Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

As much as they might to avoid it, the Cowboys can't avoid it. The talk is out there. It's not a whisper, either. "The Cowboys should be in the Super Bowl."

There — it's been said.

It's not like it was a secret or anything. Does anyone really see the Michael Strahan-less Giants who may or may not have Jeremy Shockey and/or Plaxico Burress repeating as NFC — or NFL — champions? Few, if any. Green Bay's hopes retired over the offseason in an emotional press conference. Redskins? Eagles? There's a chance, perhaps, but that chance is extremely slim. Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman allegedly thinks the Minnesota Vikings not only will reach, but win, the Super Bowl, but he might not be aware that Fran Tarkenton retired.

The Cowboys seemingly sent half the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to play in the Pro Bowl, including their quarterback, top receiver, top (backup) running back, a pair of offensive linemen, a tight end, a couple of linebackers, a few defensive backs … and just for good measure, their punter and rookie placekicker. All they needed was to get Rowdy voted in as the NFC's Pro Bowl mascot and the entire league would have screamed "conspiracy!"

To be fair, most are not picking Dallas to win the Super Bowl. As long as Tom Brady and Randy Moss wear the same uniforms in New England, and as long as Peyton Manning is firing passes around the Midwest and Shawne Merriman is clobbering quarterbacks out west, the Cowboys will remain the pick to win their conference, if not the league.

But even that is shooting for the moon — it's not out of the realm of possibility for a team as loaded with talent as the Cowboys are, but for a team that has exactly zero postseason victories in the last 11 years? Sorry, Wade, last year's first-round bye doesn't count as a playoff victory — the postseason slate remains barren for over a decade.

Many teams, when thrust into the limelight of expectations, will wilt from the pressure, or at the very least, run from such discussions — not so with this year's Cowboys.

"There's no way we can go under the radar anymore," linebacker Bradie James said. "With all the talent we have — it's like we have an all-star team. There's no way to avoid the Super Bowl talk."

But James, one of the elder statesmen in a team largely full of players still waiting to win their first play off games, said the Cowboys not only don't shy away from such talk, they embrace it.

"We hear what people say about how good we're supposed to be," James said, "but we think it, too. We don't say it because other people say it — we say it because we believe it.

"This is the year we make our run."

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