romobyl

Last year: 8-8, third place in NFC East

Acquisitions: Travis Frederick, Demetress Bell, Will Allen, Dante Rosario, Anthony Armstrong

Departures: Dan Connor, Felix Jones, Kevin Ogletree, Gerald Sensabaugh, Marcus Spears

Vegas win total over/under: 8 1/2 wins.

Verdict: UNDER

garrettupset

Five privileges Jason Garrett has been stripped of this season:

- Playcalling

- Using fancy book-learnin’ smartypants SAT words

- Going to the bathroom without permission.

- Sleeping

- Refusing to watch Jerry Jones’ prima nocta ceremonies with employee’s wives

Fan forecast, by kommenter Bostjan Snachbar:

We deserve it.

No, that “it” isn’t “a championship”. Jesus, if you’re still that deluded about the potential of this team you need to seek out professional help. This is a legitimate concern on my part with regards to the Cowboys fan base. The local media and drinking holes around DFW were rife with talk about how this year’s team is different, how this is the year where we might finally get off that winter schneid.

I mean that at this point, the full-throated throng that is the Dallas Cowboys fanbase deserves every ounce of the scornful semen that is the collective ridicule, schadenfreude and derision of fans from every other team in this league.

Take the renaming of Cowboys Stadium to “AT&T Stadium”, for instance. Fans complained that AT&T doesn’t deserve rights to the moniker because theirs is an overpriced product with a monopoly on local markets established primarily through aggressive false advertising and relentless self-fellating as opposed to quality service and product reliability. The irony here is almost totally lost on every ‘Boys fan out there. No, seriously. Bring this up and you’ll draw the same blank stare as if you tried to explain the hypocrisy of supporting legislation influenced by exclusively Christian dogma while railing against the dangers of Shari’a law’s creeping global influence. A person like that is worthy of mockery and little else (because taking them seriously legitimizes them). Cowboys fans, like most trolls, feed off attention – and, like most trolls, their greatest fear is not ignorance but irrelevance. We will gladly crucify ourselves upon a cross of silver and blue so long as ESPN is steady churning out a steady diet of flamebait to whet our appetites.

Or, to put it differently: just as Baltimore Ravens fans are self-styled victims, Dallas Cowboys fans usually suffer themselves as tragic anti-heros (which is perhaps unsurprising given the Galtian ideologies of large swaths within our ranks).

Really at this point being a loyal Dallas Cowboys fan right now is a lot like being a sane and intelligent Republican in 2013. People have a knee-jerk negative reflex to your title, and you find yourself either having to apologize for your flock or prefacing explanations in bar arguments or casual back-and-forth with “outside of complete fuckwits, no one believes that”. Cowboys fans, like most self-identified Republicans, are fuckwits; and those who share allegiances with either (or both; bless your heart) and fail to acknowledge said reality are typically just as deluded as their reality-deficient counterparts.

At the same time, this rant comes with something of a caveat to fans of teams that have enjoyed recent success: while the Cowboys may take the asshole cake, your fanbase still breaks off a sizable chunk of cockwallet crumble. This is mainly directed at Redskins fans/Democrats, because I never cease to be amazed at the uncanny ability of both factions to piss off previously unmolested segments of the population with their peerless condescension and arrogance. This is why neither of them can ever have nice things.

There are actually a lot of similarities between Mitt Romney and Tony Romo, and if you hate yourself enough to subject your brain to such an exercise you can see them. Both are ideal candidates for their position, in a vacuum. Both boast impressive statistical records and/or a host of meaningless accomplishments. Both were asked to do something with nothing, neither delivered, no one honestly expected either to do so; but the manner in which each man choked away what slim chance at victory he had is uniquely spectacular to him.

Perhaps even more amusing is the fact that while many of the casual fans and cross-country bandwagoners of the late-90s have either lost interest or switched allegiances (even within our state’s borders), the vocally diehard contingent of fans are now becoming increasingly browner. I think it’s a great thing, as I’ve learned how to swear in strings of Spanish expletives so salty that would make Jerry Sandusky blush in shame – like I always say, I’m a big fan of multiculturalism.

While we’re on the subject of brown people – Dallas Cowboys fans used to be comparable to Old Testament Jews: we saw an almighty force deliver manna from heaven in the form of three championships, and we developed faith in that higher power to always deliver. When doubters questioned our allegiance, our loyal followers needed only point to the miracles from on high that had manifested themselves on the gridiron as evidence for their continued dedication and optimism regarding the team’s future.

The fanaticism and unflinching delusion of the present-day Cowboy fan – and, by extension, the fanbase as a whole – can really only be described as cultish in nature, approaching levels that would cause even the most fervent of Pentecostals to wag their fingers in admonishment. Let’s look at our team: yes, there are certainly reasons to be optimistic. Dez Bryant had a monster second half and will be a fantasy goldmine for all those 4th-quarter desperation targets he always seems to get. Jason Witten continues to labor ingloriously at his position, putting up videogame reception totals and being the safety blanket to the Linus that is Tony Romo. Miles Austin’s hamstrings might even decide to cooperate for a while, and first-round center Travis Frederick looked very solid in a meaningless preseason game against the second and third units of the eminently shitty Miami Dolphins.

On the defensive side of things, our safety situation is still up in the air, Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer are battling injury as per usual, and oh yeah; we’re hitching our wagon to Monte Kiffin. Apparently Rob Ryan’s defense was too complicated for our players to understand. I could maybe understand that critique if it weren’t coming from the same people who viewed him as an upgrade from Wade Phillips. Hopefully Claiborne and Carr will be more productive by virtue of not having to think as much.

The key to our defense is the Rush Hour tandem of Carter and Lee. If both of them can stay healthy, our defense will benefit immensely from their combined speed (Carter) and awareness (Lee). That gives us…I dunno, maybe a strong chance to pull off an excruciating divisional-round road loss. That’s our ceiling. That is the most bullish of assertions for our team that is grounded in even the faintest of factual and historical context. Yes, the thought of “what if Tony Romo catches fire late in the season a la Joe Flacco” crossed my mind, until I remembered that Jason Garrett is our head coach; and if you can’t see him overruling Bill Callahan to run a misdirection draw on fourth and inches on the 30 then you haven’t been watching very closely.

Let’s breakdown the likely wins: away games at Kansas City (week 2) and San Diego (week 4), and home games against St. Louis (week 3) and Oakland (week 13). The Eagles are pretty terrible too; we should win both of those games by virtue of being less dysfunctional – although I strongly expect one or two of these games to feature Tony Romo serving up turnovers like Forest Whitaker at a garden party in The Butler.

The likely losses: home tilts against Denver and Green Bay, and away fixtures versus New Orleans and Chicago (December road game, instant loss). All four of these games could very well be within a touchdown, and the Cowboys figure to be a terrific “over + cover” parlay bet in road games against high-powered offenses.

Assuming we go 6-4 over that stretch (play along for the time being); that leaves us to win four games out of: Detroit, Minnesota, Washington twice, and New York twice. Considering we’ve never beaten New York at home in the new stadium, and that Washington bent us over the table to the tune of 66 points in our two meetings last year, I’m less than rosy about our prospects on that end. We can sacrifice a game somewhere else so long as we win three out of four against Skins/Giants, but I’m assuming we’ll do our typical NFC East split of 3-3.

To put my previous prediction in context; we’ve only done better than .500 in division play twice during the Romo era; those seasons were 2007 (13-3 (4-2), divisional round flameout) and 2009 (11-5 (4-2), divisional round flameout).

Just look at this picture:

dalfans

I want you to look at it, and remember it well – because these are the faces and politics of your average Cowboys fan. The next time Romo throws a backbreaking 4th quarter interception inside the opponent’s 30 – and believe me, he will – do not envision me lying prostrate in a corner choking on tears and Jameson, because then you might accidentally conjure up a moment of sympathy or compassion amidst your glorious pansensory schadenfreude-induced orgasm. No, I want you to envision a stadium almost two-thirds filled with a contingent of assholes (almost exclusively male) who think that it is a terrific idea to make life increasingly miserable for Texas women. Let their sicksweet salty tears of disappointment be your imagistic lubricant as the experience of another late-season Cowboys collapse strokes your anterior cingulated cortex to climax.

Looking forward to it, gentlemen. Please, be gentle; men.