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Cowboys, Texans start toward Super Bowl this weekend with ‘bonus football’

An illustration shows two football helmets -- one with the Dallas Cowboys star and one with the Houston Texans bull logo -- on the state of Texas.
Illustration by Raul Alonzo
Texas Standard

Football season is over across most of the country. But not in Texas.

Both the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys still have a chance to play in the Super Bowl as the NFL playoffs get started this weekend.

The Texans finished the year with 10 wins against seven losses. They’ll play the Cleveland Browns in Houston on Saturday.

The Cowboys went 12-5, and play the Green Bay Packers at home on Sunday. Dallas is the big favorite, and Gloria Reeves likes their chances.

“It’s our year. We gotta have a year,” said Reeves, who’s a bartender at Tommy’s Oasis, a sports bar in Arlington about 10 miles south of AT&T Stadium.

Reeves is confident now, but that wasn’t always the case. She and her dad had a long-standing deal that he would get a tattoo with her whenever the Cowboys made the Super Bowl.

“And I finally looked at him last year and said ‘Daddy, your skin’s gonna get too old before we go to the Super Bowl. Well we went and got a tattoo. A few months later my dad had a massive heart attack. He’s fine. But he can’t get a tattoo now because he’s got all this medicine,” said Reeves.

Given the expectations, a loss this week would be a catastrophe for the Cowboys. It wouldn’t be great for Reeves either.

“Let’s just say if they lose, Monday I’m going to call into work because I don’t want to deal with everybody’s grumpiness,” she said.

The stakes seem lower in Houston, however, according to fans like Paul McDonald.

“I think this is bonus football for a lot of us. It’s not where we expected to be. I think if you would have told everybody before the season you’d be playing playoff football this year, we’d be ecstatic just to have that opportunity,” he said.

McDonald has run the Austin chapter of the Houston Texans fan club for more than a decade. They throw game-watching parties every weekend. In recent years, when the team was bad, attendance has been slim. But with this year’s success – under a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach, no less – that’s changing.

“Feeling the pulse of the fan group, I could feel the momentum building with them, as well, and the excitement coming back,” said McDonald.

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