The odds were stacked heavily against the Baltimore Ravens. The mountain of bad karma stood before them like an ice covered Mt. Everest.
The Cowboys were 6-1 at home on the season entering last night’s game. They were winners of four of their last five. They had just dismantled the defending Super Bowl Champions, a team that just a couple of weeks ago most “experts” deemed the land’s best. They regularly ravage opposing quarterbacks with an intimidating pass rush led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate DeMarcus Ware. They attack with two of the league’s most physical presences at wide receiver – Terrell Owens and Roy Williams while the Ravens top cover guys were anything but healthy.
And did I mention that this was the Cowboys’ last game ever in Texas Stadium, a shrine to fans in Dallas and home to some of the NFL’s most exciting and memorable moments. Oh and were you aware that teams closing one stadium and moving on to the next new state of the art mega million, b-zillion dollar ball yard were 11-2 when hosting finales?
Of course you were – we’ve been beaten over the head this entire week with that irrelevant statistic.
Seldom if ever has a team faced an “us against the world” football game like the Ravens did last night. They were seemingly hand-picked by the league and Jerry Jones to be the Cowboys’ sacrificial lamb – a non-conference opponent coming off a 5-11 season with issues at quarterback. There are even allegations that Jerry Jones requested that the Ravens be scheduled as the opponent for the Texas Stadium finale instead of one of the “tougher” teams.
Yes this was supposed to be a Texas-sized party and the Ravens were suppose to lay down and not be party poopers while Jerry Jones and all the Cowboys’ dignitaries like Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, etc, etc walked the promenade and soaked up the Hollywood-like lights in pageantry that was meant for winners.
But apparently no one shared the script with the Ravens for the closing ceremonies and the Cowboys serenaded by a cascade of boos, left Texas Stadium as losers.
It wasn’t supposed to end like that…
Signs, signs everywhere there were signs suggesting a Ravens loss. The NFL Network certainly provided a few of their own signs and their game analysts behaved like card carrying members of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders Fan Club. Marshall Faulk “sounded” like a deer in headlights and I wish Deion Sanders was one. And the network’s production was pathetically substandard.
But not even the obsolete and heavily biased production could take the euphoric feeling away from Ravens fans watching on TV and the many who attended in person. In the end, it may have even helped to make the victory that much sweeter.
Last night it was us against the world. It was Baltimore against the nation, against the assistant coach and diva wide receiver who turned their little snooty noses up at us and an owner who viewed us as pawns in his well orchestrated party. We were the hired help that was supposed to be obedient subordinates and bow to the whims of the high society blue bloods. Instead, we ate their food, drank their wine and took home their women.
That mountain of bad karma proved to be nothing more than a speed bump on the road to the playoffs for the Ravens.
One stop to go.
And that’s something the Cowboys’ owner WISHES he could say.