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Hunt was silent a moment, then he said, "At that rate he's only going to last 150 years."
Hunt's friend was a little high in his estimate of losses. Hunt will likely lose closer to half a million. Because of a higher player payroll and higher initial investment the Cowboy owners, just as wealthy, will lose a good deal more, but right now they seem to stand a better chance of survival. Their ticket prices are higher, their football team considerably better, their visiting teams well known and supplied with more famous stars and their league more solidly established.
Hunt, who organized the Texans and the AFL when he could not obtain an NFL franchise, enjoyed the good will of the Dallas populace at first. The NFL entry, coming in later, was regarded as the villain, set up by the league to run the AFL out of business. Since then, the Texans' aggressive giveaway policy on tickets has begun to irritate the powerful college factions, who already have felt the competition of the pros.
"They'll learn you just cheapen a product by giving it away," says one Southwest Conference athletic director. "If they keep it up, they're going to ruin a good thing."
Admitting the barbers free was nonsense, but letting in high school students who could prove with their ticket stubs that they had attended their Friday night school games might have been designed to cut the attendance at the Cowboy game with the Philadelphia Eagles, which was also played on Friday night. Since the Cowboys' gate dropped from 30,000 the first week, when they lost in a thriller 35-28 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, to 18,500 for the Eagles game, the ploy—if ploy it was—was successful.
A spokesman for the Texans, however, denied that they had tried to dent the Cowboys' gate. "It is ridiculous," he said, "to think that any kid who was not already going to a high school game would change his mind so he could see our game. We were only trying to show the people in high school football that we are on their side."
After two games and two losses (the Eagles beat them 27-25), the Cowboys were nevertheless an artistic success. They played better football against better teams than did the Texans, who won 17-0 in a dull opening game with the Los Angeles Chargers and lost 37-35 to the New York Titans. The teams will not play in Dallas on the same weekend for the rest of the season, which may be a good thing for both.
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