Eyes Will Be Wary in '09 Home Opener

Last season's woes will follow Cowboys, fans into the 2009 season

On August 21, the Dallas Cowboys will play the Tennessee Titans in the 2009 home opener.

This would be, under normal circumstances, an afterthought. It is the preseason, after all; there will be no late game heroics, at least not by anyone who will see much of the field in the regular season. There will be, maybe a few (if we’re lucky) good hits. And little will be said, ultimately, about the Cowboys’ chances in 2009.

But these are far from normal circumstances in Dallas. A historically ugly 2008 ensured that.

Dallas fans are, at best, skeptical, coming into 2009—and with good reason. The 2008 season was like a torrid love affair with a gorgeous woman; at first, everything was great. “Maybe she is the one,” we thought. Then the rumors started, born of that chatty Cathy known as ESPN, and we scoffed. Some trouble-signs surfaced, and we looked past them; after all, she’s the best thing that ever happened to us. No need to make a mountain of a mole hill. But some more trouble signs surfaced, and we were alarmed. In week 16, she stood us up on a date without calling. In week 17, though, we caught her with our mortal enemy and the walls of our collective ignorance came crashing down on us.

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Semi-apt analogies aside, the fan-base of the Dallas Cowboys is treading with caution coming into 2009, and there will be little exaltation upon the football-debut of the Jerry-Dome. We remember all too well the pomp and circumstance surrounding last season’s loss to the Ravens in the last game at Texas Stadium—you know, the one in which the team choked on its own sense of entitlement?

So, for all the usual relief of a new football season, Dallas fans will fill the posh seats of the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington with a chip on their shoulder and boos ready, hanging on their lips.

It will be a long road for Dallas to regain the trust of fans, a group that can’t seem to agree on anything except for the fact that 2008 was ugly, and that something must be done. What that something is, no one seems quite sure.

But the road begins, in Dallas, on August 21st, against last year’s darling of the AFC, the Tennessee Titans. With Chris Simms now living a mile above sea-level, we will see a lot of Vince Young, native of the Houston area, second-string quarterback and still, probably, future of the franchise.

It won’t matter that it’s the preseason, and it won’t matter that Tony Romo will get, maybe, 15 snaps. The  wary fan will be watching, like a hawk, for those trouble signs that we ignored to our own, ignominious demise in 2008.

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