As much as we dispel myths about our beloved Dallas Cowboys, the "December Jinx" is solidly based on reality. Since 1997 the team has a far from impressive record of 28-43 and the only time that they have posted a winning record for the month is the 3-2 mark that was turned in during last season's campaign. The Cowboys failure to close the door on recent seasons is one reason that Jason Garrett has added another motivational sign to the Dallas meeting room. That sign reads quite simply: "FINISH, FINISH, FINISH". For the head coach, the sign applies at many different levels.
“And there are so many different things that you finish. You finish plays, you finish drives and you finish games, and certainly emphasize finishing the season.- Jason Garrett
Once again in the thick of the NFC East race as the season draws to a close, the Cowboys will have to do just that if they want to continue playing football into the opening month of 2014. The first three months of the season are nothing more than jockeying for position as the race heads down the backstretch and turns for home.
“We’ve always known that what they remember is what you do in December. We can’t expect to be where we all want to be unless we play better than we’ve certainly played the last two years. We need to change that. That was our goal this year. And we’ve got a chance to do something about it this year.” - Jerry Jones
The schedule certainly favors the Cowboys this time around; of the four games remaining to be played, the only team with a winning record is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys and Eagles will meet during the final week of the season, and that game will be played in "The House That Jerry Built", AT&T Stadium. Still, with road games against the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins; the path is not an easy one. That being said, the past is behind them now, and the only thing that matters is what the Dallas Cowboys are able to accomplish over the next four weeks. As Garrett reminded the Dallas media recently, this year has very little to do with 2012, 2011, 2010, or 1966; the 2013 Dallas Cowboys will write their own version of the team's history.
“We certainly feel good that we control our destiny. Really, what we focus on around here is what we can control. We live in the short term. We’re focused on the Chicago Bears and what we need to do today to win that ballgame." - Jason Garrett
Like many other Garrett mantras, that philosophy is now being shared by the 53 men who have the ability to make this a December to remember for Cowboys fans.
“Honestly, Coach Garrett’s way of looking at it one game at a time, if you look at it one game at a time you may look up in two or three weeks from now and you may be playing a meaningless game. You never know. But if I started looking and thinking about what’s going to happen if we do this or if we do that, then that’s when we get in trouble.
“I’m excited. This month’s stretch, from a competitive perspective, it doesn’t get much better than this.” - Orlando Scandrick
Fresh after having played only two games over a 28 day period, and with key players returning from injury; the time is now and the Dallas Cowboys have a solid chance at reversing the December curse that has plagued the team since shortly after the dynasty years. In the end; however, talk is cheap. The only thing that matters is what takes place on the field.
“No matter what we did last year, or the year before or a few years ago when we beat Philly and went to the playoffs, none of that matters; that’s all history. We’ve got an opportunity to accomplish everything that we want to accomplish. Our first goal was to make the playoffs, win the NFC East and continue to go on. We got a month to put it together, and it goes back to you have the resolve and the resiliency and the want. It’s just you’ve got to figure out a way.” - Orlando Scandrick