dallas cowboys 1, hate 0

Today’s question: can you really dub yourself “The National Evil” if you can’t hate worth a damn?

I was forced to ponder this while watching the ramp-up to the NFC Divisional Playoff Game (now there’s a ponderous title) pitting the Minnesota Vikings against the hated Dallas Cowboys. (Note: Evil’s loathing for the Cowboys is documented here. And in hundreds of journal pages ye shall never read.)

As game time approached, I noticed I wasn’t as disgusted by ESPN’s fawning Cowboy coverage as I always had been. And once the game began, I realized with the distressing lack of a sinking feeling that the furnace of fury in my soul had failed to sputter to life and direct raw, unfettered hatred Dallas-ways.

Apparently I don’t hate the Cowboys anymore. This after lambasting them less than 24 hours before game time. And I don’t know why.

It’s not as if my heart grew three sizes while watching the game. I don’t suddenly heart the Cowboys. It’s just that I no longer spleen them.

I suppose my feelings for them can best be personified in the form of their coach, Wade Phillips, a good-natured, doughy potato-sack of a man. He looks like he should be squinting at your power meter outside your house and relating unasked-for fishing anecdotes to all comers. You can’t hate that guy.

Of course, most people bypass Wade as the face of the organization in favor of owner Jerry Jones, who has his share of hate-able qualities, to be sure. But I kind of like it that he installed a high-definition screen seven stories tall in his new stadium. That melds nicely with one of the Evil’s founding principles: If you’re going to do something, why not stupidly overdo it?

Who else? As for the players, there’s not a T.O. or a Michael Irvin in sight. QB Tony Romo made himself an easy target, what with his backward-cap-wearing, Jessica-Simpson-dating M.O. But he seems to have dropped all that this year.

I once owned a pure, beautiful hatred for the Florida State Seminoles, back when they were winning all the time and Bobby Bowden could apparently get away with running a corrupt program because he said things like “goldurnit!” and “dadgum!” in interviews. I hated them more than I liked any other team. But my hatred petered out along with their success on the field, and as Bowden took to wearing granny glasses on the sidelines. As the ‘Noles lost it, so too did the Evil. You can’t hate on such a pitiful spectacle of decline.

And maybe that’s the deal with the Cowboys. They aren’t good enough to hate anymore. Which is why, as of this moment, the Evil is root, root, rooting for your Dallas Cowboys to win Super Bowl XLV!

. . . And just to make sure the flames of my hatred are restoked, I’m demanding even more: for the Cowboys to achieve a perfect season. For the Dallas D to unleash a season-ending injury on a universally beloved figure. (Can’t think of a worthy player? Then how about this: Tony Dungy.) For Jerry Jones to get another facelift that pulls his eyes over the top of his own head. For Jerry to upgrade his giant-ass screen so they broadcast in 3D, then make already-paying customers pony up for 3D glasses. For Tony Romo to date, then cruelly break up with, Jennifer Aniston (this one’s for the ladies).

Don’t just do it, Cowboys: stupidly overdo it!

Evil needs this, Pokes. Don’t let me down.

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