Chiefs And Cowboys: A Dangerous Intersection

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Sunday’s game is about these teams. The players who are here now. Not some distant memory of days gone by. Yet, there is no denying that their seeds were sown in the same minute of history and every time their roads have crossed it’s created a dangerous intersection.

There’s no denying that the team formerly known as “America’s Team” has been one of the most successful franchises in NFL history appearing in 8 Super Bowls and going to the playoffs 30 times. However, much like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Boys haven’t had a lot of success once they get there, in recent years. The Cowboys, having registered but one playoff victory since 1996, a 2009 Wild Card victory over the Eagles 34-14, are still waiting to break through as an elite team in the league. The Chiefs won two playoff games in January of 1994 and have only appeared in six playoff games since then (1994, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2006, 2010) with zero victories.

While the Cowboys were Super Bowl Champions in 3 out of 4 years in the nineties, they’ve been a bastion of mediocrity since then even with the exception of a few Bill Parcells coached years mixed in. Including lasts week’s “Game One” victory over the New York Giants, since the Cowboys last Super Bowl victory, they are 128-128 in regular season action. Add in their playoff losses since 96 and their record is worse of course.

Since the Kansas City Chiefs nabbed Joe Montana from the 49ers in the early 1990s they haven’t had quite as much “success” as the Cowboys have had. Since Montana left town following the 1994 season the Chiefs have been 140-148 in regular season play. Of course, two 2-14 seasons in the past five years hasn’t helped much either (courtesy of Herman Edwards and Scott Pioli).

An interesting fact pointed out in Lamar Hunt’s biography has Lamar stating years later, that the reason the Chiefs (when they were the Texans) moved out of Dallas instead of the Cowboys was because, “no city would want a bad team” referring to the Cowboys who hadn’t yet experienced success up to that point in time.

From 1960 to 1962 the Cowboys and the Texans (Chiefs) shared the Cotton Bowl as a home field in their leagues. The Cowboys were part of a more established league (NFL) but the Texans were the better team but, part of a struggling, fledgling league (AFL). It’s a bit ironic that both the Cowboys and the Texans were either so bad, or unknown at the time that college teams consistently out drew them at the gate and it was said that many high school teams who played at the Cotton Bowl, outdrew them as well.

In those days it didn’t matter if you were a cowboy or a Texan, neither team was quick on the draw.

Nowadays, Edgar Jones, Brandon Carr, Kyle Orton, and Brian Waters are the turncoats.

Edgar got stuck in a numbers game trade of mid-level players. Carr always wanted to be a Cowboy but now says he would have stayed if Pioli had offered him an extension a year earlier. Yea right. Kyle Orton was a hired gun at the end of 2011 for Romeo Crennel. Had he stayed in K.C., Reid and Dorsey would have likely axed him with the other gaggle of gauche QBs they sent packin’. Brian Waters resurfaces after a year as a monk. Silence may be good for the soul but, we’ll see if it’s good for the skills on the football field. However, I do hear he’s been a pleasant surprise so far.

If there is to be a Brain Waters sighting this weekend in the Chiefs game it will likely be as a character actor in a bit role. Maybe he always wanted to be in a cowboy movie too. I certainly don’t expect the 36 years old Waters to cure what ails the Cowboys offensive line problems after one and a half weeks of practice. If ever.

When both teams came into being in 1960 and the Chiefs (Texans) finally moved to Kansas City in ’63, the attitudes of both cities have been one of disdain for one another. My first hand knowledge of these attitudes may be rare. I grew up outside of Los Angeles cheering for the Fearsome Foursome and had a kid sized man crush on QB Roman Gabriel before there ever was such a thing. My mandate as a Ram fan tadpole, was to hate the Dallas Cowboys, especially since so many of my cousins lived there.

So, first of all, it was from a distance that I learned that Cowboys fans believed they were God’s gift to the universe. Much later in life I learned that this is in the life blood of any true Texan who naturally places football above God or even relationships. So, it goes like this, Football-God-Family-Work. And for those who work as ministers… have families… and live in Texas… it’s really confusing. I say this from first hand knowledge because I used to be married to a minister while living here in the United State of Texas. And, it totally changes the meaning of “blasphemy.” Don’t you curse them Cowboys. And, how many Cowboys football analogies have you ever heard from the pulpit? I’ve heard my unfair share.

After living in Kansas City for 21 years, it’s clear that their team is often thought of as the ugly step-child, since they’re the club that had to “get out of town by sundown.” Funny… when the reality is what Lamar’s biography revealed: the winning team is the only team another city would “want.”

Now that I’ve been living in the Dallas area for the past 16 years, it’s clearer than ever that Cowboys fans believe that winning a Super Bowl is their inalienable right and because of their success in the 70s, 80s and 90s… this team — this year’s team — is just as good as any of those team in the past. You see, you can’t be a Cowboys fan now and not be delusional.

The Chiefs, as well as the Kansas City faithful, fight another fight. Four of the last five coaches have been miserable hires (Vermeil would be the exception), and so the team and the fans have suffered the “here-we-go-again” syndrome. In other words, they expect to lose and are always surprised when they don’t. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy of the “Slow-Me” State of mind. When living there… I often detected that the “Show-Me” State slogan meant… Slow-Me because things were often so slow to change there. Attitudes included.

Older fans, such as myself, recall the glory days of Stram and Dawson while so many other fans cling to the words of the older fan. In K.C. it’s all about hope every year and in Dallas it’s all about rude expectation, a quirky entitlement (if you’ve lived in different parts of the country, you’ll understand my meaning).

The dangerous intersection that this game represents is… what losing represents to the loser. The Cowboys may be — in some fantasy driven hallucination — on the verge of going to the Super Bowl. Another reality says they look like they are several good offensive and defensive linemen away from making that happen year in and year out. While their NFC East rivals, the N.Y. Giants, were stocking up on defensive linemen this off season (as they seem to do every off season) the Cowboys were just taking stock. While the Giants seem to have a plan in place for beating a the (Tom) Brady’s of the world — by battering down his OL wall — the Cowboys have neglected the most important positions on the team, the offensive and defensive lines, while mostly focusing on bringing in “ding-a-ling bling-bling” star type players.

Owner Jerry Jones who has been “acting” GM for the Cowboys (should have gotten an Oscar years ago) likes to think he knows football and is still under the impression that his Boys have been winning big games since Jimmy Johnson left town. This is now “the” biggest Texas sized delusion that’s holding the Cowboys back.

What’s holding Kansas City back is their long lineage losing culture. They’ve lost for so long, they may not have enough players to help them “know” or “remember” what it’s like to win on a regular basis. At least they’re bringing in a load of new faces to help cultivate a new mindset. The question is, do they continue to become a self-fulfilling prophesy… IN THEIR OWN MINDS?

Whoever loses this game, for them, it’s dangerous. The loss will confirm a recent past and perhaps rattle the bones of ghosts of decades elapsed.

For the winner, the door is open wide to a season of “what-might-possibly-become.”

Gee, I hope the Chiefs are ready. But, ask any Cowboys fan and they’ll tell you the Boys were born ready.

So, Chiefs Addicts, what are your “attitudes” about this game?

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