Anytime you travel to see a sporting event, you run the risk of your team losing. We've been pretty lucky. We drove to Dallas in 1992 and saw the Cowboys beat the Redskins on their way to the Super Bowl. We saw them again in 1992 in Atlanta when they clinched the division and Deion threw a bench on the sidelines. And, although it was only a day trip, I count the 1993 FSU-Florida game in Gainesville, because that's a hard place to go and leave a loser. The forces of good won all of these games. But our luck ran out yesterday. Let's break the trip down.
The Game - Disappointing is too tame. It was crushing, all the more so because it was there for the taking. The Giants played well, but were certainly beatable. I'll sound like a bitter fan here, but the story of the game was Cowboy mistakes. The Giants made few to none, and the Cowboys made several costly ones. 11 penalties to the Giants' 3, including the drive-extending offsides on the first possession, followed shortly by 3 Cowboys missing an easy tackle on Toomer, who scored the first touchdown. Dropped passes, crucial penalties and poor execution in general plagued the Cowboys the whole game.
But even after all that, the defense made a couple of good stops and we had the ball with nearly 2 minutes and 50 yards to go. One thing this team has been really good at is responding under pressure. But they looked terrible on the last drive. No spikes, an awful draw to Barber with under a minute left and 1 timeout. And then the timeout was wasted when the sideline official blew the call and kept the clock running after Witten got out of bounds.
I'm not reading any post-game analysis, because who wants to relive that nightmare? But I would hope that all the talking heads have shut up about Romo and his December slump now (although I'm sure they haven't). Romo played well, made a couple of bad plays but also a few good ones and didn't turn the ball over (the last desperation play doesn't count), pretty much what Eli did on the other side (and you know he's getting sloppy BJ's from everyone now). I really think it showed that we didn't have a credible deep threat. Owens was healthy enough to play, but he was clearly not playing at his level from most of the year.
Soon enough, I'll turn to next year and realize we're still contenders and ought to be for a few years more. That's a nice change from the last 10 years, when any joy in the success we did have was tempered by the knowledge that it was mostly a fluke. But for now I'll have to content myself with the thought that the Giants will go to Lambeau and be exposed for the gutty but overachieving team that they are.
Texas Stadium - For a stadium built in the middle of nowhere, the parking is really shitty. No park-n-rides or stadium shuttles anywhere. All the parking is miles from the stadium and costs a fortune. And all the lots are designed so that there are massive, unmanned bottlenecks when people try to leave. Extremely poorly done. I really hope that they think about these things as they're building the new stadium. Jackonville's parking is far better, even more so considering that the stadium is built downtown. I can park a mile from the stadium for $5. Yesterday we parked at least 3 miles out and had to pay $25.
Texas Stadium was finished in 1971 and you can see the age, but also the innovation. There's no club like in more modern stadia, but there are skyboxes everywhere. You can see how it was state-of-the art 35 years ago. But it's certainly showing its age now. Rust and wear everywhere, and horribly designed bathrooms. The men's room had a line that probably had 100 people in it. All you need for the men is a 20' long trough. Why build a place with 6 urinals per bathroom? While Texas Stadium is a a mecca for Cowboys fans everywhere, it's definitely time for an upgrade.
The hometown fans - I hate to be critical of my fellow fans, but fuck, these hometown fans need to learn how to be a good home crowd. Mainly the noise level. When the other team has the ball, especially in a big game like this, you have to make noise - constant, deafening noise (we did our part). The acoustics are certainly ok. But while it was always far noisier on Giants' possessions, it never approached the frenzy it should have except for a few 3rd downs and goal-line plays. It was far, far noisier at the FSU-Alabama game we went to this year, and the stadium here isn't really designed to hold it in. For all that the Cowboy haters love to accuse us non-Texan Cowboys fans of being bandwagoners, I think the non-native fans are probably better than the home fans in our level of passion.
Overall - I don't regret going, and I'm sure we'll do it again, but I'm not going to lie and say it was all good. It was fun getting away. We love to travel and we love to fly, so that was fun. But the loss turned what would have been a spectacular trip into an ok trip. As I said before, that's the risk you take.
Hey, that's our island from the air! We live near the airport and have planes fly by the house all the time. But we've never been able to see our neighborhood from the air for various reasons. Not to mention it's a lot harder to identify landmarks from the air than you might think.