Strange, nostalgic day to be in Dallas

December 20, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

It’s a crazy day to be in Dallas. They’re shutting their stadium tonight amidst a potential season-wrecker if Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and the Ravens come in a steal a victory. It’s the Ravens’ first-ever trip into Dallas, the final city they’ve never played in over the 13-year history of the franchise (not counting the Minnesota preseason game two years ago). And the civic pressure is on here in “Big D.” You can almost feel the anticipation for this game if you just drive around town and hear people talking.

If the 2008 Dallas Cowboys lose their final game in Texas Stadium to get essentially bumped from a playoff spot, they’ll be all-time chumps. Especially on the backend of Tony Romo’s January meltdowns and T.O.’s loudmouthed nonsense. This game is significant here — the lead story on every TV channel and the headline of every newspaper.

A big giant “love in” is scheduled for the pre-game and the in-game. The pageantry they’re putting on – and you do know that EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas – will rival what we did for the Orioles in Baltimore on 33rd Street back in 1991. If you really want to vomit and hate the Cowboys more than you already do, just flip NFL Network on today. The pre-game show starts at 5 p.m. and that goof Rich Eisen has already promised to get “every breathing Cowboy legend possible” onto the show. Just hearing Deion Sanders wax on (and off) with every Dallas legend from Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett to Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith is enough to make you hit the “mute” button.

I’ve hated the Cowboys since Clint Longley…

But here’s the reality: the WHOLE THING is set up for the Ravens to get their asses kicked on national “house TV” of the NFL with the star at the 50-yard line and a team and a stadium that helped build the foundational greatness of the shield is going down. (A little different than imploding the Hoosier Dome, as was done earlier to day in Indianapolis…)

Not that the game doesn’t have enough interesting subplots already – with both teams fighting for their January lives and a crucial win tonight – but the stadium closing combined with the constant drama of Terrell Owens and the matchup issues (still no word on whether Fabian Washington will suit up…join the FREE text service and we’ll keep you in the loop) on both sides of the ball, this figures to be a great and memorable night either way.

The Ravens need this game. The city kinda needs this game. I don’t want to wake up on Christmas Day on the outside looking in after all of the fun this team has given us this year. I want a playoff game in New England or New York or Miami two weeks from now. I don’t want the season to end. Tonight could be kinda ugly, as the Ravens enter the game as 4 ½ point underdogs. As big of a home game as the Pittsburgh fiasco was the other night, this might as big of a December road game as the Ravens have played in their history.

It’s always fun when the Ravens play in big games. You can feel the weight of this one here in Dallas for sure.

The weather report shows that the temperature will be dropping like a rock during the game. It was 78 degrees here yesterday when we landed. We walked in short sleeves after dark last night amidst the holiday lights. This morning it’s 60 degrees, damp and kinda chilly. It’s supposed to be 55 at 6 p.m. and 45 at 9 p.m. and 32 by midnight. Tomorrow, it’ll be 35 degrees when we leave Dallas.

I’ll continue to check in from Dallas.

We found a lady bug on the window sill and thought it might be good luck…Ladybug

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