by Roger White
Ladies (and you sleekly camouflaged metrosexuals), you must pardon me if I wax sportsetic once again, but my hackles have been raised. Mind you, I had a pretty cool topic this time around, too. About that Harold Camping guy—ya know, the old geezer who keeps moving his predictions for the end of the world back a few months because his Bible math was somehow flawed? Apparently, when May 21, 2011, came and went and all his followers had to repaint their vans and try to buy some of their stuff back, he then corrected himself by saying May 21 was a “spiritual” judgment and that what God meant to say was that we will all burn on October 16, 2011. Oops. Well, when October 17 dawned with a non-fractured, unscorched earth, Harold was in full backtrack again. “Oh, well, here in Leviticus, you see, I neglected to carry the three and divide by Moses.”
Ah. Of course.
But no, as creepy as guys like Harold are, he’s not a hackle-raiser in my book. No, the alien in my belly of late is one Frank Fitzpatrick, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Understand, kids, as I attempt to relax my hackles through third-eye meditation that I am a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan. And I am old. Which means I’ve been watching the Pokes since the days of Jethro Pugh and Chuck Howley and Howdy Doody and Mirabeau B. Lamar and all them there.
If you know just the teensiest bit about the Cowboys, you know that there are no two cities that enjoy hating them more than Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Well, ol’ Fitz of the Inquirer recently put to paper the myriad reasons he hates my beloved Cowboys, so I found myself utterly unable to resist rebuttal (the most recent game’s awful results notwithstanding).
So herewith you’ll find Fitzpatrick’s reasons for loathing Dallas, followed respectively, by my reasons for wanting to aim my southern end toward the City of Brotherly Shove. You may not get some of the references unless you own every single Cowboys yearbook and every edition of the weekly subscriber newsletter from August 1960 to the present, but here goes:
Fitz: Tom Landry’s hat. Did he think he was hiding his baldness? The Cowboys first coach wore fedoras right through the Age of Aquarius, shielding his head while the rest of us were expanding ours. I could maybe see the need for one on a December Sunday in Green Bay. But indoors in New Orleans? Or Miami? It was an affectation of the arrogant.
Me: Dick Vermeil’s lachrymal glands. Was there ever a whinier, more emotionally histrionic car salesman of a coach than Vermeil? He could break down sobbing reading a cereal box. Remember his tear-stained announcement of retirement because of “burnout”? Hey, can I do that?
Fitz: Jimmy Johnson’s hair. Speaking of inappropriate headwear. The guy apparently missed wearing a helmet so much that he created one out of hair, mousse and his Arkansas sensibility.
Me: Rich Kotite. Need I say more? Okay, I will. Rich coached the Iggles about the same time Jimmy coached Dallas. The results speak for themselves. And when Rich said publicly he was going to look around for other coaching jobs midseason in 1994, Philly lost its next seven games. Richie was promptly canned. And he has no hair. Zip. Bupkiss.
Fitz: Jerry Jones’ face. It’s been lifted more frequently than Kyle Kendrick. The current owner’s narcissistic infatuation with Botox speaks volumes about his ego, his team and his disposable income.
Me: Christina Lurie’s hair. The wife of the Eagles’ owner looks like she was used as a ground wire at a General Electric power plant. Really, can’t anything be done? No wonder Jeff “accidentally” smacked her in the face when he was attempting a high-five (see Youtube).
Fitz: The old stadium. Who builds a football stadium in a place called Irving ? Has there ever been a Texan whose first name was Irving? If so, I’m betting he didn’t wear spurs. Anyway, is the weather in Texas so bad and are the fans so delicate that they needed to cover the stands with a roof? Typically arrogant Cowboys fans liked to say the reason there was a hole in the roof was so God could watch his favorite team. If God’s really a Dallas fan, how do you explain Leon Lett?
Me: The Vet. Easily the worst playing surface in the history of the league. More careers likely ended prematurely at the Vet than in Vietnam. Seems fitting that both Paul Owens and Tug McGraw, who made appearances at the Vet on its final day in use, both croaked soon after. Was like playing on a field of ground glass and asbestos, many said.
Fitz: The new stadium. Aside from Rick Perry, is there a more ridiculous monument to Texas excess? A $1.5 billion shopping mall of a stadium in a state where the governor seriously considered laying off 100,000 teachers.
Me: Lincoln Financial Field. Let me get this straight: When the stadium opened, the Eagles imposed a ban on hoagies and cheesesteaks being brought into the stadium, citing security concerns? Guess you can never tell when a lunatic fan’s going to smuggle in a loaded hoagie. The smart call would have been to ban snowballs.
Fitz: Michael Irvin. Tough to like the man who still holds the NFL record for most felonies in a season.
Me: Donovan McNabb. Webster’s defines “loser” as a person who has failed at a particular activity. The photo accompanying this definition in the unabridged Webster’s is one of Donovan McNabb in the playoffs.
Fitz: Deion Sanders. Enough said.
Me: Kenny Jackson. Eleven TDs in eight years for a first-round pick. Nice payoff there, guys.
Fitz: Lee Roy Jordan. This 1960s Cowboys linebacker was obnoxious long before that trait was in vogue.
Me: Tim Rossovich. At least Lee Roy didn’t set himself on fire. And hey, Jordan was good.
Fitz: Tony Romo. Dallas’ maddeningly erratic QB once dated Jessica Simpson, perhaps the reason his quarterback rating that year was lower than her IQ.
Me: Michael Vick. This one’s almost too easy. At least Romo only dated a couple of dogs; he didn’t kill them.
Fitz: Barry Switzer. If there ever was a more oily football coach — not counting Johnson and his hair tonic — I can’t recall him. He’s his sport’s answer to John Calipari and Bobby Huggins.
Me: Buddy Ryan. Choosing between lunch with Hannibal Lecter and Ryan—coin toss.
Fitz: The star. I like most stars. The Christmas star, movie stars, Converse All-Stars, Ringo and Sally Starr. But the mere sight of one of the blue Cowboys variety is enough to make me physically ill.
Me: The whole blue-collar world-against-Philly crapola. Look, my wife’s sister lives up there. So I know. Give us a break with the attitude. It’s wearing thin. Ya need a new shtick. Loserville sounds good.
Fitz: Dallas. Don’t think I’ll ever be able to disassociate the city from the JFK assassination. Dallas stole my innocence. And where was Joe Bob Isbell on November 22, 1963?
Me: Low blow. You were really reaching on this one. I think it’s the whole five Super Bowl titles versus none that may be behind it. Oh, one more thing: How did the Phillies and Sixers do this year? Now, let’s compare…
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