Join Date: May 2004
McClain:Cowboys fans in Houston are like mosquitoes
For two teams to have a genuine rivalry, players and fans in both cities have to care passionately about the outcome of the games.
That's why the Texans and Cowboys don't have a genuine rivalry.
Ask a fan in the Metroplex about the Texans, and he'll scratch his head. Tell him the Texans are Houston's team, and he'll say, "You mean Houston has a team, too?"
The rivalry between the unbeaten Texans and the winless Cowboys is one-sided.
Fans in Dallas and Fort Worth -- not to mention the Cowboys themselves -- pay attention to the Texans for one week every four years.
The Cowboys were so bad in 2002 few realized they actually lost their opening game. It was treated as a fifth preseason game. When the Texans were blown out at Texas Stadium four years later, Cowboys fans yawned. Bring on the Redskins, Giants and Eagles!
Now the roles are reversed. The Cowboys are 0-2, and their fans are on the ledges of Dallas-Fort Worth skyscrapers. The Texans are 2-0 and the toast of the town with the Cowboys coming to Reliant Stadium.
There's only one part to this rivalry, and it's a bitter one: the clash between fans of both teams.
Texans fans want Cowboys fans in Houston to get the heck out of town. But they won't move because it would cost too much to relocate all that Cowboys memorabilia.
I've said for years that Cowboys fans in Houston are like mosquitoes, humidity and traffic jams -- we just learn to live with them.
In the beginning ...
This rivalry can be found on blogs and sports talk shows. It dates back to the 1977 preseason when Oilers center Carl Mauck blasted Cowboys fans in Houston and told them they should move to Dallas. Mauck volunteered to help them, as did defensive end Elvin Bethea.
Cowboys fans in Houston responded by insulting Mauck every way imaginable. Mauck loved it. So did his teammates and coaches, including defensive line coach Wade Phillips.
There was no Internet, of course, but there were sports talk shows and letters to the editor at the Chronicle and Post. It went back and forth the same way it does today, usually with grown men making fools of themselves with childish name-calling and below-the-belt insults.
Sunday's game against the Cowboys isn't as important as games against AFC South rivals Indianapolis, Tennessee and Jacksonville, and yet it's the toughest ticket in team history. There could be a record number of fans at Reliant Stadium. Unfortunately for the Texans, a few thousand will be wearing The Star.
''This week, I can't go anywhere without somebody asking me about the Dallas game," Texans receiver Andre Johnson said.
Bragging rights at stake
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