Have you checked the schedule?
It’s . . . It’s here.
It’s Dallas week.
If you’re a longtime Washington Redskins fan, I don’t need to explain to you what this means. You’ve been through it all. The trash-talking from all the Cowboy fans in the DC Metro area (seriously, how do they all end up there?), the smack directed at each locker room by the players themselves, the ups, the downs, and everything in-between.
But if you’re new to the rivalry, well, first of all, welcome. You should know that once you choose a side, there’s no going back, and there’s no middle ground. You’re either for us or against us, and if you’re with us, the two Dallas weeks each NFL season are the two most stressful, panic-inducing, and hopefully pure, unadulterated joy-bringing weeks of the year. Each team brings their A-game, and the games are almost always close, no matter how good or bad the two opponents are in actuality. And the fans. Oh, the fans are the best. Just one time, go to a Redskins-Cowboys game dressed like Switzerland and watch the spectacle unfold. It’s quite compelling.
Second of all, prepare to have your life consumed. There will be no “casually watching” football for you anymore, no sir (or madam). It is now a part of you, whether you want it to be or not. You’ll start worrying more about who will fill in for Pierre Garcòn if he goes down than you will about the date you have in two hours (Hmm? That one’s just me? Okay). You’ll simultaneously love and hate the game like it’s a distant family relative. Sometimes it feels like work to keep caring, especially when the Redskins are bad, but you will.
The moment I became a Redskins fanatic in the true sense of the word was the Monday Night Miracle in 2005 (see “the ups” link two paragraphs ago). My parents only let me watch the first half of the game, because I was nine and had school the next day, but what they don’t know is that I brought a portable radio up to my room and listened to the second half under the covers, because football fever had taken me prisoner at some point in the second quarter. Something about the majesty of a game under the lights, the star power of guys like Clinton Portis and Sean Taylor, and the energy in Al Michaels’ voice opened my eyes and allowed me to see the sport as more than just a game.
Down 3-0 at the half, and 13-0 with just under 4:00 to go, Mark Brunell would connect with Santana Moss for two long touchdowns to give the Redskins the lead, and the win, 14-13, on the night Troy Aikman, Emmet Smith, and Michael Irvin were honored by the Cowboys. I had to pretend like I didn’t know the score the next morning, though the highlights were still new to me, so it was pretty easy.
And that was that. They got me. A moth to a flame, I was drawn in for life. And you will be too, I promise, because there truly is nothing like watch Good triumph over Evil.
In case anyone forgot how the two match-ups went last year, here’s a refresher:
Game 2: Week 17 (for the NFC East Title) (This one honestly gives me goosebumps)
So, yeah, it went pretty well for the Burgundy and Gold last season. As for how they’ll fare this week? Well, you’ll have to wait for my game preview to find out (I believe that’s called a tease!).
Also, there will be a live game chat going on during the game right here on isportsweb. I’ll be contributing, and so will a few other Washington and Dallas correspondents, so come on in and participate Sunday night.
Until then, go poke fun at any Cowboy fans you know, read up on the history of the rivalry, and remember, as always:
Hail to the Redskins.