It’s clear this team is not exactly where Cowboy Nation had been hoping it was. After the Week 1 win vs. the defending champion New York Giants, expectations were absolutely soaring. But today those same expectations are circling the proverbial drain. While it’s easy to say fumbling the opening kickoff, the punt block return for touchdown, and the early interception all doomed the Cowboys, the reality is the entire disaster can be linked back to one simple missing piece: The Will to Win
Aug 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett looks for a call on the sidelines during the first half against the St Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
The will to win is a powerful thing. Clearly everyone wants to win. Having the will to win is much more than just wanting to win. The will to win is about execution, determination to succeed, intolerance for failure, and above all – mental toughness. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most talented teams in the NFL but unfortunately, they know it. The Cowboys knew they were better than the Seahawks on Sunday so they just went through the motions. Sure, they wanted to win but they didn’t make it happen by having the will to win. No mental toughness, no execution, no determination to succeed, and absolutely no intolerance towards failure. It is fairly clear at this point in the season the Cowboys still lack the will to win. Because of that, the Cowboys are quite frankly, losers.
Calling them losers may sound little harsh but it’s true isn’t it? The Cowboys have underachieved in some way almost every season since Bill Parcels rode the Quincy Carter train to 10 wins in 2003. Even the great season of 2007 when the Cowboys earned the #1 seed with a 13-3 record, they found a way to underachieve by losing to the 10-6 New York Giants in the playoffs. The Cowboys beat them twice in the regular season but didn’t have the mental toughness and the will win when it counted the most. The good news for the Cowboys today is at one point in 2007, neither did the Giants.
Flashback to 2007…
Sept 16, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Much like the Cowboys now, the Giants were serial losers the previous few years. In late 2007, the Giants found a way to take that last step. Tom Coughlin was on the chopping block and dissatisfaction in Eli Manning was at an all-time high. The Giants were desperate and because of that desperation they grew a complete intolerance toward failure. They already possessed the needed talent, so coupled with their late-season new-found mindset, they were able to put together 10 wins to ensure a playoff spot. Their defining moment came in Week 17 when they faced the undefeated New England Patriots. Since they had their playoff spot locked up, the game was almost inconsequential. The smart move would have been to rest the starters and go into the playoffs fresh and ready. Instead they chose to face the best team in the NFL and play them to win. The term, Moral Victory is cliché and something only said by losers, but if it was ever to be used properly, then this was the time. The Giants took the game until the very last tick and proved they can hang with the big boys. The determination and competitiveness they displayed, earned them a moral victory. The will to win grew and compelled them to charge through the playoffs and win the Super Bowl against the same, previously undefeated, Patriot team.
The point of this story isn’t to say how good and mentally tough the Giants are. They have their own disturbing issues. The Giants now know exactly what they must to do to win and they know exactly how to do it, they are just too lazy to always want to try. Mental laziness has plagued them since that 2007 season only turning on their “will” at the last moment. They are losers who can be winners. At this point the Cowboys are just losers. The Cowboys can make that difficult step towards “Winnerdom ” just like the Giants once did. Heck, everyone is a loser until they become winners so it’s possible they can begin to make that shift next week. The problem is, after a while, being a loser starts to define you.
Maybe this is what Jerry was talking about with the window closing. This team isn’t too old or unathletic, but rather they lack mental toughness, they are growing tolerant of failure, and they have no determination to execute or succeed. They want to do well, but for whatever reason they do not yet will it. Until they get that will to win, they will stay losers. They just need that one last piece…