Monday, January 14, 2008

Dallas postmortem

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 last drive
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.

Happier times
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.
Our island from the plane
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.

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13 comments:

Toast said...

All you need for the men is a 20' long trough.

Gotta vehemently disagree here. I hate trough-style piss catchers. That's just way too much jostling and closeness with strangers for me to get a comfortable stream going. I don't care if there are a hundred people milling about behind me, but when it comes time to make my deposit I need my own space.

michelline said...

I hate trough-style piss catchers

Me too.

John Howard said...

I don't know if you realize it or not, since you were at the game, but that first offsides was a bad call. Ware started moving, but didn't get into the neutral zone until the ball was snapped. That made it even more annoying. Also, the call on Witten was the right one, they gave him forward progress, so they couldn't give him the out of bounds.

And really, I think where the game was lost was when they drove down and took the lead on that long drive and then gave up a 40 second drive to tie it. Without that, they go into halftime with a 7 point lead, then get the ball and it's a completely different game.

Oh, and Toast, when there's 100 people waiting in line, I don't think we should cater to the most squeamish of them to build the bathrooms. You can go wait in line for the unisex/family bathroom, and I'll piss in a trough and get back to watch the game. I don't care who sees my penis, and I don't care if another man is near me while I'm peeing. As long as it's built to avoid any stray splashes, I don't see a problem.

Also, in a stadium, they should eliminate the stalls all together in the men's room. If you're taking a dump at a football game, there's something wrong with you. Have a few of the unisex bathrooms for people who get sick or whatever and can't help it, but the rest are just a waste of space.

fridge said...

I have to admit that I found myself strangely feeling a little torn. Despite my team winning, I knew that the Howards had made the trip all the wayt to the game and were watching their team lose. That must have sucked. I remember very clearly going to see the Giants lose to your cowboys this year at the meadowlands. That was a long drive home. Given that you had to fly it must have been worse.

fridge said...

Gotta vehemently disagree here. I hate trough-style piss catchers.

I'm ok with these, as long as they're not on the floor. The Yale Bowl has them were you basically pee into a gutter. Way too much splashing going on. Don't wear nice shoes.

Chris Howard said...

John beat me to it on the bathrooms. You shy-bladder guys can wait for a stall :). One of the privileges of being male is that we can whip out our dicks and piss on the wall.

John, obviously I didn't have the replay, but it sure looked like Witten went out of bounds under his own power. I know there was a defender on him, but I thought he cut it sideways on his own.

John Howard said...

He did, but he went backwards to do it. They had already given him the forward progress spot, so the play is over.

Chris Howard said...

Well, I don't think you're supposed to give the forward progress spot if the player then backs up under his own power. But in any case, the entire 2-minute drive was terrible. I think the play that really killed us was the draw. You have to have at least 2 timeouts to call that play. Unless you only need a FG.

You won't convince me that the intentional grounding call on the drive before wasn't bullshit.

michelline said...

Fridge, believe it or not, it wasn't too horrible. Sure, it sucked to lose. It was even worse because we had 3 Giants fans in front of us! We definitely didn't wear any fan gear home - they didn't deserve it, LOL. But the Giants fans in front of us were nice guys. And by the time we were finally able to leave the parking lot (over 2 hours after the end of the game), we were more frustrated with the stupid way they don't direct traffic at Texas Stadium. (ok, at least I was more frustrated).

The good thing for us is this team is likely to stay together for next year. And it's a really good team.

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