Dear Jerry Wayne

On this day the Cowboys are certain to fall to 3-6; on this day that begins a stretch of games in Philadelphia, in Atlanta, against Washington, and against the Saints; on this day when Dallas is a full touchdown dog against the Eagles: I can’t say it any better than seven-year-old Rylan Wood of Mansfield.

Dear Mr. Jones,

My name is Rylan Wood. I am a 7 year old 2nd grade student in Mansfield, Texas. My family has been Dallas Cowboys fans since the team was started. I have a lot of Cowboy gear and I have met Zeke, Taco, Jason Witten, and two other players who play on other teams.

You have made my mom very mad because WE SUCK! Every game day she is yelling at the tv and turns off the game. We are wanting to believe in the boys but its hard. I hope “Coach Garrett” is clapping if this letter gets to you. See what happens when Dez X is gone??  The cheerleaders are better than the team this year. I do not want to hurt your feelings.

Thank you, Rylan




  1. Howard

    This post is starting to look a little embarrassing. The problem is with the future. We tend to overrate its certainty. Did you every notice that all worry is about the future? We are the only animal that worries. Two problems with worrying about the future 1) we often get it wrong and 2) we often can’t change it.

    Here’s a question more interesting to me. Since you articulate for a living, articulate as to why you care whether the Cowboys win or lose.

    • Allan

      Howard, you have correctly observed that less than two weeks ago I predicted the Cowboys would go 1-3 at best during this tough stretch and fall completely out of the playoff race. Instead, Since November 11, the Cowboys have gone 3-0 and grabbed first place in their division. Amari Cooper looks like the first round pick the Cowboys gave up for him. Ezekiel Elliot looks like the best running back in the NFC. And that defense, anchored by Smith and Vander Esch, has become very fun to watch.

      Let me update my prediction since, as you’ve noted, I often get it wrong. Assuming Dallas loses against the Saints next Thursday, they will wind up winning this lousy division with an 8-8 or a 9-7 record. That gives them the worst record among division winners, which forces them to play a wild card game to open the playoffs. They may or may not win that game — no prediction on that yet. If they do advance to the division round, they will play at the Rams or at the Saints and get humiliated. And it will be 23 years and counting since the Dallas Cowboys won a division playoff game.

      But that’s not what you requested. You’ve asked me to articulate why I despise the Cowboys and wish them to lose every time they take the field.

      I have attempted to explain this at various times in this space over the past ten or eleven years. You can search “Cowboys” in the topics list and find lengthy essays regarding this issue. The short answer is that I was done with Dallas the day Jerry Wayne fired Jimmy Johnson and brought in the despicable Barry Switzer to replace him. Any man who fires his coach after winning back-to-back Super Bowls and replaces him with Barry Switzer clearly does not care about his team. He cares deeply for something, but it’s not the success of his team.

      I am sickened by the way 9-7 seasons and a wild card playoff win every eight or nine years now constitutes success in the eyes of Cowboys fans. The standard has been lowered to an embarrassingly Browns-esque level. I have had two daughters born and raised and gone off to college since the Cowboys were last relevant. And nobody really seems to care. For 35 years the Cowboys organization and its fans expected — demanded! — that they compete for Super Bowl trophies every single season. Jerry Wayne has single-handedly destroyed that culture.

      Shockingly, that stadium still sells out every Sunday and the Cowboys still rank in the top two or three every year in merchandise sales. That, I cannot explain. It’s been twenty-three years since they won anything!!! So, nothing’s going to change until Jerry Wayne begins to feel it in his pocketbook. And by now it’s clear that the only way Cowboys fans will stop going to games and stop wearing the gear is if they go 0-16 for nine or ten years in a row. Apparently, 8-8 is OK with Cowboys fans.

      So, yes, my favorite NFL teams are the Houston Texans (they’ve won seven straight!) and whoever’s playing Dallas.

      At what point do the Cowboys become the Browns? Or the Lions? Franchises that were perennial champions five and six decades ago but are laughingstocks now? Two generations have been born and raised since the Cowboys even participated in a conference championship game. How much time’s left? Why does no one feel the urgency?

      Howard, you asked for the reason I care one way or the other. I don’t know. Maybe nostalgia. Maybe so I can argue with blind Cowboys fans. Maybe I feel betrayed. Maybe I enjoy being on the other side.

      How many hours until Thursday’s kickoff?

      • Howard

        When I figured out why I cared about the Cowboys, I gave up following sports entirely. It seems like there is a missing element if we put energy into something but do not know why.

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