If you don’t believe in moral victories, Jerry Jones has no use for you. The Cowboys’ owner was bubbling with pride in the aftermath of Sunday’s 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos.
“I’m just encouraged that we played at the level we played in a lot of areas that we’re gonna win enough games to get where we want to be,” Jones said after the game. “This was a moral victory today for us.”
When I saw that quote, my immediate thought was, “What would Jimmy Johnson have said upon hearing that nonsense?” Jerry, sometimes the honesty is just too much. As a longtime Jerry whisperer, I can tell you that he was brimming with pride because he thought, for 58 minutes, Tony Romo validated that enormous contract. What Jerry really wanted to come out and say is, “My Tony played better than Peyton Manning.”
In know these things, in part because I also have delusional thoughts from time to time. On some level, this allows me to better interpret Jerry’s inane ramblings. But at the risk of sounding like him, I actually think this loss could have a trampoline effect on the rest of the season. Sure, you could choose to dwell on Romo’s back-breaking interception. Or you could take a look at this dreadful NFC East and realize the Cowboys’ offense is capable of overwhelming the other three teams. They won’t need 48 points to beat the Redskins on Sunday, but the Cowboys should keep the same sense of urgency they displayed against the Broncos.
Players such as Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley had to come away with a ton of confidence after Sunday’s game. Williams, the team’s third-round pick out of Baylor, had taken a beating for fumbling near the goal-line late in the San Diego loss. But he was one of three Cowboys receivers to surpass the 100-yard mark Sunday. Calling it a moral victory is embarrassing. But I do think it’s possible to build upon a loss. New playcaller Bill Callahan should have a different mindset after witnessing Romo throw for 500 yards and five touchdowns. He just needs to mention in passing that throwing to a rookie tight end in traffic on second-and-16 with two minutes left in the game isn’t a good look. And neither is claiming moral victories.
The keeper of the Cowboys’ secret sauce, Stephen Jones, disagreed with his father’s statement. It was a refreshing glimpse of sanity from inside Fayetteville’s answer to Camelot.
“There’s no moral victories in this thing,” Stephen said on the team’s flagship station 105.3. “At the end of the day you are what you are. It was obviously a very difficult one to digest. I know we’ll bounce back as a team, and we’ll get to work. There’s some positive things to build on in terms of this team, but certainly no moral victories there.”
Head coach Jason Garrett also took a stand against moral victories. This is troubling because Jerry normally fires a member of the Garrett family when Jason questions him in public.
“We don’t believe in moral victories, and different people will say that different ways,” Garrett. “But our job is to win football games and we didn’t get the job done [Sunday]. They did. They’re an outstanding football team, arguably the best team in the NFL coming into this game, and we put ourselves in a great situation, a great position to win that game and we didn’t do it.”
You don’t normally hear coaches say something like, “let’s keep stacking moral victories.” But obviously, the positives outweighed the negatives Sunday…except for the whole loss thing.
Jerry would be best served to occasionally keep some of those thoughts to himself. But then what in the world would we talk about?