Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is not a retrospective kind of guy. He's always looking forward, thinking and talking about the mission of the day, which, theoretically, will prepare himself and his team for the opportunities to come.
In explaining that philosophy, he often cites the way he began his tenure as head coach. The Cowboys were 1-7 last year when Wade Phillips was fired. Garrett was named interim coach on a Monday.
The players were off on Tuesday. The message then, which has remained much the same in more than 13 months since, was for Garrett and his guys to hit the ground running on Wednesday, to be their best that day, so that they might have a chance on Sunday at 4:15 (ET) in the Meadowlands, where the Giants would be waiting for them.
There have been highs and lows in the 23 games in between, probably no greater high than that improbably 33-20 victory over New York. Now that the Cowboys are headed back to the Meadowlands for what is undoubtedly the biggest game of Garrett's young head coaching career, his focus remains the same.
No looking back.
"We have worked very hard to get to this point," Garrett said. "It seems like a long time ago that we started training camp down in San Antonio. We have had a lot of very positive things happen for our team. Some negative things happened, but you play through that stuff. Have a chance to go up there and play against the Giants . . . We are excited about the opportunity to go up there and challenge for the Eastern Division title.
"I don't really compare this game to that game or whatever. We've put ourselves in this position. Like I said, training camp started a long time ago, and to be one of the teams that's playing for a division title is really exciting for our team."