FRISCO, Texas – It was a pretty fitting backdrop for Stephen Jones to discuss the start of one of the most anticipated Cowboys seasons in recent memory.
The team's executive vice president helped announce the naming rights for the Cowboys' new headquarters in Frisco on Friday. Starting in the summer of 2016, the Cowboys will move into the newly-named Ford Center at The Star.
The Cowboys team Jones has helped construct will be a part of ushering in that new era for the organization, and – needless to say – he's excited to see it take its first steps Sunday night against the New York Giants.
"Obviously, we're excited about this team," Jones said. "As I said before camp started, we executed on an offseason plan, and I felt like we did execute on a plan."
That plan has helped make this a fascinating offseason from a multitude of angles. The Cowboys famously allowed DeMarco Murray to walk away after a career year – declining to match a $42 million offer from Philadelphia. They supplanted him with a bevy of talented but unproven running backs, who will finally have a chance to show their stuff this weekend.
"We'll have to see if we were correct in the decisions that we made and see if the execution we had leads to us being a better football team," Jones said.
There are other talking points to consider – the signing of Greg Hardy and the drafting of Randy Gregory, not to mention the decision to extend Dez Bryant all spring to mind as major offseason storylines.
All of them seem to speak toward a goal of bringing the Cowboys a sixth Super Bowl championship – something that many feel they were close to just a year ago.
"We weren't good enough last year to win a championship, and the ultimate goal for everyone is to win a championship," Jones said. "We've got to go out and perform now."
Inside the walls of Valley Ranch, where Cowboys coach Jason Garrett keeps the focus narrow, you'd be hard pressed to hear talk like that. Garrett doesn't even focus on one game at a time, but literally one day – one practice – at a time.
There's no denying the expectations, though. A 12-4 finish last year rejuvenated a fanbase that watched three consecutive 8-8 seasons, and the majority of the Cowboys' personnel years in the last two years have been geared toward fielding a young, physical, competitive team.
It's telling that, when Jones was asked Friday if this was the best Cowboys team since the 1990s, he didn't shy away – but he used it to drive the message home.
"It's certainly showing signs that it can be, but at the end of the day you're held accountable," he said. "We will be, the players obviously are – you don't just assume you're going to start up where you left off last year. So we've got to go out and prove ourselves and go to work."