Sunday, October 16, 2011

DVDS of the 1993 Season Are On Sale in the Lobby After the Concert, Uh, Game

The Dallas Cowboys will play the Patriots at Foxboro today. The sight of the Cowboys on my TV will evoke the same sentiment it has since about 2002. What's the word for anti-nostalgia, anyway?

The Cowboys create the same sort of vague depression about entertainment and life itself I feel when I hear the frequent advertisements for former big rock acts that are on extremely ill-advised tours, usually with one or at most two of the original band members still performing, the rest being too bored, alienated, or dead to participate. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend's kid touring with a performance of "Tommy" is the particular act that comes to mind this morning. Rest assured, when casinos are built here, there will be many of these acts performing. What could be worse than having been a megastar, and now you're not big enough for Vegas?

In essence, formerly superior performers who just don't have anything new to contribute (and why should they? What's Daltrey got left to prove) are reduced to being their own cover bands. Work is work.

Isn't that exactly what the 21st century Cowboys are, a cover band of the first team Jerry Jones assembled in the early 1990s? And just like any cover band, the more diligently they try to resemble the original, the more spectacularly they make clear the gap in ability between themselves and said original. While the Patriots have quite successfully reinvented themselves between 2003 and 2011 (keeping Tom Brady helps there), the Cowboys are a succession of looks like but not quite -- Tony Romo-Troy Aikman, Dez Bryant-Michael Irvin, etc. Jones, a shrewd man, can't see any way to achieve success except to try and repeat what used to work for him. Whole industries go bust that way.

Readers tend to skim on Sunday morning, so I'll close with the following important reminder. When I wrote that the Cowboys resemble a cover band, it did NOT, repeat NOT mean I think they're going to cover this afternoon.


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