Psychologist shares insight into loyal Cowboys Nation despite losses

Psychologist shares insight into loyal Cowboys Nation despite losses

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Fans cheer during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 22, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.

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by JOE TRAHAN / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 9:12 AM

DALLAS — The Cowboys latest gut-wrenching defeat was a 37-36 loss to the Packers that spiraled out of control with a par of Tony Romo interceptions in the final three minutes and left Cowboys Nation shocked and feeling ill.

And for the fans in attendance, you could see it all over their faces. It was also documented in Twitter and Facebook tirades.

Cowboys fans are fed up. They're sick and tired of their beloved team finding new, creative and soul-crushing ways to lose.

Despite another mediocre season-in-the making, though, the big blue star and the brand it represents is as strong as ever.

AT&T Stadium stands as a big reason why. "Forbes" ranks the Cowboys only behind the New York Yankees as the second most valuable sports franchise in the country.

Cowboys TV ratings are as high as ever. Case in point, the Cowboys blowout loss to the Bears was the highest rated game on Monday Night Football this season.

But, with more disappointing losses and no appreciable success in the last decade and a half, you have to wonder when will Cowboys fans will reach a tipping point and simply say no more.

Psychiatrist Dr. Gary L. Malone is a life-long Cowboys fan, so he feels the pain, too. He says he literally felt like he was going to throw up near the end of the Packers game.

WFAA consulted him to provide insight into the psychology — some might argue psychosis — that goes along with being a Cowboys fan.

He says because humans spent thousands of years as hunters and gatherers in groups, sports fandom meets a basic instinct.

"We try to attach to something, and the best thing to attach to is a sporting team," Malone said. "So, I'm part of the Cowboy clan. That's my tribe. I've joined them psychologically."

And once one really identifies with a particular sports tribe, which is easier to do with a brand as strong as the Cowboys, Malone says it's hard to walk away.

"Once that's your tribe, you stay with them," Malone said. "It's disloyal to switch. You don't want to be a disloyal tribe member. It's like being a disloyal family member."

So, now you have some insight into why, no matter how ugly it gets, die-hard Cowboy fans will keep coming back for more.

Email jtrahan@wfaa.com
 

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