SAN DIEGO, CA - 1986: Running back Tony Dorsett #33 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Jack Murphy Stadium during the 1986 NFL season in San Diego, California. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
James was quick on Wednesday to say that Sunday's game, widely heralded as a must-win season-maker in New York, was no less important for Dallas. "This is our season, too, because if we go in and beat these guys, we don't have to worry about them coming back to haunt us," James said recently.
To be blunt about things, the Cowboys are streaking; the Giants are sliding.
This isn't to say the task ahead of Dallas will be easy--injuries or no, the New York Giants are a talented--and with their season very much on the line--a dangerous football team, particularly against their hated division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. But a curious factor moving into this particular match-up between the two teams derives from Dallas' position now, as opposed to their recent history in December. Consider: At 8-3, first in the NFC East, the Cowboys are embarking on a month in which they are 19-36 since 1996.
It's a sore subject around Valley Ranch: The December Jinx?
This is not a first in the 49-year history of the franchise. Beginning in the late 1960s, the team's blue jerseys gained a reputation as a jinx themselves, a thought that gained steam with a few crucial losses in blue, not the least of which was Super Bowl V, in 1971.
In taking up arms against this latest trend (jinx, if you will), James drew some inspiration from former running back Tony Dorsett, who came into the league with the blue-jersey-blues in full effect. The answer for Dorsett's Cowboys, as well as James', is simple: win.
"He was talking about one mystique they had when he was here was that when they put on the blue jerseys, they would lose," James said of Dorsett, who won a Super Bowl with Dallas in his rookie season, 1977. "The only way that they could right that wrong was to go out there and kick people's tails in the blue jerseys.
"So for us, in December, the only way we can get through December is to win. Point-blank. Simple."
Simple, yes. Easy, no.