Sunday, December 16, 2012


It's been 48 hours since the tragedy in Newtown.  There is no blueprint.  There's no right answer for when it is OK to return to caring about frivolity.  I'm taking a stab at football today.

Super Bowl XIII.  The Pittsburgh Steelers played the Dallas Cowboys in the Orange Bowl in Miami.  It was a brilliant game, as the Stillers beat "America's Team" (ha ha ha) 35-31.  At home in Mahopac, a 10 year-old Rob Adams had found his love for the NFL, and his favorite team.

It was born because I had a classmate in fourth grade at Austin Road Elementary School, Pat Urell, who was a Cowboys fan.  We were pretty good friends, but he liked to talk smack (even if I didn't know what "smack" was).  He bet me a whopping 25 cents that Dallas would beat the three-time two-time Super Bowl champs.  The winning team would be the first to win three Lombardi Trophies.

I really hadn't settled on a team before that.  With multiple trips to Florida as a kid (pre-Tampa Bay Bucs), I liked the Dolphins.  Plus I had a cat named Morris, and the 'Phins had Mercury Morris*, who wore number 22, which was my birthday.  But my father and brother were both Jets fans.  But the Giants often used the interlocking NY on jackets and such, reminiscent of the Yankees (and they once played in Yankee Stadium).

*Mercury has since become known for being a little crazy, shall we say, with his sole reason for existing being the Dolphins 17-0 season in 1972.

I was confused.  But there was one thing we all agreed on.  We all hated the Dallas Cowboys.  Well, except for my father, who liked Tom Landry, but I'm not sure he cared otherwise.

But I was otherwise taught to detest Landry.  Tex Schramm.  Roger Staubach.  Tony Dorsett.  The star.  The hole in the roof of Texas Stadium.  I was taught to not care about the cheerleaders.  There are other women in the world.    Was there anything more delightful than watching Landry scream at his offense when they ran a bad play against the Redskins?  Anything better than watching the Cowboys lose?

Later on, how about that look of pain on Jerry Jones' face?  Shoving that "How 'bout dem Cowboys" crap right at them?  

Well, sometimes seeing the whine-and-cheese 49ers fall on their faces could be delightful.  Or the Raiders, with their lowest common denominator fans (and players).  And of course, the Browns, Bengals, and Ravens (aka, the "Old Browns").

But it was founded with the Cowboys.  And with Super Bowl XIII, I was hooked.  Since the Cowboys were playing, and Pat Urell was laying his 25 cents, I had just one question:

Who are they playing?

Here are the player introductions, broadcast on NBC in 1979.

By the way, I never officially won the bet.  Pat bailed because of the point spread.  Whatever.

Today, almost 34 years after that game, Big Ben and company head to Cowboys Stadium for the latest renewal of the rivalry.  It should be fun.  The dislike remains after all these years (remember, the two teams also met in Super Bowl X.  Rumor has it they played in Super Bowl XXX, but I guess I don't remember that one).

Both teams need it for the playoffs.

You know where my heart is.

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