The Glory Hole?

IRVING, TX - Jerry Jones loves him some catchphrases - no matter how inappropriate he makes them seem, and no matter how guileless they make him seem.

So, over the years, he talks of hands-on-management being about "jocks and socks.'' And about scouting being like "wildcattin'.'' And about cheerleaders being "the pick of the litter.'' And about working furiously being "a-blowin' and a-goin'.'' And about a player's ideal measurables, meaning, "he looks good in the shower.''

Jerry's done it again in recent weeks, at least twice defining a successful Cowboys season -- a winning record, a playoff berth, playoff victory, the Super Bowl -- in a rather graphic manner:

"The Glory Hole,'' he calls it.

Now, I'm, not attempting to hijack this space and force you to access it using a 1-900 number, but to anyone old enough, worldly enough or sexual enough, "The Glory Hole'' conjures up any number of visuals. And none of them, in the wrong context, are especially suitable for a live local TV appearance from training camp (LINK) or at the Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon, where the audience is made up of corporate-sponsor-types who spend big bucks just to be in the same ballroom with the likes of Jamaica Rector.

The Glory Hole? Some of the corporate-sponsor-types, collected last Thursday at Addison's Intercontinental Hotel for the annual festival that benefits the Happy Hill Farms charity, almost certainly choked on their rubber chicken.

First came MC Brad Sham's punny introduction of him as "T.O. ... That's T.O., as in, 'The Owner.''' (Yes, the original T.O., in attendance with all the other players, was momentarily saucer-eyed, and agent Drew Rosenhaus, not in attendance, probably heard the cue and grabbed a random microphone somewhere in Florida and started bellowing.)

Then came Jerry's as-always lengthy oration, a rambling monologue that, over the years, has always included dozens of lazy jabs but one roundhouse knockout blow.

This year's knockout blow?

"Ah wan' us to git back to the tahp,'' Jones drawled with passion. "Ah playce Ah call. ... Th' Glorah Hole."

Let's assume for the moment that Th' Glorah Hole isn't yet about the Super Bowl, that it's only about getting into The Tournament. As frustrated as you are by the unanswered questions in Dallas -- all on the offensive side of the ball, but almost all-encompassing, given that they include the offensive line and the projected two leading scorers, Owens and Vanderjagt -- consider the rest of the NFC East's collection of Glory Hole obstacles:

The Eagles had annually attended the NFC title game until last year, when they bumbled to a 6-10 record that couldn't have all been T.O.'s fault. The Redskins have been embarrassingly inconsistent in the preseason after a 2005 that saw them dominate late in the year after being almost unable to score TDs early. The Giants are heavily reliant on a kid at QB and an old-timer at running back.

Sports Illustrated officially picks the Redskins to win the East, with the Giants second and Dallas third. But oddly, the magazine predicts that all four teams will finish 9-7 -- which is either a call of the division being the most balanced in sports history, or a bit of a cop out.

It is true that across the board, all three teams are NFC playoff contenders -- but none more than the Cowboys. Who says so? Sportswriters have biases, butts to kiss, and our famous sedentary style. Oddsmakers, though, put their money where their predictions are. And, for one, sees it this way: The Redskins, at 11/4, the LEAST likely of the four teams to win the division. The Eagles at 5/2, the Giants at 9/4, and your favorite. ... the Dallas Cowboys at 8/5.

It all starts this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida. It all ends 22 weeks from now in Miami, Florida. And for Jerry Jones' Cowboys, there does appear to be light at the end of The Glorah Hole. ... er. ... Th' Glory Hole. ... er, the tunnel.

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