After an ugly win in Kansas City, the Dallas Cowboys refused to hang their heads. The mood in the locker room following a 26-20 win over the winless Chiefs was one marked by relief, and vague joy, instead of the tumultuous sense of short-lived relief that characterized fans after the win that almost wasn't, in "the game that never was."
"I really, I've played long enough in this league, I really can't understand or comprehend feeling bad about a win," said linebacker Keith Brooking. "All the really good teams that I've been on, we're not blowing teams out by 28 points week in and week out. You play a lot of close games, like today."
Okay, so this isn't really what angry fans want to hear; but there's certainly some merit to Brooking's statement. As far as NFL players are concerned, dwelling on a loss is always a detriment in the grand scope of things. Dwelling on an ugly win, regardless of how ugly it was, is borderline insane.
DeMarcus Ware conceded that the win was ugly, but, like Brooking, exhibited a stalwart, forward-thinking mind-set.
"It was [ugly], and that's the thing going into a bye week," said Ware. "It was ugly, but it was a win. I mean, it could be an ugly Super Bowl, but if you get the "W", it doesn't matter. You win the game. So I just feel like we had to get this win--it was ugly, [but] we can go into the bye week feeling good, and correct some things."
The onus for "correcting some things" ultimately falls squarely on the coaching staff; and I'll fight the urge to mutter "we're screwed."
The positive thinking seen and heard in the lockerroom--which could be an asset, for players--mustn't pervade the head coach's office; not unless Wade Phillips wants to ride the self-deception train right out of Dallas.
A win is a win is a win; granted. But unless Phillips is the NFL equivalent of Ned Flanders--and this is a fair possibility--he will trust his eyes and not his record; he will ineluctably come to the same conclusion that many of us already have: that this win was not only ugly, it was far from okay, by Dallas' standards or anyone else's.
Okay, maybe not the Browns'.