The sun rose in the east this morning. But don't kid yourself, it's a vastly different planet for your Dallas Cowboys.
A world, that is, free of monkeys, gorillas, primates, mandrills, King Kongs and, most imporantly, playoff pratfalls.
In what will surely be referenced for years to come, owner Jerry Jones told me and Newy Scruggs on 105.3 The Fan last Friday that he didn't necessarily feel a baboon on his back despite 13 years without a playoff win.
Insisted Jerry, "I just don't think that way about monkeys."
Sure enough, Jones looks at them more as demons.
"Alright, can we say it together now?" Jerry crowed in the locker room after Saturday night's 20-point dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles in Cowboys Stadium. "The demons are what? Gone!"
It has worked. Cleansing the locker room of Terrell Owens. Trusting in Anthony Spencer. Keeping Wade Phillips. Dumping Nick Folk and Jessica Simpson. Romo-Friendly. It's all worked.
It didn't surprise most of us. But still, as the crowd serenaded the befallen Eagles with "Nah nah nah nah ... hey hey hey ... good-bye" in the final seconds, it dawned on us all: After a sudden, surprising, brilliant burst of excellence, the Cowboys have eradicated 13 years of shit.
The Cowboys are winners.
But to what extent?
Jones almost skipped to the locker room, arm in arm with Terence Newman and David Buehler. Linebackers coach Reggie Herring howled to anyone that cared to listen, "Can't say we haven't won a playoff game now!" And secondary coach Dave Campo blurted "Any more jinxes left? Just let us know!"
In the locker room the young players were giddy, oblivious to the decades of frustration. Older players like Jason Witten took time to reflect.
"We'd be lying if it didn't feel good to hurl this monkey to the side," said Witten. "I've only been here for seven of the 13 years and I felt it. He was a heavy one."
Despite not trailing for a month and having the longest winning streak and the hottest quarterback, the Cowboys are underdogs Sunday against the Vikings. This week you'll hear the "just happy to be here" doom and gloom.
So is it enough, the one playoff win? To me - and to Jerry - this franchise measures success and the $1.2 billion stadium was built for Super Bowl banners, not Wild Card wins. I mean, nobody's going to DisneyWorld today, right?
The question out front of the Divisional Round trip to Minneapolis: Is this enough?
With a winning season, an NFC East championship and a playoff victory, is this season already successful regardless of Sunday?
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