Monday, August 31, 2009

Fantasy Football

I love football. My love, though, is conditional: I <3 the Cowboys. It's crazy to think that today's team doesn't have E. Smith or Aikman dominating, or the crack-ashed hands of M. Irvin catching everything in sight. Even when E. Smith's stash was trash, he still was a hero from a forgotten age of legends.

Today, we live in an age of (broken) expectations. G.M. Jerry, always a magician of publicity, decided to forgo drafting any "impact players." Why should he - he just built the most expensive big screen/punt defender on the planet. People will flock from everywhere to watch the screen rather than what's on the field. It's the slight of hand only possible from a billionaire: when the chips and expectations are down, always feed the monster - the crowds and the publicity hype machines - with something bigger. Dallas still has a good team, even though the poor drafting exposes some serious questions of depth in case some key players get hurt (Romo/Ware/Newman). Jones is playing the game outside of the game - the business.

Former GM Tex Shramm, before he was unceremoniously fired by new owner Jerry Jones, candidly told him that, "This would be a pretty good business if they didn't have to play the games."

It's something that Jones has taken to heart; the bottom line: the Cowboys will make money this year whether they win or not. Jones has been able to establish a team that is the number one money-making franchise in the world, even though they have not won a playoff game in 10+ years and it will be 15 years since they appeared in a Super Bowl. The much maligned G.M. still has proven to be an adept salesman, as the teams fortunes are almost completely independent of their on the field glory (or lack there-of).

To this day, however, my karma as a fan still seems intrinsically linked to the machinations of this team and how they do on the field. No matter how poorly Jones manages this team, I still hold out hope that the Cowboys will win in spite of him. Hell, when Tony Romo broke up with Jessica Simpson, it made my damn day - how sad is that? But that is what it is like for Cowboys fans these days; every victory, no matter how small or insignificant (Simpson's boobs were mojo-killers), bolsters the zealots. Last year, we were the favorites to win the Super Bowl; now, a Romo-lead playoff win would be the greatest cause for jubilation in a decade.

This is why I don't play fantasy football: the emotional ebbs and flows. Ever since my father saw the first Cowboys game at the Cotton Bowl, the seething passion has been passed handed down. When they lose, especially to an inferior team, it's like a dagger. When they win, even against a good team, it's merely because they should have. I don't care about other teams, or players on other teams. I don't want to sit in a room with 10 other dudes and talk about players and what they are doing on other teams; I just care about what happens with the Cowboys on Sundays.

I know some people would say that even if the Cowboys were to lose again this year, I could still win in a fantasy football league. True, but that's like saying, "Sorry you lost all your money on the poker table; come over here and play online-poker for free!" What's the point?

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