The Dallas Cowboys are almost as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as United States Presidents’ annual gobbler pardons. Each year, the Cowboys are involved in one of the NFL’s “Thanksgiving Classic” games, with 2012’s matchup pitting Dallas against their hated division rival, the Washington Redskins.
With the holiday season upon us, here is a tongue-in-cheek look at the top 10 items on my wish list for the team with the stars on its helmets.
1. John Madden and his “turducken” – Madden’s fear of flying led to his “Madden Cruiser”. His love of food led to the appearance of his “Turkey Leg Awards” as well as the mighty turducken: three different birds stuffed inside one another with layers of dressing in-between. Combined with the multi-legged turkeys (meant to provide enough leg meat for a whole offensive or defensive line if necessary), these awards went to the player or players that had played starring roles in the Thanksgiving Day game which Madden helped broadcast. These awards were very kind to the Dallas Cowboys, with such players as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Jason Garrett among the winners.
2. Randy White in his prime – Cowboys fans that aren’t familiar with the legend of the “Manster” owe it to themselves to do a little research. Suffice to say that he is alternately described by most who took the field with him as either the meanest or toughest player (or both) that they had the pleasure or misfortune to come across. Some of the current group might experience an attitude adjustment in response to his presence.
3. A time machine – Well of course, to accomplish item #2 above and #8 below.
4. A phone booth for Jason Garrett – I enjoy his analytical approach, but I wish that the head coach could do a quick change at times a la Clark Kent and Superman. The “Man of Steel” would never condone the apathy that sometimes seems to strike this team out of nowhere. Players are yelled at by hyper football coaches at all levels, and sometimes this approach is necessary. Without some significant team improvement, Garrett will become the latest casualty in the line of coaches that couldn’t quite reach Jerry’s team, with a failure to inspire consistent high-level play being his kryptonite.
5. Five (more) golden rings – A long-term goal, but really it boils down to the foundation. Is this a team that can recapture some of their earlier magic? Since the ‘boys put the franchise’s fifth ring on the proverbial thumb following the 1995 season (when they were coached by Barry Switzer), the Cowboys haven’t been close to winning another title. What needs to happen to change that?
6. The removal of Jerry Jones’ rose-colored glasses – May require a little “work” around the eyes, but if so then Jerry might have a little experience in that area (allegedly). If Cleopatra was the Queen of “Denial”, then Mr. Jones has to be her modern-day king. When he talks about his football team, you would think that this crew has actually won something lately.
7. A home-crowd advantage – I hate to criticize, but a crowd that has never been known for its volume seems to be even quieter than usual lately. Quick primer: if the opponent’s offense has the ball, make noise.
8. Ten minutes worth of the early 1990’s – The swagger and confidence that goes with knowing that you are one of the best and truly competing for a championship every year would do this team some good. The problem is this: it is hard to win without confidence, but it is hard to gain confidence without winning.
9. One more game at Texas Stadium – Is it too soon to feel nostalgic for the old rusty doughnut? Maybe not, since it has already been over two years since it went down in a puff of smoke. It was definitely well past its prime, but any connection to the teams of the past would be welcomed at this point. Jerry World is awesome, but sometimes the things that glitter the most can be the emptiest inside.
10. A general, a manager, or maybe just a real-live general manager (not named Jerry Jones) – I appreciate the financial support that the owner devotes to developing his roster and acknowledge that he can run his team in whatever way he decides. But please, hire someone closer to the current players in the NFL that has the ability to recruit and sign a cohesive team.
The author has been a Dallas Cowboys fan since the late 1970’s. As much as he hated watching “The Catch”, it will always beat the feeling of not even coming close. Though the current team causes him much chagrin, he will be a Cowboys fan forever.
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