IRVING, Texas – In the frenzy of the Cowboys’ post-win locker room in Seattle, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones was asked if beating the Seahawks served as an early birthday present.
It was too soon at the time, as Jones’ Oct. 13 birthday was still seven or eight hours away – but he answered emphatically.
“Frankly, more than I could have expected. Almost as good as the Herschel Walker trade,” he said.
It says a lot about the caliber of the win that one of the most important trades in team history – which had its 25th anniversary Sunday – could be so thoroughly overshadowed. Jones said the 30-23 victory, against what many had considered the best team in the NFL, showed him what kind of group he had.
“When I see us come up here against the Super Bowl champions and play in these adverse conditions … “When I see us play like that, then I’d say we’ve got a chance to line up against anybody and win the game,” Jones said.
“This is on par with our Washington win in the 90s, in the early 90s, when we went up there to one of the top teams and we were able to come out of there with a win,” Jones said. “Only this – although the score was a touchdown, we really played really good football.”
He added: “When you can overcome 17 points that you give them, against a top team – that, you don’t do. And so in that sense, with all due respect, and we respect the Seahawks to the nth to degree, when you can shoot yourself in the foot that many times and come back and just win the ball game with good solid football -- that tells you something.”
Jones was quick to point out, however, that in this parity-driven league, he wasn’t surprised by the result. He referenced on several occasions his defense’s ability to rise above the level of play many anticipated – something he’d expect of professional players.
“Nothing surprises me in the NFL. They pay their players, too -- the other side of the ball. And so our guys are pros,” he said. “And so you can just carry it so far as to why a team shouldn’t be competitive, but you better draw it up at some particular point, because they’ve all got good players.”
He also drew another parallel to the early 90s, before those Cowboys became ubiquitous with winning championships. Much like this year’s team – particularly the defense – Jones said those teams weren’t universally respected. The cure for those perceptions, or lack thereof, is simple: keep winning.
“Those guys weren’t All-Pro players, in the 90s, and they’re great players – great players,” Jones said. “But before they were winning like that, they weren’t thought to be great players. The winning helped them become better players – their thought that they could do that.”