We've all seen it played out fictionally or non-fictionally. The underdog and under-equipped is constantly being challenged and taken advantage of by the big, bad nemesis. Then something snaps, and it all boils down to the 3:00 showdown on the school playground with the masses in full attendance.
Inside, the underdog knows he must follow through on the challenge, and the stomach is in full tumble mode the entire day as the clock (which appears to be set on fast forward) speeds toward the bewitching hour. He thinks, "How am I going to approach this dilemma?" One constant is very clear; there's no backing down now. Plus, he wants the constant harassing to cease and desist once and for all.
With a crowd in full frenzy and at fever pitch, the two combatants square off with the underdog throwing a fully packed haymaker to get things started. The rest is history as the underdog rids himself of the daily lunch money demand from The Bully.
In the modern day, real life, story, the schoolyard was Texas Stadium, The Bully the hated Philadelphia Eagles, and this past Sunday saw the entire story play itself out in front of 65,000 plus.
Thus, battled concluded, the question surfaces amongst the masses. Is there a new bully or sheriff in town (aka the NFC East)? If the faithful responded "yes," the plea is to tap the brakes or apply vigorously. As much as the adrenaline has the Pokes' following flocking to polish and pin the "authority star" in its rightful place, better to error on the side of optimist caution. Bully #2 is about ready to show its ugly mug on the same playground this afternoon.
This is how it works in the kids' game affectionately known as "King of the Hill." The challengers keep charging to see who is strong and fierce enough to remain on top. The Cowboys have acquired the first and most necessary of resilient and combative qualities. CONFIDENCE. From this base, many a great things can be resurrected. At this very juncture is where "coaching" reigns essential, and the Cowboys' staff has to earn every penny of their hefty salaries.
The trick is building on the established confidence while nursing the head swell created by the success of the recent playground brawl. Blurred, or worse yet, blinded, vision will prevent sight of bully #2 charging up the divisional hill. Much easier said than done, but the Philadelphia game must be forgotten in pronto-like fashion.
The immediate focus has to be on the visiting New York Giants.
Today will be the ultimate test. Will there be a letdown? Will the Cowboys allow themselves to think they're something they're not? Will there be another display of "this is our house" and we're starting to figure this thing out? Only time, and another hungry, divisional opponent, will tell.
Before anyone makes too much of the "come out swinging" attack mode displayed last Sunday, contributing factors must be considered. Mainly, field position. Kudos to the coaching staff for exploiting the gifts provided by errant Philly kick coverage and return skills of Tyson Thompson. Both amply led to the "pull the trigger" first possession march to the end zone. This coaching staff is still playing the percentages, and that's a good thing. They just happened to be presented with an opening hand worthy of "passing" on the need for extra cards.
A couple of things to also keep in perspective. For the Cowboys, this was probably the most well rounded, and finely executed contest in the past 8-10 years. All three phases clicked at the same time; something rarely displayed in today's NFL. The so-called Perfect Storm Phenomenon. Secondly, Philly was in prime "let down" mode. All this said with absolutely no intent to "poo poo" an outstanding Cowboys' display of football. Just noted to keep "it won't happen every week" thoughts a reality. Today's NFL landscape is too watered down to allow absolute dominance.
The hope taken out of Sunday's divisional contest was "spring board." Parcells is on record saying this (starting with the Philly game) is the most important four game stretch in the schedule. Three of the four being home games, and moves must be made on home turf to mount w's. Two of the four tilts are divisional foes, and victories are extremely important when determining home field advantage come playoff time.
Thus, the Cowboys, with the renewed confidence running rampant, must simply take care of business thinking back to what it took to throw the first showdown haymaker and the results it brought. A reflection of the feeling it brought the underdog when he returned to school the following Monday after the bully confrontation. A bounce in the step. A new vigor and vitality. A confidant swagger. Maintain. Maintain. Maintain.
Upon reflection, a final parting note. The greatest moment of the Philly contest? Indeed, and without question, the Bledsoe and Keyshawn sideline confrontation.
So much has been made of this spat that it's actually comical. Cowboys' faithful, find great benefit and value in this assemblage. Two, driven professionals demanding both perfection and respect. Not only did they want to beat The Bully, they wanted to humiliate the schoolyard Goliath by bloodying him touchdown-less. What's not to like? Is it really assumed Aikman and Irvin didn't have similar exchanges? Come on now. Great results aren't achieved without disagreements, heated exchanges, and common unity. For the sake of improvement and forward strides, it can only be hoped Roy Williams and Jason Ferguson square off and proclaim, "Outside; 3:00. Be there."
As they say, boys will be boys, and sometimes those boys become men. Carry on fellas.
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