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Cowboys/Giants--Dyanasties are Built on This Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Sun, Dec 4, 2005, 08:31 AM

It’s the biggest game of the season.  It’s the most anticipated regular season Cowboy game in recent history.  It could be called the Cowboy game of the 21st Century. Today at noon, the Cowboys take on the New York Giants to determine who’s in the NFC East driver’s seat. It’s simply a huge game.

Over the past 45 years, the Cowboys have played in some of the biggest games in the history of the NFL. Some of these games took on their own identity and became NFL Classics… The Ice Bowl…The Hail Mary Game…The Catch….That’s not to mention all the Super Bowl appearances. The Cowboys are no strangers to the NFL spotlight.

Believe me, I’m not going to try to convince you that this game is as important as The Ice Bowl or a Super Bowl. But, I will tell you that this game can make or break the identity of this team. And, it could go a long way to help determine the near future of this organization.

No, a loss would not be devastating. A loss would put the Cowboys 1 game behind the Giants in the division and right in the middle of a gaggle of NFC Wildcard hopefuls. Lose this game and The Cowboys would then have a couple of must wins to close out the season in order to see post-season action.

While a loss wouldn’t kill the Cowboys, a win would not only put them in the driver’s seat in the NFC East, it would also legitimize this team as one of the top teams in the NFC. And that is simply HUGE.

Champions are built during games like this. It’s games like this that Super Bowl Champions look back on and say, “…that’s where I knew we could do it…”

The NFL is about turning points. Sometimes individual games are simply individual games. But sometimes individual games are turning points. When a team is on its way up, they may not realize that they are playing in such games. But when a dynasty looks back on its history they certainly can point to the turning point games.

Look at the Cowboys last dynasty. In the early 1990’s the Cowboys built one of the strongest dynasties in the history of the modern NFL. In 1991 the Cowboys entered week 12 of the season with a record of 6-5. They had just lost 2 in a row and were about to travel to Washington to face the division leading Redskins. The Cowboys won the game 24-21.

At the time, everyone knew it was a huge win for the Cowboys. It was an upset on the road. It was a win against a division rival. And it was a win against the most dominant team in the league.

But, at the time, no one realized just exactly how big that win was. Even though it was a great victory, it only put the Cowboys at 7-5 and a good 4 games behind the division leader. There was still work to do. The team finished out the season with 4 more victories and won their first playoff game in a decade. Not too bad for a team that started the season 6-5. But that’s not the end of the story.

In the 5 years that followed that game against Washington, the Cowboys went 63-21. They appeared in 4 NFC Championship Games and won 3 Super Bowls. They became a dynasty.

Now, all of this may have still happened had the Cowboys lost that ’91 game against the Redskins. But, it is very clear to me that, while no one realized it at the time,  this one game was a turning point for a dynasty.

Today’s game against the Giants on the road could be the same type of game. A loss wouldn’t kill the team…But just think of the possibilities if the Cowboys win.

 

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