Early Success Sign of Things to Come?

"I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but it is ironic that I have been trying to emphasize these situations to the players and that a game so early in the season would come down to one of those very situations that we've spent a lot of time on," Parcells said.

He said that happens over time, through hard work and being prepared to take advantage of winning opportunities, not in one glorified night.

But there's also no question that Parcells taught the Cowboys a lot about winning in the 35-32 victory overtime victory against the Giants Monday night.

While safety Darren Woodson and a couple of Cowboys players were holding hands and kneeling down on Dallas' sideline Monday -- as if they just hoped hard enough they could will Billy Cundiff's 25-yard game-winning field goal through the uprights -- Parcells turned and, talking to nobody in particular, said: "Don't worry, we're going home."

Didn't Parcells know who he was coaching? These are the same Cowboys who lost seven games in 2002 in which they went into the fourth quarter leading or tied. These are the same Cowboys for whom something always goes wrong.

Only this time, nothing did. Cundiff delivered. Cowboys win.

What Parcells conveyed was that winning has nothing to do with luck or being cursed, winning has to do with practicing and preparing for anything and executing everything.

And he just might have chipped through one layer in the Cowboys' culture of losing.

"I am going to have to have the advantage of retrospective view," Parcells said when asked if Monday's 35-32 victory against the Giants could break the losing mind-set. "Hey listen, that game there, I think certainly helps, but that by no means is a game that solidifies (getting rid of that losing culture)."

Losing mentalities are not erased in a game. They are chipped away day after boring day.

For example, the 26-yard pass play to Antonio Bryant that set up the game-tying field goal as time expired in regulation was one of the many bits of minutia Parcells drilled his players on in training camp. Bryant figures they have practiced that play 20 times a week, Thursdays and Fridays, just in case they got in a game where they needed to get into field-goal position and stop the clock.

"I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but it is ironic that I have been trying to emphasize these situations to the players and that a game so early in the season would come down to one of those very situations that we've spent a lot of time on," Parcells said. "It's ironic. That's really what it is."

Not really, not if you know Parcells.

"We had practiced it so many times that when he called it, I almost laughed," Bryant said of the play. "I knew it was going to work."

Parcells plays to win. He believes they can win. He has them believing they can win, even when things go wrong -- which they did Monday. You don't give up a 16-point lead like the Cowboys did and have the history the Cowboys have without having a "Here we go again" moment.

"Huge," tight end Dan Campbell said, when asked what impact changing the ending could have on this team.

How huge is yet to be determined.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, however, sees similarities with Dallas' victory against Washington in that 1-15 season in 1989, which laid a foundation for all of their Super Bowl successes.

"That was a ball game that I thought was a big part of what we ultimately became there in our first three or four years," Jones said. "This is the kind of game that a young team that is impressionable can build off of."

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