Lots of Cowboys fans are wondering why defensive coordinator Rob Ryan got the ax on Tuesday, when the team has lots of other problems. Maybe he was running the @DallasCowboys Twitter account?

Not really, but the Cowboys’ social media operation found itself in hot water when this tweet went out on Monday:

Written in response to a tweet by former DallasCowboys.com writer Josh Ellis, it was presumably intended to come from the personal account of somebody who also tweets for the team (as one of the keepers of the Texas Monthly Twitter, I know: it happens).

Where things got fun was when the Stars replied. The NHL team hasn’t really been that great for a few years, but they’ve still been more elite than Jerry Jones’ franchise more recently . . . and the fact that Tony Romo wears the same number as Stars legend Mike Modano gave the hockey team an empty-netter of a comeback.


“Add this to the list of humiliating January losses for the Cowboys,” wrote Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.

As Defending Big D‘s Brad Gardner wrote, the Stars’ reply was in the tradition of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, a team that has has become known for its voice-y, trash-talking Twitter account. Really, the Cowboys could have claimed that they were up to the same thing. Instead, the team erased the evidence (which, as a journalist, I consider bad policy–unless it’s just a typo or bad link, leave your errors up when you correct or apologize for them) and asked forgiveness. That is, “after picking themselves off of whatever the Twitter equivalent of blood-covered ice would be,” wrote USA Today‘s Chris Strauss.

Cowboys social media strategist Shannon Gross (who may even be a hockey fan, judging from this tweet last week) also took the high road:

George Riba of WFAA got a no-comment from Modano’s spokesman (who said, according to Riba, that he had too much respect for Tony Romo). Riba also wrote that Cowboys PR director Rich Dalrymple confirmed that “the employee who tweeted about hockey has been talked to, and that the Cowboys were embarrassed by the tweet.”

“This just might be the saddest sports Twitter fight of all time,” wrote Deadspin‘s Dom Consentino, referring to the fact that the Stars have not been in the playoffs since 2008 themselves. He also noted that it took the Stars a full 24 hours to zing back, and made some predictably stale comments about hockey’s popularity in Dallas.

WFAA’s Riba also talked to Stars’ captain Brenden Morrow, who cited the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” rule and said that “we appreciate them letting everyone know that hockey is back.”

But shouldn’t the Texas Rangers be pissed off too? The original tweet was just as dismissive of spring training!