“Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way & expecting a different outcome”
--Old Chinese Proverb
If you are a fan of the Washington Redskins, then you hate the Dallas Cowboys, period. You hate the team, the city, the fans, the hole in the roof, the owner, the silly music they play for the opening kickoff…. You hate people named ‘Dallas’, the show “Dallas,” and even things that rhyme with Dallas.
It’s just the way it is.
And losing to Dallas….especially IN Dallas is a horrifying experience. It is made 1,000 times worse if you happen to actually be in attendance. The Redskins have had almost no success in Dallas over the past 15 years or so. With each loss, a small part of each Redskin fan dies.
In 1991, I was in eighth grade. For my birthday, my parents bought tickets to the Redskins-Cowboys game on Monday Night in Big D. We got there three hours early. The Redskins won a thriller, 33-31. Washington would go on to win the Super Bowl that year. All was right in the world. At the time, I didn’t think Dallas was so bad. Perhaps I should have basked in the glory of that night a bit longer……
This Sunday, I am heading back to Dallas. The Cowboys are 8-1 and on top of the world. The Redskins are respectable 5-4 and in the thick of the playoff race, but they enter the game with negative momentum following a heartbreaking loss to the Eagles. They enter the game as huge underdogs.
After my last experience watching the Redskins in Dallas, my wife proclaimed she would never go there with me again. I even “barred myself” from ever going back. Yet, here I sit—ticket in hand, waiting for the gates of Hell to let me back in.
What follows is a game by game summary of what happened, where I was, and how I’ve felt during the past 15 years of Dallas nightmares:
September 7th, 1992: Redskins enter the season opening Monday Night as defending Super Bowl Champions. The Cowboys respond by taking the Redskins to the woodshed, winning 23-10 in what become win #1 of a Super Bowl season for the Cowboys. As a high school freshmen, I took the loss in stride, thinking it was an aberration. Surely, the Redskins were still bound for another championship run.
December 26th, 1993: Washington was arguably the worst team in the NFL at this point. Dallas was on their way to their second straight Super Bowl victory. I watched from home as the Cowboys won 38-3 and poured salt in the gaping wound that was the Redskins 1993 season.
November 20th, 1994: The Redskins were floundering under first year head coach Norv Turner, on their way to a 3-13 season. Yet, I had some hope that we could surprise the Cowboys in their house. Ha! Dallas led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter, and cruised to a 31-7 victory.
December 3rd, 1995: Isn’t there an old saying about the shining sun and a dog’s rear end? Well, it applies here. Somehow, someway, led by the legendary Heath Shuler, the Redskins came into Texas Stadium and beat the Cowboys 24-17. The Redskins season had ended long ago, and Dallas won on their way to their third Super Bowl in four years, yet Washington found a way. I was happy, but not thrilled. It would have been much sweeter had the game meant something. Not only did we only finish 6-10 that year, but Dallas won the Super Bowl anyway—meaning this victory did nothing to help us and nothing to hurt them. On a side note…I was a senior in high school and watched this game with my good friend and fellow fan, Eric. Prior to the season, I had a special Heath Shuler hat embroidered. Before the game, Eric and I ritually destroyed the hat, finishing it off by throwing it down the sewer drain. Of course, Shuler plays the game of his life (the only one) and the Redskins win. Go figure.
November 28th, 1996: I was home from college, watching this Thanksgiving Day game with my parents. For the first time in years, I felt the Redskins (who entered the game at 8-4) had a legitimate chance to win. I believed Dallas was getting washed up, and it was our time to take the reins of the division. After the Cowboys smashed us 21-10, I wasn’t feeling so confident. Dallas would go on to the playoffs, as the Redskins would stumble to a miserable finish.
November 16th, 1997: Watched this one amongst friends during my sophomore year in college. It’s a tough choice, but this one was possibly the most painful of all. The Redskins led 14-6 with 2:00 left on the clock, and had every opportunity to close the door on Dallas—for the game and for the season. However, once again, a Norv Turner coached team snatched defeat from the hands of victory as the Redskins crumbled over the final minute and lost, 17-14. The details of this debacle are still etched in my mind ten years later.
December 27th, 1998: Last game of a miserable season for Washington. Last game of an average season for Dallas. Meaningless game for both teams. Dallas was once again headed for the playoffs—the Redskins were once again headed home for the off-season. Even under these circumstances, the Cowboys still wore the Redskins out, winning 23-7.
October 24th, 1999: The Redskins lost to Dallas in overtime in Washington, week one of the 1999 season. They hadn’t lost since and entered the game with revenge on their minds. Personally, watching with my friends from out rent house in Norman, OK, I thought we’d go into Dallas and exact that revenge. Dallas won 38-20—it was never close.
December 10th, 2000: By this time, the Cowboys had finally fired their last bullet from the dominating teams of the 1990’s. The Cowboys were about to enter a pattern of several years of poor play, angry fans, and non playoff seasons. However, that didn’t stop them from destroying the Redskins on this day, 32-13. The lasting image for me from this game was Redskins quarterback Jeff George being dragged by a Cowboys linemen like a carcass late in the game. None of his Redskins teammates came to his defense. Possibly the most embarrassing of the Texas Stadium defeats.
October 15th, 2001: Did I say the most embarrassing? Oh yeah, maybe not. Both of these teams entered this Monday Night fiasco at 0-4. The world was laughing. It would only get worse for the loser. The game “lived up” to its’ billing, as Washington attempted to run out the clock and secure a thrilling 7-6 victory. However, please pay attention to the word “attempted” in the previous sentence. Redskins running back Stephen Davis fumbled, the Cowboys recovered, drove the field, and kicked a field goal to win 9-7. This was my first Redskins-Cowboys game as a married man. I kind of melted down after this game, and for the first time, I think my wife began questioning her decision.
November 28th, 2002: Ah, a day that lives in infamy. My wife decided to sacrifice her Thanksgiving Day and tagged along with me to the game—my first visit since 1991. It was going to be a long day—we left Tulsa early in the morning, drove to Dallas, and planned to meet up with her family in Oklahoma City after the game. Well, we left REALLY early, got to the stadium REALLY early, and sat there for a LONG time before the game even started. My wife was obviously bored, but she played along. The game actually got off to a positive start, with the Redskins taking a lead in the second half. But as we’ve come to expect…Dallas rallied. When they took a 10 point lead (they eventually won 27-20), I told my wife we could leave. I was furious. What happened next lives on in family lore to this day, and probably always will. Knowing Dallas just ended our season again, and having had to suffer through it surrounded by all of those miserable Cowboys fans, I went into “shut down” mode. I handed my wife the keys, I threw my water bottle to the ground, and I LITERALLY did not say a word until we arrived in OKC almost four hours later. She drove through the night, having sacrificed her holiday, and I stared coldly out the window. By the time we got there, she was probably more upset with me than she ever had been before—or maybe has been since (you’d have to ask her). Anyway, she gave ME the silent treatment for the next few days, and then told me she would NEVER attend a game with me in Dallas again. EVER. I agreed with her, and “banned” myself from ever going back as well.
November 2nd, 2003: Really don’t remember this one too well. All I remember is that it was towards the end of the laughable Steve Spurrier era in Washington, and that it was two days after we moved into our first house—my parents were in town to help us get settled. The Cowboys won 21-14. New house, same story.
December 26th, 2004: Again, a pretty meaningless game for both teams. We were still living in Tulsa at the time and visiting family in OKC for the holidays. I didn’t get to see much of this game, but was mildly happy to check in from time to time and see that we were winning. I had to work the next day, and listened to the end of the game on the radio during my drive back to Tulsa. Dallas rallied in the final minute to win, 13-10. Merry Christmas.
September 19th, 2005: OK, maybe God had messed with me enough. Maybe he figured that just this once, we’d make ole’ Ed a happy man during a Redskins-Cowboys game in Dallas. It was Monday Night. My wife went to bed in the 4th quarter with Dallas winning 13-0. I went into the other room to finish watching the game by myself, fuming. Then, the “Monday Night Miracle” occurred. We scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes and held on to win 14-13. It felt as if the weight of the world, had been lifted off my shoulders. It will probably always be one of my favorite regular season victories. I’ll never forget the feeling I had going to bed that night. On top of the world. Why didn’t I go to THAT game?
September 17th, 2006: Perhaps we had “reversed the curse” the year before? Or not. Another nationally televised game, except this time, Dallas didn’t let us come back. Having just moved to OKC, I watched this game with my wife. It wasn’t pretty. Dallas won 27-10, making last year’s miracle feel like a once in a lifetime experience.
So there you have it.
The Redskins have played in Dallas 15 times since we last won the Super Bowl. Here are the ugly numbers:
Average Score: Cowboys 23, Redskins 12
We’ve lost in blowout fashion, heartbreak fashion, and “in between” fashion. We’ve won ONE game in 15 years there that mattered in the standings to both teams at the time.
A 15 year nightmare.
And now, Dallas is actually REALLY good again—clearly the best team they’ve had in at least the past 10 years. So what do I do? I decide to go…again. I break my self-imposed ban (my wife is NOT breaking her self-imposed bad). I am meeting up with a bunch of Redskins fans, but I am traveling by myself. I will only be able to give myself the silent treatment on the way home this year.
Or maybe I can have my own celebration?