Sullivan: Enjoy The Cowboys' Success; But Let's Not Get Too Carried Away

The author of *America's Team: The Official History of the Dallas Cowboys, Sullivan also writes a new column in each issue of Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. For subscription information, please click here.*

The glory of a 5-1 start. That's all it is right now. A 5-1 start.

IRVING, Texas - My first girlfriend was beautiful and the smartest girl in the class. Long blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, she even liked sports. Life was perfect. I was the man.

For about 10 minutes.

I was deathly afraid of the opposite sex growing up. Just wasn't my thing. The words never came out as planned. However a buddy of mine took the initiative, and asked this girl if she would "go out" with me. This was sixth grade, when "go out" consisted of exchanging some notes in class and maybe, maybe a phone call here and there. This was heavy stuff.

So, after being informed that she said yes, we ended up talking for a few minutes and everyone was headed home, so I offered to walk her home. She said yes. This was big. We walked about 100 yards, barely leaving the school properly, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a boy a grade younger than us on his bike, driving toward us. To this day I have no explanation or reasoning for what happened next. I guess, in retrospect, my objective was trying to impress my first girlfriend. The mind of an 11-year old can be a confusing place.

As he approached, maybe 20 feet or so from me, I took off, running as quickly as my legs would take me, and as I approached, five feet or so, I launched myself into full-fledged football tackle mode, and sure enough, connected, took out the bike and the kid. Probably the cleanest tackle of my life. I stood up quite proud of myself and turned around with a smile.

But come on, the Cowboys aren't the best team in the NFL right now

The girl was shocked and within seconds, crying. She helped the kid up, more or less told me how horrible I was, and then headed home. She didn't talk to me for three years.

This has been the most unexpected of starts for the Dallas Cowboys, astonishing one and all. Fans are giddy, last week's stunning upset of Seattle has been cited as the greatest regular-season win since Pop Warner himself was coaching in the 19th century. And that's cool, the Cowboys have been a frustrating team these last four years and the fans deserve to bask in the glory.

The glory of a 5-1 start. That's all it is right now. A 5-1 start.

My point is let's not print Super Bowl tickets just yet. Actually had four people ask me about Super Bowl tickets this past week. They were dead serious. I kind of chuckled. I love the optimism, no one is usually more optimistic than me, especially with this team, but much like I should have in the early moments with my aforementioned "girlfriend," let's slow it down. There's a whole lot of football left, like 10 regular-season games.

I have heard about the 9-1 start multiple times this week as well. And that's certainly doable. Certainly the Cowboys will be favored each of the next four games, the Giants on Sunday, followed by Washington and Arizona, also at home, and Jacksonville in London. Am guessing the Cowboys won't be underdogs again December, possibly at Chicago, if not more than likely at Philly in Week 15.

Look, this team was better than 8-8 the last two seasons. Not sure about 2011, but definitely 2012 and 2013. They broke the league's single-season record for missed games by defensive players due to injury back-to-back years. That's mind-boggling. Thought Stephen Jones made a great point this past spring when he said multiple starters on the defensive line at the end of last season weren't even good enough to make the team's 90-man roster. Think about that. If the defense was just decent, a few more starters remained upright, the Cowboys win double-digit games each of the last two seasons. No one can convince me otherwise.

At the same time, this team isn't headed for 14 or 15 wins. They just aren't. Could see 12-4, but would have to win a few close ones. That's been a big difference this season, too. Luck. There's a whole lot of luck involved in winning football games, a call here and there, a bounce of a fumble, a deflected pass lands in someone's hands rather than in an empty space. And the Cowboys have been catching some breaks thus far. A lot of those breaks have gone the other way the last two seasons.

The Cowboys are first in some of those (utterly useless) power rankings this week and that's fine. In terms of what each team has accomplished this season, that's probably accurate, the Cowboys should be first. But come on, the Cowboys aren't the best team in the NFL right now. They aren't the Super Bowl favorites. For me, would still take Denver, Seattle, Indy and Green Bay over the Cowboys. And Philly, San Francisco, New England and San Diego are right in that same group as Dallas.

Know what, though? Six weeks ago, if anyone said the Cowboys would be among the top-10 teams in the NFL here and now, I am guessing most would have taken that without hesitation.

Life is about expectations. If you go see a movie thinking it's going to be fantastic and it's just okay, you feel disappointment. If you turn the TV on and just give some movie a chance and it's okay, you feel like, hey, that wasn't bad. I enjoyed that. It's all about expectations.

And let's be honest, expectations for the 2014 Dallas Cowboys weren't high. They were arguably the lowest since Bill Parcells took the head coaching job in 2003. So this has been magical thus far.

This has also been a lot of fun. Enjoy it, but let's keep some prospective, too. Let's not go tackling kids off bikes. Or asking about Super Bowl tickets just yet. Whole lot of football left to play.

Follow Jeff Sullivan on Twitter, *@SullyBaldHead, or email him at jsullivan@dallascowboys.net.*

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