Since we are mere days away from Halloween, let me paint you a spooky picture. Let’s get a bed of ominous atonal organ music going. Observe a blanket of slate gray clouds glacially rolling in to swallow a full harvest moon. There is nothing but inky darkness. Blinding lightning flashes, searing our night-adjusted pupils. Among the black and silhouetted against the fading twilight, we can barely make out the infant’s single-toothed shape of a lonesome headstone on a hill. Lightning flashes again, and the strobe of chemo-electric light briefly illuminates the cold stone surface of the grave marker ahead. We see that its twisted solemn text reads, “Here lies the 2020 Dallas Cowboys season.” Cue: blood-curdling shriek of terror and maniacal Vincent Price cackle. “Mwahahahaha!”
Evil 2020 has taken the form of an 18-wheeler hauling actual competitive football teams and has plowed over the innoxious Cowboys who ventured onto a highway they had no business playing on. Like Church, the cat from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, they are now dead as a doornail as a result. Unlike that evil feline, however, there is no dark magic that will bring them back to life. They are D-O-N-E.
As the silver and blue have been tragically taken from us far too young, we mourners have no choice but to try and take solace in the fact that this lost season is now in a better place, a place where nothing more can hurt it. Or at least in a place where it can no longer hurt us.
After falling to an organization actually going with the hilarious (yet oddly growing on me) name of Football Team by a score of 25-3 on Sunday, the Cowboys now sit at 2-5 through seven games. In another ridiculous effort, indistinguishable from any other game played so far this season, all of the usual ghosts tormenting the Cowboys this year came haunting: an insurmountable double-digit first-half deficit, multiple turnovers, a cowardly defensive performance, and a significant player knocked out with injury. This time, throw the body of new starting quarterback Andy Dalton onto the pile of Cowboys corpses, a casualty of one of the most brutal and dirty hits I’ve ever seen. In perhaps the most grotesque display of just how gutless the evil spirits currently possessing the bodies of Dallas’ roster have become, not a single player even reacted to the attempted murder of Dalton by Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic. There were no words exchanged after the hit, no brawl, absolutely no defense of their QB. They just kind of took it. Like they’ve just taken everything else that’s happened all year. They are simply spectres of real football players now. They are also as soft as The Blob, seemingly as mindless as Frankenstein’s monster, and offer effort as hard to see as the Invisible Man. They have become nearly as frighteningly bad as the above litany of hokey, nonsensical, shoe-horned, classic monster movie references.
Perhaps the scariest thing is that in spite of the top-10-pick-worthy record, the ’Boys are still technically just a quarter game out of first place in their division. That’s a fact that mummified billionaire Jerry Jones will no doubt be torturing Cowboy fans eager to escape this bloodthirsty season with for the next several days. Just as it was in the voodoo hexed year of 2015, Super Bowl dreams for Jerruh are The Thing That Couldn’t Die. Until mathematical elimination, we will absolutely have to hear about how Dallas is still alive, and they will chain us fans to the proverbial radiator in the dungeon to keep us hoping or just to keep us paying attention at the least. How many will be brave enough to reach for the saw and free themselves?
I can’t say I’m resilient enough. Decades of Cowboy fandom have quite conditioned me for putting the lotion on the skin. My Stockholm syndrome is severe. So I will still be tuned in every Sunday to witness this year’s iteration of the silver and blue racing to the murky bottom of the rankings of the Cowboys’ 60 seasons with the force of a neutron star collapsing in on itself and forming a black hole with a gravity so great not even light can escape.
But my heart won’t be in it. I’ve spent all my give-a-$%@. I am become like the lowly Jets fan. I will watch. They will lose, but they can’t hurt me. Eventually (likely before Thanksgiving), the Cowboys’ season will officially be dead to the point Jerry’s incessant double tapping won’t rouse it in the fears of fans. And I won’t feel a thing. There is a certain freedom that accompanies following a team that sucks. So here we are. Feel the unburdening. Let freedom ring.