The League

Leonard Shapiro

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

UnAmerica's Team


Why do Redskins fans hate the Cowboys? Let us count the ways.

It began in earnest in the George Allen era (1971-77), when Allen knew the Pokes were the team to beat to gain supremacy in the NFC East. A master at whipping his teams into a frenzy, Allen had some Redskins believing that head coach Tom Landry had been a serial killer in a previous life and general manager Tex Schramm was evil incarnate.

Allen went out of his way to bait choir-boy quarterback Roger Staubach, getting his veteran players to taunt him any chance they got. Defensive tackle Diron Talbert once insisted that the Cowboys employed the shotgun offense because Staubach couldn't read defenses and was usually the most vocal Redskin during Dallas Week, with Allen providing him the script.

Schramm hardly endeared himself to Redskins fans when, during pre-game warm-ups, he walked over to where kicker Mark Moseley was practicing field goals, the better to eyeball his kicking shoe. Schramm was convinced Moseley, one of the last of the straight-on kickers, literally had a lead-foot, an illegal insert in the toe to make the ball go longer.

The worst kick in the gut to the Redskins and their fans came in a 1974 Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas, when young quarterback Clint Longley came off the bench to fill in for an injured Staubach and promptly threw a game-winning 50-yard touchdown pass to receiver Drew Pearson in the final minute. If you didn't hate the Cowboys after that, you surely never bled burgundy and gold.

The enmity continued during the Joe Gibbs years, and there are legions of Cowboy haters all around the country, especially after NFL Films labeled them "America's Team" in the club's 1978 highlight film. "They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars," the film began. "They are America's Team."

Oh really?

The swagger and outlaw nature of some of the players on those three Super Bowl teams early in the Jerry Jones era hardly enamored the Cowboys to a new generation of Cowboy hating fans. How could anyone not cringe when Jimmy Johnson bellowed "how 'bout those Cowboys" in one particularly raucous postgame locker room scene also captured by NFL Films? It was epitome of high flying, cocky Cowboy hubris, and a true turnoff to football fans far and wide.

By Leonard Shapiro  |  November 20, 2009; 6:43 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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My favorite Dallas Cowboys team? The 1989 team that finished 1-15 under Jimmy Johnson, although the 1988 (3-13) and 1996 (6-9) teams come pretty close.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | November 20, 2009 7:40 AM

I thought it was the Cowboys themselves that came up with the "America's Team" bit?

Posted by: cmecyclist | November 20, 2009 8:39 AM

The fans of other teams, especially the Redskins, are just jealous of the Cowboys and their fans. The Cowboys have posted consistently successful seasons year over year, garner publicity, generate huge profits for the NFL through merchandise sales, have a new state of the art stadium, have a generous owner, have a loyal fan base, and everyone watches them on TV. But the best part, the Cowboys and their fans are always upbeat and optimistic, not sad faced and down in the dumps when their team encounters a bump in the road.

Posted by: Angelo_Frank | November 20, 2009 9:45 AM

Angelo_Frank, you mean the same Dallas team that hasn't won a playoff game this decade?

Posted by: linroy62 | November 20, 2009 12:01 PM

@LINROY62 what have the Deadskins won lately? How many Super Bowl banners you have? How many times Washington been in the Super Bowl? Want me to keep going? Jealousy will eat you alive, my friend.

Posted by: dontmessTX | November 20, 2009 12:46 PM

Why do Deadskins fans hate the Cowboys? Super easy question to answer, since 10/9/1960 when the two teams first played.
DAL leads the all-time series 57-39-2
Super Bowl champs: DAL 5, WAS 3
NFC champs: DAL 8, WAS 5
NFC championship game: DAL 16, WAS 6
Division champs: DAL 20, WAS 6
Playoff appearances: DAL 29, WAS 16
Winning seasons: DAL 32, WAS 24
10 win seasons: DAL 25, WAS 15
Playoff games: DAL 56, WAS 33
Playoff wins: DAL 32, WAS 20
Wins in DC: DAL 25, WAS 26
Wins in Dallas: DAL 32, WAS 13, 2 TIES
Jerry Jones vs. Washington: 25-15
Dan Snyder vs. Dallas: 6-14
Cowboys went 5-11 for three straight seasons from 2000-03 but went 5-1 versus the Deadskins.
Got any other questions I can answer for you?

Posted by: romero9 | November 20, 2009 4:14 PM

Why does America hate the Cowboys? Simple. They're from Texas. Everybody hates Texas.

Posted by: jrw1 | November 20, 2009 4:26 PM

Mr. Chairman, the great state of New Mexico rises to posit that Texas is a state large in ego but small of heart, given to spates of empty braggadocio.

DC at least is far away, but we stand far too close to them for comfort, as one of our former territorial governors observed, "Poor New Mexico--so far from heaven and so close to Texas."

Hail to old DC!

Posted by: Bluefish2012 | November 20, 2009 4:46 PM

I'm a Redskins' fan. I don't need a reason to hate the Cowboys any more than I need a reason to breathe. It's just part of life.

And thanks for the shout-out to Diron Talbert. His "beat Dallas week" appearances on Redskins Sidelines were the highlight of every season when I was a kid.

Posted by: js_edit | November 20, 2009 4:47 PM

The Cowboys are the team that treated Tom Landry terribly when they let him go. I never hated the Cowboys, just tired of seeing them win. But treating a class guy like Tom Landry as they did does not speak well of the organization. He refused several times to attend a Tom Landry Day at Texas Stadium due to the way he was treated. As a matter of fact, the first ceremony honoring Landry was the TD Club of Washington. So much for America's team.

Posted by: chopin224 | November 20, 2009 5:24 PM

"Bluefish2012" is Dead ON! Having lived in New Mexico for 20 years, I am constantly reminded of the complete ignorance of Texans, when they leave their own state!

America's Team? The Baltimore Colts was about as close to America's Team, before Dandy Don even started tossing it to Bob Hayes! Unitas had fans all over the country!

The Cowboys success can be compared to how The Yankees have consistently won of late: Money. Jerry Jones just spends it more intelligently than Dan Snyder does!

But Texas? I'd venture to say that the only thing honorable that's ever come from Texas might be Lady Bird's Bluebonnets!

Tom Landry? He was a New York Giant long before he donned the Blue and Silver........

Posted by: mikewoolsey | November 20, 2009 5:29 PM

You mean the 1-15 Dallas team that beat the Deadskins 13-3? In RFK? With Joe Gibbs as coach?

Posted by: MasterC | November 20, 2009 7:54 PM

Redskins fans should not confuse hating the Cowboys with any love for Washington. While Dallas has a permanent place at the top of my list of teams to hate, the Redskins are just a microscopic place lower down. My perfect weekend is one on which both those teams get totally trounced. Just hearing a mention of the Redskins brings up visions of the IRS, Nixon, George Allen and his idiot son, "Macaca". Washington - a whole city of overpaid government employees, bloated Beltway Bandits, and associated sucker fish.

As for "America's team", I didn't start out hating Roger Staubach, but I certainly feared him. Rather, it's the whole notion of the egotistical, racist, ignorant, blowhard, bible-thumping Texan that I loathe, along with Barbara "let 'em eat cake" Bush, her own idiot sons, and Alberto Gonzales. What an intellectual sewer. I also know that this stereotype is not really true - but I hate 'em anyway!

I loathe Dallas so much that when I drive back and forth to South Texas I always drive through Houston rather than contribute even a penny to Dallas's economy. How's that for hatred of "America's team?"

Posted by: postman2 | November 20, 2009 9:37 PM

I used to hate the Redskins, but they have become so pathetic lately it's impossible to work up much emotion. It's hard to hate someone your team beats all the time. It's much easier to hate the team that beats yours on a regular basis. That may not be the whole answer as to why the Redskin fans hate the Cowboys, but I suspect it's at least 90%.

Posted by: eduncan2 | November 21, 2009 3:01 AM

Lenny ol' buddy you need to think about getting a life!

Posted by: CowboyFan1 | November 21, 2009 7:04 PM

I hated the Cowboys before I moved to the D.C. area and became a Redskins' fan.

It was because almost every Sunday, the second game of the TV doubleheader included the Cowboys, mostly from their home stadium. Then announcers started referring to them as America's Team, which was only because TV had first created them as the team on almost every Sunday at 4:00.

I must have missed the voting for America's Team. Dallas wouldn't have received my vote.

Posted by: rw-c | November 22, 2009 8:54 AM

One of my favorite moments is the ScabSkins beating the picket crossing Cowgirls and helping pave the way for the Redskins to win Super Bowl XXII. Also the Skins' 2-0 record vs. Dallas in the Playoffs.

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | November 23, 2009 2:52 PM

Redskins... yawn.

They're just one more W on the way to the SuperBowl.

Posted by: oldno7 | November 23, 2009 10:15 PM

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