The chant that rallies Redskins fans at offseason player appearances, practices and practically any opportunity available couldn't even get an "amen" at the official start of Dallas week.
It seems an oversight this time around when Washington heads to Dallas on Sunday. Both teams are more concerned with avoiding 0-2 starts than losing to the other.
Is the rivalry dead? Let's say it's still on hiatus. Week 2 games usually lack any pregame drama. It's like waking up at 6 a.m. of a mid-July morning when it's too hot to be bothered so soon. The rivalry is better for December matchups. Unfortunately, the Cowboys come to Washington on Nov. 5 after the bye week. That means the series is finished by midseason – ugh.
The rivalry lives through fans. Players rarely stay in one place for long to develop a hatred for one team. Indeed, only Chris Samuels, Jon Jansen and Ethan Albright have been with the Redskins since 2001. Gone are the days when the Over The Hill Gang fought the same Cowboys for nearly a decade with plenty of grudges to be settled. Today's players tend to be friends with opponents because they consider themselves to be "NFL players" instead of Cowboys and Redskins.
Rivalry talk is for the co-worker you can't stand who smugly wore his Cowboys jersey to work. Until Washington swept the series last year, Redskins fans were just pummeled for five years by their anti-social neighbors wearing the star.
When co-writing "America's Rivalry! The 20 Greatest Redskins-Cowboys Games" in 1997 with Warpath editor John Keim and others, we learned Dallas fans aren't big on the series. They tend to hate whomever they're competing for a playoff spot so the 49ers and Packers were more despised than the Redskins during the late '90s. Redskins fans bought 80 percent of the books sold. I was told by a book distributor that Texas readers like big picture books. I'm not saying they can't read, but what other conclusion can you draw from that?
I have to admit my first trip to Texas Stadium in 1995 was both a letdown and culture shock. First, it's an old barn of a stadium. Second, having grown up in Washington, walking amidst a sea of blue jerseys felt like being dropped behind enemy lines. And the number of women wearing fur was startling. A real wine-and-cheese crowd.
The rivalry has become one-sided. It's kinda like that with the Giants-Redskins. New York fans really hate the Redskins. And while Washingtonians don't exactly embrace our yankee brethren, though 9/11 terrorism tended to soften relations because both cities were attacked, it's not the same level of hatred on the Redskins fans' end.
"We want Dallas" sounded like a lone call for "Free Bird" at a concert after the Vikings loss. It may grow in Washington area pubs come kickoff, but the days of Diron Talbert wanting to kill Roger Staubach are done.
Rick Snider has covered the Redskins since 1983 and is an editor for Warpath and a columnist for The Washington Examiner.
Is the Rivaly Dead?
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