When Romo and the Cowboys offense broke the huddle for their first possession Sunday in their home stadium at AT&T, I noticed that it was very loud. Like what you would expect if it were a road game for the Cowboys. Visiting Texan fans showed up in force and made their presence heard. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo certainly noticed the noise from opposing fans.
Romo pointed out that they had to go with a silent count which is something that would be expected in a road game not in AT&T. “That was the first time I had to do that throughout the game at home,” Romo said. The 12th man refers to the home field advantage a football team can usually expect with noise from its fans but the 12th man has been missing in Dallas.
Romo went on to say, “That was every bit as loud as going to St. Louis or Tennessee.” “We need to understand that we lose a lot of our ability to do some things at the line of scrimmage that gives us big advantages, from my perspective. We have got to make sure going forward that we have a lot more percentage of Cowboy fans.”
Romo isn’t real pleased with the Cowboy fans performance Sunday and thinks the fans need to show up and help the home team have an advantage. But when it comes to these matters, I think the players have it backwards.
There are a plethora of reasons that may have contributed to why the Texan fans were about 50/50 in attendance as the Cowboys fans. It’s a huge stadium that offers an experience other than just football, purchasing season tickets is expensive, and let’s face it, the Cowboys have been pretty mediocre in recent years. Did you know that the stadium in Arlington, Texas is the only NFL stadium inaccessible via public transportation?
When Romo and the Cowboys go to Seattle next week, they will certainly experience what a difference the 12th man can make. The Seahawks enjoy a major home field advantage with crowd noise and it is nearly impossible for the visiting team to come out of there with a win. Sure Romo would like that in Dallas but what will it take to get there?
Since opening in 2009, the Cowboys record through the 2013 season at AT&T is 22-18. That represents a slight home field advantage. Things actually got off to a bad start when the Giants won the first regular season game in the stadium 33-31. Manning signed the locker room wall with “first win in new stadium”.
Despite the slight winning edge at home over the years, Romo talks like the Cowboys can’t be beat in the stadium when it’s full of the home team fans, “The place has been a tough place for other teams to come in and win when it gets going. I think the fans have been awesome this year, but I think we need to tighten up selling our tickets a little bit.”
But is that the answer? No visiting team fans allowed by controlling ticket availability? The Cowboys certainly enjoy a good fan following on the road at other stadiums I have noticed.
It’s a little like which came first, the chicken or the egg? Bring the fans and then we will win or win and the fans will come? I say it’s the latter.
It comes down to winning and being relevant in the post season which Dallas simply hasn’t done in a long time. Instead of finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs each season, win those critical play in games, make a run deep into the playoffs, and then see if things don’t get pretty darn loud in AT&T for the Cowboys.
Visiting fans will not want to make the trip and spend the money to watch their team lose. The fact that Houston fans showed up in such large numbers tells me they felt good about their chances of beating Dallas in their big stadium. Defeating the Texans in overtime Sunday to go 4-1 is a good start to getting back a home field advantage in AT&T.
NFL ticket prices aren’t cheap these days and fans don’t owe the players anything when it comes to support or loyalty. NFL teams have been known to pack up and move over night to another city while star players jump to rival teams all the time for more money. Support of fans is earned and there is no better way to earn it than winning on the field consistently.
In the past, the Cowboys were referred to as “America’s Team” because of the incredible success they experienced on the field. The Cowboys home stadium filled with opposing fans Sunday was because of a lack of success in recent seasons.