Over the last couple seasons, I'm very fortunate in that I've had the chance to frequent some of the away venues and cities on the Houston Texans' schedule. Last season, I made road trips to both Chicago and New England. A couple seasons ago, it was Indianapolis. This weekend, it'll be San Francisco.
Of all the places I've been to so far, though, to watch our beloved Texans, the shadiest parking lot atmosphere was definitely in San Diego, where our little tailgate in the back of the main lot was plunked down next to some ink covered dudes playing NC-17 rap music loud enough so that Escondido could hear it.
And, to be clear, there were like 20,000 of "that guy."
Now, we all remember back to 2010 when the Dallas Cowboys came here to Houston, don't we? Cowboy fans came into our town and started so many fights in the parking lot (some with weapons, some without) that the Texans implemented new tailgating policies under which fans could only tailgate with a ticket to the game.
So what happens when you take the nastiest fan base in the NFL and plunk them down in the sketchiest NFL parking lot frequented by me in the last three years?
Bad things, man. Bad things.
This past Sunday, the Cowboys traveled to San Diego to take on the Chargers, and not surprisingly, there were plenty of Cowboy fans in attendance, America's team and all. Hell, given the fact that I was able to purchase tickets in the fourth row for the Monday night opener between the Chargers and Texans for 60 bucks a few hours before kickoff, it wouldn't surprise me if the Cowboys felt like the home team.
Certainly, if the video below is any indication, two things we believe to be true still are true -- a) Cowboy fans still exist (and possibly travel) in massive numbers and b) Cowboy fans are complete and total douche-ariffic troublemakers (with Charger fans acquitting themselves well on the thug scene, too).
Let's take a look...
A brief Zapruder analysis feels necessary:
0:01 -- A tall, white Cowboy fan in a Dez Bryant jersey is pacing the parking lot like a caged lion, with a pudgy, white guy in a Ryan Mathews jersey and a dude in a do rag with a Tony Romo jersey trying to talk him off the ledge. (Player jerseys will be a recurring theme in this video. Fortunately, unlike the Reliant Stadium lot, none of the jerseys in this video are being burned in effigy.)
0:17 -- A second Ryan Mathews jersey comes strolling up, possibly looking to form a tag team with the original white Ryan Mathews jersey guy, like a San Diego Charger version of Los Conquistadors. Keep an eye on Mathews #2 as his cranium is about to play a large role in this video. Also, notice a woman who works her way into the mix. Not the long haired ginger in the shades, but the other chick with the gray Cowboys t-shirt and some sort of bandana or something on her head.
0:21 -- First appearance on the video for White Sleeveless T-shirt guy, too. He is going to be part of the dance card. I know, this is a lot to keep track of.
0:25 -- Dez Bryant guy semi-stumbles over to the heart of the tailgate party to discuss politics with Emmitt Smith Jersey Guy and DeMarcus Ware T-Shirt Guy when in comes the chick in the Cowboys t-shirt with an open hand slap on Dez. Because the slap was so weak, I can't determine if there is actual animosity between Dez Guy and T-shirt chick or if they're doing some sort of dramatic reenactment of a scene between Dez and his mom.
(By the way, how great would it be if there were a rule that if you wore a player's jersey, you had to act like that player all day. If the dude in the Emmitt Smith jersey starts spewing malaprops about "rice of passage," I'm shutting it down for the day.)
0:31 -- If this is a dramatic reenactment of any sort, then the acting is really, really good because there is legit anger. Also legit drunkenness from Dez Guy.
0:33 -- WHOA! White Sleeveless thug cracks Dez Guy with a bottle. I'm pretty sure this is real now. I don't recall any broken bottles in the Dez vs his mom in the police report.
(By the way, I'm having a really hard time understanding the storyline here. Dez Bryant jersey guy is arguing with everyone, including people in Dallas jerseys. He gets slapped by a chick in a Dallas t-shirt, Ryan Mathews Guy seems to be trying to help. Oh, also there's two Ryan Mathews guys. And the guy delivering the blow is in a white t-shirt, and I don't know what side he's on. Somewhere, Eric Bischoff is pissed off that these people are stealing his storylines from WCW in 1999.)
0:39 -- I like that the bandana chick who delivered the initial slap (the "shot heard 'round the world" in this video), is still gripping her iPhone 5 the whole time. "As soon as I start a fight that gets two guys sent to the hospital, I'm tweeting that shit out."
0:41 -- Notice Ryan Mathews #2 just trying to make peace in this thing, holding back White Sleeveless Thug, presumably so his boy wouldn't commit anymore felonies on camera. Now watch the Cowboys fan in the blue t-shirt with shades commit perhaps the most cowardly act we've seen in a fan fighting video ever, as he cracks little Mathews #2 even harder with a bottle.
0:50 -- Here's the fucked up thing -- I'm fairly certain the only person in this video who had a "side" at the beginning was Dez Bryant Guy, and it was pretty much him against everybody (again, life imitating art). Now, we basically have two thugs who appear to have no dog in the fight cracking bottles over the heads of fans from both teams.
One thing is certain, cracking bottles over heads used to be much funnier...
0:54 -- We get our first glimpse at the most annoying character in the history of Fan Fighting videos -- the Shrapnel Arm Guy, who we will call SAG for short. SAG catches a small shard of glass in the arm and takes a minor cut, and proceeds to jam his whole forearm in the way of the camera while the aftermath of two men getting de-skulled is playing out. This is the same guy who gets up from the couch on third down and stands in front of the TV asking if anyone needs a beer. Fuck you, SAG.
1:11 -- I'd love to see what's going on, but SAG seems to think his bloody forearm is the star of the show. Yes, dude, we see...your arm is bleeding, now please kindly move the fuck out of the way so we can catch a glimpse of Mathews #2's crimson mask.
1:19 -- We finally see a full body shot of SAG, who is wearing a Crocodile Dundee cowboy hat and goes to show the crowd his minor abrasion while Mathews #2 is losing five pints of blood directly in front of him.
1:51 -- Holy shit, SAG, YES WE SEE...YOUR ARM IS BLEEDING. Goddamn, where are Sleeveless White and the other thug to clock SAG upside the head with a bottle?
2:15 -- One thing we are able to discern from the two inches of screen that remain outside of SAG's bloody arm is that Dez Guy didn't even sustain broken skin from the first bottle crack. In fact, he's still jaw jacking with everyone at the tailgate as if nothing ever happened. Dez Guy might be a cyborg. Or he could be one of the Wild Samoans.
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We will never know how this whole thing ended up (unless one of the blogs out there does some investigative work), but one thing I feel very good about -- I think, in a roundabout way, this video vindicates Texans fans in the Great Reliant Tailgate Blood War of 2010 fiasco.
How 'bout them Cowboys?!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.