When I first heard about Wade Phillips' uncharacteristically effusive (I use this term relatively) demeanor at the pre-Training Camp press conference, I conjured images of a contrived attempt at shedding the "Coach Cupcake" label; well, that and the episode of The Office during which Dwight Schrute reads a speech, originally by Josef Stalin, to a business conference, complete with fist pumps and podium strikes.
Seeing the video, though, I may have reacted unfairly. Phillips' excitement seemed genuine, for the most part; understandable, given that, starting tomorrow, he will take his place in the hot seat. Jerry Jones, for his part, seemed fairly worked up as well, though his excitement may have been just a bit ill-founded.
It all contributed to what was a remarkably ambivalent press conference.
Jerry Jones lauded Roy Williams, saying that he has worked harder this offseason than he ever has before. (This is good.)
Jones also hinted that Dallas would play up to the level of their new stadium. (This is bad. And stupid.)
Wade Phillips insisted that he would reign over the defense in almost every respect. (This, if his showing in that role last year was any indicator, is good.)
Phillips also reminded everyone of his winning record with the Cowboys. (This is bad. And, again, stupid.)
One gets the feeling that two people in the room for the press conference could come away with two wholly different and, perhaps, contradictory impressions. Was Phillips' excitement authentic or was his table smacking a study in premeditated overkill? Was his assertion that this was "one of the best offseasons [he's] been around" true, or an obligatory statement preceding the first practice of camp?
The presence of Jones, as it always does, precipitated more questions. Namely, is he serious about the stadium being a catalyst for success? Sadly, the answer to that one is a definite "yes."
"This year, uniquely, we have an energy that will help us, in my mind, look to what we expect," Jones said."And that energy is the new stadium."
Admittedly, the unprecedented 'energy' of which Jones spoke lured me in at first--was this 'energy' a result of the shameful showing of 2008? Of the wounded and considerable pride attached to the Star? Of the knowledge that this group could, and would, perform better?
No. It comes, ostensibly, from a $1.15 billion shrine to wealth and football.
How much Texas Stadium--full of memories, legends, pride, etc--is worth, I'm not sure. I guess, if last December is any indicator, not enough.