As a 10-year NFL veteran, Gerald McCoy will remarkably have more primetime appearances in 2020 during his first year in Dallas than his entire career prior. McCoy addressed this, along with many of the contributing factors to his excitement around the upcoming season, as a guest on Thursday's 2020 Schedule Release Special.
One of the more recent additions to the Dallas Cowboys new-look defense, Gerald McCoy, has done almost everything there is to do in the NFL regular season.
Pro Bowl? Six checks.
Top 20 in active sack leaders? You bet, 19th.
Because of this, there is little doubt that the 6-foot-4 defensive tackle is one of the most decorated defenders in the country. However, he has never really been in the spotlight. Until now.
"Excluding Thursday Night games, in 11 years, I've played four primetime games," McCoy said. "So the experience to be a Cowboy…[Tyrone Crawford] is used to this, I'm not!"
The 10-year NFL veteran spent the first nine seasons of his career in Tampa Bay before joining the Carolina Panthers for the 2019 season and landing in Dallas this offseason. With the schedule release on Thursday, it was revealed that McCoy and the Cowboys are slated for a total of five primetime games, one more than in his entire career prior to arriving in Dallas.
McCoy had only played in one Sunday Night Football game throughout his career, which happened to be against the Cowboys back in 2016. He'll match his Sunday Night experience quickly as Dallas takes center-stage on opening weekend at the brand-new So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles against the Rams.
Surprisingly, it will not be the first time that McCoy has opened a stadium as he played in the first collegiate game at AT&T Stadium during his junior year with the Oklahoma Sooners.
"This opening stadiums thing is just a part of where I'm supposed to be," McCoy said. "I was actually a part of the first game at 'Jerry's World.' OU played BYU when that stadium opened, so now I'm a part of the first game with their stadium opening…I'm ready to get it, it's going to be great."
Outside of the pool of primetime matchups and Week One, Thanksgiving brings a whole new level of anticipation for McCoy. As a holiday that he has never had the chance to play on, McCoy is more than ecstatic to finally do so on November 26 against Washington.
"Thanksgiving? I grew up watching these games," McCoy said. "Everybody is tuned in on Thanksgiving and everyone is going to watch the Cowboys."
McCoy even called his dad quickly after signing his contract with the Cowboys to express his jubilation in finally getting to play on such a heralded day of football. His entire family mirrored the emotions and made it known that they too were ready for the world to be watching.
With all eyes on the veteran with his new role in Dallas, he also understands the task at hand is much bigger than the bright lights that he'll be playing under this season.
"What's making me more excited than just the opportunity, is the roster we put together," McCoy said. "I know I'm around a great group of men who love to work and who are going to come together for one common goal."
After a well-executed, yet stressful offseason for Dallas, the schedule release does the same favors for players as it does for fans. A gift of hope and foreshadowing to the season that lies ahead, along with the obstacles that will undoubtably come.
"That's what makes this exciting, that we get to put that out to the world when everybody is watching," McCoy said. "That's what I love. I never had the opportunities that I wanted. But now I do."