FRISCO, Texas — Ask any superstitious fan, maybe the worst thing you can do leading up to a game is provide bulletin board material for an opponent.
That's something in the form of publicly underestimating an opponent or in this case, providing a guarantee. That's sort of what Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy did this week ahead of Sunday's huge game against the Washington Football Team.
“I’m excited about what’s in front of us,” McCarthy said in a press conference. “We’re going to win this game, I’m confident in that.”
Certainly some of the more superstitious fans are going to have a problem with it. Skeptical ones will roll their eyes. Some Cowboys fans probably love it. Some Washington fans might too for other reasons.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera said Thursday he doesn't think what McCarthy said was important, calling it a mistake on his part.
"I think that’s the big mistake because as far as I’m concerned, you know you do that for a couple of reasons," Rivera said. "One is you want to get in our head, and so I’ve told our players ‘that’s interesting it’s not important, what’s important is our preparation getting ready to play on Sunday.’ Secondly, he’s trying to convince his team, you know, so again I think that’s another mistake because he’s made it about him and what he said. It’s not about his players anymore so I think that’s a big mistake. That’s why to me you don’t do those things, what you do is focus in on, get ready and you play football. We’ll show up on Sunday and see what happens."
On Friday's Locked On Today podcast, host Peter Bukowski was joined by Marcus Mosher of the Locked On Cowboys podcast to give his opinion on whether what McCarthy said matters or will matter come Sunday.
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Locked On Cowboys host Marcus Mosher laughed when he was asked if this is a big deal. He said we should actually more of this from coaches because it doesn't actually matter on the field.
"He's right, what is he supposed to say? 'No we're gonna lay down for Washington to beat us'?" Mosher said. "He's back in the building for the first time in 12 days after COVID, he's fired up, it's a big divisional game. I don't buy that this is bulletin board material. Do you think Washington is going to play harder now because Mike McCarthy said this."
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Mosher said a lot of people focus on the opposing team when hearing these "guarantees" but not enough on what is does for your own team.
"Yeah it might fire up your opponent or whatever, but I also think, now the Cowboys (players) are excited," Mosher said. "I think this is a good confidence booster for them after struggling for the past couple of months. We're gonna tell you we're going to beat them and then we're going to go out and do it...If they do lose, so what, I promise you there's going to be a million other reasons why the Cowboys lost."
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Dallas comes into the game at 8-4 and suddenly just two games ahead in the NFC East. This is a Washington team that is now 6-6 after being 2-6 and they're playing with a lot of confidence.
Dallas got back on track with an ugly win in New Orleans last week. They're going to have to show up fully to beat Washington on Sunday.
The Cowboys are currently favored by four points. Kickoff in Landover is set for 1 p.m. E.T./12 p.m. C.T. on FOX.
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