FRISCO, Texas – It's a reasonable question, and it's something that coaches in all sports at all levels have to confront.
Having won five games in a row, boasting an 8-5 record and sitting as a near-certain lock to win the NFC East, how do the Cowboys maintain the edge that got them to this point?
Speaking in his weekly interview with 105.3 FM The Fan on Tuesday morning, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones had the perfect analogy for the situation.
"When you've had the downs, or when you've had the type of season we've had, it's almost like in life – growing up without any money or growing up in lesser circumstances," Jones said. "Once you've tasted that feeling, it makes you appreciate and makes you not want to go back there."
Jones' comparison describes the Cowboys pretty perfectly. Despite the win streak, it's still a bit surreal to think where this team has come from, having fallen two games below .500 just a month ago.
And while the success has been fun, in this league you're only ever one game away from losing. Looking back on the ups and downs of September and October, Jones said he thought those experiences might help the Cowboys as they try to close out the season in style.
"This team, fortunately, has had real challenges early this year. We have lived to tell about it," he said. "Now let's take -- and I think will take -- the memory of a bitter taste in Charlotte or Houston and basically keep that at the forefront and realize how fortunate we are to get to be playing for what we're getting to play for as we go to Indianapolis."
There are half a dozen ways the Cowboys can clinch the division crown, but the surest and easiest way would be to win a sixth game in a row on Sunday afternoon. Using the lessons of the season as motivation, Jones sounded optimistic they can do just that.