The Dallas Cowboys kickoff their season today versus the New York Giants on the first Sunday Night Football edition of the year. We've had free agency, the Draft, training camp and preseason… but now it's real football. Finally, the wait is over.
It's that time of the year. That moment when all of Cowboys Nation is united with a new sense of hope. A new season, a new team, a new journey. The moment when we truly believe one thing to be true…
This is our year.
Season after season, we believe it. For some reason, we are 100% certain of it. No matter the circumstances. Because that is what sports are about. I've been watching football ever since I can remember. And as a young fan, I've never seen this team be in the NFC Championship Game. Let alone a Super Bowl.
But I don't mind. I never miss a game. I'm sure most of Cowboys Nation never do. This is what it's all about.
In 2014, the Cowboys fell short when they lost to the Green Bay Packers. Did Dez catch it? Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But dwelling in the past is useless. In 2015 things weren't pretty. With Tony Romo being injured most of the season, the Cowboys never got it going.
Then this franchise got an energy boost of sorts. With rookies sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the team to the #1 seed in the NFC, times were changing.
A new era begun, the Dak Prescott Era.
And of course, we've dealt with the “Dak's sophomore slump” stuff just about everyday. But guess what? Dak Prescott doesn't care, why should we? Prescott will do nothing but improve. Dak took the NFL by storm as a rookie. A fourth-round rookie.
Just imagine what he will be able to do after a whole season starting on the biggest stage in sports: the Dallas Cowboys quarterback position. Hell, forget about starting. Wining 13 games and leading his team to the #1 seed.
Ezekiel Elliott will be on that field, too. As the whole suspension drama will be likely delayed until 2018, he'll be on that field the entire season.
The 2016 NFL rushing leader will be hungry. He will be ready to pick up first down after first down every time he gets the chance.
And… do I have to mention this team's offensive line? Or the insane group of receivers this team has? I'm not only talking about Dez Bryant, but Cole Beasley might just be unstoppable.
I don't care which defense this team is facing. There's no way you'll be able to stop Dez Bryant while also being able to defend Beasley and be ready for a run with Zeke at the same time.
Sure, this defense is not ideal. Not even close. But look at this team's defensive line… you can't tell me Irving, Moore, Collins, Mayowa, Charlton and company aren't promising names. This pass rush will get to the QB this season.
Jaylon Smith will join Sean Lee as a starter. The secondary saw some changes, too… positive changes. Claiborne, Carr, Church are out. Awuzie, Lewis, Woods are in. They may be young, but they will be good players.
This 2017 Dallas Cowboys is better than what we think it is. We look at the schedule and think it is a tough one. We see our opponents and think “Damn, I wish we weren't playing these guys.”
But trust me, those teams are thinking the exact same thing when they see the Star on their way. This is no longer an 8-8 team. It hasn't been for a while.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the league's finest now. They are an elite NFL team. They are legit Super Bowl contenders.
Tonight, when the Cowboys kickoff their season vs the Giants, you root for the ‘Boys. It doesn't matter where you are watching from – if you're at the AT&T Stadium or on your living room – you get loud for them. You put on that jersey and get ready for the 2017 Dallas Football Cowboys.
Because you and I both know… All of Cowboys Nation knows…