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Cookouts, PJs and a lucky onesie: Fans share gameday superstitions ahead of Cowboys playoff game

These truly die-hard fans aren’t just going to sit back and hope for a win. No, seriously: One fan literally won’t sit down!

Jonathan Boyd is pulling out all the stops for the Dallas Cowboys’ NFC playoffs matchup against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.

The Allen fire chief and his brother-in-law, Josh Eason, are longtime Cowboys fans, and like many North Texans, are elated that their team has made it to the postseason.

Texas barbecue and chili on Dallas Cowboys game days? Nope. Brothers-in-law Jonathan Boyd and Josh Eason have used some culinary reverse psychology to help propel the Cowboys this season. They made lobster rolls and chowder for the 'Boys' game against the New England Patriots, birria tacos for their matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, and pimento cheese and bacon burgers for their game against the Carolina Panthers.
Texas barbecue and chili on Dallas Cowboys game days? Nope. Brothers-in-law Jonathan Boyd and Josh Eason have used some culinary reverse psychology to help propel the Cowboys this season. They made lobster rolls and chowder for the 'Boys' game against the New England Patriots, birria tacos for their matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, and pimento cheese and bacon burgers for their game against the Carolina Panthers.

Since 2005, Boyd and Eason have hosted what they call the “Cowboy Cookup” on game days. But this season, they’ve added a new element to the meals that they whip up for family and friends.

“We had the idea of where we are going to theme our meals around the opponent’s city,” said Boyd, 48. “We looked at the schedule and went through all the different cities and researched … and picked something that they’re well-known for.”

For the Cowboys’ Oct. 17 game against the New England Patriots, the pair made lobster rolls. Elk burgers headlined the menu on Nov. 7, when the Denver Broncos were in town. And for the Cowboys’ first matchup against the Washington Football Team, Boyd and Eason had a restaurant popular in the area ship them some of their chili and sausage so they could emulate the establishment’s signature dish.

“Our theory is that the more work we put into our game plan, the better the Cowboys play,” Boyd said.

Boyd and Eason at work in the kitchen, where trying to whip up wins for the Cowboys has been a tradition since 2005.
Boyd and Eason at work in the kitchen, where trying to whip up wins for the Cowboys has been a tradition since 2005.(Courtesy)

Boyd said the theory was proven right during the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, when Dallas lost by a field goal in overtime.

“It was kind of a failure not only on our part, but the Cowboys didn’t have a good game plan either,” he said. “Vegas is a hard one to put together, because what are they known for? Buffets. We kind of just took the easy way out and said Thanksgiving food is like a buffet. And of course that ended up being a loss. We’ve made sure that we’re not going to do that again.”

After much research, Boyd said he and Eason have decided Sunday’s meal will be mission-style burritos and cioppino, a type of seafood stew.

Boyd said while he hopes they can work out the perfect formula for what gameday meal will result in a Cowboys win, the most important thing is that the game brings people together.

“The whole point of it is to have fun and bring together family and friends for the game,” he said. “I think that food is a great way to do that.”

‘I’m not throwing it out’

Nalini Mullur takes the opposite approach — the Allen resident doesn’t eat or drink during the game, and stays in the same spot in the house while the team is playing.

“I don’t sit during the game, only during the commercials,” she said. “I make my husband sit in one place; he cannot move. If they are not doing really well, then I kind of move my space a little bit from left to right, and I’ll make him sit in a different chair. But otherwise we start with the same chair and the same place.”

Mullur, 67, also has an outfit that she considers lucky each season. Usually, the season’s outfit is whatever she happens to be wearing for the first game.

Left: Nalini Mullur's game-day outfit is a pair of pajamas and, as it turns out, a Colorado T-shirt. That shirt may have a few holes, but Muller doesn't care, because the Cowboys' have stitched together a strong season and she believes her game-day clothing and other rituals are partly to credit. Right: When she attends Cowboys games in person, Mullur's attire is a tad more Texas-oriented.
Left: Nalini Mullur's game-day outfit is a pair of pajamas and, as it turns out, a Colorado T-shirt. That shirt may have a few holes, but Muller doesn't care, because the Cowboys' have stitched together a strong season and she believes her game-day clothing and other rituals are partly to credit. Right: When she attends Cowboys games in person, Mullur's attire is a tad more Texas-oriented.(Courtesy)

This year, the outfit is an old pair of pajamas — a blue t-shirt emblazoned with the Colorado flag and a pair of faded green pants printed with blue and purple flowers.

“My whole family is saying, ‘Throw the T-shirt away,’” she said with a laugh. “I said, ‘No, this is a lucky T-shirt for the season. I’m not throwing it out.’”

If the team wins while she’s wearing the outfit, it becomes lucky. But even if they lose, she keeps wearing the outfit for the season, she said.

“If they lose, I wash it right away,” she said. “If I wash the outfit, then all the bad luck goes away. When I take it out of the dryer, it’s a new outfit for me.”

It’s all about the ‘juju’

Dallas resident Stephanie Hedderich has a similar ritual when it comes to game day outfits. The 50-year-old has been a Cowboys fan all her life, but she’s become superstitious in the last few years.

For the last three seasons, Hedderich said, she and her friend Melissa Morrison have been sticking to specific game day outfits to try and help the team.

“If we won a game wearing a particular outfit, we make sure to wear it again the next week,” she said. “If something didn’t go our way, we changed it up a bit. But we’ve been consistent this season with the same outfit, and we’ve had a really good season.”

Left: Converse come in many styles, but only one will do for friends Stephanie Hedderich and Melissa Morrison on Cowboys game days. Right: Hedderich with her dog, Winston. Yes, he has his own game-day outfit. But don't laugh. This carefully selected apparel, Hedderich is sure, has helped the Cowboys "terrier" up the competition this year.
Left: Converse come in many styles, but only one will do for friends Stephanie Hedderich and Melissa Morrison on Cowboys game days. Right: Hedderich with her dog, Winston. Yes, he has his own game-day outfit. But don't laugh. This carefully selected apparel, Hedderich is sure, has helped the Cowboys "terrier" up the competition this year.(Courtesy)

Hedderich’s outfit this year is a white and grey long sleeve shirt with a Cowboys logo, blue jeans with rips in the knees, and customized Cowboys-themed Converse shoes. She also wears three bracelets — blue, silver and gold — as well as hoop earrings and a necklace.

She added that this season’s outfit is coordinated in team colors right down to her underwear.

“We always joke that we’re just as much a part of the team as the actual players and coaches, because it really boils down to her shoes or what kind of juju we’re putting out there,” Hedderich said.

Never too young!

Christina Goldberg was born and raised in Dallas and has been a Cowboys fan all her life.

Goldberg, 38, said she didn’t have any superstitions about game days — until her 4-month-old daughter Claire was given a hand-me-down pink onesie dotted with footballs.

Oh, baby, the Cowboys have been good this season! And Christina Goldberg hopes that with little daughter Claire Goldberg safely snuggled up in her lucky football onesie, the team can squeak out another victory Sunday to keep their season alive. That would give the whole family, including older sister Meg, something to really smile about!
Oh, baby, the Cowboys have been good this season! And Christina Goldberg hopes that with little daughter Claire Goldberg safely snuggled up in her lucky football onesie, the team can squeak out another victory Sunday to keep their season alive. That would give the whole family, including older sister Meg, something to really smile about!(Courtesy)

“Midway through the season, she finally fit into it,” she said. “We started to realize the games that she wasn’t wearing it were the games that they were losing. … It kind of became a joke that we had to put it on. And now we really believe it’s a lucky onesie.”

Goldberg said her family is making sure the lucky onesie is washed and ready in time for kickoff against the 49ers.

“We’re going to make sure that it’s ready to go before Sunday,” she said. “Hopefully they can pull out a win.”

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