The week is finally here. Nobody in their wildest dreams would have ever imagined that both teams would be high above the NFC. But, there is Dallas and Green Bay meeting on the gridiron with identical 10-1 records, and equally identical beliefs that they can find their way to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl XLII.
So, where does that leave me? If you are confused by that question, then perhaps this essay is not for you. But to those of you who have been kind enough to listen to my broadcasting efforts the last decade, then you know two things about my situation: 1) I enjoy and treasure the right to host the pre-game, half-time, and general talk shows on the Radio on all things regarding the Dallas Cowboys. And, 2) I was born a Green Bay Packers fan, when I am not working, I remain a Green Bay Packers fan, and long after I end my broadcast career, I am quite sure I will still be a Green Bay Packers fan.
What a conflicted mess for Thursday, eh?
Most of the time, these two distinctions about me pass each-other like ships in the night. Most years that I have lived here, either the Cowboys have been bad, or the Packers have been bad, or both. When such is the case, members of the listening audience have little or no care about my rooting affiliation when I am at home, except those who enjoy taunting me about Brett Favre if has a particularly interception filled evening. But, Thursday, I appear to be an item of some intrigue, as some are wondering how I will handle my professional duties, given my affinity for the “enemy”. A few even seem to believe it would be best if I recuse myself from my duties, because surely anything I say on Thursday must be coated with a secret agenda.
Here is the deal. I do not want to lie to the curious. I suggest that my agenda is not a secret. And I also don’t believe it has ever affected my commentary on the Dallas Cowboys. But, some like to know the home residence locations of referees, time keepers, journalists, and parking attendants. So, here is everything you would want to know about my relationship with the Pack. I was born and raised in Wisconsin. I spent the first 23 years of my life hoping to see the Green Bay Packer s in the Playoffs in a non-strike year (1982 didn’t count in my estimation). I pledged to the Higher Powers that if the Packers ever won a Super Bowl in my lifetime, I promised not to have any further sports requests until my death. In January of 1997, my wish came true, and I plan on keeping my end of the bargain. On my right shoulder, you will see a tattoo of the Packers “G”. In my house, you will find a son of mine, named Brett (partly for Hull, but more for Favre). Over my computer as I type this, you will find a picture of Brett Favre running down the field at the Superdome with his helmet in his outstretched arm above his head after throwing a Touchdown to Andre Rison in that Super Bowl win.
The last thing anyone needs in this business is to hide something from the audience. Like a political candidate who makes up some story about being in Vietnam only to be later exposed, I think it is far more dangerous to be a journalist who is not forthcoming than one who is upfront with you.
Every member of the media has a favorite team, as we all were football fans before we were football employees. Some are up-front and obvious (Aikman, Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino) and others are not. I often wonder if all members of the media should have an affiliation disclosure policy so that there are no secrets. That way, fans can pick and choose who they want their information from. Some prefer that only Cowboys fans deliver the news, who will tell you that either the Cowboys won, or they were screwed by the refs. But, others like their news from one with no attachment to the team, because those of us who did not grow up with a Roger Staubach jersey on, can sometimes see things with the passionless precision that is often needed.
Bottom line is this: Do you mind that a Green Bay Packers fan does your pregame show? 98% of you don’t seem to mind provided he does a decent enough job on the air. In fact, some people find my Cowboys commentary so complimentary towards Dallas, that I have been called a “Cowboys homer” by those who don’t know better. Do you mind that a Green Bay Packers fan plays QB for you? That’s right, Tony Romo may not have a “G” tattoo, nor a son named “Brett” (yet), but trust me, in my conversations with him, he has been quite forthcoming about his adoration for his childhood heroes. But as long as he does the job for you in 2007, you likely don’t mind.
Part of the job requires that when I come to work, I leave my hobbies at home. It may seem weird, and I won’t lie, sometimes it can be, but I have no problem telling you that I can separate my job from my hobby. If I did have a problem doing that, I don’t think I would be employed too long. And, I really enjoy being employed.
Now, assuming you care about my stance on the game itself, I believe the Cowboys are a better football team, and therefore, I have them winning on Thursday night. Not way better, but better. Also, Favre has a little issue about winning games at Texas Stadium. I think these teams will play again in a few months, but for now, give me the Boys, 31-28. Now did I just say that because I am a Cowboys homer on the Cowboys radio network? Trust me, if I were to say something too harsh about Dallas, long-time Green Bay Packers fan Mickey Spagnola will quickly get me back in line.
That’s right. Mickey also grew up a Packers fan. Oh, the humanity of it all.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Here is an essay I wrote for Pigskin Texas.com :
Posted by Sturminator at 9:09 AM