Even if you are older than me, you saw something on Thanksgiving in the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Oakland Raiders that you have never seen before. The Dallas Cowboys wore their blue jerseys at home. They have never done this. Back in 1960 when the Cowboys entered the NFL their colors were Navy Blue and White. All teams wore dark jerseys at home and white jerseys on the road. This included the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 through 1963.
In 1964 the Cowboys adopted a new jersey complete with silver helmets in lieu of the white with a dark blue star they had begun with. Also in 1964 the NFL told teams they could wear whatever color jerseys they wanted to at home. Tex Schramm was one of the NFL true visionary people. He had observed that for the fans every game looked virtually the same. Dallas always wore blue and the other team always wore white. In going to road games with the team Tex noticed that the other team’s colors made the games seem different.
So he became an NFL pioneer, and he opted to wear white at home and have the other team wear their dark jerseys. This meant that each week the Cowboys fans saw something new. Not just blue and white. So based upon the fact that the blue jersey began in 1964 and the Cowboys switched to white at home in 1964, no one had ever seen the Cowboys wear their blue jerseys at home until now.
I liked it. I think the Cowboys blue jerseys are the best looking jersey in all of football. Far better than our traditional whites. First of all the pants are silver instead of the teal metallic green tint they get when the players sweat. My wife has been to two games with me in recent years and what she remembers most are that our pants look green to her. I don’t know many Cowboys fans who like that, and I truly wish Jerry Jones would change the pants to silver all the time even with the white jerseys.
The blue of the jerseys also matches the blue on the helmet. It has always been a bit of a quirk with me, but the Royal Blue numbers with the Navy Blue star just doesn’t look great. I think the numbers on the white jerseys also should be changed to match the star on the helmet. I also happen to think the sleeves with the star on them look nicer than the white ones with just stripes. If it were up to me the white jersey would be changed to mirror the blue jersey because it looks so good.
Another belief of many about the Cowboys wearing white at home is that in the hot early months of the year the darker jerseys are hotter and their opponents have to wear them. I don’t know if a study has ever been done to determine the difference in temperature inside a white jersey as opposed to a blue one on a sunny Texas day, but whether there is a temperature difference or not, if it gets in the other player’s heads that they are hotter, they are hotter. So I like the psychological aspect of this as well.
The Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins followed the Cowboys lead and wore white at home. Both of those teams have since switched to the dark at home. Leaving the Cowboys as the sole NFL team who are on Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” I personally think the NFL should have adopted Tex’s vision and had all home teams wear white for every game. I have a selfish reason for this, it would mean the Cowboys would wear blue 8 games per year. I would like that.
More than that though, I think Tex’s original idea about the game changing colors for the fans makes some sense. maybe that contributes to why the Cowboys are so popular even outside their home state. I don’t really know if there is a correlation, but in my respect for Tex I tend to hope that it is part of the evidence of his genius.
The fact of the matter is I wouldn’t be upset if the NFL made all teams wear dark at home and the Cowboys tradition of white at home changed. Again, it is purely selfish on my part. I like the blue jerseys best. I want to see them. Traditionally the only time I do get to see them is when some team wants to capitalize on the myth of the blue jersey curse. That’s right, I called it a myth.
I have no doubt that on the opening kickoff against the Raiders when the ball was ruled live and the score upheld that somewhere in Cowboys Nation someone was talking about the curse. There is no curse. This myth began right after Super Bowl V in which the Cowboys wore their blue jerseys and lost. I forget whether it was 1968 or 1969 that the Cowboys wore blue against the Cleveland Browns and lost in the 1st round of the Playoffs despite having an amazing team. These two games and then some road losses in blue led to the rise in popularity if the curse of the blue jerseys.
But just like on Thanksgiving where Dallas won in their blue jerseys, they have won more games in those blue jerseys than they have lost. It is true that the winning percentage in the white jerseys is higher than the winning percentage in the blue jerseys. Of course it is. Until Thursday the Cowboys had never worn blue at home. All teams win better at home than they do on the road, especially over a 5 decade time span as 1964 to 2013 would represent. Dallas has worn blue throwback jerseys at home in recent years when the NFL allowed alternate jerseys. But once again those were throwbacks to the original blues, not the current blue.
With teams buying into the blue jersey curse Dallas has worn their blue jerseys at least once every season since 1964 except one. In 2010, no team tried to curse the Cowboys. They wore white for every single game they played. Maybe it’s just me, but the white jerseys seemed to be the cursed ones that year as a team with high hopes imploded and cost their Head Coach his job in mid season.
I have no doubt at all that if the Cowboys followed the NFL lead of blue at home, white on the road, that the perception of the curse would eventually die. The home field advantage almost guarantees that possibility to be plausible. I think that would be true for any team, except of course, one that is completely incompetent to begin with. That’s a rare occurrence in the modern NFL where parity reigns supreme. Most teams finish within a game of 8-8 either way each season. In other words, a majority of teams will be 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7 when the season ends. This is what drives the competition and keeps the interest high in the minds of the NFL brass.
Well, I’ll tell you what keeps games being more relevant than anything else, and that is when Dallas is still in the hunt. Luckily for the networks and the Cowboys fans, this year they are. They need to keep their current momentum going, and I am not just talking the wins. They need to continue to get guys back from the sick bay and the stationary bikes and back on the field. There’s only so much you can do with those big rubber bands in getting a team ready for the post season party, and Dallas needs to get ready.
Going into each year I have goals for my Cowboys in stages. The first stage is win the Division games. Of the 4 NFC East games this year the Cowboys have not trailed in any game. This is not easy in the NFC East. People can squawk all they want about the East being Least this year, but their leader has the exact same record as the NFC North leader does and no one is disparaging their division. That’s because the Cowboys aren’t in it. No one called the NFC West the NFC Jest in 2010 when the Seattle Seahawks won it with a 7-9 record.
In fact, to give you and idea of how hard it is to sweep the NFC East consider this. No team had ever done it until 1998. That’s right, none of the 1970’s or 1990’s Super Bowl teams ever swept the NFC East. In fact it has only been swept twice. 1998 by the Cowboys for 8 games and the 2004 Eagles for 6 games. Historically, even when others consider it a down year for the Division they still play each other tough. So with 2 NFC East games left this year I want Dallas to keep up what they have begun and not trail in any of their division games.
If they do this they will accomplish my second goal of every year, win the division. The Cowboys do this better than any other team, holding and NFL record 21 Division crowns. Let’s add number 22 in honor of Emmitt Smith. If they sweep the NFC East it will put them within one game of my next goal for them. Double digit wins. They would only need a win over the Bears on Monday Night Football in the coming week or a win over the Packers at home the following week before finishing up the Division tilts the last two weeks. The Cowboys have 26 seasons of double digit wins. I think another would be nice.
My final goal is to once in the post season dance, make some noise. I know they can’t win it all every year, and I don’t expect them to, but I do want them to play well and give themselves a chance of it. This year has had its ups and downs for sure, but I like the way the arrow is pointing. The Cowboys have a lot of naysayers, even among their own fan base. One guy I know of used to make sure we knew every week what the Cowboys record was in their new Stadium. It was important to him for us to know they were 14-14, 15-15, and so on. Well, now they are 22-16 and that fool hasn’t got a damned thing to say. Sort of like the Giants last week after their talking got them nothing.
I am enjoying this quiet, professional acting team that seems to have adopted their philosophies of their Head Coach. I like things the Cowboys way, and while I like that we are unique with the white jerseys at home, seeing the Cowboys in those blues at home for the very first time and them securing a win, was a very sweet memory. One I will cherish for a long, long time.