This will be the second time they have played at Arizona on Christmas.
The last time was in 1995 when interim coach Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback for the Cowboys.
Garrett still has fond memories of that game. They learned before the game that the 49ers lost, giving them added incentive to beat the Cardinals and earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cowboys did just that with a 37-13 win. They went on to win their third Super Bowl of the decade, which was played in Arizona.
"That re-energized everybody and got everybody refocused," Garrett said. "We ended having a pretty good outcome that night and the next few weeks."
Garrett also remembers coming into contact with the cast and crew from the movie, "Jerry Maguire." They were shooting scenes for the final climax. He saw actor Cuba Gooding running around the field before the game.
"I found that out warming up," Garrett said. "Rod Tidwell came jogging around the field. If you guys remember Rob Moore; big Syracuse receiver, played receiver for Arizona at the time and wore 85 and I knew Rob Moore a little bit and we were warming up and I see this guy, No. 85, coming around and I'm like, 'Heck, what happened to Rob Moore,' you know? And Rod Tidwell did a great job. He came around and shook everybody's hand and we put it together, what's going on. And then we found out. Troy Aikman was in that movie, so he had a little insight into what was really happening."
—Jason Garrett has two more games to prove owner Jerry Jones and the world that he should be promoted from interim coach to permanent coach of the Cowboys.
Dallas plays at Arizona on Sunday and then at Philadelphia on Jan. 2 to end the season.
Garrett has made the most of his opportunity so far, winning four of six games since taking over for the fired Wade Phillips after a 1-7 start.
He is the guy Jones wants to hire. Garrett has proven a lot of the last six weeks, and the players are undoubtedly responding to him.
But with so much at stake, nothing is a guarantee. Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and possibly Jeff Fisher are just a few of the men who could be in the job market after the season.
If Garrett doesn't finish strong, Jones will have to look at one of them. He might do it even if the team does finish strong, considering he must go through motions of interviewing a minority candidate anyway. Why not take a closer look at one of the big fish?
Garrett understands all that, but he doesn't care to discuss it.
He says he sees himself as the Cowboys' coach, period, and has no interest in looking beyond Saturday's game.
"It's not time for that evaluation to go on," Garrett said, seeming to squirm only a little bit. "It's our job to evaluate what went on (Sunday) quickly, make the corrections and go forward. ... We're playing Arizona on Christmas night. That's what we're focused on."
It's that singular focus that has made Garrett successful as an interim coach. He implores his players to be great every day and take every day and every practice one at a time and then stack them on top of each other.
He said it's an ongoing process, and when the team approaches it that way, it will like the results in the end.
"Well, we're working on this day right now," he said, "and that's our approach, and we'll continue to do that. We're very process-oriented, we're very approach-oriented, and that's what we're trying to do. We've certainly had some good days."
Garrett has had better days than anyone expected after the Cowboys' horrible 1-7 start.
Winning three of that last eight would have been considered an accomplishment. The Cowboys have won four and are favored to win at least five, as the Cardinals are playing out the string behind a rookie quarterback.
Garrett said his focus is on doing the best he can every day and winning as many games as he can until the season is over.
Finishing with a 7-9 record should guarantee him the job no matter who is on the street.
"The goal every day is to put your best foot forward and to be your best," Garrett said. "That's an important thing for anybody, whether you are a coach or a player, a football team or whether you are person in life. That's what we are going to continue to do. In our game, it's about winning and losing. We try our best to win every week."
SERIES HISTORY: 85th regular-season meeting. Cowboys lead series, 55-28-1. Arizona won the last meeting 30-24 in 2008. Dallas has won three of the past four and 22 of the last 30 meetings.
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