Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and unrequited hate

By Ian Jacoby

The thing is, I grew up in Houston. More specifically, I grew up in Houston starting in the early 90’s, which means I got left in NFL fan-limbo.

When the Houston Oilers left town on the shoulders of Bud Adams I was just a kid, but growing up in Texas means you have to pick a team. Football is religion in this state, so you pick early.

Ags or Horns? Bears or Red Raiders? Dallas Cowboys or whatever team is representing Houston?

For some Houstonians it was an easy choice. They thought, “Well the Oilers are gone, but it’s Houston, we’ll get a team. I’ll hold out. Maybe I’ll be a Tennessee Titans fan for a minute.”

For me, it wasn’t like that. An 8-year-old kid doesn’t have that kind of patience and there’s no way I was going to support Bud “eff you, Houston” Adams. So I did what any respectable guy would do and jumped on the bandwagon of the other in-state team.

My dad has been a Cowboys fan his entire life so that made the transition fairly palatable. I thought, “They’re God’s team, America’s team, why not be a fan?”

When the Houston Texans arrived in 2002 I had no problem with them. I still don’t. They’re in a separate conference, why should I care which games they win or lose, unless of course they’re playing the Cowboys, which would have a direct impact on my happiness as a fan. Other than that, it doesn’t really matter. I can’t speak for everyone but the majority of my friends that are Cowboys fans are pretty apathetic to the success or failure of the Texans. We think Andre Johnson is a great guy/player and loved seeing him lay down the law on Cortland Finnegan. That’s pretty much the extent of it.

So I’m not sure why there seems to be such a passionate hatred for the Cowboys in my hometown. People are offended when I tell them I’m a Dallas fan. Legitimately upset, even after I explain the circumstances, as if I would be a better fan (or person) if as soon as my hometown got a new team I immediately rejected the players and franchise that I had come to know and love because of the close proximity of the new team.

But wouldn’t this make me a horrible fan, if I just up and switched teams and abandoned the blue and silver? I was barely cognitive when the Oilers left, and by the time the Texans had arrived, I was a fully indoctrinated member of Cowboys nation. I believe that my only duty as a former Oilers fan is to passionately hope for the demise of the Tennessee Titans. Beyond that, I’m absolved of devotion.

So this year, when the Texans and their startlingly good defense anchored by man-beasts like Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt make a deep run in the playoffs, I’ll still be my Cowboys side hoping we fix our O-line woes in time for next season. I won’t be rooting against Houston, nor will I be torn up if they lose. We’ll call it maintaining a respectful distance.

I guarantee that if the fortunes are reversed, and the Texans go 8-8, and the Cowboys make to the NFC championship game, Houston will be sporting their Green Bay or New York Giants or Atlanta Falcons Jerseys.

Is it because they hate Jerry Jones? Probably, but then again so do most Cowboys fans. Is it Dez Bryants controversial nature or Jason Witten’s sappy All-American demeanor? Who knows? I’m sure of one thing, they’re not threatened by us.

The only thing we do know is that this lop-sided aggressiveness will likely never end. As the Texans continue to grow as a franchise, their fans will continue this unnecessary prodding.

They are like the little brother who’s gone on to a multimillion dollar salary, rubbing his money in the face of his middle-class older brother because of some psychological damage done by losing at too many games of pickup basketball as a child. Maybe it makes them feel better, but they don’t need it. Likely, the season will speak for itself.

So yes, I’m from Houston. And yes, I’m a Cowboys fan. No, I don’t care if you hate me, but at least be aware of how it makes you look.

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