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Cowboys Must Start Poppin'

recover from them," Parcells said of those damning 0-2 starts, "and then you become part of that luminous number of teams that would be unable to recover from an 0-2 start. 

"I said yesterday it's an important game for both teams from that standpoint. I really do. Again, it's a little early in the season to be talking about what the end result's going to be. You know, I can only go back to a couple of teams that I've had that were way worse off than 0-2 and seeming recovered from that." 

Parcells has seen the other side of that pancake, though, and maybe this is why he does not fear the 0-2 start as maybe the hysterical fan or the microwave-judging media: Three of his teams starting off 0-2 finished with winning records. One, his 1996 Patriots, not only finished 11-5, but earned a Super Bowl berth. Another, his 1998 Jets, finished 12-4 and came within a half of landing in the Super Bowl. And his 0-3 Jets of 1999 did manage to climb back to .500 (8-8). 

So there can be life after 0-2, it's just that anyone involved with the Cowboys or following the Cowboys aren't real familiar with that type of work. And Parcells knows the odds of recovering aren't real good, especially with this team, with this schedule and in this presumably tough NFC East. 

"It's important," Parcells said of getting off to a good start. "I think particularly the way our schedule is, we have a lot of difficult games and we got a lot of games on the road early in the season. And you know, if you don't play well and you don't win some of those games, it's going to be tough to get in contention later on. But if you do, those home games at the end of the season should be of some benefit to you." 

Yep, big game at Texas Stadium come Sunday night. Not big game in the sense that everything is on the line, and I would not go as far as suggesting the season is on the line. Not with 14 games to go. Man, just think what would happen if Parcells or Washington head coach Joe Gibbs spelled out Sunday that way to their teams or Tom Coughlin to his 0-1 Giants heading into Philly on Sunday. Then you lose. 

What do you tell 'em on Monday? 

But it's big in that there will be a national focus on Cowboys-Redskins, or as Terrell Owens said, "This is as close as we get to a Monday night game," but in actuality, is the Monday night game now. It's big because, hey, no matter what you think, this is the 93rd edition of Cowboys and Indians, and if you think this game has lost its meaning, then I suggest you parade around Washington, D.C., the night before a Cowboys game at FedExField in your Cowboys jersey, or better yet, just go to the game. You'll fully understand this American rivalry. 

And on top of all this good stuff, one Terrell Eldorado Owens will be making his regular-season debut at Texas Stadium wearing the blue star on his silver helmet. Big, right? He thinks so. 

"Stay tuned to the game," Owens said. "I'm going to try to bring some excitement to Texas Stadium." 

That's what I'm talkin' about. 

Can't wait. Nothing better than a big crowd, at Texas Stadium, under the lights, with the Redskins on the other sideline. Makes me think of the opener in 1985 and Game 2 in 1991 and, heck, you don't need to be as old as I am to remember even last year. 

Going to get my popcorn tonight. Might even pop it Saturday night so everything is set for Sunday. Might even pop me a little extra. 

Maybe this time I'll need it.                 

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