Sports fans in Dallas are not doing great these days.
Take for instance the Dallas Cowboys. After a 9-7 season that saw the team miss the playoffs last year, Cowboys fans had to watch one of their most reviled opponents, the Philadelphia Eagles, raise the Lombardi Trophy. This season’s start hasn’t done much to instill faith that the Cowboys will go to the playoffs this year with their 1-2 start.
Or Texas Rangers fans, who have now had back-to-back seasons when their favorite team played sub-.500 baseball. Last season, the Rangers were 78-84 and 4th in their division. This year, they’re playing out the string on a season where they’ve only won 66 games with four games left, worse than last season. It’s a far cry from the World Series appearances just a few years ago. After letting their manager go, Rangers fans may be in for a few more rough seasons before the team turns it around.
Dallas Mavericks fans have had similar experiences of late, too. Last season they had a very tough year, winning just 24 games out of 82 (less than one-third of the games they played). The year before wasn’t much better - 33 wins that year, and a second straight without a playoffs appearance. While Mavericks fans are excited about the recent draft pick, Luka Doncic, they’re also coming to terms with the fact that Dirk Nowitzki is entering the twilight of his career. That’s just the on-court disappointment. The Mavericks organization as a whole is undergoing a rebuild after the exposure of a toxic workplace culture.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, FC Dallas fans are doing just fine this year. Their favorite team sits atop the western conference in the MLS, and are poised for a deep playoff run after finishing 7th in the conference last season and missing the playoffs altogether.
With three of the metroplex’s five major sports teams stumbling today, the Dallas Stars have a chance to capture the casual fan in the area by winning out of the starting block this fall.
The problem is, they’ve been in that exact spot before.
After topping the Western Conference with one of the highest-flying offenses in the league just three years ago, the Stars had their next season derail due to injuries. They followed that year up with a new coach and a middling start before cratering and falling out of the playoff race altogether last season. All over the same time frame as the Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks struggling.
Whatever momentum or excitement had been generated from that last playoff appearance by the Stars has quickly vanished amidst a sports landscape that has left most fanbases frustrated with their favorite teams in the area. The good news is, the Stars have the chance to capture that same excitement and enthusiasm among sports fans for themselves once again. With the Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks all struggling once again as the Stars season kicks off, they’ve been given a do-over from the last time they were in this position.
They’ll need to get off to a good start in order to do so, though. With a new coach, a new system, and renewed optimism throughout the organization, will it equate to wins on the ice? Next week, the Stars will start to answer that very question when they open the season on Thursday, October 4th versus the Arizona Coyotes.