Is This Rivalry Dead?
Once upon a time, in the Washington, D.C., area, there was a phenomenon called Dallas Week. Fans of the Washington Redskins spent most of their time and energy working up a serious case of fury when the hated Dallas Cowboys came to town (or the Redskins went to Dallas).
George Allen built much of that for the fans in the 1970s as the Redskins became a more significant NFL competitor. As a Washingtonian, hating Dallas was just what you did. A radio station once sent out, as a promotion, a dart board with Tom Landry’s head at the bulls-eye of a target. Thoughtfully, the station included a dart. Dallas Week!
These two old warhorses go at it again on Thursday night and it is mostly sound and fury that signifies little. Both teams are 5-6 and the Cowboys have lost their last three games. Many of the Redskins are hurt.
Some key Cowboys as well. And Dallas’ star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, is suspended. This is a little bit like eating unflavored oatmeal … cold.
Ah, but once upon a time they were winners. Let’s open the history book.
The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, but none since the 1995 season. The Redskins have won three, the last following the 1992 season. Since their last title, the Cowboys have won three playoff games; the Redskins, since their last title, have won three.
Essentially, these two teams are NFL afterthoughts. Hating the Cowboys is more a diversion than a passion; hating the Redskins is just a waste of time. Neither is going anywhere, at least this season. Neither has gone anywhere for quite some time.
(Full disclosure – your friendly neighborhood blog was in the employ of the Redskins for two years).
Some of us will watch this game for the sake of memory and tradition. We’re trapped in a time warp. There’s nothing special about this game, nothing special about these teams, nothing that says rivalry except some ancient feel deep in the bones. This is penny-a-point rummy, not high-stakes poker between two coaching wizards and NFL legends-to-be gunning for an NFL title.
No, this is two collections of schlubs and scrubs. Two teams clanking their way to a disappointing close.
And yet, as William Faulkner wrote, there’s still that old, fierce pull of blood …
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