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SMU History alum Roberto Andrade writes for ESPN

ESPNThe Cowboys conflict: The cost of rooting for America’s Team play.

By SMU alumnus Roberto Jose Andrade Franco

HOURS BEFORE THE Dallas Cowboys host the Chicago Bears on a late October day, you can feel the hope. The sun shines on North Texas, after days of cold and rainy skies. The Cowboys have won five of six, Dak Prescott is back from a thumb injury, and the playoffs feel like a real possibility.

From the parking lot, as the crowd swells, the smell and smoke of meats on the grill is everywhere. People are singing in English and Spanish. Some fans wear costumes. A few are dressed as referees. A few others wear jerseys, shoulder pads and helmets. Hard to tell if they’re in costume or if that’s just what they wear to games.

“Look at that,” they say. They take pictures, constantly. A selfie with the stadium in the background. A picture of the Sky Mirror, the concave disc 35 feet in diameter that reflects everything standing in front of it. Another picture of Tom Landry’s statue on the concourse. There’s a man walking around dressed as death; a sinister skeleton’s mask and hands, blue horns that curl out the top of his Cowboys helmet. People take a picture of him too.

When the stadium doors open, fans rush inside. More pictures to take, and so much money to spend inside the pro shops. A t-shirt specifically for this game costs $36. A jersey for $170. A full-sized replica helmet for $215. An authentic one costs $425. Looking for something cheaper? There’s an oversized, blue-colored foam sombrero with the Cowboys star on the side for $24.

Fans make their way from the pro shop to their seats. The first-timers are easy to spot; they all look up, to the giant television screen, 160 feet wide and 72 feet high and 90 feet above the field, drawing attention from the field. Up there is where the reminders of past Cowboy greatness lives. The 22 names in the Ring of Honor. The five Super Bowl banners. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.