking Lot to the stadium. (Note to future stadium designers: can we do something about that parking situation? Like, move it closer or something?) At least the walk was entertaining as tailgaters heckled Redskins fans. They all seemed to have a copy of the same script, though (“Redskins suck!”). My favorite quote I overheard was from an overserved gentleman who saw a Cowboys fan wearing a jersey with the No. 8 on it. Said the gentleman, “Aikman jersey. [pause] No. 8. [another pause] Aikman. [pause] Inducted tonight.” Just in case, I guess, any of his companions didn’t know Aikman, his number, or the fact that he was being inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime.
After the dreaded security pat-down, which wasn’t so bad (or effective, in my opinion), we were in. More jeering. The occasional “Go Cowboys!” A beer or two before settling in to our seats–good ones, at the top of the lower section.
Pre-game at a Cowboys game is like a concert, pep rally, and game show called Spot the Sponsor all wrapped up into one 45-minute-long prelude. From where I sat, I saw 18 sponsors. You want me to name them? Fine, I will: Dr Pepper, Miller Lite, Staples, MasterCard, American Airlines, Deja Blue, Haggar, Bank of America, Direct Energy, CVS, Comcast, Diet Pepsi, AAA Texas, Papa Johns, Verizon, Ford, and 7-Up. The 18th was Levitra, which was emblazoned on the inflatable tunnel and inflatable helmet that the Cowboys emerged from. If anyone else picked up on the irony of Levitra, a drug that treats erectile dysfunction, on an inflatable phallis, nobody said anything.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys Cheerleaders were doing Rockettes-style kicks to “Whoop, There It Is” as part of a routine that seemed like it took just a little bit longer than long enough. Then the Gaitlin Brothers sang “America the Beautiful.” Then Charlie Pride sang the national anthem as nearly 100 men and women unfurled a ginormous flag. See for yourself (I took a picture.)
So everyone’s all patriotic and excited when the biggest wet blanket of them all comes out: Rowdy. On a Harley. With that stupid grin. He’s awful. I’d like to say this kid was booing him, but he was booing the Redskins earlier. Rowdy sucks. The Cowboys defense was introduced one by one, and spurts of fire shot up with each one. Again, I took a picture.
Finally, football. A full half of it, before more spectacle. Past Ring of Honor inductees were escorted to a temporary stage. (Hey, look! Another picture!) Applause all around. Then a highlight reel of Irvin. Huge applause. Kudos to whoever put that thing together: it was powerful without being schmaltzy, especially considering its brevity. So then Jerry introduced Irvin, who thanked God, his wife, “the guys who put it on the line,” and the fans. Same thing for Aikman, who said he was humble to be there and proud to be a part of such a select group. He thanked Jerry, and then he thanked the fans. Last one, Emmitt, who got the biggest round of applause. He thanked his wife and family and his linemen. And he said, “You play the game because you love it and to thank the people who support you, that is the fans.” After a quick shout out to Tony D he passed the mic back to Jerry, who officially inducted the Triplets into the Ring of Honor. The drapes over their names was removed, and there they were. And you know who was right there above the names? You know who was there to help celebrate this momentous occasion? Rowdy. Again with that stupid grin and a silly thumbs up.
Second half of football. Blah, blah, blah. Things looked fine. We head for the car when the Cowboys are up 13-0, trying to get a jump on 65,000 fans. We’re still stuck in the car, listened to Bill Parcells go ultra-conservative with his play-calling. We’re headed home as the Cowboys can’t get a single first down to get into field goal range. We part ways, tuckered out and pissed off.