By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
I tried to help Dallas Mayor Laura Miller. No, really. Tried to give her a platform to express her personal regret/jubilation/defiance/pulse over Super Bowl XLV being played in Arlington. Made an effort to toss her a life raft in hopes of saving the last gasps of her reputation from going under.
I phoned for an interview. Emailed for substance. Begged for details.
But what did Mayor Miller give me? An electronic shrug that won't come close to denting our firewall of eternal animosity.
As usual, she gave too little, too late.
Delivered via email by her Public Information Officer in the form of a specially prepared statement, I received 79 words so fake they might as well have been stuffed with silicone:
"It's a great success story because North Texas is getting a Super Bowl, and Dallas will be the No. 1 beneficiary of the event. We didn't have to incur the debt of a new stadium to get a Super Bowl, our city's name is on the team, and the event will bring tens of thousands of people to Dallas-Fort Worth to shop, eat, stay in hotels, party, and visit all of our collective cities' new attractions. Everybody wins."
Craving the mayor's impassioned side of the story, I instead got a plastic amalgamation providing zero insight into the human emotions of a city leader we will next month usher out as Dallas' all-time worst sports fan.
Shame. Because in reality, Miller is getting a bum rap.
"It's a great success story because North Texas is getting a Super Bowl, and Dallas will be the No. 1 beneficiary of the event..."
Of the expected 250,000 fans creating an unprecedented Super Bowl stir on February 6, 2011, in Tarrant County, surely some will trickle into Dallas. But No. 1?
Nonetheless, the Cowboys ditching Dallas isn't any more Miller's sole fault than last summer's premature parade plans that supposedly sabotaged the Mavs. She played a major role. But revisionist history will likely have the mayor shooing the Cowboys, shooting J.R. and JFK, trading Sammy Sosa, tearing down Seven Seas and spoiling Ross Perot's presidential bid with her Trinity River project.
Now lame ass and lame duck, Miller was at times innovative and refreshing. Ironically, her Everyman credo—Thou shalt not make rich people richer with public money—alienated every man.
"...We didn't have to incur the debt of a new stadium to get a Super Bowl..."
To counter Arlington's enthusiasm, Dallas officials are frantically organizing "No debt!" pep rallies at which citizens will revel in a more stable infrastructure and a surplus of funds to, oh, I dunno, help keep the skyline lit at night or at least maintain the greenery amongst Central's concrete corridor. No?
Again, Miller's canned comments are crazier than Ray. But it wasn't Miller who aborted recent mayoral candidate Darrell Jordan's 1999 vision to dome the Cotton Bowl (that was former mayor Ron Kirk). It wasn't Miller who initially approached the Cowboys about considering Fair Park as the site for the new stadium, only to two months later poo-poo the possibility because owner Jerry Jones wanted too much money and too much control (that was former Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher.) It wasn't Miller who presented Dallas County with plans for $425 million from taxpayers to help build a $650 million stadium, and gave it only 60 days to approve (that was Jones). And it wasn't Miller who sat quietly across from Jones at a 2004 awards banquet, refusing to talk shop because no one from the city council was present (actually, yes, that was her.)
" ...Our city's name is on the team..."
The Cowboys haven't actually played in Dallas since 1970, when they abandoned the Cotton Bowl for Irving's Texas Stadium under a mayor named J. Erik Jonsson who decided they weren't worth the trouble. Imagine that.
Still, in her private moments—likely heaving over a toilet—Miller's got to feel like a chick who dumped her geeky beau only to now see him winning American Idol. America's Team is finally hosting America's Biggest Game, and Dallas is on the sideline running the chains.
"Did you know the original place the stadium would be built was downtown Dallas?" state Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas, bellowed from the floor of Congress last week. "Do you know that at the time, that we had a mayor whose vision was so shortsighted...that we, the city of Dallas, lost this game?"
"...And the event will bring tens of thousands of people to Dallas-Fort Worth to shop, eat, stay in hotels, party, and visit all of our collective cities' new attractions..."
While Miller did keepTexas-OU in town through 2015, and is currently flirting with a flea circus sideshow known as Texas Tech-Oklahoma State, she knows her city will be reduced to fighting with the rest of North Texas for the international attention that comes with the Super Bowl's $400 million economic stimulation, a Playboy party, priceless visibility, a Playboy party, $900 tickets, a Playboy party, guaranteed Top 10 all-time TV ratings and a Playboy party.
Says Jones, "The citizens of Dallas, and I'm one of them, will benefit immensely from this Super Bowl."