The Return of America’s Team

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Now, about those Giants. Just a few hours till kick-off…and I’m sure you can’t wait. Eight months after that last interception the Cowboys get another chance to prove they are more than just a nickname. More than just a team whose glory days have passed them by. An organization headed by a man who, if you believe the popular narrative, lucked into three Super Bowls. With a quarterback who, despite being undrafted and succeeding off sheer will, supposedly doesn’t have what it takes to get it done. And finally, a coach that has been left with no power by his overbearing Boss. Forget the roster turnover and improvement of talent under his watch. Forget the way his players respect him. Forget that he doesn’t think he’s playing for his job this season and is instead thinking about winning a Super Bowl in Giants Stadium and holding a very cold Lombardi Trophy.

No, this team is doomed. NFL commentary seems to have settled on the fact that the Cowboys are chokers. A team destined to fail when everything is on the line.

The facts don’t back this up. They had a league-high five comeback wins in the 4th quarter last year.  They were in position to win the NFC East despite being decimated by injuries. Despite the tragic death of a teammate during the most trying stretch of the season.

August 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

But they’re not mentally tough?

Whatever. You can believe the ESPN commentary if you want to. But I have faith in this team.

I’m not ready to guarantee a Super Bowl. I’ve been hurt too many times before. But, something does seem right this time around. There’s direction, purpose, maturity. For the first time in a long time…I feel like this team is underestimated.

I do expect the playoffs, I’ll say that much. And that isn’t just wishful thinking. Looking at the personnel make-up it is hard to find a critical weakness. Yes, the defensive line is sketchy and the safeties are unproven. But that is evened out by DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, two great corners and plenty of solid role players and backups. The offensive line is still an issue despite the Brian Waters signing but it is in much better shape going into Week 1 than it was last year. This has everything to do with the Travis Frederick pick. Tony Romo asked for an extra half-second and his extremely smart new Center is going to do it. Now all that matters is what he does with the opportunity.

The simple fact is this: The Cowboys are a better team this year than they were last year. And the year before. And Jason Garrett is the reason why. We’ve known for a long time that the talent was there for the Cowboys. Commentators league-wide don’t let us forget this fact. The problem has always been in the execution. In the discipline. With Garrett, I believe this team finally has the right guy at the helm. Someone who pays attention to the little day-to-day things that have been overlooked for so long. In this, his third full season at the helm, I expect the process which he has preached since the beginning to start bearing fruit.

I think it’s going to be a special season.

And it all starts tonight.