208 days have passed and football fans everywhere have been (not so) patiently awaiting today. It is an almost impossible anxiety to describe with words; the kickoff countdown inside your own head. Most of America will have to work, and they should be considered the lucky ones. An eight hour day at work to distract from the mindless longing for football to be truly back. For the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants fans, tonight is about pride. There will be less questions answered and more created after the 60 minutes of regulation, but it will all be worth it. Here are some opening night words of wisdom.
Morris Claiborne: Eli Manning is going to pick on your early and often. You missed a quite a bit of practice this off season, and you will be going up against the likes of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. They will beat you. But you are going to be the number one corner-back on this roster once you get some experience under your belt. You attitude is perfect, your athleticism unquestioned. Fight for the ball, and don’t let 260 pound fullbacks hurdle you. The lights will not be too big for you, and #Cowboysnation is ready to see you in action.
DeMarcus Ware: On the biggest stage, Kevin Greene (outside linebacker coach for the 2010 Superbowl Champion Green Bay Packers) had the biggest words for a stud outside linebacker, similar to yourself, in one of the biggest games. “It is time.” There are no more excuses. You have a completely revamped secondary behind you, as well as two stud inside linebackers that can play coverage. Manning will have a hard time finding an open receiver thanks to your four new friends (i.e. Carr, Claiborne, Church, and Carter) and they would like to see you return the favor by giving Eli little to no time to throw the ball. I want to see Manning covered in little black pebbles from the artificial turf filler as he is brought to the ground so often, Archie will be crying to trade him back to San Diego. It is time.
Tony Romo: Similar to the words I offered to Ware, your time is now. You can storm out of interviews when they ask you questions about ‘windows’ all you want, but it just makes you look like a baby if you don’t produce. Get out there and shred that Giants defense. If you play mistake free football, the Cowboys will win. Eli Manning loves interceptions. Two years ago he had an astronomical amount of them. Jerry Jones has made this team even more “Romo-friendly” by putting a ton of play makers on defense that are going to get your the ball more often.
Jason Garrett: Your play calling will determine this game. Gone is your first year with first year Head Coach mistakes (and don’t take that the wrong way, I’m not holding them against you) and now Cowboys fans expect a higher level of coaching. The Giants pass rush should be negated by quick slants, screens, and the famous draw play. There will be a need to run the ball more than you should. Wear the front seven down, and then shred this injury-depleted secondary for all they are worth. You’re doing it right, so far Coach.