Before boarding the plane for Miami, the players and coaches took part in the annual kickoff luncheon, presented by Happy Hill Farm Academy. For the second straight year, the luncheon was held at Cowboys Stadium, giving the sponsors and other fans a glimpse at this year's team.
Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones both took the podium with high optimism for the upcoming season, although neither of them chose to offer up an overall prediction. Garrett said "getting better" was the ultimate goal and after a 6-10 season that should be realistic enough.
The kickoff luncheon, emceed by Cowboys radio voice Brad Sham, not only introduces all of the current roster and coaching staff, but doles out awards from last year.
To no surprise, Jason Witten claimed the Offensive MVP award, while DeMarcus Ware won the Defensive MVP from last year. Punter Mat McBriar was named Special Teams player of the Year.
Former Cowboys safety and special teams captain Bill Bates spoke for the Legends award.
Once again, the luncheon benefits Happy Hill Farm Academy, a boarding school in nearby Granbury, Texas that offers abused and neglected children (grades K-12) a chance to escape either a troubled childhood or broken homes.
From the luncheon, most of the players and coaches went straight to the charter site to depart for Miami.