ARLINGTON — The hosts on the Dallas Cowboys flagship radio station 105.3 FM tried to play it off with a weak rationalization. "The red really pops," they reasoned, trying to come up with some explanation for why Houston Texans backers invaded — and in many ways took over Jerry World — much like San Francisco 49ers fans engulfed the Cowboys' snazzy home in Week One.
Dallas is having trouble filling its homage to excess with fans who actually want to cheer for Jerry's team.
The Texas Super Bowl was in many ways defined by the hordes of red in the stands. Everywhere Cowboys fans seemed to turn in Arlington, they'd run into another big bunch of Texans fans.
"I'd have driven all night and slept in the parking lot if I had to. This isn't like just going to work where you might get frustrated by traffic. This is important."
Even the Dallas Morning News took special note of the swarms of red. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo didn't just take note of it. He admitted it drove him crazy.
Romo says the Cowboys had to go to a silent snap count in their own stadium because of the overwhelming noise of the Texans fans.
"We played on the road today in that football game," Romo says. "We need to tighten up selling our tickets."
Estimates during the week forecast a 10,000 to 15,000 Houston fan strong presence at AT&T Stadium. But it seemed like that number took another late jump on Sunday. Patrick Ryan — co-owner of The Ticket Experience, a Houston-based ticket broker — told CultureMap that the Cowboys-Texans clash would be one of the five highest priced games on the secondary market of the entire league-wide NFL season back when the schedule first came out.
And Ryan only saw prices skyrocket even more in the last two weeks.
The Houston fans came despite TxDOT making the strange decision to completely close down I-45 near The Woodlands on the weekend of the Cowboys game when thousands of Texans fans would be taking that route north. It was such weird construction timing that one couldn't help but half wonder if Jerry Jones pulled a Chris Christie George Washington Bridge move in an attempt to keep Texans fans from flooding his mammoth palace.
No matter. There was no keeping these J.J. Watt diehards away.
"I'd have driven all night and slept in the parking lot if I had to," Texans fan Josh Richards says, standing outside the stadium. "This isn't like just going to work where you might get frustrated by traffic. This important.
"This is a chance to shut up all those Cowboys fans."
When Arian Foster ripped off 33- and 15-yard runs on back-to-back plays, scoring to give the Texans a 7-3 lead with 8:49 left in the third quarter, the roar made it sound like the home team had scored. To the red army, it had.
Cowboys fans regained their own roar when Dallas built up a 17-7 advantage in the fourth quarter. All that red was still there. Just muted. Temporarily.