Taking One For The Team

Cowboys' fans and season ticket holders, just how much do you adore your beloved team? Irving city officials are aiming to find out. Last week, with minimal fanfare and media coverage, a civil district court judge granted approval "green lighting" efforts to issue tax-related bonds for Texas Stadium redevelopment.

This is political code for "Cowboys' faithful, you're about ready to shoulder the load."

Coaches are always preaching the need to "give maximum and extra effort." References are constantly made to giving a 110% at all times. It now appears this requirement will extend beyond the playing field to those who plant their tails in Texas Stadium seats. So, do you fans feel you have an extra 10% in you? Can you give a little more at each game? Quite simply, you must. An additional 10% is going to be your entry fee to each contest. You've heard the old adage about "getting while the getting's good?" The City of Irving is no exception to the adage, and the Texas Stadium host city is ready to fill its coffers as the countdown to Arlington begins.

Ticket holders and those utilizing Texas Stadium parking will be required to shell out an additional 10% of the ticket face value, and they will also be assessed $3/vehicle when pulling into an adjoining Texas Stadium parking lot. Say what you will, that's a pretty hefty increase for the congregation to bear. All, except the players, that is.

In a rather dubious way, the decision was made to exempt players from this taxation, and the entire increase will be left for the paying public to incur. The initial tax proposal, presented to Irving residents in May 2006, included a third income-producing source. Players. As the measure went to the district judge, the player's obligation has mysteriously disappeared. Go figure. The fans, which continually make this whole thing possible, are left holding the proverbial responsibility bag.

This year's average ticket price is $66, and the least expensive parking space runs $15. Mr. and Mrs. Cowboy fan, your trip to Texas Stadium just cost you an extra $10. "How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?" Actually, it's not the Cowboys looking to apply the pressure; it's the City of Irving. No one can blame Irving residents for approving the measure in May. When you can offload financial responsibilities to others, why not? They're simply a microcosm of today's society. Always looking to pass the buck to others. Irving Mayor Herbert (Herb) Gears could care less about Cowboys fans. The same contingency that, through purchases, contributes to the Irving revenue pool on a regular basis. "I'm not concerned about the rest of the world and what they think about how we operate our stadium business."

In an interview with the local ESPN radio affiliate in Dallas, Gears had the nerve and audacity to indicate the generated taxes would go towards benefiting the Cowboys' fan. "The fees are associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the facility," professed Gears. Really now? Just how expensive were those cans of paint used to extinguish "The Quilt?" A.k.a the Texas Stadium roof. The bright white coating must be laced with specs of gold bullion. Gears went as far as to say the money would be used to supply a larger, replacement sewage pipe and create a DART (Dallas public train transportation) rail station. Sure they will. The chances of Texas Stadium renovations, between now and 2009 departure, are slim and none, and everyone knows Slim's whereabouts. Come on Mayor; don't insult the intelligence of the average Cowboys' fan. Then again, maybe he's right on point with sticking it to the masses.

Why not put the burden on the average ticket purchaser? These are the same consumers who routinely will miss a quarter of the game to stand in line for an overpriced tube steak on a stale bun. The same group who will watch the game through snowflakes. The unfortunate part being the snowflakes are actually asbestos barnacles floating down from the interior side of The Quilt. This collection will also traipse a brand new pair of Nike "shocks" into a collective lake of urine just for bladder relief. The same culmination more concerned about being seen than heard. The same group who would rather sell tickets on Stub Hub or eBay rather than call a Cowboy buddy or neighbor down the street. By all means, let the opposition feel like it's one of their home games. The same assembly of people who will miss half the game to stand in line for the stadium's only ATM machine. Note to self; hit the bank before venturing to the game. Who knows, maybe the Mayor knows exactly what he's doing and whom he's doing it to.

Cowboys' fans, you are being asked to pony up for Texas Stadium implosion or redevelopment (depending on whom you choose to believe). The very citizens who will benefit from the post-Cowboys residency are having the path paved by someone else's coin. The Mayor went on to say, "The primary beneficiaries are the people who are inside the stadium." Mayor, that being said, does this mean toilets will actually flush and concession lines will no longer resemble frozen molasses? It's not going to happen!

Once again, "the have's," the Dallas Cowboys, have avoided personal impact. Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones signed a letter regarding maintenance and lease issues and agreed the team would undertake no act of "omission or commission" to oppose or frustrate Irving's attempt to raise stadium revenue. News flash. If the Cowboys are asked to send a tax bill to season ticket holders receiving their season ticket packages, rest assured Jerry would charge the City of Irving a service/distribution fee of some sorts. Jerry will not miss an opportunity to capitalize. Ah yes, the politics behind the political process.

And the best remedy to any possible grumbling or unrest from the fan base? Winning. The cure-all salve for any financially inflicted wound. If the Parcells' plan finally comes together, and the Cowboys enjoy 2006 success, the imposed tax will reflect dust being swept under the Texas Stadium carpet without a mere whimper from the fan base. As long as spirits are high, no one seems to care about the meddlesome periphery and economic issues. Can't be bothered with details when the team is winning. Mayor Gears is looking to grab all he can as the Cowboys depart for Arlington. He's just doing his job and keeping his constituency happy. It's called politics by popularity, and Cowboys' fans are left to fund the Mayor's promise.

Ain't life grand?

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