OXNARD, Calif. – Just minutes into his pre-camp press conference, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did his best to eliminate an overused phrase that has been associated with his team all summer long.
About 10 minutes later, Jones likely replaced it with another that certainly perked up everyone within earshot of the Built Ford Tough® stage here in Oxnard.
Jerry wanted to "close the window" on the window talk, referring to his statement last month that he feels the window is closing for his team's ultimate success. It's been used several times and has trickled down, leaving the players and coaches left to answer as well. For the most part, it's been changed to mean more of a "sense of urgency," a phrase Jones mentioned Sunday afternoon as well.
But the one comment that caught everyone's attention, both in Oxnard and immediately on the social network universe was his reference to success, and his own hunger to get this franchise back to its winning ways.
"For me, it's a reminder," Jones said. "I've been here 23 years. I've been here when it was glory hole days and I've been here when it wasn't. And, so, having said that, I want me some glory hole. So I have that perspective."
A rather stunned audience of reporters broke into laughter, not too sure what to make of Jones' statement. In fact, the owner threw a few zingers out at the press conference, showing his chipper spirit and expected enthusiasm heading into the season.
Cowboys PR spokesman Rich Dalrymple, who always accompanies the coach and owner during scheduled press conferences, tried to clarify the comment, pointing out that "glory hole" is a commonly-used term in the Oil business, where Jones worked long before buying the Cowboys.
But Jones wasn't through playing along.
"That's news to me," the owner said with a huge grin, turning the reporters into an eruption of laughter.
The delivery was questionable, but the point is simple. Jerry Jones is trying to get his team back to the glory days again.
Now, is that a surprise? Is that any different than his approach the last few years? No and certainly not.
The Cowboys have now missed the playoffs two straight years and three of the last four. With just one playoff win since the 1996 season, the desperation to win keeps growing by the year.
And that's what prompted the original theme-line this summer, referring to the window for this team's chances of winning a Super Bowl could be closing.
"I do feel a sense of urgency," Jones said. "But more in the framework that, when we open up against the Giants, we've got to do better. We've got to be tougher."
Coach Jason Garrett also spoke of increasing the team's mental toughness.
"If you look around the league, a lot of teams are playing close games," Garrett said. "The teams that typically have the most success are the ones that are mentally tough. That's something we need to improve. Sometimes that can be the difference in winning and losing these close games."
Mentally tough, or an open window or a return to glory, the message is clear. The Cowboys are desperately trying to get over the hump this year. It's been noticed in free agency and the draft.
We're about to find out if it'll be translated to the field.