One of the most impressive things about the Dallas Cowboys this season is the fact that, with only a road visit to the 3-11 Washington Redskins left on the travel itinerary, the team is undefeated away from AT&T Stadium this year. No matter what happens during that week 17 visit to the Nation's Capitol, Dallas will stake claim to the season's best road record. As of this writing there is no other franchise in the league with less than two road losses. Should the Cowboys complete the road sweep, they will become only the 14th team in the last 65 seasons to maintain a perfect road record.
In many minds it does seem strange that any sports team would fare better on the road than it does within the confines of its own stadium. The "home field advantage" generally does not mean someone else's home. Coach Jason Garrett has attributed the fact that his team has performed better outside the Metroplex to the way they choose to meet the demands of the road in the NFL.
"I think we have guys who are mentally tough. I think we're probably built better than we've been in recent years to go play on the road in a lot of different adverse circumstances."
"Sometimes there's that warrior mentality where you go on the road and you kind of embrace all the challenges that come with it. I think our team has done a good job of that this year." - Jason Garrett
Defensive end Jeremy Mincey sees things a bit differently; from his point of view there are less distractions away from home. Road games are simply a business trip where the only task at hand is to take care of what needs to be accomplished. When the team is away from Dallas the only thing he has to deal with is football. Social and family obligations do not need to be tended to on road trips.
"You got to deal with them, where they're staying and how they're going to eat. There's just a lot of stuff. On the road, it's just strictly you. You don't have to worry about getting your wife into the parking lot. You don't have to worry about all those small details. It's all eradicated when you're on the road. It's evident. Whatever we're doing on the road is working." - Jeremy Mincey
There has even been some speculation that Jason Garrett relaxing the team's dress code for travel has impacted the players performance away from AT&T Stadium. After the victory in Seattle, Garrett rewarded the squad by allowing them to wear warm-ups instead of the required coat and tie on the flight home. There are rumors that perhaps Jason Witten and a few other team leaders approached Garrett privately and suggested that the team continue to allow players to fly in comfort. While they are still expected to wear the coat and tie to the stadium on Sunday, the flight itself is now made in more relaxed attire.
In the end, it does not matter why the team is finding success on the road, it only matters that it continues. Warrior mentality, less distractions, or even just traveling in comfort; something has boosted the Cowboys on the road this season. Now they will face the final road trip of the season with a chance for a perfect record away from home. If we look at recent history, that bodes well for the blue and silver. Four of the last five teams to go undefeated on the road advanced to the Super Bowl. The other fell just one game short.