As someone who spent the majority of his life in Dallas and grew up enamoured with our professional sports franchises, tonight means a lot. The Texas Rangers are in the World Series again and they actually have a chance to win it. Granted, it doesn’t look great after the meltdown last night, but they have a chance and that’s all we can ask for.
The thing is if the Rangers win, that gives us TWO of the THREE major championships this year and puts extra pressure on the Cowboys to complete the Trifecta. The Mavericks shocked and delighted the world when Dirk led them to a Championship this summer over LeBron and the Dream Team in Miami. And that’s why tonight’s game is important. I’m not a Rangers fan and I really don’t care if the Rangers lose tonight. I followed the “professional” franchises we had in Dallas when I was growing up and by that I mean the Cowboys and, occasionally, the Mavericks. The Rangers eventually got a beautiful ballpark which meant that I went to plenty of games, but I never really cared if they won or lost. Neither did most of the crowd. We went for the atmosphere, the food, and the homeruns. Oh, and to see Rusty Greer make a play.
Every season as July rolls around, those that are even remotely curious about the Rangers, change their focus to the behemoth that is the Cowboys. They are our team. The Rangers so rarely mattered past July 1st and the Cowboys were in training camp, that we had better things to do. Like last night. I had better things to do. I was playing a new video game and flipped over to watch an inning here or there between matches. I was hoping for a win and Josh Hamilton sure made it interesting in the 10th, but it was only because I’m passionate about the Cowboys.
If the Rangers win tonight, the heat is on the Cowboys. Jerry Jones puts pressure on the ‘Boys daily. That Star on the helmet puts pressure on the team daily. The fans are always ready to apply pressure and worship winners, but the pressure to win from all sides is going to increase exponentially if the lowly Texas Rangers bring a Championship home to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. If the Mavericks and Rangers both have 2011 rings and the Cowboys finish the 2011-2012 season without one, Jerry and the Team will hear the chanting loud and clear. They’re the supposed Championship Team in town. They have the pedigree. They last won a Championship in 1996. That’s 15 freaking years ago. It’s about time for a turnaround.
That’s why this Rangers’ win couldn’t come at a better time. A World Series Banner may just give the Cowboys the extra shot in the arm they need as they head to Philadelphia this weekend. The Iggles. Our rivals. Nevermind all that national crap about the Cowboys and Redskins, it’s the Cowboys and the Iggles. No other rivalry even comes close. It’s not in the Win-Loss column as Dallas has a slight advantage there (56-44 according to Wikipedia). It’s not the Championships between the two teams (Dallas with FIVE and I think Philly has a number north of Negative One). It’s the attitude and the animosity.
It is strange that we have Buddy Ryan’s kid on the Cowboys sideline now. Buddy’s defenses were scary good and we still hold a grudges for the Bounty Bowls. It really is the defense that stands out when I think of the Eagles. Sure, whoever is running the ball for the green always seems to get loose against the Cowboys, but their defense ended Michael Irvin’s career and certainly shortened Troy Aikman’s. Great feeling is that now, like the early to mid-nineties, the Cowboys defense is better than the Iggles and intimidates opponents more.
Reflecting on recent Cowboys-Iggles History, I’m reminded of the ending to the 2009-2010 season. The back to back Eagles losses that ended McNabb’s days in Philly. I’m looking forward to DeMarcus Ware introducing himself to Michael Vick’s fragile and frail figure a few times Sunday night. Perhaps a brutal body slam or two by the beast known as Anthony Spencer. Those two alone should have Vick sleeping restless tonight. Plus with Sean Lee roving the middle and a Secondary that’s finally healthy, Rob Ryan could bring pressure for almost anywhere.
I guess I could devote time to Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and our possible emerging star in DeMarco Murray, but none of them really strike fear in the hearts of Iggles’ fans. You know Romo can light it up, but he can also toss horrible interceptions. Witten is a thorn in the side of any defense, but he rarely breaks a game open. Miles Austin is a threat at any time to post a big score, but this season has not seen the kind of results we expect from the Pro Bowl receiver. Murray could be a one hit wonder. His game versus the Rams last week was brilliant, but it was the Rams. No, the one guy that deserves a mention from the offense is Dez Bryant. He is deserving of the honor of wearing 88 in Dallas. He’s kind of like that little annoying receiver the Iggles have.
Dez Bryant is like DeSean Jackson in that he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He has the moves and the breakaway speed that make defenses and special teams worry constantly. The biggest difference between Jackson and Bryant is that Bryant can break any tackle. Sometimes it works against him, because he takes more hits than he needs to, but he’s the player that makes the Cowboys offense look threatening. He’s a young player and not consistent enough yet, but he’s going to have a breakout game this season and I think this weekend just might be it.
Go Rangers and put the pressure on My Cowboys for Sunday night! It’s gonna be fun.